Mitt Romney’s sworn testimony in a post-divorce lawsuit against Staples founder Tom Stemberg was unsealed today at Norfolk Probate and Family Court.Staples was founded with backing from Bain Capital while Romney was at the helm.
The suit was filed in 1990 by Stemberg’s ex-wife, Maureen Sullivan Stemberg, who sought to amend the couple’s financial agreement after Staples went public in 1989 and began trading at 10 times the stock value she had received in the divorce a year earlier.
More details beneath the fold...
So far, there are no details from the testimony, as reporters and citizen journalists scramble to get their hands on the transcripts, which are expected to be released later today.
Earlier in the week, there was speculation that Mitt Romney may have perjured himself in his sworn testimony regarding the value of Staples at the time, which may have helped Tom Stemberg's divorce / alimony agreement with his now-ex-wife. (Stenberg also spoke at this year's RNC, where Romney was nominated for president.)
More from the Globe...
Parties in the case also signed a confidentiality agreement that Gloria Allred, the attorney for Sullivan-Stemberg called “the most comprehensive gag order I have ever seen in my 36 years of practicing law.” The Globe originally moved to amend the confidentiality agreement to allow parties in the case to speak publicly about Romney’s testimony but dropped the request on Thursday when Stemberg, who had opposed the Globe’s request to unseal the testimony, rescinded his objection.And how's THIS for a women & binders reference? (from the Globe article):
In a hearing on Wednesday, Sullivan Stemberg had stated through her attorney that she had no objection to the Globe’s request to selectively vacate the impoundment order. Romney and Staples had taken no position because they had not reviewed the 21-year-old testimony, which had been purged from court records. But Sullivan Stemberg had saved copies of the two-decade-old records. Allred produced two, inch-thick volumes of Romney’s testimony in court on Wednesday. Romney, Staples, and Stemberg requested and received a continuance to examine the documents, setting up Thursday’s hearing about whether they could be made public.Dont'cha just love a woman who keeps good records?
Later on Wednesday, Sullivan Stemberg had provided a third volume of testimony to Stemberg, Staples and Romney.
For now, at least, the Stemberg and Romney teams are treating this with a shrug.
From the Associated Press:
Attorneys for Romney, Stemberg and Staples did not object to releasing the documents but had asked for a day to review them, which the judge granted.I.e., Romney's team has already reviewed and has messages ready to respond to any criticism. And possibly, since they did not object to releasing the records, there is nothing they consider to be that damaging contained within.
The hearing resumed today and the judge said it was OK to release the documents.
Stemberg’s lawyer, Brian Leary, told the judge today in Norfolk Probate Court that his client has “no concerns about the testimony.” He called Romney’s 1991 testimony a “primer” on Staples’ early development. Leary asked the judge to keep the confidentiality requirement in force.And:
Robert Jones, an attorney for Romney with Ropes & Gray LLP, told the judge yesterday, “The sooner we get out from this, the better.”Takeaway:
It's quite possible that the entire reason for this exercise was so that the ex-Mrs. Stemberg would be excused from the gag order and could speak publicly about her experiences in this case (including her opinions on Romney's testimony). However, for now that will not happen. The judge unsealed the transcripts but so far has not lifted the gag order (the Boston Globe also rescinded its request that the gag order be lifted).
So for now, Ms. Sullivan Stemberg will not be speaking out.