Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz admitted in her March 31 deposition that she has never tried a case, never argued a case before a judge, rarely appeared in court and represented herself in one small claims matter—which she won.
Those details were disclosed during a day-long deposition in the lawsuit that Bysiewicz filed against the Democratic Party seeking to prove she is qualified to run for attorney general.
Bysiewicz’s attorney Wesley Horton said in court Tuesday that one only has to be “eligible” to practice law, in order to qualify under the statute. “It means far more than representing clients in court,” Horton said.
Bysiewicz, who filed the lawsuit, has been adamant about her qualifications, however, Eliot Gersten, the Republican party’s attorney sought to prove otherwise when he peppered her with questions about her legal background last week.
During the first day of her deposition, which will be released on video Wednesday, Bysiewicz acknowledged the last time she collaborated on a legal brief, aside from the friend of the court brief recently rejected by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, was more than 24 years ago when she worked for White and Case in New York.
“I’m a corporate lawyer, not a litigator,” Bysiewicz said in response to Gersten‘s question.
Through a more than five-hour question and answer session, Bysiewicz admitted she , never prepared a deposition or a witness for trial, never sat at the counsel’s table in court, never used the Practice Book, and last observed a court proceeding during her first year of law school.
“I believe in law school I went to an argument at the Connecticut Supreme Court,” Bysiewicz said.
“Okay. Any other occasions? And I don’t mean to sound flippant, but I don’t think—that’s the most recent one you can recall? That would be what, somewhere 25 years ago, if my math is right?,” Gersten asked.
“Yes,” Bysiewicz responded.
Toward the end of the deposition, Gersten pointed out that Bysiewicz has publicly compared herself to the current Attorney General Richard Blumenthal.
“And you’ve actually said you’re every bit as qualified as Dick Blumenthal was when he took this position based upon your legal experience, correct?” Gersten asked. “Yes,” Bysiewicz responded.
Gersten asked if she realized that Blumenthal had tried a bunch of cases before becoming attorney general.
“You never tried any cases?” Gersten asked. “No,” Bysiewicz responded.
“I believe my experience in private practice and in the public sector more than qualifies me to serve as attorney general because it more than meets the ten year requirement,” Bysiewicz responded.
Earlier this year, when Bysiewicz asked Blumenthal for his opinion on whether she is qualified he said it’s up to the judge to decide, but concluded that the statute is constitutional. Bysiewicz’s and her attorney’s disagree with the second part of Blumenthal’s decision.
Tuesday in court lawyers for both parties decided to allow Gersten to depose more witnesses tomorrow, Friday, and Monday. Horton will be expected to hand in his trial brief by Friday, and the trial will begin April 20th.
Superior Court Judge Michael Sheldon has agreed to an expedited schedule citing the need for an outcome prior to the state convention in May, where Democratic delegates will have offer their support to one of the three candidates.
Rep. Cameron Staples of New Haven and former state Sen. George Jepsen of Stamford are also seeking the Democratic nomination.