Lawyers who helped Clin­ton delete emails face in­ves­ti­ga­tion

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics - BY STEPHEN DINAN

AN­NAPO­LIS | A Mary­land judge or­dered the state bar to open an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the three lawyers who helped former Sec­re­tary of State Hil­lary Clin­ton delete her pri­vate emails.

Anne Arun­del County Cir­cuit Court Judge Paul F. Har­ris Jr. said the com­plaints lodged against David E. Ken­dall, Ch­eryl Mills and Heather Samuelson were egre­gious and the state bar couldn’t dis­miss them as friv­o­lous.

“There are al­le­ga­tions of de­stroy­ing ev­i­dence,” Judge Har­ris said at a hear­ing.

He said the state’s rules re­quire the bar to con­duct in­ves­ti­ga­tions no mat­ter who raises the com­plaint and can’t brush aside ac­cu­sa­tions.

The judge made the an­nounce­ment a day be­fore Mrs. Clin­ton re­leases her lat­est book, “What Hap­pened,” and be­gins a month­s­long book tour at­tempt­ing to ex­plain how she lost an elec­tion she thought she had se­cured.

The Mary­land bar com­plaint was brought by Ty Cle­venger, a lawyer who has pur­sued sanc­tions against Mrs. Clin­ton and her le­gal team in sev­eral venues and who is also press­ing the FBI to re­lease details of its in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the former top diplo­mat.

Bars in Arkansas and the Dis­trict of Columbia, as well as fed­eral courts, brushed aside re­quests from Mr. Cle­venger, who is seek­ing to have Mrs. Clin­ton and her at­tor­neys sus­pended or dis­barred.

But Judge Har­ris said Mr. Cle­venger’s re­quest ap­pears to have merit and that Mary­land will have to at least launch an in­ves­ti­ga­tion and de­mand a re­sponse from the lawyers, Mr. Cle­venger said.

Mr. Cle­venger said he won an­other vic­tory in re­cent days when the Jus­tice De­part­ment agreed that his case met the thresh­old of in­tense public in­ter­est.

The FBI had de­nied an open-records re­quest into its in­ves­ti­ga­tion on grounds that there was not suf­fi­cient public in­ter­est to over­come Mrs. Clin­ton’s pri­vacy rights.

Mr. Cle­venger ap­pealed to the Jus­tice De­part­ment, which ruled that it would ex­pe­dite his re­quest — sig­ni­fy­ing it ac­cepts his claims of public in­ter­est.

Mrs. Clin­ton used a se­cret email ac­count tied to a server she kept at her home in New York to con­duct of­fi­cial busi­ness while she was head of the State De­part­ment, though it was against de­part­ment pol­icy.

The FBI said the email ar­range­ment risked na­tional se­cu­rity, but it de­clined to rec­om­mend charges.

The bureau said Mrs. Clin­ton was too in­ept to un­der­stand the risks she was run­ning.

Af­ter the ar­range­ment was spot­ted, Mrs. Clin­ton be­lat­edly re­turned thou­sands of emails to the gov­ern­ment and deleted the rest, which she claimed were per­sonal.

The FBI’s probe, though, found thou­sands of emails that were work-re­lated but weren’t turned over to the gov­ern­ment.

Mrs. Clin­ton had her at­tor­neys scour her ac­count, and that was what landed them in po­ten­tial jeop­ardy.

Her email be­hav­ior turned out to be a ma­jor prob­lem for her pres­i­den­tial bid, with an FBI in­ves­ti­ga­tion and a rolling pro­duc­tion of her mes­sages dur­ing the pri­mary race and in the midst of the gen­eral elec­tion cam­paign.

“The most im­por­tant of the mis­takes I made was us­ing per­sonal email,” Mrs. Clin­ton ac­knowl­edged in an in­ter­view with “CBS Sun­day Morn­ing” ahead of her book launch.

“I said it be­fore, I’ll say it again, that was my re­spon­si­bil­ity. It was pre­sented in such a neg­a­tive way, and I never could get out from un­der it and it never stopped,” Mrs. Clin­ton said.

The Mary­land At­tor­ney Griev­ance Com­mis­sion tried to side­line Mr. Cle­venger last year, ar­gu­ing that he had “no per­sonal knowl­edge of the al­le­ga­tions” so it wouldn’t in­ves­ti­gate.

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