Left-wing attorney's smear attempt against Mitt Romney is stopped in its tracks.
Attorney Gloria Allred, with ample help from the in-the-tank-for-Obama Boston Globe, is working furiously to insert herself into the closing days of the presidential election with an "October Surprise." Her client, Maureen Sullivan Stemberg, claims that Mitt Romney lied under oath in 1991 during a post-divorce lawsuit she filed against ex-husband and Staples founder Tom Stemberg. Ms. Sullivan had sought an amendment of the couple's financial settlement from their 1987 divorce, because Staples went public two years later, and its stock price soared. Despite a confidentiality agreement signed by both parties, the Globe has sought to have the gag order overturned. Yesterday, a Massachusetts judge issued a rather interesting ruling: the gag order on Ms. Sullivan remains in effect, but the testimony of Mitt Romney can be released to the media.
In a blow to Allred's ambitions, that ruling was precipitated by the fact that Tom Stemberg, who had initially opposed the Globe’s request to unseal the testimony, dropped his objection. “We have no concerns about the testimony,” Brian Leary, a lawyer for Stemberg, told the judge in the Norfolk Probate Court in Canton, Massachusetts. Since the Globe was satisfied with getting Romney's testimony released, they dropped the petition they had filed October 15th, leading the court to rule that Ms. Sullivan would have to file a separate motion to further amend the gag order.
“The Globe’s only interest all along, as should have been clear to all parties, was to obtain the transcript of a presidential candidate’s testimony,” said editor Martin Baron in a statement. “We wanted to read it to see what was there, following standard practice in covering a major election, and we are pleased that the court recognized the great public interest in Governor Romney’s testimony. If it became possible to obtain the transcript without lifting a gag order, we had no reason to object. The gag order is a matter for others to litigate, if they wish to do so.”
Allred was furious, contending that Ms. Sullivan was being denied her rights under the First Amendment, and accusing the Globe of a “double cross.” “Out of context, [Romney's testimony] has no meaning for the public,” Allred said. “She can put it in context.” Maybe she can, but as of Wednesday, Ms. Sullivan herself stated through her attorney that she had no objection to the newspaper's decision to vacate their petition. Thus it would seem that Allred's third attempt in three years to bring forth a woman with "bombshell" info aimed at changing the course of a political race is about to fall flat.
So apparently is the effort by a left-wing newspaper to gin up a last-minute media campaign regarding third-party testimony in a post-divorce case more than two decades old. Despite the high-minded claims by Globe editor Martin Baron, the divorce, and the fireworks surrounding it, is old news. The story has been repeatedly covered by Boston newspapers, as well as an article on the front page of the Wall St. Journal -- marking the epic saga’s 10th anniversary. In other words, the Globe could have released this story weeks, or even months, ago. That they chose this particular moment in time reeks of Chicago-style dirty politics.
Moreover, in the world of Chicago-style dirty politics, getting sealed divorce records unsealed is nothing new. In Barack Obama's 2004 run for the U.S. Senate, the sealed divorce records of both Democrat Blair Hull, Obama's opponent in the Democratic primary, and Jack Ryan, his Republican opponent in the general election, were unsealed. Hull's records became public after an effort led by Chicago Tribune (Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod's former employer) brought pressure to bear. According to the New York Times, “The Tribune reporter who wrote the original piece later acknowledged in print that the Obama camp had ‘worked aggressively behind the scenes’ to push the story.” Ryan's records were also unsealed following a lawsuit brought by the Tribune and a Chicago TV station. As a result, Obama, who was behind in both races before the records were unsealed, wound up in the U.S. Senate.
Mitt Romney is apparently unfazed by the effort to smear him. “This is a decades-old divorce case in which Mitt Romney provided testimony as to the value of a company,” his lawyer, Robert Jones, said in a statement. “He has no objection to letting the public see that testimony.” According to the Washington Examiner, there's a good reason for that confidence: a source provided them with testimony from the appeals case, revealing that Romney didn't "max out" on Staples stock even though he could--because he didn't see the company's success as a sure thing. "This disproves the Allred allegation completely. He put his money where his mouth was," said the unnamed source.
Yet reality gets even more damnable for Allred. Romney's testimony concerns the value of that stock at the time of the divorce settlement. Ms. Sullivan received nearly 500,000 shares in the company, valued at $2.25 each, giving them a total worth of approximately $1.1 million. She then sold half her stock. Two years later, the stock rose to $19 a share, when the company went public. As a result, Ms. Sullivan pocketed around $5 million, instead of the $9.5 million she would have received if she had held on to all of the stock.
Thus, despite her own decision to sell half of her holdings, Ms. Sullivan has been determined to blame Mitt Romney for her smaller windfall, and has orchestrated an online smear campaign against him, spanning several years. Breitbart reveals that some of those smears may violate her gag order, while Buzzfeed reveals that Ms. Sullivan, who is a Huffington Post "super user," has used that Internet platform to spew bigotry with respect to the Mormon religion. Add a mini-biography of her life published in yesterday's Daily Mail that details her "extraordinarily bitter divorce," a bankruptcy, several relationships with younger men (some of which "ended explosively"), and a "raging 25 year war with her ex-husband," by a woman "gunning to bring Romney down with an 'October Surprise,'" and the picture of a woman desperate for her 15 minutes of fame seemingly emerges.
And who better to exploit that desperation than fame junkie Gloria Allred? That would be the same Gloria Allred who attended the “30 Days to Victory” Obama fundraiser at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles on October 7th, and told Fox News' correspondent Jesse Watters that she “just had a few words with the President” backstage. She further revealed that Obama "had some very kind words for me,” and “knows of my work…” even as she refused to reveal any further details about their conversation.
In the closing days of this presidential election, "conversation" is the operative word. The president and his shameless surrogates are doing everything they can to shift the conversation away from far more important topics, such as the ongoing Libya debacle, millions of un- or under-employed Americans, the top-secret national security leaks, the Fast and Furious gun-running scandal, a possible campaign donation scandal involving illegal foreign contributions, or the debasement of the American dollar -- just to name a few. In short, this is a president whose entire campaign has been centered around little more than attempts to smear his opponent, sow the seeds of polarization among Americans, and bury a record of failure and incompetence under a blizzard of disinformation and outright lies.
Allred is a perfect foot soldier for such a campaign. So is the Boston Globe, whose sudden, over-riding interest in court testimony given by Mitt Romney twenty-one years ago is inversely proportional to anything remotely resembling interest in the president's past. The common thread uniting the two? Immense desperation engendered by the realization that their leftist standard-bearer -- and perhaps the entire progressive movement -- is standing at the edge of the abyss.
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