Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz wasn’t in court Friday as her lawyers moved the case that she hopes will prove she’s qualified to run for attorney general forward.
And even though he hasn’t specifically ruled on whether Bysiewicz should be allowed to bring the case, Superior Court Judge Michael Sheldon, scheduled another hearing in case for Wednesday, March 10.
Bysiewicz’s lawyers saw that as a positive step forward.
One of Bysiewicz’s lawyers, Wesley Horton, said he believes they’ve gotten around the issue of “ripeness,”—whether it’s time for a lawsuit to be brought—by naming the Democrats as a party in the case. He said the Democratic delegates deserve to know if she’s a qualified candidate at least a month prior to the Democratic convention in May.
The lawyer representing the Republican Party, which has intervened in the case, asked for discovery to be submitted by Monday, March 8.
Bysiewicz’s lawyers said they will hand over all the documents they have related to legal opinions their client may have issued during her 11 year tenure as Secretary of the State.
The stack of documents they will hand over include letters Bysiewicz has written to constituents and Town Clerks over the past 11 years. Some of those records are maintained by the Secretary of the State’s office, which is why two assistant attorney generals were in court Friday and cooperating with the request for information.
For example, Dan Krisch, another of Bysiewicz’s lawyers said a constituent wrote her and asked that race, ethnicity, and a whole bunch of other pieces of personal information be disclosed by candidates. The letter Bysiewicz wrote back to the constituent about why that information can’t be disclosed constitutes a legal opinion, he said.
Eliot Gersten, who represents the Republican party, said he needs to find out what documents she has to support her claim that she’s qualified. The camera-shy Gersten disappeared quickly outside of the courthouse Friday and refused to comment further on the case.
Judge Sheldon said it’s obvious from the nature of this case that it will require expedited consideration. To that end Sheldon asked for a public notice to be put on the Judicial branch’s Web site so that any interested party in the case could intervene by Tuesday, March 9.
At question in the case is whether Bysiewicz meets the 10 years of “active practice“ provision to run for attorney general. Bysiewicz was in private practice for six years and her lawyers are expected to argue that her 11 years as Secretary of the State count toward the 10 year requirement.