Clinton gets another pass: Appeals court spares her from deposition in email scandal

Appeals court issues writ of mandamus overturning federal judge's order that Clinton submit to deposition in FOIA case.

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Updated: August 14, 2020 - 3:35pm

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Four-plus years after the James Comey-led FBI chose not to file charges against Hillary Clinton, despite evidence she transmitted classified information on an insecure email server, a federal appeals court Friday gave the former secretary of state another legal pass in the case.

A three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals granted a writ of mandamus requested by Clinton's lawyers overturning a judge's order that she submit to a sworn deposition in a Freedom of Information Act case brought by the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch.

The court ruled that U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth erred in ordering the deposition in the first place.

"Discovery in FOIA cases is not a punishment, and the district court has no basis to order further inquiry into Secretary Clinton’s state of mind," the appeals court ruled.

Judicial Watch had sought to secure the deposition to explore whether Clinton's use of the private server to transmit government documents was an effort to evade the legal requirements of the FOIA law.

The group said Friday afternoon it is reviewing whether to appeal.

"We're disappointed and considering our options," Judicial Watch's Tom Fitton told Just the News.

The court ruling comes four years and one month after Comey announced on July 5, 2016 that he had unilaterally decided not to seek criminal charges against Clinton for transmitting highly classified information on her private email server.

Comey was later fired from his post and an inspector general ruled the FBI director had wrongly "usurped" the Justice Department's authority to decide whether charges should have been filed.

It was that very same day that former MI-6 agent Christopher Steele -- working on behalf of Clinton's opposition research efforts -- walked the first piece of information of his now infamous anti-Trump dossier into the FBI office in London.

You can read the court's full decision here.

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