Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s testimony in the divorce case of Staples Inc. co- founder Tom Stemberg will be released, a judge said.
Probate Judge Jennifer Ulwick in Canton, Massachusetts, also said today in court that while Romney’s testimony will be disclosed, a confidentiality agreement between the ex-spouses on details of the divorce remains in effect.
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.
“This has been an endless repetitive pattern of trying to re-litigate divorce proceedings in a public forum,” Leary said.
Stemberg, 63, spoke at the Republican national convention, where Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, was given his party’s nomination for president in the Nov. 6 election. Framingham, Massachusetts-based Staples, an office-supply retailer, grew with the help of an investment from Bain Capital LLC, the private-equity firm Romney co-founded.
Lisa Arrowood, a lawyer for Staples, said today the company also doesn’t oppose the release of the testimony.
Gloria Allred, a women’s rights lawyer, appeared yesterday in probate court with Stemberg’s ex-wife, Maureen Sullivan Stemberg, and said she was backing a request by the Boston Globe to unseal the documents.
Jonathan Albano, an attorney for the Globe, described the information the newspaper sought as “expert testimony on a financial matter.”
Allred said today in court that she wants her client to be able to talk about Romney’s testimony.
“She needs to be able to speak,” Allred told the court. “She apparently is the only person in the United States, maybe in the world, who cannot speak about Governor Romney.”
“It’s a complete lockdown,” the lawyer said, referring to the confidentiality order. “It’s the most comprehensive gag order I have ever seen in my 36 years of practicing law.”
The judge said Sullivan Stemberg must file a new motion to modify the order.
Allred’s clients have included Sharon Bialek, the woman who accused Herman Cain, a Republican candidate for president, of sexual harassment, which led to his withdrawal from the race.
She also represented Jodie Fisher, who said former Hewlett- Packard Co. Chief Executive Officer Mark Hurd made improper sexual advances toward her while she was under contract to handle company events. Hurd resigned from Hewlett-Packard in 2010 after it found he had violated company standards for conduct
Robert Jones, an attorney for Romney with Ropes & Gray LLP, told the judge yesterday, “The sooner we get out from this, the better.”
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