Lawyers seek to block Clinton testimony in email case

Lawyers seek to block Clinton testimony in email case
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Lawyers for Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump touts economic agenda in battleground Ohio The Memo: Campaigns gird for rush of early voting Trump's pitch to Maine lobstermen falls flat MORE made their second court filing in a week on Friday aiming to block a federal judge from having her be deposed as part of an ongoing open records lawsuit connected to her email setup.

In a filing at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Clinton’s legal team called the request from conservative organization Judicial Watch “futile and inappropriate.”

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The group is relying on “nothing more than speculation” by claiming that Clinton’s use of a private server was a deliberate effort to thwart the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the former secretary of State’s lawyers claimed. They pointed to recent comments by FBI Director James Comey, who this month finalized a yearlong investigation into Clinton’s emails, claiming that Clinton’s setup appeared to have been created for convenience.

Clinton’s response to questions about the setup “would undoubtedly be ‘I don’t know,’” the lawyers added.

And Judicial Watch has offered “no reason to suspect” that Clinton would be in any way helpful in the case.

Clinton’s legal team made a similar argument earlier in the week, claiming that the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee would have nothing to offer the case beyond already public material about the private email setup, such as the FBI’s investigation and facts uncovered by the House Select Committee on Benghazi. That filing was the first time that Clinton’s personal legal team has intervened in the matter, which has been going on for nearly three years.

The judge in the case, Emmet Sullivan, has previously allowed for Judicial Watch to interview seven current or former State Department staffers, including close Clinton allies such as Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills. Sullivan has said that Clinton herself may be ordered to answer questions as part of the case, which evolved from a simple FOIA request to broader concerns about violations of open records law.

Oral arguments in the case have been scheduled for Monday.

Clinton’s lawyers on Friday claimed that Judicial Watch’s FOIA request will be satisfied, following the FBI’s promise to hand thousands of deleted work emails back to the State Department and the department’s pledge to release them to the public.

“If the FBI will provide those materials to the department, there is no need to engage in additional discovery to determine whether FOIA requires the department to acquire Secretary Clinton’s e-mail account on an ‘intent to thwart FOIA’ theory,” they claimed. Discovery is the technical term for the evidence-gathering stage of a trial that includes depositions.

In their filing, the lawyers also claimed that they are not aware of anyone else having possession of the emails Clinton sent or received through her private account while serving as secretary of State.

In addition to Clinton’s lawyers, the State Department also made a filing of its own on Friday, claiming that Judicial Watch’s efforts to interview Clinton and two other officials were “unrelated” to the core of its lawsuit and made “on no more than a bare hope of develop evidence of an intent to avoid FOIA.”