- The Washington Times - Friday, August 14, 2020

A three-judge panel ruled Friday that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did not have to sit for a deposition in a legal battle with a conservative-leaning watchdog group.

Judicial Watch had filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit in 2014 after a request for documents related to the Benghazi attack in 2012 that killed four Americans went unanswered.

As part of the litigation, the group moved to depose Mrs. Clinton, who served as secretary of state at the time of the 2012 attack, after it was revealed she had used a private email server in the course of government business.

In March, a lower court granted discovery in the case that would have included the deposition of Mrs. Clinton, limiting interrogatories to her practice of using a private server despite her understanding of State Department management policies.

But on Friday, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals put that order on hold, characterizing Mrs. Clinton’s deposition as “complete irrelevance” to a Freedom of Information Act proceeding.

“The District Court ordered Secretary Clinton’s deposition primarily to probe her motives for using a private email server and her understanding of the State Department’s records-management obligations,” wrote Judge Robert L. Wilkins, an Obama appointee, for the court. “However, neither of these topics is relevant to the only outstanding issue in this FOIA litigation.”

Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, said the group was “disappointed” by the ruling and is exploring its options.

• Alex Swoyer can be reached at aswoyer@washingtontimes.com.

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