- The Washington Times - Monday, May 16, 2016

A conservative legal group asked a judge Monday to order Hillary Clinton to face deposition under oath about her role in creating the secret email account she used as secretary of state at the State Department.

Judicial Watch had previously won the right to question her top aides, but the group says it now wants to question Mrs. Clinton herself about her decision to use a non-State.gov account to conduct all of her official business.

“Mrs. Clinton’s testimony will help the courts determine whether her email practices thwarted the Freedom of Information Act,” Tom Fitton, Judicial Watch’s president, said in a statement after his group filed the request with Judge Royce C. Lamberth.

Judge Lamberth is one of two judges who have granted Judicial Watch discovery — a rare procedure in open-records cases, and one that’s only approved when a judge finds evidence of “bad faith” on the part of the government in answering an open-records request.

In the other case, Judge Emmet G. Sullivan has allowed depositions of top Clinton aides, but said he would decide later if Mrs. Clinton needs to be deposed, based on what is learned from her assistants.

Mrs. Clinton has said her use of a secret account, which shielded many of her communications from all public scrutiny for six years, was probably a mistake — though she’s insisted she broke no laws.

She said she choose to use the secret system out of convenience — though at least some of the messages that have come to light seem to indicate her aides were also worried about her communications becoming public.

Her use of the secret account was known to high-level State Department officials, and to President Obama and his top aides at the White House, but none of them ever alerted the lower-level staffers responsible for responding to open-records requests.

The FBI is investigating the server, though there have been competing reports about whether Mrs. Clinton is in danger of facing charges.

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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