The AP said it had been trying to pry the emails out of the government agency through Freedom of Information Act requests for several years. The requests “have gone unfulfilled,” the news wire service said.
The lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia said the State Department “should be compelled to abide by the law, perform reasonable searches and promptly release all of the requested records.”
Last week the news wire said it was considering legal action to force the release of the records.
Wednesday’s suit comes amid recent revelations about Clinton’s private email system, which was operated outside normal government systems. The State Department has said that it will publish the emails that Clinton has chosen to hand over.
But her emails are only one piece of the dispute. The AP has also been seeking calendar records, internal memos and other documents relating to specific stories the news organization has been working on.
One of the requests, originally submitted in 2013, was for records of Clinton’s interactions with some of her top aides, including Huma Abedin, Doug Band and Philippe Reines.
Another request, this one from 2010, was for Clinton’s daily calendar. According to the lawsuit, the State Department repeatedly acknowledged receiving the request, but “failed to respond.”
Other requests were about emails regarding the killing of Osama bin Laden; several government mass surveillance programs; and a State Department agreement with a military contractor, BAE Systems.
“After careful deliberation and exhausting our other options, The Associated Press is taking the necessary legal steps to gain access to these important documents,” Karen Kaiser, the general counsel for the Associated Press, said in a statement.
Kaiser said the suit is important because Clinton is a “presumptive 2016 presidential candidate” and because she was Secretary of State “during some of the most significant issues of our time.”
“The press is a proxy for the people, and AP will continue its pursuit of vital information that’s in the public interest through this action and future open records requests,” Kaiser said.