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Judge wants Clinton confirmation on State Department emails

Hillary Clinton answers questions from reporters March 10, 2015 at the United Nations in New York. Clinton admitted Tuesday that she made a mistake in choosing for convenience not to use an official email account when she was secretary of state.

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A federal judge is ordering the State Department to ask Hillary Clinton to confirm, under penalty of perjury, that she has turned over certain work-related emails kept on a private email server during her Foggy Bottom tenure.

"The Government is HEREBY ORDERED to: (1) identify any and all servers, accounts, hard drives, or other devices currently in the possession or control of the State Department or otherwise that may contain responsive information; (2) request that the above named individuals confirm, under penalty of perjury, that they have produced all responsive information that was or is in their possession as a result of their employment at the State Department," U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan wrote Friday, after a status hearing over a lawsuit against the State Department.

Sullivan also ordered the department to seek confirmation from Clinton's aides at the time, Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills.

Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group, first brought the suit against the State Department in 2013 after launching Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for records relating to the employment of Abedin, Clinton's chief of staff at State.

The State Department told Judicial Watch last year that all records had already been handed over. But the organization later moved to reopen the case after it was revealed that Clinton, who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination, used a private email account and separate server located in her New York home for government business.

Sullivan also added that if all documents and information surrounding Abedin, who later became a part-time government employee, and her work arrangement had not been disclosed, "the Government shall request the above-named individuals produce the information forthwith."

The judge also ordered the department to request that "the above named individuals describe, under penalty of perjury, the extent to which Ms. Abedin and Ms. Mills used Mrs. Clinton's email server to conduct official government business."

This isn't the first time the State Department has been chided over releasing Clinton's records. On Wednesday, a judge lambasted a State official for the department's slowness in responding to Associated Press requests for information, saying that certain records could have been processed within days "by the least ambitious bureaucrat."

The order comes just as the State Department, in a continuing effort to comply with FOIA requests, released 1,356 emails Friday from Clinton's tenure as the nation's top diplomat. The emails date back to 2009, Clinton's first year in the Obama administration.

In the Judicial Watch case, Sullivan did not directly order Clinton or her associates to make the certifications because they were not named as defendants in the suit.

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton called the "blockbuster" order "one of the most significant legal developments to date in the ongoing Clinton email scandal."

"Hillary Clinton will now have to answer, under penalty of perjury, to a federal court about the separate email server she and her aides used to avoid accountability to the American people," Fitton said in a statement. "This court action shows that the rule of law and public's right to know will no longer take a back seat to politics. Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration that is covering for her are not above the law."

The order comes just as officials are accusing Abedin of being overpaid while working for the State Department.

Clinton's presidential campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

CBS News digital journalist Hannah Fraser-Chanpong contributed to this report.