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Thursday, June 13, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Judge Won’t Combine Clinton Email Cases

(CN) - The numerous pending FOIA cases seeking State Department documents - especially Hillary Clinton's emails - do not qualify for a coordinating judge, the D.C. District Court ruled Thursday.

Roughly three dozen cases brought under the Freedom of Information Act against the U.S. Department of State seeking records from department officials - including those in possession of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton - are pending in D.C. District Court, according to the ruling.

Last month, the State Department filed a miscellaneous case and a motion for designation of a coordinating judge to address "common questions of law, fact, and procedure."

But Chief Judge Richard Roberts dismissed the motion Thursday after an executive session of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

"As the State Department recognizes, these cases do not meet the definition of a 'related case,'" Roberts wrote in a 3-page order. "Many of the underlying cases have been pending for several years and a significant number of scheduling orders have already been entered. The judges who have been randomly assigned to these cases have been and continue to be committed to informal coordination so as to avoid unnecessary inefficiencies and confusion, and the parties are also urged to meet and confer to assist in coordination."

Clinton's use of a private email account during her time as secretary of state has become national news since The New York Times broke the story in March. The State Department has since published about 25 percent of the emails online through a series of court-mandated releases.

The latest release contained 125 redacted or partially-redacted classified emails, and the release before that included at least 60, according to the State Department and Washington Times.

Clinton's private attorney, David Kendall, turned a thumb drive over to the Justice Department on Aug. 6, about a month after State Department employees allegedly installed a safe for storing the thumb drive in Kendall's office at Williams & Connolly in Washington, D.C.

In one of the more recent cases, freelance journalist David Brown filed a lawsuit last month seeking records related to the State Department's decision to turn Clinton's emails over to Kendall.

His request is not for a specific document he is sure exists, but Brown believes it would be surprising if the department did not generate any documents at all in the process of reviewing what is on the thumb drive, his attorney said.

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