Ex-Clinton staffer files immunity agreements under seal

WASHINGTON (AP) — The former aide to Hillary Clinton who set up her private email server confirmed in a court filing Tuesday that the Justice Department had granted him limited immunity from prosecution, but filed copies of the deal under seal and asked a judge to keep them out of public view.

The filing from Bryan Pagliano came in response to a judge’s directive to disclose details of the immunity agreement, which Pagliano said he entered into after cooperating in December with the Justice Department’s ongoing investigation into Clinton’s server.

Though Pagliano has spoken with the Justice Department, he has invoked his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination in refusing to answer questions from Congress and reiterated Tuesday that he would not give testimony in an ongoing lawsuit brought by conservative legal advocacy group Judicial Watch.

“The DOJ has not authorized a grant of immunity for Mr. Pagliano in connection with any other matter, including this civil case,” Pagliano’s attorneys wrote in a court filing.

Pagliano received limited “use” and “derivative use” immunity from the Justice Department, his lawyers wrote. That type of immunity generally protects witnesses from having statements they make to investigators being used against them in any criminal case — with the exception of lies or false statements — while still enabling the government to prosecute using evidence it obtains independent of that testimony.

Pagliano’s lawyer, Mark MacDougall, did not return a phone message seeking comment.

Judicial Watch has sought the testimony of Pagliano and several other current and former State Department aides about the 2009 creation of the private email system used by Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination.

The organization is challenging whether the State Department conducted an adequate search of public records in response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed in 2013 that sought records related to former Deputy Secretary of State Huma Abedin’s outside work as a paid consultant for a charitable foundation run by Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton.

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan has granted the group’s request to question the aides. After Pagliano said last week that he would assert his Fifth Amendment right and decline to answer every question posed to him during a deposition, the judge gave him until Tuesday to reveal the immunity agreement with the Justice Department and disclose details about its scope.

A separate review by the State Department’s inspector general concluded last month that Clinton and her team ignored clear internal guidance that her email setup broke federal standards and could have left sensitive material vulnerable to hackers. Clinton has called her decision to rely on the private server a mistake, but contends she violated no laws.

An FBI and Justice Department investigation continues into whether sensitive information that flowed through the server was mishandled.


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