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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Romney Testimony in Divorce Case Subject of Court Fight

Gloria Allred, the media-savvy lawyer known for representing beleaguered women, showed up at a Canton, Mass., courthouse on Wednesday with booklets full of testimony by Mitt Romney in a 1991 divorce case.

That year, Mr. Romney testified in the contentious divorce proceedings of Tom Stemberg, the Staples founder and campaign surrogate, and Ms. Allred's client, Maureen Sullivan Stemberg. A judge is set to decide on Thursday morning whether to unseal the records, as requested by The Boston Globe.

With clients who include Tiger Woods's alleged mistresses and Nicole Brown Simpson's family, Ms. Allred often appears more in news outlets like TMZ than TNR.

But this isn't the first time she has played a role in the 2012 presidential race. Last year, she represented Sharon Bialek, the first woman to publicly accuse Herman Cain of sexual harassment, derailing his bid for the Republican nomination.

The Stembergs' divorce battle, which began in 1987 and continu ed for more than a decade, featured accusations of late-night calls to the police, accusations of child mistreatment (and subsequent defamation suits). But Mr. Romney's testimony carries no such drama, according to his lawyer.

“This is a decades-old divorce case in which Mitt Romney provided testimony as to the value of a company,” the lawyer, Robert Jones, said. “He has no objection to letting the public see that testimony.”

Bain Capital was an early investor in Staples when Mr. Romney was at the helm, and the company made its first public offering in 1989. Ms. Stemberg later accused Mr. Stemberg of withholding knowledge of these plans, thus reducing her settlement, but a probate judge rejected her suit in 1994.

Kitty Bennett contributed research.