'Emailgate' will go to court as watchdog group files SEVEN federal lawsuits for the release of emails held by Hillary Clinton and her 'co-conspirators'
- Judicial Watch sued the State Department after it failed to respond to FOIA requests
- The group wants emails and records related to Hillary Clinton's exclusive use of a home-brew private email server while she was secretary of state
- Also demands the names of other State Department employees who had outside email addresses that they used for work
- One lawsuit concerns a private email account hosted on the Clinton server for Huma Abedin, a top Clinton aide
The 'emailgate' saga that tripped up Hillary Clinton's earliest preparations to run for president has arrived in federal court, as a right-leaning watchdog group has sued the State Department for email messages and other records it says should be open to public view.
Judicial Watch, a Washington, D.C. group known for its voluminous Freedom Of Information Act requests – and for filing lawsuits against government agencies that drag their feet – filed seven separate lawsuits on Wednesday.
The group's president, Tom Fitton, said the legal actions were meant to help the public see through efforts by Clinton and her 'co-conspirators' to shield her personal emails, her activities related to the 2012 Benghazi, Libya terror attack, and any conflicts of interest that may have influenced her decisions impacting foreign donors to her family foundation.
The suits were filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
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LAWSUIT: Judicial Watch sued the State Department fora host of emails and other records that the agency has apparently withheld in violation of the Freedom of Information Act 0 all related to Hillary Clinton's time as the cabinet department's leader
HUMA@CLINTONEMAIL.COM: Huma Abedin (left), a longtime Clinton aide who is now her presidential campaign's chief of staff, had a private email address on Clinton's home-brew server but the State Department has not acknowledged receiving any work-related emails from that account
They demand that the cabinet-level department Clinton ran from 2009 to 2013 release a trove of paperwork included in FOIA requests that the State Department has slow-walked, according to the group.
'This historic legal effort shows Judicial Watch is the only game in town when it comes to stopping and exposing government corruption,' Fitton said.
'There is a rule-of-law and transparency crisis in Washington. But our new FOIA lawsuits show that Mrs. Clinton and her co-conspirators in the Obama administration will be held accountable for the violations of transparency law, criminal destruction and mishandling of government records, their Benghazi lies, and the Clintons’ abuse of office for personal and political dollars.'
Clinton acknowledged this year that she never had a 'state.gov' address during her tenure, but claimed that she later turned over about half of the messages stored on her personal server, housed at her Chappaqua, New York home.
She deleted more than 32,000 messages without State Department input, however, insisting during a contentious March 10 press conference that they were all 'personal' in nature.
Republicans on Capitol Hill have demanded that she deliver the server to a neutral third-party investigator, such as the State Department's inspector general, to determine if messages related to her official duties were among them.
Clinton's State Department deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin, who now serves as her presidential campaign's chief of staff, also used a private email account on the Clintons' household server, in addition to her 'state.gov' address.
No government agency has acknowledged receiving copies of emails from that account.
NO CONFLICT: Former president Bill Clinton said Wednesday that Hillary Clinton didn't knowingly favor any foreign donors to the Clinton Foundation while she was secretary of state
SMOKING GUN? Huma Abedin, a longtime top Hillary Clinton aide, had a private email address on Hillary's server, according to records from Lexis-Nexis
The Federal Records Act requires government employees to maintain copies of official emails.
The State Department's top Freedom of Information Act officer said Wednesday during a tense Senate hearing that it is 'not acceptable' for agency employees to conduct their government business on a personal server – something Clinton did for four years.
In addition to emails from Abedin's personal account, Judicial Watch's lawsuits demand every email Mrs. Clinton sent and received during her time as secretary of state, along with emails that other State Department personnel sent to her previously secret 'clintonemail.com' account
The organization is also suing for records that describe how the home-brew email server was purchased and used, and whether the State Department made an effort to archive the tens of thousands of messages it held.
A separate lawsuit demands records showing how many other employees at State have used outside email accounts since 2009 in the course of doing their jobs – and who they are.
Another focuses on 'Clinton's communications during the attack on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, during which U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith were killed,' according to Judicial Watch.
That legal action is also broad enough to encompass all of Clinton's emails related to the Benghazi saga, and every email between State Department employees and members of Congress – particularly those who serve on the House Select Committee on Benghazi.
PRESSURE: Hillary faced row upon row of reporters and photographers in March when she first addressed the issue of the previously undisclosed private email address she used instead of a 'dot-gov' address
'CO-CONSPIRATORS': Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton took the gloves off, filing the seven lawsuits against the State Department in a bid to use the FOIA law to put more documents in public view
And in a nod to the most recent controversy swirling around Clinton's nascent presidential bid, Judicial Watch is demanding records showing State Department 'policies, procedures and review process' designed to protect against conflicts of interest related to foreign donors to the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation.
Those allegations are detailed in an investigative book, 'Clinton Cash,' which was released Tuesday.
Lastly, the organization is demanding records related to Clinton's resignation from the Obama administration, including a standard 'separation statement' that the State Department has said she never signed.
That form would have certified that Clinton had provided copies of all her work-related emails to State Department records-management officials. It would have been signed under penalty of perjury.
State Department spokespersons have noted that previous secretaries of state left the agency without signing the form.
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