Some major and interesting developments occurred last week in the Clinton email scandal.
Attorneys for Clinton IT official, Bryan Pagliano, confirmed for the first time that Mr. Pagliano has “use” immunity agreements with federal prosecutors investigating the Clinton email matter. Mr. Pagliano’s court filing lays it out:
In December 2015, Mr. Pagliano proffered testimony to the DOJ in connection with an ongoing DOJ investigation. A short time later, Mr. Pagliano and the DOJ entered into an agreement granting Mr. Pagliano limited “use” and “derivative use” immunity consistent with 18 U.S.C. § 6001 et seq. for that testimony and other testimony offered in connection with the same investigation. In response to the Court’s Order, Mr. Pagliano has today filed copies of his use immunity agreements with the Government, with a Motion asking the Court to maintain those documents ex parte and under seal.
Pagliano is the IT political appointee in the Clinton State Department who reportedly provided support for the Clinton email system.
U.S. District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan had issued a court order requiring Pagliano to produce any reported immunity agreement and identify the legal basis for the Fifth Amendment claim he planned to assert in Judicial Watch’s discovery. The order delayed Pagliano’s deposition, which had been scheduled for June 6.
In response to this, we filed an opposition motion to Mr. Pagliano’s attempt to file immunity agreements ex parte and under seal. We also asked the court to deny Pagliano’s effort to avoid videotaping of his deposition, during which he plans to assert his Fifth Amendment right.
Judicial Watch attorneys argued to Judge Sullivan that Pagliano’s immunity agreement should be made publicly available:
Mr. Pagliano’s request to file his immunity agreements ex parte and under seal is unfounded. First, the Court ordered Mr. Pagliano to file a memorandum, along with a copy of his reported immunity agreements. The Court did not order the immunity agreements to be filed ex parte or under seal and could have done so. … As this Court has repeatedly emphasized, this case is about the public’s “right to know details related to the creation, purpose, and use of the clintonemail.com system.”
The brief also notes that the court can draw adverse inferences from any assertion of the Fifth Amendment in the civil lawsuit and that there is little chance that Pagliano could not answer some, if not all, of Judicial Watch’s questions without having to assert his Fifth Amendment rights.
In yet another development, on Monday, the Obama administration filed a “Statement of Interest” supporting continued secrecy of the Pagliano immunity agreements. The government’s brief states that “releasing Mr. Pagliano’s agreements with the United States could prematurely reveal the scope and focus of the pending investigation.”
This discovery arises in a Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit that seeks records about the controversial employment status of Huma Abedin, former deputy chief of staff to Clinton. The lawsuit was reopened because of revelations about the clintonemail.com system (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:13-cv-01363)). Judge Sullivan ordered that all deposition transcripts be made publicly available.
It is unfortunate that the public’s right to know is being hampered yet again. These court filings are further evidence of the legal mess caused by Mrs. Clinton’s email system.
Simply put, we need to see Pagliano’s immunity agreements so our attorneys are able to prepare their questions for him – especially if he is going to assert his Fifth Amendment privilege.
We have faced astonishing roadblocks to getting simple questions answered about the Clinton email system. But we have persevered and managed to obtain information under oath.