As the Governor’s Foot Guard plans Governor-elect Dan Malloy’s inaugural parade, what happened at Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s inaugural parade nearly four years ago is still being challenged in court.
Ken Krayeske, the activist and journalist arrested during Rell’s parade, is asking a federal court judge to compel Rell to tell her side of the story.
Krayeske’s lawyer, Houston Putnam Lowry, argued in court documents last week that Rell had firsthand knowledge of the events that led to Krayeske’s false arrest as he snapped photos of the governor along the parade route on Jan. 3, 2007. The series of photos Krayeske took that day have become part of the court record.
Assistant Attorney General Stephen Sarnoski argued Krayeske’s request to depose Rell should be dismissed because Rell is protected by executive privilege and any information she could provide has already been provided by other witnesses.
“The plaintiff’s reliance upon a single photograph, cherry-picked from the series, in which he fancies that the Governor is looking and waving at him as he stands amidst a crowd of hundreds, if not thousands, of onlookers during the Governor’s inaugural parade is nothing more than narcissistic fantasy,” Sarnoski wrote in a brief submitted Friday.
In a phone interview Saturday, Lowry said the only narcissistic fantasy is Rell’s recollection of the parade crowd.
“They’re clearly stretching the truth here, which explains why she can’t present a balanced budget,” Lowry said.
Sarnoski, who is representing the state and Rell in this case, argued in his brief that “the Governor enjoys a qualified executive privilege which, under the circumstances of this case, protects her from being subjected to a deposition which amounts to little more than an attempt on the plaintiff’s part to harass and demean her for personal and political reasons.”
But Lowry said they don’t even want to depose Rell until after she leaves office in January.
However, in an effort to argue their case, Sarnoski had Rell submit a written affidavit about what she remembered from the parade.
In her affidavit Rell said while she was marching in the parade she was surrounded by “hundreds, if not thousands of onlookers and well-wishers along the crowded parade route.”
Rell goes onto say “I vaguely recall observing a gentleman approach the parade route from my right while riding a bicycle. I recall seeing the gentleman stop and get off the bicycle. I did not recognize the individual, and I do not recall exactly where along the route he stopped. I did not pay close attention to this individual as the area was crowded with people.”
She said she does not recall witnessing Krayeske get arrested and only later learned it was him on the bicycle.
The affidavit was signed by Rell on Nov. 8, four days before Sarnoski submitted his objection to her deposition.
A federal judge is expected to rule on whether Rell should be deposed in the next few weeks.
Krayeske, who has since graduated from the University of Connecticut Law School and this November was admitted to the Connecticut Bar, filed the civil rights lawsuit back in 2007.
In November 2009 the U.S. District Court Judge Stefan Underhill dropped the charges against the Connecticut State Police, who were responsible for putting Krayeske on the watch list, which contributed to his arrest by Hartford Police Officer Jeff Antuna.
The only claim Krayeske has left is against Antuna, who will be deposed in December.
Krayeske claims he was targeted at the parade because he criticized Rell publicly during the 2006 election cycle. Krayeske managed Green Party gubernatorial hopeful Cliff Thornton’s campaign that year.
This year Krayeske ran and lost his bid against U.S. Rep. John Larson as a Green Party candidate in the First Congressional District.