Motion filed to block State from delaying release of Clinton emails

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The journalist who forced the State Department to release thousands of Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonTrump: 'I’m just flabbergasted’ by Clinton-Lynch meet AFL-CIO head: Trump’s ‘a fraud’ Sanders skirts Biden's claim that he'll endorse Clinton MORE’s emails is opposing the government’s efforts to delay the final release by one month, warning the extension would cause "irrevocable harm."

On Monday, lawyers for Vice News reporter Jason Leopold filed a motion seeking to block the department from extending the amount of time that it has to release emails from the former secretary of State's personal server. 

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The Obama administration “has failed to show good cause for the requested extension, that it is necessary or that the interests of justice will be served by granting it,” Leopold’s lawyers wrote in the 13-page filing.

The government’s excuse for not being able to release the final batch of emails this month “is woefully vague,” the lawyers said.

The State Department on Friday requested that the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia delay by one month the deadline for it to release the last batch of Clinton’s work-related emails. The department claimed that an internal oversight caused it to overlook 7,200 pages of emails, and that the massive snowstorm hitting the East Coast would make it hard for employees to finish the review in time. 

The department insisted it would release some emails by the original deadline of Jan. 29, but asked to have until Feb. 29 to release the final batch of 55,000 pages of emails. That new schedule would delay the final release until after the first four presidential nominating contests. Clinton is currently the front-runner for the Democratic nominating contest.

Republicans lambasted the request on Friday. Critics called it a blatant ploy for the Obama administration to help Clinton ahead of the primary votes. 

In the filing on Monday, Leopold’s lawyers, Ryan James and Jeffrey Light, wondered whether the final tranche of emails contained “the most controversial records.”

Delaying release of the emails beyond the first four primary states would cause “irrevocable harm” to journalists and voters, they added.

“[I]f the Court allows State to delay release of thousands of pages of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s official work emails, a substantial portion of the electorate will be forced to vote without the benefit of important information to which it is entitled about the performance of one of the candidates for U.S. President while serving as Secretary of State,” the lawyers wrote.

Leopold’s lawsuit against the State Department under the Freedom of Information Act caused a judge last year to set a timetable for the department to release Clinton’s work-related emails to the public.