A former information technology aide to Hillary Clinton received immunity from the Justice Department in connection with a criminal investigation, a federal judge confirmed Tuesday.
Bryan Pagliano, a computer expert who worked at the State Department while Clinton was secretary of state and was also paid privately by her, was previously reported to have received immunity in connection with statements he gave to the FBI about Clinton’s private server set-up.
However, there had been no explicit confirmation that the investigation—which Clinton has repeatedly referred to as a “security review”—is actually a criminal probe.
“The privacy interests at stake are high because the government’s criminal investigation through which Mr. Pagliano received limited immunity is ongoing and confidential,” U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan wrote in an order issued Tuesday.
In the order, Sullivan declined to make Pagliano’s immunity agreement public. The judge ordered the deal be submitted to the court so he could assess Pagliano’s plan to assert his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination during a planned deposition of Pagliano in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit related to Clinton’s emails.
“In the Court’s opinion, the need for public access to Mr. Pagliano’s agreement with the government is minimal. Mr. Pagliano’s immunity agreement has not previously been disclosed. Mr. Pagliano and the government object to disclosure of the immunity agreement” Sullivan wrote. “Mr. Pagliano’s immunity agreement with the government was filed with the Court by Mr. Pagliano solely to enable the Court to assess the legitimacy of his intent to assert his Fifth Amendment rights in this civil proceeding.”
Clinton’s presidential campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the development.
The judge did insist over the objections of the former IT aide that the deposition will be videotaped, but the video will not be released—at least not for now.
Pagliano’s deposition is expected to take place before the end of June.
Sullivan granted the request to depose Pagliano and about half a dozen other current and former Clinton aides in connection with a Freedom of Information Act suit filed by the conservative group Judicial Watch.
The suit, seeking records about the employment arrangements of longtime Clinton aide Huma Abedin, was filed in 2013 — well before the former secretary’s exclusive use of a private email account for work purposes was revealed in March 2015. The case is now focusing on whether State produced all relevant records and whether it had a duty to search Clinton’s privately-maintained account at the time the FOIA request was submitted.
State has now released in redacted form about 30,000 email messages from Clinton’s account. The former secretary and Democratic presidential candidate has said those are all her work-related messages and the remaining 32,000 messages were erased. However, State has acknowledged it cannot independently verify that all her work-related messages were produced.