- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 1, 2016

John Bentel shouldn’t be allowed to use his right to remain silent as a shield to protect former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her secret email server, a conservative legal group told a federal judge Tuesday.

Mr. Bentel, who oversaw Mrs. Clinton’s technology during her time at the State Department, refused last month to answer nearly 100 questions posed in a court-ordered deposition. Mr. Bentel claimed he had a Fifth Amendment right against incriminating himself.

But Judicial Watch, which conducted the deposition, said Mr. Bentel has no “legitimate fear” of legal jeopardy from his answers to some 87 of the questions, and the group asked Judge Emmet G. Sullivan to order Mr. Bentel to comply by testifying.

“He has not identified — let alone demonstrated — a fear of prosecution in answering any of the 87 questions asked of him during his deposition. Nor has he demonstrated any such fear is more than fanciful or merely speculation,” Michael Bekesha, a Judicial Watch lawyer, wrote to the court.

In a letter to Judicial Watch, Mr. Bentel’s lawyer said he doesn’t have to prove his remarks would be incriminating, only that they might raise legal danger.

Mr. Bentel stands by the invocation of his Fifth Amendment rights,” Kyle Clark, the lawyer, wrote.

Judge Sullivan had initially approved deposing Mr. Bentel because he said the former official gave conflicting versions of his role in handling Mrs. Clinton’s email situation.

While he told Congress he didn’t know anything about Mrs. Clinton’s email, an inspector general said he was aware of the arrangement and even told underlings it had been approved. In one case, he told one of the whistleblowers that their mission was to back Mrs. Clinton up, and “instructed the staff never to speak of the secretary’s personal email system again.”

In fact, the FBI found that Mrs. Clinton didn’t ask permission and nobody had approved her arrangement.

Mr. Bentel joined Bryan Pagliano in refusing to answer any questions. Mr. Pagliano, who set up a version of the email server Mrs. Clinton used for official business, held a dual role, working both for the State Department and for the Clintons personally.

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