Sauerbrey camp given deadline to provide evidence

January 06, 1995|By Thomas W. Waldron | Thomas W. Waldron,Sun Staff Writer

With a trial scheduled for Monday, a judge yesterday instructed Republican Ellen R. Sauerbrey to put her evidence on the table by noon today.

Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Raymond G. Thieme Jr. set the deadline so that lawyers for Gov.-elect Parris N. Glendening and state election officials would have time to prepare a defense.

Mrs. Sauerbrey filed suit last week challenging the Nov. 8 gubernatorial election, in which the final tally showed her losing by 5,993 votes to Mr. Glendening.

In a series of preliminary rulings, Judge Thieme said he alone would hear the case, rather than the three-judge panel requested by Mrs. Sauerbrey.

And he said cameras, normally prohibited in Maryland courts, would be allowed in the courtroom.

"I'm personally opposed to cameras in the courtroom," Judge Thieme said. "But considering the nature of the case, I don't see how I can exclude them."

Mrs. Sauerbrey has made broad allegations of impropriety and possible fraud. But lawyers for Mr. Glendening say her representatives have been slow to provide specific supporting documentation.

As witnesses were interviewed under oath this week, the scope of some allegations changed, attorney George A. Nilson told the judge.

"We are dealing with an extraordinary moving target," Mr. Nilson said.

For example, he said, the number of dead people in whose names votes might have been cast has gone from "hundreds" in early statements by the Sauerbrey camp to 37 in last week's lawsuit to six in depositions with potential witnesses this week.

"Tomorrow, are we going to wake up and say now it's 350? Will it be 570 on Sunday?" Mr. Nilson asked. "It's just impossible for us to respond to the allegations."

Lee T. Ellis Jr., an attorney for Mrs. Sauerbrey, said he could live with the noon deadline.

But he told the judge that Mrs. Sauerbrey's investigation into election improprieties would continue through the beginning of the trial.

Attorneys on both sides agreed that the trial, which will focus largely on computer-generated evidence of alleged voting impropriety, should take no more than a week.

Mr. Glendening is scheduled to take the oath of office Jan. 18, nine days after the trial begins.

Under rules adopted by the Court of Appeals, cameras can be used in the courtroom in civil trials if all parties and the judge agree to it.

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