A former staffer of Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton who faces a subpoena over his role in setting up the former secretary of state’s private email has decided to invoke the Fifth Amendment, according to reports on Wednesday.
Bryan Pagliano, who worked for Clinton during her 2008 presidential run and at the State Department during her time there, was identified as the person who set up her private email server in 2009, according to digital records, cited by NBC News.
The House Select Committee on Benghazi, which is investigating Clinton’s emails, had subpoenaed Pagliano last month to testify in the case. But his lawyer said on Monday that he would not answer any questions and has chosen to assert his constitutional right against self-incrimination.
“While we understand that Mr. Pagliano’s response to this subpoena may be controversial in the current political environment, we hope that the members of the Select Committee will respect our client’s right to invoke the protections of the Constitution,” his attorney, Mark MacDougall, said, according to the Washington Post.
Thousands of Clinton’s emails have been released by the State Department as part of an ongoing public records lawsuit, of which parts of at least six were retracted due to their sensitive nature, which the department argued could compromise national security.
The Senate Judiciary Committee and the Homeland Security Committee have also contacted Pagliano in the past week, anonymous sources told the Post.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, also reportedly confirmed on Wednesday that Pagliano has decided to plead the Fifth. “Mr. Pagliano's legal counsel told the committee yesterday that he would plead the 5th to any and all questions if he were compelled to testify," he said.
The FBI is also looking into the security of Clinton’s email server.
Clinton is set to testify before the Benghazi committee in October, which is investigating her actions during the 2012 attack on the American embassy in Libya that left four U.S. nationals dead.
A Clinton campaign aide told NBC News in a statement that the candidate has called on her aides to be open with investigators.
"We have been confident from the beginning that Hillary Clinton's use of a personal email was allowed and that she did not send or receive anything marked classified, facts confirmed by the State Department and the Inspector General," the statement said.
"She has made every effort to answer questions and be as helpful as possible, and has encouraged her aides, current and former, to do the same, including Bryan Pagliano.
"Bryan is an utter professional and a wonderful young man who does not live in the public eye and understandably may not wish to be drawn into a political spectacle," the campaign aide added. "So his decision is both understandable and yet also disappointing to us, because we believe he has every reason to be transparent about his IT assistance."