Yesterday, TheBlaze reported that celebrity attorney and famed partisan Gloria Allred may be attempting to debut an “October surprise.” Specifically, that “surprise” would be based on decades-old testimony by Romney in the divorce proceedings of Tom Stemberg, the founder of Staples, and might allege that Romney – then one of Staples’ main investors – purposefully misrepresented the value of Staples stock in order to cheat Stemberg’s ex wife, Maureen.
It is too soon to tell whether the prospective accusation will be made, or indeed if Allred will go any further with this story, but a judge in Massachusetts granted Allred at least half of what she wanted in crafting this “October surprise.” Specifically, Romney’s testimony in the case has been released to the public, and can be reported about in the press.
However, Allred has also suffered a setback. The Daily Mail reports:
Allred, a staunch Obama supporter who promised an ‘October surprise’ for Romney, arrived at the court in Canton, Massachusetts on Thursday morning with Maureen Sullivan Stemberg, 61.
She demanded a gagging order against her client be lifted so she could speak about Romney’s conduct through her divorce proceedings, which dragged on between 1987 and 2002.
“She is apparently the only person in the United States of America – perhaps the world – who cannot speak about Governor Romney,” Allred said. “She needs to be able to speak.”
She argued that Maureen Stemberg is “denied her first amendment right” by the court in the “most comprehensive gag order I have ever seen in my 36 years of law.”
Judge Jennifer Ulwick responded that Mrs Stemberg should file her own modification to the gagging order, rather than it be dealt with today, meaning she cannot yet speak out.
For Romney, this particular setback may prove to be more of a blessing than the release of the testimony is for Allred. In spite of the gag order, someone posting under the name of Maureen Stemberg has been identified by several blogs as a prolific, viciously anti-Romney and anti-Mormon commenter on sites like the Huffington Post. With Stemberg not being able to repeat some of the embittered accusations noted on these sites in front of media cameras with Allred as a sponsor, the ability of the Romney testimony to be sensationalized may be crippled.
Nor is it likely that Romney was blindsided by this attack. Maureen Stemberg’s grievances were first aired against him in 1994 when he ran against former Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy.