Judge Orders New Benghazi Emails Released
State must turn over Clinton's previously undisclosed correspondence in heat of election season
A federal judge in Florida Thursday ensured that Hillary Clinton will have to endure another round of bad publicity regarding her conduct as secretary of state — smack dab in the middle of the general election campaign.
U.S. District Judge William Dimitrouleas ruled that the State Department must release emails related to the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, by Sept. 13. That means even more potentially embarrassing information will dribble out weeks before the election, when American voters will be most engaged.
“It is astonishing that Hillary Clinton tried to delete and hide Benghazi emails and documents.”
The material was included in almost 15,000 emails that the FBI reported this week had been recovered from files that Clinton deleted. The judge ordered the State Department to review the documents and identify those covered by the Freedom of Information Act request. The State Department must file a status report by Sept. 6 and turn over the documents a week later.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton, whose organization sued for the records, criticized Clinton for trying to erase the material.
“It is astonishing that Hillary Clinton tried to delete and hide Benghazi emails and documents,” he said in a prepared statement. “No wonder federal courts in Florida and [Washington] D.C. are ordering the State Department to stop stalling and begin releasing the 14,900 new Clinton emails.”
Rep. Trey Gowdy told Fox News Thursday that Clinton's use of a special online tool to delete emails is further proof that she had something to hide.
"She and her lawyers had those emails deleted," he said. "And they didn't just push the delete button; they had them deleted where even God can't read them. They were using something called BleachBit. You don't use BleachBit for yoga emails or bridesmaids emails. When you're using BleachBit, it is something you really do not want the world to see."
The FBI recovered the documents during its probe into Clinton's use of a home-brew email server that bypassed official channels. The Washington-based watchdog group had sought all communications between Clinton and the White House from the week of the attack on the U.S. consulate that left four Americans dead.
Judicial Watch asked in another case for Clinton's communications about the Benghazi attack. U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta Thursday scheduled a hearing for Aug. 30 to consider Judicial Watch's request to order the State Department to reveal how many documents meet that FOIA request. That will help the judge determine whether the government's proposed Oct. 31 deadline to produce the records is reasonable.
In yet another case, the State Department has a Sept. 30 deadline to turn over information related to the employment status of top Clinton aide Huma Abedin, who worked simultaneously as a government employee and for the Clinton Foundation and a private consulting firm. U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan also has granted permission for Judicial Watch lawyers to get written testimony from Clinton, under oath.
Earlier this week, Judicial Watch released emails it obtained suggesting that big donors to the Clinton Foundation got special access to Clinton during her time as secretary of state. The Associated Press reported that about half of the non-government or NGO people who Clinton met with were contributors to the charity.