Judge orders Clinton's remaining emails released before Super Tuesday
Feb 12, 2016 04:21 AM EST
A federal judge has ordered the U.S. State Department on Thursday to make additional releases of Hillary Clinton's remaining emails from her time as secretary of state by Feb. 29, just before the presidential primary day known as Super Tuesday.
The order by the U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras requiring State Department to release at least 550 more emails on Feb. 13, CNN reports. The judge insisted the department also release emails by close of business on Feb. 19 and Feb. 26.
Contreras also ordered the agency to release all remaining documents on Feb. 29. The judge added that the State Department should "promptly bring any unanticipated problems to the court's attention."
Contreras had ordered the State Department to release Clinton's emails last spring as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought by Jason Leopold of Vice News. The judge had discussed the possibility of releasing the emails directly to the litigant. However, the judge's order Thursday is requiring the department to release the emails on its website, Politico reports.
Clinton had used a private email server in her New York home for work bertween 2009 and 2013. Clinton's decision allowed her to place her official state communication outside government purview. Critics said this move put national secrets at risk.
Clinton returned about 54,000 pages of her emails to the State Department in 2014. More than 1,500 of her emails contain what the State Department says is classified information, Reuters reports.
The State Department was supposed to have released all of Clinton's official emails on Jan. 29, but the agency asked for a one month extension to compensate an error compounded by weather-related closure of the department.
At a hearing on Tuesday, Judge Contreras warned the State Department to speed up the emails production and expressed frustation about the department failure to release the emails by the deadline he originally set. But Contreras has yet to approve the latest time line.
Contreras has ordered the State Department to provide a detailed explanation by Friday of why it failed to release the emails by the court's deadline last month.
Lawyers for Leopold said the delay was unreasonable and would "cause grave, incurable harm" to voters in presidential primary states who are deciding whether to vote for Clinton. The lawyers argued that the elections created an urgency for state to complete its work reviewing and releasing the emails.
The State has released about 85 percent of Clinton's emails but many sensitive emails which require additional review by the intelligence community and other agencies are expected to be released in the next batches.