• U.S. judge leaves open possibility Clinton will be questioned
  • Huma Abedin among those to be queried in watchdog group suit

Several of Hillary Clinton’s top aides are going to have to provide some answers to a group probing why one of her closest advisers at the U.S. State Department was also allowed to work for an outside consulting firm and the Clinton Foundation.

And the former U.S. Secretary of State might have to make time for lawyers’ questioning as well while campaigning for the presidency.

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan in Washington on Wednesday allowed limited questioning by Judicial Watch lawyers of Huma Abedin, Clinton’s longtime aide, and several others. The conservative watchdog group sued seeking records about Abedin’s employment by Teneo Holdings LLC and the foundation. The group challenged whether the State Department complied with its legal obligation to turn over all relevant papers.

Some of the information was housed on Clinton’s private e-mail server as she took over at State in January 2009, created as she took over the department in January 2009.

Sullivan said lawyers for Judicial Watch could probe what led to the creation of that system and how it answered the group’s Freedom of Information Act request. Issues cordoned off from questioning include any line of inquiry about the substance of Abedin’s employment arrangements, the handling and protection of classified information and any pending law enforcement investigations, according to the judge’s order.

The order leaves open the possibility Clinton may be questioned, if necessary. The judge will have to give permission for that to happen.

Those slated to be questioned also include Patrick F. Kennedy, the department’s undersecretary for management; former Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills; and state department employee Bryan Pagliano, who has been granted immunity from prosecution in the government’s own e-mail server-related probe.

The case is Judicial Watch Inc. v. U.S. Department of State, 13-cv-1363, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).

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