(CN) – A federal judge on Friday rejected a request to force Hillary Clinton to submit to a sworn deposition in a lawsuit related to her use of a private email server while she was secretary of state, instead she will have to answer questions from a conservative legal advocacy group in writing.
U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan issued the order late Friday afternoon in a public records case filed by Judicial Watch.
Judge Sullivan said the group must submit its questions to Clinton by Oct. 14 and gave Clinton 30 days to respond — a timetable that could theoretically push Clinton’s answers past the November presidential election.
Judicial Watch is among several groups that have sued the State Department over access to government records from Clinton’s tenure as secretary between 2009 and 2013.
Republicans, in particular, want to keep the email issue email alive in hopes that it will be a potent campaign issue.
The FBI closed its investigation of Clinton’s email use shortly before the Democratic National Convention in July without leveling any charges against the presidential nominee, flummoxing both the GOP and conservative talk show hosts who had been savored fantasies of her facing a trial during a run-up to the November general election.
In his ruling, Sullivan said “Judicial Watch’s argument that a deposition is preferable in this case because of the ability to ask follow-up questions is not persuasive.
“Given the extensive public record related to the clintonemail.com system, a record which Judicial Watch has acknowledged, Judicial Watch will be able to anticipate many follow-up questions. For those follow-up questions that Judicial Watch is unable to anticipate, it can move this Court for permissions to serve additional interrogatories,” Sullivan wrote.
In a separate development Friday, former Secretary of State Colin Powell told the Associated Press he once sent Clinton a memo touting his use of a personal email account for work-related messages after she took over at the State Department in 2009.
In a statement provided to the AP, Powell said he emailed Clinton describing his use of a personal AOL account for unclassified messages while leading the State Department under President George W. Bush.
Powell, a Republican, said he told Clinton his use of personal email “vastly improved” communications within the department, which at the time did not have an equivalent internal system.
Unlike Clinton, Powell relied on a commercially available service to host his personal email account. Clinton’s private server was located in the basement of the New York home she shared with her husband, former President Bill Clinton.
In this Aug. 15, 2016, photo, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at a campaign event at Riverfront Sports in Scranton, Pa. A federal judge has ordered Clinton to answer questions in writing from a conservative legal advocacy group about her use of a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state. U.S. District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan issued the order Aug. 19, as part of a long-running public records lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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