Lawyers for Bryan Pagliano, the former State Department information technology specialist who managed Hillary Clinton’s email system, provided new details in a federal lawsuit on Tuesday about an immunity agreement he has with the Justice Department.
They also argued that Pagliano should be allowed to invoke his Fifth Amendment rights in a pending deposition with the watchdog group Judicial Watch because he has information that could “furnish a link in the chain of evidence needed to prosecute” in the Clinton email investigation.
In papers filed with U.S. District Court judge Emmet Sullivan, Pagliano’s lawyers wrote that he entered limited “use” or “derivative use” immunity agreement with the Justice Department in December.
The lawyers also argued that Pagliano should be not be compelled to talk to Judicial Watch because of the possibility that the information could be used in an “ongoing” or “possible future” criminal investigation.
The FBI is investigating whether classified information was mishandled on Clinton’s private server. Clinton paid Pagliano out of pocket to set up and managed the system while he worked as a political appointee at the State Department.
With “use” immunity, Pagliano is not provided blanket immunity from prosecution, his attorneys, Mark MacDougall and Connor Mullin, wrote.
“The only benefit as far as the witness is concerned is that…any information directly or indirectly derived from such testimony may not be used against him in a subsequent criminal prosecution,” they stated.
They also asserted that the government’s willingness to grant immunity to Pagliano “strongly attests to the injurious nature of [witness’s] evidence.”
“The mere fact that the government was willing to offer Pagliano ‘use’ immunity here in exchange for his testimony indicates that his fear of prosecution is more than fanciful or speculative.”
Further details of the immunity agreement, and two exhibits accompanying it, were placed under seal.
Sullivan, a Bill Clinton appointee, ordered Pagliano to provide details of the immunity agreement last week after he informed the court of his plans to exercise his right against self-incrimination. He granted Judicial Watch’s requests for depositions with various State Department officials and Clinton aides regarding the creation of the clintonemail.com system.
MacDougall and Mullin, who work for the powerhouse Beltway law firm Akin Gump, stated that “the potential for self-incrimination here is sufficient to justify Mr. Pagliano’s intention to assert his Fifth Amendment rights.”
Sullivan has postponed Pagliano’s deposition indefinitely. MacDougall and Mullin said that the Justice Department lawyer handling the Clinton email investigation consented to the request to seal the immunity agreement. The agency has not authorized immunity for Pagliano “in connection with any other matter, including this civil case,” they wrote.