Democratic Presidential nominee Hilary Clinton’s IT guru will refuse to answer “any and all questions that may be put to him” during a Judicial Watch deposition scheduled for next week. The IT staffer, Bryan Pagliano, is widely believed to have created and managed Clinton’s private email server while she was Secretary of State. Pagliano previously accepted an immunity deal with the FBI whereupon he began cooperating with their investigation into the server.
Clinton’s divided stance on the matter would seem to speak to her guilt. First, she encouraged everyone with information to cooperate with the committee, saying she was pleased when Pagliano began talking with the FBI. However, when investigators from the State Department’s Office of Inspector General began preparing a report on the impact of Clinton’s private email accounts, Clinton and her top aides refused comment.
Judicial Watch, a conservative legal watchdog group, put forth seven total depositions on the Freedom of Information Act case that have been approved by U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan. The deposition in question is scheduled for June 6.
Immunity deal or no, Pagliano has twice in the past year refused to testify before congressional committees investigating matters related to Clinton’s use of a private email server while serving as Secretary of State.
More than that, Pagliano’s camp also wants to prevent any video from being taken of him asserting his Fifth Amendment rights at the June 6 deposition. They maintain that there’s no valid reason to make an audio or video recording of the deposition, since their client doesn’t plan to answer any questions.
Pagliano’s attorneys’ motion to prevent recordings states:
While the Court’s Sealing Order reduces the risk of dissemination, precluding video altogether is the only way to eliminate the potential harm to Mr. Pagliano. Under the current Sealing Order, audiovisual copies of the depositions will remain sealed only “until further order of the Court.” Judicial Watch may move to unseal the materials at any time. Furthermore, in the event of a leak or data breach at the court reporting company, Mr. Pagliano would be hard- pressed to prevent further dissemination and republication of the video. Given that there is no proper purpose for videotaping the deposition in the first place, Judicial Watch’s preference should yield to the significant constitutional interests at stake.
Pagliano’s attorneys defended their client, saying that he is “caught up in a lawsuit with an undisputed political agenda.”
Acting on a request from another former aide to Clinton, Cheryl Mills, U.S. District Court Judge Sullivan already ruled that videos of the sessions should be put under seal. However, Pagliano’s lawyers claim that there’s still a chance the video could emerge later either with or without permission from the court.
Judicial Watch indicated Wednesday that it will resist the proposal to ban video recording.
“Judge Sullivan already put in place a mechanism that addresses these concerns,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in an interview. “There are always credibility issues that are raised by any assertion of the Fifth Amendment. This video, we believe will be helpful to Judge Sullivan in assessing the witness’ demeanor when asserting the Fifth Amendment and in response to other questions.”
Earlier this month, the State Department said that it was unable to locate any of Pagliano’s emails from his State Department email account. When asked about Pagliano’s missing emails, former FOIA Director Dan Metcalfe told Law Newz that “the whole thing stinks to high heavens.”