Gloria Allred Comes to Mass. to 'October Surprise' Romney

Famed attorney and headline-attracter Gloria Allred came to Canton, Mass. today to represent the wife of Staples founder Tom Stemberg, who wants a court to unseal records from her 1994 divorce proceedings, during which presidential candidate Mitt Romney happened to give testimony. We call a late-breaking bombshell in an election an “October Surprise” and while anything involving Allred will inevitably perk our ears, this doesn’t seem like it’s going to be a very memorable one in the scope of history.

The Globe has reportedly asked the court to lift the seal on the divorce record. Stemberg’s wife Maureen Sullivan Stemberg supports the motion, and Stemberg himself enthusiastically opposes it. Apparently Romney, who of course took over Staples while at Bain Capital, testified during this hearing. Romney’s campaign says they aren’t contesting the unsealing, and the only reason people think this might be embarrassing for Romney is a rumor being run by TMZ that in his testimony, Romney said he thought Staples was “overvalued” and a “dream.” TMZ says this is bad because it shows Romney lied to help his buddy screw his wife out of an appropriate divorce settlement, feeding the “war on women,” etc. (Staples, obviously, turned out not to be overvalued.)

Others would say it’s not great because Staples is one of Bain Capital’s great success stories, and if Romney didn’t actually see that success coming, he shouldn’t take credit for it. Allred knows how to derail a campaign: she represented one of the women who accused Herman Cain of sexual harrassment. But Romney’s campaign isn’t quite as easily toppled as Cain’s, and decades old testimony about the value of Staples doesn’t seem likely to decide an election.

Alas, we won’t actually know what’s in the divorce hearings today. The court adjourned until tomorrow to give Staples’ attorneys time to read the transcript.