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Judge Rules Clinton Aides Can be Questioned About Email

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FILE - Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at a campaign rally in Las Vegas, Nevada, Feb. 14, 2016. The judge's order gives Judicial Watch and the State Department until April 12 to come up with a plan for moving forward with the depositions. 

FILE - Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at a campaign rally in Las Vegas, Nevada, Feb. 14, 2016. The judge's order gives Judicial Watch and the State Department until April 12 to come up with a plan for moving forward with the depositions. 

A U.S. federal judge ruled Tuesday that aides to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton can be questioned under oath in connection with a lawsuit over the release of emails from a private server she used while in office.

A conservative group called Judicial Watch said in court filings it wants to question top Clinton aide Huma Abedin as well as several senior State Department officials.

The judge's order gives Judicial Watch and the State Department until April 12 to come up with a plan for moving forward with the depositions.

The Washington Post quoted Judge Emmet Sullivan saying there is "at least a reasonable suspicion" that access under federal open records laws was undermined.

Clinton, who is running for president, has been hounded by questions regarding her use of private email instead of a government account. Critics say was trying to shield her communications from the Freedom of Information Act.

FILE - Huma Abedin, center, aide to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is photographed during a campaign event at the Keokuk Middle School. A conservative group called Judicial Watch said in court filings it wants to question top Clinton ai

FILE - Huma Abedin, center, aide to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is photographed during a campaign event at the Keokuk Middle School. A conservative group called Judicial Watch said in court filings it wants to question top Clinton ai

The lawsuit filed against the State Department in 2013 focuses on a request for records involving Abedin. Judicial Watch said the State Department responded in 2014 that it had completed its search of relevant records, and the group at that time accepted the result.

But last year the New York Times published stories about Clinton's email use, including information that her aides had used the private email server as well. Those reports prompted the court to grant a Judicial Watch request to revive the proceedings in order to consider its records request in light of the wider potential pool of relevant emails.

The case is one of dozens of lawsuits involving Clinton's emails.

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