Clinton IT aide to take the fifth in Judicial Watch deposition

The State Department aide who set up and ran Hillary Clinton's private email server has informed attorneys for Judicial Watch that he will exercise his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination when he is deposed later this week.

Attorneys for Bryan Pagliano, who has received immunity from federal prosecution and has been talking to the FBI, also want no cameras or recording devices at the deposition.

Pagliano also took the fifth at several congressional committee hearings.

The Hill:

Pagliano’s lawyers told Judicial Watch more than a week ago that he would not be answering any questions, they claimed in their filing on Wednesday, and asked that it drop its subpoena. The organization refused.

In the filing, Pagliano’s lawyers tried to have a federal judge block Judicial Watch from recording his deposition, given his planned refusal to answer questions. The lawyers said that a written transcription of the proceedings should be enough to satisfy the public’s interest. 

“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 …. from creating an audiovisual recording of Mr. Pagliano’s deposition,” they wrote.

Videotaped depositions “pose a serious danger to deponents invoking the Fifth Amendment,” the lawyers added, pointing to past court decisions warning that the video makes a good “soundbite.”

According to the filing, Judicial Watch said it would oppose any such motion. 

Questions about Pagliano’s role in Clinton’s bespoke email arrangement ramped up after he accepted a deal for immunity from the federal government as part of his cooperation with the FBI’s ongoing investigation into Clinton’s setup. 

Yet very little is known about Pagliano and how he maintained the server at Clinton’s New York home.

The IT expert has previously refused to answer questions on Capitol Hill, invoking his Fifth Amendment rights before the House Select Committee on Benghazi and rejecting requests from leaders of the Senate Judiciary and Homeland Security committees to answer their questions.   

Last month, the State Department said that it had lost the backup archive of Pagliano’s emails from his time at the department. However, it had been able to cobble together some emails through the accounts of other officials. 

We're not supposed to infer anything from a witness who invokes his Fifth Amendment rights, but let's not kid ourselves.  The reason Pagliano won't testify is that some of his actions, at the very least, can be construed as being illegal.  The immunity he received from the Justice Department is probably limited, which means Pagliano may be vulnerable to charges outside the scope of the FBI investigation.

This is a loss for the public because Judicial Watch would almost certainly have posted Pagliano's testimony immediately, giving us insight into Clinton's email operation.  Now it's likely that the only parts of Pagliano's story that will be made public are those that would assist any kind of prosection brought by DoJ.

In his statements to the FBI, Pagliano has probably already contradicted the Clinton narrative about the emails six ways from Sunday.  His deposition for Judicial Watch may have exploded that narrative once and for all.  Now we may never know the full truth.

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