State Department Seeks Coordinating Judge in Clinton e-mail Cases

Image: Hillary Rodham Clinton
In this photo taken Aug. 27, 2015, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks in Cleveland. The State Department is expected to release roughly 7,000 pages of former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's emails later Monday, including about 150 that have been censored because they contain information that has now been deemed classified. (AP Photo/David Richard)David Richard / AP

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By Pete Williams

Lawyers for the State Department are calling for appointment of a single federal judge to oversee common issues in the dozens of lawsuits seeking e-mails from Hillary Clinton and other documents.

And until a decision on that request is made, they call for a delay in meeting deadlines for producing some documents, including records turned over by some former Clinton aides.

The lawyers say more than 30 Freedom of Information Act cases are now before 17 different judges that are likely to require searching the e-mail records provided to the State Department by Hillary Clinton.

The lawsuits have resulted in "a hodgepodge of orders directing how State manages the search and production of the e-mails." The department's resources for processing all the requests "are strained to the limit," the lawyers say, with 16,517 new FOIA requests in the past year.

In the case that has attracted the most attention, requiring State to produce a monthly release of Clinton e-mails, the government does not seek a delay in that production. But the lawyers say they will ask the judge in at least two cases to put on hold the orders applying to "certain other employees" until a decision is made about appointing a coordinating judge.

The government lawyers also say they have followed Judge Emmet Sullivan's order in the Judicial Watch case, seeking employment records for Huma Abedin, by sending a letter to the FBI asking for anything agents find on her the Clinton server, relevant to the FOIA case, that isn't in the e-mails Clinton turned over.