'Filegate' Depositions Sought From White House Aides
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, April 1) -- Judicial Watch asked a federal judge Wednesday to give it authority to depose high-ranking White House officials Mike McCurry, Rahm Emanuel, Ann Lewis and Sidney Blumenthal in a class-action lawsuit stemming from the so-called "Filegate" controversy.
Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group, is seeking $90 million on behalf of former Reagan and Bush administration officials. The group has been trying to find out if the officials' FBI background files, obtained by the White House from the FBI in 1993 and 1994, were gathered for political purposes and disseminated in a manner that violated privacy laws.
The defendants include former White House Counsel Bernard Nussbaum, former White House security official Craig Livingstone and Livingstone's former aide, Anthony Marceca.
Larry Klayman, Judicial Watch's chairman and general counsel, began his effort to subpoena the four White House officials after hearing former Clinton aide George Stephanopoulos say on a Feb. 8 talk show that he had heard "White House allies" whispering about an "Ellen Rometsch" strategy.
"By historical definition, the Ellen Rometsch strategy is the use of FBI files by J. Edgar Hoover," Klayman said. "Judicial Watch and others believe that this is the Clinton Administration's last line of defense to its scandals, to smear people, to scare people, to make sure than they can hold on to power."
"And after Mr. Stephanopoulos made the statement, he had a series of
discussions ... not just with Mr. [Paul] Begala, but with Rahm Emanuel, Ann Lewis, Mike McCurry and yes, Sid Blumenthal," Klayman said. "Begala, [James] Carville, all of them were in contact with each other ... a flurry of communications over Mr. Stephanopoulos' statement. We've asked to depose these people. And not unexpectedly, the government has yet ... once again ... come in to try to block the depositions."
Klayman said he has filed a motion to compel Stephanopoulos to testify about who the "White House allies" are.
David Kendall, the lawyer representing Hillary Clinton's interests in the case, did not comment, nor did other lawyers representing the defendants, the Justice Department and the Secret Service. The lawyers were all departing the U.S. District courthouse in Washington Wednesday afternoon.