Maryland Circuit Judge Paul Harris refused to halt a state bar investigation of three attorneys alleged to have assisted former-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the deletion of thousands of emails in the scandal that rocked last year’s presidential race.
Judge Harris, of suburban Anne Arundel County, did not accept the Maryland Attorney Grievance Commission’s determination that the complaint against the lawyers was “frivolous” and ordered an investigation to move forward. The Washington Times reported that Harris called the allegations contained in a complaint by former Department of Justice Attorney Ty Clevenger last September “egregious” and that the complaint “appears to have merit.”
Clevenger himself was accused of unethical professional behavior in his pursuit of an investigation into Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. By his own account, his complaint against Clinton’s lawyers was based on “public reports,” seemingly affirming the grievance commission’s claim that Clevenger has “no personal knowledge of the allegations.”
“There are allegations of destroying evidence,” Judge Harris announced at a Monday hearing, noting that the source of the complaint was not a reason to dismiss it. “I just think this is a rather easy decision at this point … The court is ordering bar counsel to investigate.”
David Kendall, a longtime Clinton confidant and partner for over three decades at eminent D.C. law firm Williams and Connelly; Cheryl Mills, the Deputy White House Counsel during President Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial who followed Hillary from the State Department to the campaign trail; and Heather Samuelson, the former HILLPAC staffer reported to have handled the screening of Hillary’s emails for preservation, all were accused of misconduct in Clevenger’s complaint.
Clevenger followed up with a lawsuit to compel an investigation in March. The Washington Times reported that another Maryland judge, Anne Arundel Circuit Judge Ronald Silkworth, had similarly refused to dismiss Clevenger’s complaint in July.
In July, 2016, then-FBI Director James Comey testified before the House Oversight and Government reform committee that Clinton attorneys with access to the server, which handled emails with classified material, lacked the security clearances needed to view such information.
An op-ed by National Review‘s Andrew McCarthy last October argued the attorneys accused of misconduct should have been treated as suspects in a wider investigation of the destruction of Clinton’s emails from her unauthorized personal server. Both received immunity deals in the course of the FBI’s and the House Judiciary Committee’s investigations of the matter.