Bryan Pagliano, the information technology specialist who managed Hillary Clinton’s private email system, will refuse to answer questions during a Judicial Watch deposition scheduled for next week, his lawyers informed a federal judge on Wednesday.
“Mr. Pagliano will invoke his right under the Fifth Amendment and decline to testify at the deposition noticed for June 6, 2016,” Pagliano’s lawyers, Mark MacDougall and Connor Mullin wrote in the filing.
“Given the constitutional implications, the absence of any proper purpose for video recording the deposition, and the considerable risk of abuse, the Court should preclude Judicial Watch, Inc. (“Judicial Watch”) from creating an audiovisual recording of Mr. Pagliano’s deposition,” wrote the lawyers, who work for the Clinton-connected Beltway law firm Akin Gump.
The deposition is one of seven that U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan approved in the Judicial Watch case. The Bill Clinton appointee limited discovery to matters related the handling of Freedom of Information Act requests for State Department records and to the creation of Clinton’s private email system.
Pagliano is integral to the latter part of Judicial Watch’s probe. Hired as a political appointee at the State Department in May 2009 after working on Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, Pagliano was reportedly paid by out of pocket by Clinton for his work on her server.
The arrangement was apparently unknown to Pagliano’s superiors at State and to other agency officials. It was also the subject of a scathing State Department inspector general report released last week. The inspector general determined that Clinton’s off-the-books system would not have been approved by the State Department’s bureau of diplomatic security.
When Pagliano pleads the Fifth next week it will be second time he has done so. In September, he declined to answer questions before the House Select Committee on Benghazi. He has also refused to talk to Senate committees investigating the Clinton email matter.
Pagliano has cooperated with the FBI in its investigation of whether classified information was mishandled on Clinton’s server. He reportedly received immunity in exchange for his cooperation.
In Wednesday’s court filing, Pagliano’s lawyers asserted that he has been unfairly “caught up in a lawsuit with an undisputed political agenda.”
They also told Sullivan that they informed Judicial Watch on May 21 of Pagliano’s intent to plead the Fifth.
“In an effort to avoid an unnecessary waste of resources and imposition on all parties, Mr. Pagliano requested that Judicial Watch withdraw the subpoena and excuse him from appearing,” the wrote, adding that Judicial Watch responded three days later and insisted that Pagliano appear for questioning.
Much of the court filing focuses on Pagliano’s resistance to Judicial Watch recording his deposition.
“Audiovisual depositions are designed to record a deponent’s demeanor in order to assist the trier of fact’s determination of the credibility of the witness. However, there is no credibility to judge in connection with a deponent’s invocation of his Fifth Amendment right,” the lawyers write.