If you observe the way people from HillaryWorld operate, you could be forgiven for thinking anyone can invoke the Fifth Amendment any time they just don’t feel like answering a question. That’s certainly the way Bryan Pagliano seems to be playing it. Even though he’s been given immunity from prosecution by the Justice Department, and can cite almost no serious risk of self-incrimination, the guy who set up Hillary’s schlock, homebrew e-mail server still seems to think he can take the Fifth rather than answer questions in a deposition by Judicial Watch – the conservative legal group that’s suing for the release of public records Hillary wants hidden.
Not so fast, says the federal judge assigned to the case. You can’t just take the Fifth whenever you feel like it. It doesn’t work that way. You have to demonstrate to the judge that by testifying you would put yourself at specific risk of prosecution for a specific crime. That can be a pretty hard case to make when you’ve already got immunity. So the judge has ordered Pagliano and his lawyers to come clean over exactly what’s in that immunity deal:
A federal judge has ordered a former State Department IT expert to hand over the immunity agreement he has reportedly reached with the Justice Department as part of the investigation connected to Hillary Clinton’s private email server.
The order late on Friday afternoon postpones Bryan Pagliano’s deposition with conservative watchdog organization Judicial Watch until further notice. The interview had been scheduled to take place on Monday.
Pagliano’s lawyers have said that he had been planning to assert his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination.
But on Friday, Judge Emmet Sullivan declared that Pagliano’s lawyers need to file a legal memorandum outlining the legal authority for him to claim plead the Fifth, “including requisite details pertaining to the scope of Mr. Pagliano’s reported immunity agreement with the government.”
This could be very important because, if Judge Sullivan rules Pagliano is at no risk of self-incrimination because the immunity deal protects him, then it raises the obvious question of why he doesn’t want to testify. I’ll take a guess: He knows that if he answers questions truthfully, he’ll be incriminating Hillary – since every illegal action he took was at her direction, and despite the claims she’s been making publicly, she’s known from the very beginning that she was in violation of the law.
I think there might be another reason. Judicial Watch would love to know if the e-mails Hillary supposedly wiped from the server – the ones she claims were about Chelsea’s wedding and yoga routines – could be recovered. I suspect Pagliano knows perfectly well that they can be, and that they contain a treasure trove of evidence Hillary was using her position as Secretary of State to rake in money for the Clinton Slush Fund, er, Foundation.
What I’m not sure of is his motivation to keep protecting her at this point. Maybe, in spite of everything that’s already happened, Pagliano still thinks there would be a job for him in a Hillary administration. The hangers-on in ClintonWorld do tend to stay in the fold for the long term, and the Clintons are pretty shameless about rewarding their friends even when it’s known that said friends aided in their criminality.
If Judge Sullivan rules after reviewing the immunity deal that Pagliano is at no risk of self-incrimination, and thus he has to testify, he will then have to choose between committing perjury and giving up the goods on Hillary. If anyone is loyal enough to her to risk going to prison to protect her, that person has lost his fricking mind.