An actual October Surprise?

A judge may release documents tomorrow that supposedly show Mitt Romney lied under oath

Topics: Mitt Romney, Divorce, Election 2012, 2012 Presidential Elections, divorce papers,

Just when we were all losing hope in much-hyped “October Surprises” after Donald Trump’s spectacular fail today comes a potential doozy, thanks to, of all people, Gloria Allred. A judge in Boston will decide Thursday morning whether to lift a gag order on the ex-wife of one of Romney’s closest business partners, who is reportedly alleging that Romney lied under oath during their divorce proceedings about the value of a company Bain Capital invested in.

The business partner is Tom Stemberg, the founder of Staples, one of Bain’s greatest success stories, and who went on to be an adviser to Romney and speak at the Republican National Convention. According to TMZ and a filmmaker who interviewed her in 2008, Stemberg’s ex-wife, Maureen, alleges that Mitt Romney lied about the value of Staples, pretending its stock was virtually worthless so as to prevent Maureen from getting much money from her ex-husband.

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Romney allegedly said in court, under oath, that Staples’ stock was “overvalued” and that Tom was a dreamer to think the company would succeed, saying “the dream continues.” “I didn’t place a great deal of credibility in the forecast of the company’s future,” the gossip website reports that Romney said. But Tom and Romney then reportedly sold Staples stock to Goldman Sachs weeks later for “a fortune.”

“He was stating for his best friend to save money in a divorce that the stock was worth very little,” Edmund Druilhet, the filmmaker, told Reuters.

Most of that is thinly sourced, but here’s what we know for sure: Allred, the media-savvy feminist lawyer who has a history of bringing down philandering male politicians and sports stars, showed up at a courthouse in Massachusetts today with booklets full of testimony by Romney. Allred is seeking to make Romney’s testimony public, and the Romney campaign has said they’re fine with that. A judge will decide tomorrow morning, so stay tuned.

Alex Seitz-Wald
Alex Seitz-Wald is Salon's political reporter. Email him at aseitz-wald@salon.com, and follow him on Twitter @aseitzwald.

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