A federal judge on Tuesday set hearings for February in two lawsuits involving the private email system used by Hillary Clinton when she was secretary of state.
The schedule, in two of the higher profile cases, assures that the legal wrangling over the email issue, which has dogged Clinton’s 2016 Democratic presidential campaign, will continue for at least several more months.
And then the appeals could start.
They are two of more than three dozen Freedom of Information Act request lawsuits now in various stages in federal court. In one, the legal watchdog group Judicial Watch seeks information involving an employment arrangement that allowed top Clinton aide Huma Abedin to do outside consulting while working at the State Department.
In the other action on Tuesday, the conservative group Citizens United seeks information about contact between State Department employees and the Clinton Foundation while Clinton was secretary of state.
In the first case, State Department lawyers said they have found 69 pages of documents that are responsive to the FOIA request, which will be turned over next week. But Judicial Watch insists no search can be complete without a thorough electronic search of all the records from the private Clinton e-mail server.
Because Clinton used the private server exclusively while she was secretary of state, its contents amount to government records, Judicial Watch argued. No search can completely satisfy the freedom of information request without a complete search of the server, it said.
The judge will hear legal argument on the issue in February.
The two cases are separate from the lawsuit that has received the most attention, filed by the online site Vice News, which has produced monthly installments of Clinton emails.