Washington June 19, 2015 - Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton made the following statement regarding today's decision by U.S. District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan to reopen a Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit that sought records about Huma Abedin, the former deputy chief of staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:13-cv-01363)).
Hillary Clinton's massive email cover-up is unraveling. We welcome Judge Sullivan's decision to reopen this lawsuit. Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration concealed records and lied to obstruct federal courts and Judicial Watch from finding out about the secret emails.
The court battle to get to the truth about Huma Abedin's "special government employee" (SGE) privileges at State is underway. The reopening of this case brings Judicial Watch one step closer to forcing the State Department to ensure that the government records in Hillary Clinton's "secret" email system are properly preserved, protected and recovered as federal law requires. Ms. Abedin is part of the Clinton cash raising operation and was even involved in the Benghazi scandal, so this lawsuit could not be more timely.
This is the second Judicial Watch FOIA lawsuit that has been reopened because of Hillary Clinton's hidden email records. Judicial Watch is aware of no prior instances of Freedom of Information lawsuits being reopened by federal courts.
Judge Sullivan ruled that the "changed circumstances" of the discovery that Hillary Clinton and members of her State Department staff used secret email accounts to conduct government business warranted "reopening" the lawsuit.
In asking Judge Sullivan to reopen the lawsuit, Judicial Watch cited a federal court rule (Rule 60(b)(3)) that allows a party to reopen a case due to "fraud (whether previously called intrinsic or extrinsic), misrepresentation, or misconduct by an opposing party:"
The State Department had an obligation under the Federal Records Act to properly preserve, maintain, and make available for retrieval records of its official functions. In fact, it is the obligation of the head of every federal agency to do so. Secretary Clinton plainly violated her own legal obligations. Doing so was misconduct.
The State Department originally agreed with Judicial Watch's request but later changed its mind and asked the court to reopen the lawsuit because of "newly discovered evidence." In today's ruling, Judge Sullivan simply reopened the case, rather than "spilling ink" on whether Hillary Clinton and the State Department committed fraud, misrepresentation or misconduct.
Huma Abedin left the State Department in February 2013, and in May 2013, Politico reported that, since June 2012, she had been double-dipping, working as a consultant to outside clients while continuing as a top adviser at State. Abedin's outside clients included Teneo, a strategic consulting firm co-founded by former Bill Clinton counselor Doug Band. According to Fox News, Abedin earned $355,000 as a consultant to Teneo, in addition to her $135,000 SGE compensation.
Teneo describes its activities as providing "the leaders of the world's most respected companies, nonprofit institutions and governments with a full suite of advisory solutions." [Emphasis added] Outside of the U.S., it maintains offices in Dubai, London, Dublin, Hong Kong, Brussels, Washington, and Beijing. Teneo was also the subject of various investigative reports, including by the New York Times, which raise questions about its relationship with the Clinton Foundation.
In February 2014, the State Department assured Judicial Watch that it had searched the Office of the Executive Secretary, which would have included the offices of the Secretary of State and top staff. Relying upon the State Department's misrepresentation that the agency conducted a reasonable search, Judicial Watch agreed to dismiss its lawsuit on March 14, 2014.