Bryan Pagliano, who had served among former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s senior information technology staff and was responsible for setting up her controversial private email server, will reportedly invoke the Fifth Amendment in an upcoming court deposition.
To plead the Fifth is to refuse to answer questions in court to avoid self-incrimination, a Constitutional right.
The lawsuit in question was brought on by conservative legal watchdog group Judicial Watch against the State Department. Under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the group is seeking more details of Clinton’s use of a private server so that they can become public record.
On June 1, Pagliano’s lawyers submitted a court filing stating his plan to assert his Fifth Amendment rights and requesting that his deposition not be recorded on video. Instead, they're asking that his deposition only be recorded through a written transcription, The Hill reports.
"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," the court filing read.
Pagliano’s lawyers added that if his deposition is audio and visually recorded, the clip could be paraded on the news as a "soundbite."
The court filing also asserted that Pagliano had been "caught up in a lawsuit with an undisputed political agenda."
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton has deemed the court filing a setback for the watchdog group.
"Asserting the Fifth Amendment in a civil procedure like this has its implications," Fitton told CNN. "We’re going to have to grapple with as best we can."
Fitton also pointed out that Judge Emmet Sullivan, who is presiding over the case, had already ruled that any video taken of any deposition will not be released to the public.
"There are credibility issues that are raised by any assertions of the of the Fifth Amendment,” Judicial Watch told Reason through an official statement. “The video is going to be helpful to Judge Sullivan in assessing Mr. Pagliano’s demeanor when he asserts his Fifth Amendment rights and answers other questions."
Pagliano was brought onto the State Department after serving as an IT director for Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, CNN notes. He is currently cooperating with the FBI’s investigation into Clinton’s use of a private server with full immunity.
Pagliano's deposition is scheduled for June 6.