State Department officials are set to release another batch of Hillary Clinton's private emails Friday thanks to a court order in a contentious, months-long open records lawsuit.
The release Friday, if met, will mark the second time this month the agency has been forced to publish a trove of Clinton emails after unsuccessfully requesting that officials be allowed to hold off on releasing the remainder of the records until Feb. 29.
A State Department spokesman did not return multiple requests for comment as to how many emails the agency plans to publish Friday. In fact, the agency has given little indication this week of its intention to meet or ignore the Friday deadline.
In a court order issued last week, Judge Rudolph Contreras of the U.S. District Court told State Department officials they must produce the remaining pages of Clinton's emails in four installments spread throughout the month of February. The agency met the first deadline this month when it published 551 emails on its website on Saturday.
The State Department faces additional deadlines on Feb. 26 and Feb. 29 respectively, at which point all of the Clinton emails should be available online for the public to view. Officials have so far withheld 37 pages of emails deemed "top secret" and may withhold additional emails over the coming weeks.
According to a schedule laid out by the court in May of last year, the State Department should have completed its review and publication of all 55,000 pages of Clinton's emails by the end of January.
However, days before the final deadline, the State Department admitted it would fall far short of its goal because officials accidentally overlooked 7,254 pages of emails that needed to be sent to outside agencies for review.
Eric Stein, senior adviser for Global Information Services at the State Department, wrote in documents filed with the court on Feb. 12 that more than 17,000 pages of Clinton's emails had to be sent to at least one of nearly 50 outside agencies, dramatically slowing the screening process.
Stein said the agency missed so many pages of documents because officials had been focused on meeting the benchmarks laid out for each month and had neglected the task of preparing to for the final batch.
Every month, Stein explained, agency officials scrambled to include emails that had already undergone the interagency screening process or that didn't need any additional reviews in order to hit their targets. However, that approach allowed the agency to leave for the last month the bulk of the emails that would take the longest amount of time to process.
Contreras ordered the State Department by Friday to publish all emails that had made it through the interagency review system as of Tuesday evening. Unlike most previous deadlines in the case, the judge did not specify a number of emails the State Department must release.
If the State Department does not violate the latest deadline in the Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, it will be forced to publish the latest batch just one day before the Democratic caucus in Nevada, where Clinton holds only a slim lead over her rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders.
The FOIA lawsuit was filed last year by Jason Leopold of Vice News and has resulted in the publication of more than 40,000 pages of Clinton's emails to date.