Gansler's eligibility challenged in court

Attorney general candidate's length of practice at issue

Maryland Votes 2006

14 Days Until Nov. 7

October 24, 2006|By Jennifer Skalka

A case has been filed in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court questioning whether Democratic attorney general nominee Douglas F. Gansler has practiced law in Maryland for the required 10 years.

The challenge was filed by Nikos Stanford Liddy of Bowie. Liddy did not return a call for comment yesterday.

The suit marks the second court challenge levied in this year's race for attorney general.

The first was filed during the primary against Thomas E. Perez, a Montgomery County Democrat who was subsequently disqualified. The Court of Appeals ruled in August that Perez did not have the decade of experience practicing law and residing in Maryland that is required by the state constitution. A former federal attorney, Perez did not become a member of the Maryland bar until 2001.

But Gansler, the Montgomery County state's attorney, has been a member of the state bar since 1989, according to Vivek Chopra, Gansler's campaign manager. Before being elected state's attorney in 1998, however, he worked for two Washington law firms and as assistant U.S. attorney based in Washington.

Chopra said that during that time Gansler served Maryland clients.

A spokesman for Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr. said Liddy, the plaintiff, is represented by attorney Jason Shoemaker, who is also the campaign manager for Scott L. Rolle, the Republican's pick for attorney general.

Chopra called the case a "political act of desperation."

"I think it's kind of a desperate thing from Scott Rolle. He's 30 points down," Chopra said. "He needs to do what he can at this point."

Shoemaker, in an e-mail late last night, said Liddy has no connection to the Rolle campaign, and that the campaign did not instigate the litigation.

A hearing is scheduled for tomorrow morning at 9 a.m., according to Assistant Attorney General Will Brockman.

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