Cheryl Mills’ filing asserts that audio or video clips would be more easily taken out of context than a transcript | AP Photo
Hillary Clinton’s former chief of staff, Cheryl Mills, is asking a federal judge to order a conservative group not to release audio or video recordings of a deposition Mills is scheduled to give Friday about Clinton’s use of a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state.
Mills’ attorneys filed a motion Wednesday afternoon saying they fear that the group that sought Mills deposition in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, Judicial Watch, will use any recording to distort Mills testimony and advance the group’s anti-Clinton agenda.
“We are concerned that snippets or soundbites of the deposition may be publicized in a way that exploits Ms. Mills’ image and voice in an unfair and misleading manner,” attorneys Beth Wilkinson and Alexandra Walsh wrote in the motion submitted to U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan. “Ms. Mills is not a party to this action. She is a private citizen appearing voluntarily to assist in providing the limited discovery the Court has permitted… Judicial Watch should not be allowed to manipulate Ms. Mills’ testimony, and invade her personal privacy, to advance a partisan agenda that should have nothing to do with this litigation.”
The motion says Mills has no objection to releasing the transcript of her testimony, although the State Department has said it may object if the testimony strays into areas supposed to be off limits according to the judge’s order permitting the deposition.
Mills’ filing asserts that audio or video clips would be more easily taken out of context than a transcript, but does not make entirely clear why written quotes could not be similarly distorted.
Sullivan issued an order shortly after the motion was filed giving the conservative group until noon Thursday to offer a formal response to the motion.
A spokeswoman for Judicial Watch said the group is evaluating the motion and will respond by the judge’s deadline.
In addition to Mills, former Clinton Deputy Chief of Staff Huma Abedin and computer technician Bryan Pagliano are scheduled to give depositions in the coming weeks. It’s unclear whether any limits put on videos of Mills’ testimony would be applied to their appearances, but if the judge agrees to Mills’ request it seems likely the others would ask for similar treatment.
One current State Department official gave a deposition last week and several others are expected to do so over the next month or so in accordance an order SUllivan issued earlier this month.
Sullivan has left open the possibility of calling Clinton for a deposition in the case. Judicial Watch has already formally asked a judge handling a parallel case to order Clinton to give testimony but there’s been no ruling on that request.
UPDATE (Wednesday, 6:17 P.M.): This post has been updated with Sullivan’s scheduling order, comment from Judicial Watch and additional context.