A federal judge on Thursday ordered that the videotape of Hillary Clinton’s former chief of staff giving a deposition this week be sealed so it can’t be used in political attacks against the former secretary of state and likely Democratic presidential nominee.
Judge Emmett G. Sullivan said the transcript of Cheryl Mills’ testimony will be made public so the voters can know what she says. He said it was “unnecessary” to have the video released.
He extended that order to all of the depositions being taken in the open records case, which also applies to Mrs. Clinton’s closest personal aide, Huma Abedin.
Neither Ms. Mills nor Ms. Abedin cooperated with the State Department’s own internal probe, which concluded that they helped Mrs. Clinton shield her email system from public disclosure laws.
But both Ms. Mills and Ms. Abedin have been ordered to sit for depositions with Judicial Watch, a conservative legal group that has filed 16 lawsuits under open records laws to get a peek at the emails Mrs. Clinton and her aides hid from view.
Michael Bekesha, an attorney for Judicial Watch, had urged the court to release the videotapes to the public, saying people had a right to see what the aides said.
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“As Chief of Staff and Counselor to Mrs. Clinton during her entire four years as Secretary of State, Ms. Mills’ testimony is instrumental not only to Plaintiff’s case but also to the public’s understanding of ‘the creation, purpose and use of the clintonemail.com’ system,” Mr. Bekesha wrote.
Ms. Mills’ attorneys, though, said Judicial Watch indicated it wanted to use the video in political attacks. “Judicial Watch’s long-standing antagonism to the Secretary is a matter of public record,” Beth A. Wilkinson told the court.
Judge Sullivan sided with her.
“The transcripts of all depositions taken in this case will be publicly available. It is therefore unnecessary to also make the audiovisual recording of Ms. Mills’ deposition public,” he ruled.