Former State IT staffer pleads Fifth in Clinton email case

Former State IT staffer pleads Fifth in Clinton email case
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A former State Department IT staffer on Monday refused to answer questions about Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonMcConnell: Taliban could take over Afghanistan by 'the end of the year' Hillary Clinton: There must be a 'global reckoning' with disinformation Pelosi's archbishop calls for Communion to be withheld from public figures supporting abortion rights MORE’s private email server in a sworn deposition, according to the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch.

John Bentel is one of several former aides associated with Clinton’s private email who reportedly received some form of immunity deal during the FBI’s investigation into the server and who have since exercised their Fifth Amendment right in court or before Congress. 

Now retired, Bentel oversaw technology for the department’s top echelon.

According to an Inspector General audit, while Clinton secretary of State she assured concerned staff members that her use of the server had been approved and that they should not discuss it further. But in interviews with the FBI during its investigation, Bentel denied that any such conversation took place.

In his testimony on the server before the House Benghazi Committee, he claimed not to know that Clinton’s email account was housed on a private server until media reports exposed it in 2015. 

Ordered by a federal judge to answer questions resolving the conflicting accounts, Bentel answered over 90 questions with “On advice from my legal counsel, I decline to answer the question and I invoke my Fifth Amendment rights,” according to Judicial Watch. 

The questions included queries about whether Clinton was paying his legal fees or had offered him employment or other financial incentives, according to Judicial Watch.

The suit, one of several brought by Judicial Watch, concerns records associated with the employment arrangement of longtime Clinton aide Huma Abedin.

Abedin and Clinton, now the Democratic nominee for president, have both answered questions in the case. 

Former State IT staffer Bryan Pagliano — who also received an immunity deal from the Justice Department — refused to testify.

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton argued Monday that Bentel’s decision “highlights the disturbing implication that criminal acts took place related to the Clinton email and our Freedom of Information Act requests.”

A lawyer for Bentel did not respond to a request for comment.