Hillary Clinton’s server guy who oversaw the running of her private email server when she was Secretary of State, has pleaded the fifth to avoid a court deposition.
Bryan Pagliano is refusing to testify in a federal court, fearing that his recorded deposition could later be released to the public.
Despite his immunity in the Hillary email investigation, Pagliano is refusing to cooperate with authorities in case evidence emerges that Hillary broke the law.
The Washington Post, which runs interference for Hillary on this issue as often as not, reports it like this:
On Wednesday, Pagliano’s lawyers said he will decline to testify in the Judicial Watch case and asked that U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan of the District order that no video of the deposition be recorded “given the constitutional implications, the absence of any proper purpose . . . and the considerable risk of abuse.”
“Mr. Pagliano is a nonparty caught up in a lawsuit with an undisputed political agenda,” Connor Mullin wrote in a court filing that also raised the concern that Pagliano’s constitutionally protected statements might be manipulated into “soundbites” for attack ads.
An existing court order seals video records, but while that “reduces the risk of dissemination,” Mullin said, “Judicial Watch may move to unseal the materials at any time. Furthermore, in the event of a leak or data breach at the court reporting company, Mr. Pagliano would be hardpressed to prevent further dissemination and republication of the video.”
Judicial Watch said it will oppose the request not to record video in a filing due Thursday, the group’s president, Tom Fitton, said. “We think it’s important for Judge Sullivan to assess Mr. Pagliano’s demeanor,” Fitton said in an interview Wednesday. “It’s always important to assess credibility when the Fifth Amendment privilege is invoked.”
Nothing in Pagliano’s argument here involves the risk of self-incrimination, which is the purpose of the Fifth Amendment. Instead, he’s arguing that the deposition is pointless and that the whole thing is political – neither of which his call to make. That’s up to the judge. He’s also upset because he thinks part of the video testimony could end up later in a political ad. That may or may not be a valid concern but it has nothing to do with his Fifth Amendment privileges.
What’s happening here is that Pagliano and his lawyers are redefining the Fifth Amendment so they can use it as an excuse to avoid being deposed. He can always refuse to answer a question in deposition if he or his lawyers feel that answering might incriminate him. What they’ve done instead is put forward their own political agenda as a reason not to testify, and cloaked all this in the Fifth Amendment.
This development seems to cut against earlier reports that Pagliano has been a “devastating” witness in FBI interviews, but it’s possible there is no contradiction. Pagliano has immunity in the FBI’s investigation. He wouldn’t necessarily have it in the Judicial Watch lawsuit. And a behind-closed-doors FBI interview is not the same thing as a videotaped deposition.
The real question here is whether Pagliano is trying to protect himself or Hillary. The fact that he accepted the immunity deal from Justice suggests he’s prepared to throw Hillary under the bus, although his lame excuses for avoiding the Judicial Watch deposition sound more like attempts to protect her politically. Maybe it’s a combination of the two. Maybe he engaged in such serious lawbreaking on her behalf that he knows he’ll go down with her absent his immunity deal, and he has no choice but to zip it in any conversation where his immunity might not apply – even if he has to invent some very novel interpretations of the Fifth Amendment in order to do so.
It can’t be fun to be Hillary watching all this and trying to assess just how bad this is going to get for her. But then, a pathological liar never has a real moment of peace. It comes with the territory.