A federal judge has ordered the IRS to answer questions by Friday, June 12, on the status of certain e-mails from former employee Lois Lerner that the service had said were lost.

According to published reports, the U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan issued the order earlier this month in response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by conservative educational group Judicial Watch.

Lerner was at the heart of the scandal over the IRS’s targeting of nonprofit conservative groups for heightened scrutiny, and many different groups and organizations had hoped to recover her e-mails to help answer questions over what IRS leadership knew about  the targeting, but the IRS originally reported that it could not recover many of her e-mail from the relevant time period.

In February, however, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration reported recovering two different sets of backup tapes containing tens of thousands of Lerner’s e-mails; the Judicial Watch request had covered the second set of tapes, and looked to find out whether all the recoverable e-mails had been turned over to the IRS by TIGTA, and whether all the tapes had been fully processed to see if they had any more recoverable e-mails.

The judge’s June 4 order gives the IRS until this Friday to provide answers.

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