A district court judge has ordered the State Department to continue searching for emails related to the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012, which took the life of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.
The ruling is another legal victory for the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch, which has been trying to access thousands of documents about the attack using the Freedom of Information Act.
The Tuesday ruling by D.C. District Court Judge Amit P. Mehta said the State Department hasn't met its burden of proving that it has done an adequate job of searching for all documents – primarily emails – related to the attack.
"This major court ruling may finally result in more answers about the Benghazi scandal – and Hillary Clinton's involvement in it – as we approach the attack's fifth anniversary," Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement Thursday. "It is remarkable that we had to battle both the Obama and Trump administrations to break through the State Department's Benghazi stonewall."
The FOIA request from Judicial Watch seeking the Benghazi-related documents was filed just days after news originally broke in March of 2015 that Hillary Clinton was using a non-government server for her emails. Judicial Watch then filed suit against the State Department in May of that same year.
Mehta's ruling is not likely to produce more emails directly from the Clinton server she set up in her New York home. Instead, the judge ordered the State Department to do a more thorough search of the email accounts within the department for the official government accounts for Huma Abedin, Cheryl Mills, and Jacob Sullivan, who were aides to Clinton at the time.