A federal judge on Tuesday ruled that State Department officials and top aides to Hillary Clinton should be questioned under oath about whether they intentionally thwarted federal open records laws by using or allowing the use of a private email server throughout Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state from 2009 to 2013.

The decision by U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan of Washington came in a lawsuit over public records brought by Judicial Watch, a conservative legal watchdog group, regarding its May 2013 request, for information about the employment arrangement of Huma Abedin, a longtime Clinton aide.

A State Department official said that the department is aware of the order and that it is reviewing it but declined to comment further, citing the ongoing litigation.

Although it was not immediately clear whether the government will appeal, Sullivan set an April deadline for parties to lay out a detailed investigative plan that would extend well beyond the limited and carefully worded explanations of the use of the private server that department and Clinton officials have given.

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