Clinton IT aide ordered to turn over immunity agreement

A federal judge has ordered former Clinton I.T. aide Bryan Pagliano to produce the immunity agreement he inked with the Department of Justice last year to determine if he can legally take the Fifth Amendment in a deposition for a FOIA lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch.

Fox News:

According to The Hill, the judge’s order postpones Bryan Pagliano’s deposition with the watchdog group Judicial Watch indefinitely. The interview had been scheduled to take place Monday.

Pagliano planned to assert his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination and refuse to answers questions over an open records lawsuit, according to court documents obtained Wednesday by Fox News. His lawyers also asked a federal judge to block Judicial Watch from recording his deposition, stating that a written transcription should be enough.

However, Judge Emmet Sullivan declared that his lawyers need to file a legal memorandum to outline the legality for him to plead the Fifth “including requisite details pertaining to the scope of Mr. Pagliano's reported immunity agreement with the government,” The Hill reported.

Tom Fitton, the president of Judicial Watch, called Sullivan’s order “an important step to getting more answers from Mr. Pagliano about Hillary Clinton's email system.”

Pagliano, who worked on Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign before helping install the so-called “homebrew” server system in her Chappaqua, N.Y. home, cut an immunity deal last fall with the Justice Department amid the FBI probe. He was recently described to Fox News by an intelligence source as a “devastating witness.”

In the fall, Pagliano told at least three congressional committees in the fall that he will invoke the Fifth Amendment to avoid testifying against Clinton. He was asked to testify about the serve by the House Select Committee on Benghazi, the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate Homeland Security Committee.

It's becoming increasingly difficult for Hillary Clinton and her allies to keep the lid on what is shaping up to be an explosive story.  The interrogation of the hacker Guccifer, who claims to have hacked Clinton's private email server via an email account owned by Sid Blumenthal, could be a nail in her coffin.  If Guccifer hacked the server, then foreign governments almost certainly did as well.

And there is intense speculation regarding what Mr. Pagliano knows and why he felt the need to get an immunity agreement.  The information he is guarding by invoking the Fifth Amendment is characterized above as "devastating." 

Might the judge force Pagliano to disclose his secrets?  It depends on how broadly the immunity deal is drawn.  Some deals immunize a defendant against federal crimes, but not against violations of state law.  If that's the case, the judge is not likely to compel Pagliano to testify.

There is no end in sight to this investigation.  Obviously, the FBI wants to be cautious.  Charging the presumptive nominee for president with serious crimes would immeasurably impact the election.  The intrusion of the judicial branch into politics would be unprecedented, and the feds may be reluctant to get involved.

But FBI director Comey appears determined to be thorough and fair in his investigation.  I suspect that before the Democratic convention in July, we'll know Clinton's fate.

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