Stephanie Thomas, Patricia A. Howard, Joseph Ganim and Charles Clemons, Jr., were ordered to appear in Connecticut Superior Court today in Bridgeport to show cause for why a temporary and permanent injunction and/or an order for discovery should not be issued in the verified complaint submitted by John Gomes under Connecticut General Statute § 9-329a and motion for discovery.
Gomes lost the recent Bridgeport mayoral primary election by just 251 votes after absentee votes were counted. Then shocking video emerged of Wanda Geter-Pataky, Vice Chair of the Democrat Town Committee, City Hall employee, and Ganim campaign volunteer, who allegedly repeatedly stuffed the ballot box outside City Hall.
William Bloss, Gomes' attorney, mentioned four subpoenas that are outstanding:
Bloss agreed that the State is working toward compiling the requested information, which includes over 8 terabytes of video (that's over 2,000 hours of footage across four weeks and multiple ballot drop boxes) and around 3,000 ballots.
The SEEC already produced a considerable number of requested documents over the weekend.
Superior Court Judge William Clark said the Court will hear evidence beginning two weeks from today to ensure sufficient time to review the video footage.
The police moved to quash the video at the hearing, but Bloss said that the video footage makes the lawsuit unprecedented.
“This is a case like no other in the history of the state of Connecticut, because there’s an unprecedented amount of video evidence and documentary evidence that we’re going to do everything we can to go through in a timely way and try to get to the bottom of what happened here during this primary,” Bloss said after the hearing.
While the Gomes camp feels the video footage is the centerpiece of the case, former Secretary of State candidate Dominic Rapini said that the video had already done its job, and might not even be needed to prove the fraud allegations.
Rapini said the case is going to come down to matching signatures on the outer envelopes, and looking for potential repeating patterns on those signatures. He also believes that voters need to be canvassed to determine whether anyone was coerced or cajoled into submitting ballots in exchange for municipal favors.
He also raised the issue of how Ganim's campaign sourced the names for these absentee ballots.
Rumors are swirling that these names might have been coming from municipally-sourced lists, including government-subsidized housing and renter's rebate lists.
This scandal is going to take a long time to get sorted, and could potentially impact the feasibility of conducting Bridgeport's elections in November.
Yet inside the courtroom, where was the sense of urgency regarding the timeframe for the upcoming election?
Absentee ballots are supposed to go out 31 days before an election, which means printed absentee ballots would become available to electors on October 6th. That implies ballots would need to be ordered and printed earlier than October 6th to allow sufficient printing and shipping time. However, evidence won't be heard for another two weeks, putting the next hearing date on October 9th.
Gomes is calling for a new primary to be conducted before the November 7th election, though Bloss said that perhaps they would need to conduct a second election if Gomes wins this case.
Rapini thought that it might take even longer to get to the bottom of this issue, and suggested that a primary before Thanksgiving with a December election would be a more reasonable timeline.
Judge Clark urged the attorneys to cooperate in order to move the case forward as quickly as possible, saying, “there is great public interest in the integrity of elections.”