ANNAPOLIS, Md. — A Maryland judge ordered the state bar to open an investigation Monday into the three lawyers who helped former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delete her private emails.
Anne Arundel County Circuit Court Judge Paul F. Harris Jr. said the complaints lodged against David E. Kendall, Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson were egregious and the state bar couldn’t dismiss them as frivolous.
“There are allegations of destroying evidence,” Judge Harris said at a hearing Monday morning.
He said the state’s rules require the bar to conduct investigations no matter who raises the complaint and can’t brush aside accusations.
The judge made the announcement a day before Mrs. Clinton releases her latest book, “What Happened,” and begins a monthslong book tour attempting to explain how she lost an election she thought she had secured.
The Maryland bar complaint was brought by Ty Clevenger, a lawyer who has pursued sanctions against Mrs. Clinton and her legal team in several venues and who is also pressing the FBI to release details of its investigation into the former top diplomat.
Bars in Arkansas and the District of Columbia, as well as federal courts, brushed aside requests from Mr. Clevenger, who is seeking to have Mrs. Clinton and her attorneys suspended or disbarred.
But Judge Harris said Mr. Clevenger’s request appears to have merit and that Maryland will have to at least launch an investigation and demand a response from the lawyers, Mr. Clevenger said.
Mr. Clevenger said he won another victory in recent days when the Justice Department agreed that his case met the threshold of intense public interest.
The FBI had denied an open-records request into its investigation on grounds that there was not sufficient public interest to overcome Mrs. Clinton’s privacy rights. Mr. Clevenger appealed to the Justice Department, which ruled that it would expedite his request — signifying it accepts his claims of public interest.
Mrs. Clinton used a secret email account tied to a server she kept at her home in New York to conduct official business while she was head of the State Department, though it was against department policy.
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