(CNSNews.com) – The former top IT official to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, pleaded the 5th Amendment against self-incrimination – 90 times -- in a federal court-ordered deposition on Oct. 24.
John Bentel, the former Director of Information Resource Management of the Executive Secretariat, the office that handles information technology for the Office of the Secretary of State, was ordered by U.S. District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan to answer questions under oath to the lawyers at the government watchdog group Judicial Watch.
In his Aug. 19 order, Judge Sullivan wrote, “The Court is persuaded that Mr. Bentel should be deposed because the record in this case appears to contradict his sworn testimony before the [House Select] Benghazi Committee…. Specifically, Mr. Bentel testified that he was not aware that Secretary Clinton’s email account was housed on a private server until media reports in 2015…. However, several emails indicate Mr. Bentel knew about the private server as early as 2009.”
During his deposition on Monday, Bentel was asked such questions as whether Hillary Clinton was “paying his legal fees, offered him employment, or other financial incentives,” said Judicial Watch in a press release. There were over 90 questions and Bentel answered, “On advice from my legal counsel, I decline to answer the question and I invoke my Fifth Amendment rights.”
There were three government attorneys and two personal attorneys present at the deposition, reported Judicial Watch.
“The fact that yet another State Department official took the Fifth highlights the disturbing implication that criminal acts took place related to the Clinton email and our Freedom of Information Act requests,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.
In his court order for Bentel to be deposed, Judge Sullivan also cited a May 2016 Inspector General report, which said, “Mr. Bentel told employees in his office that Secretary Clinton’s email arrangement had been approved by the State Department’s legal staff and also instructed his subordinates not to discuss the Secretary’s email again:
Huma Abedin and Hillary Clinton. (AP)
“In one meeting, one staff member raised concerns that information sent and received on Secretary Clinton’s account could contain Federal records that needed to be preserved in order to satisfy Federal recordkeeping requirements. According to the staff member, the Director stated that the Secretary’s personal system had been reviewed and approved by Department legal staff and that the matter was not to be discussed any further….
“According to the other S/ES-IRM staff member who raised concerns about the server, the Director stated that the mission of S/ES-IRM is to support the Secretary and instructed the staff never to speak of the Secretary’s personal email system again.”
Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit, seeking federal records on the employment status of Human Abedin, a top Clinton adviser.