2004 Nader election lawsuit heads Down East

Posted Nov. 03, 2010, at 11:15 a.m.

MACHIAS, Maine — With the dust from the 2010 election season barely settling, a hearing has been scheduled for Friday in Washington County Superior Court involving alleged tampering with the national voting process in 2004.

In November 2009, consumer advocate and former independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader and his 2004 Maine electors Christopher Droznik, Nancy Oden and Rosemary Whittaker filed suit against the Maine Democratic Party, the Democratic National Committee, Kerry-Edwards 2004, The Ballot Project Inc., Dorothy Melanson, Terry McAuliffe and Toby Moffett, alleging abuse of process and wrongful use of civil proceedings.

Nader maintained that the Democrats launched a nationwide effort to use litigation to neutralize the Nader-Camejo 2004 presidential campaign. Nader maintains that the litigation — challenges to nomination petitions — was groundless, and he and his co-defendants have submitted more than 250 pages of evidence to Justice Kevin Cuddy.

Nader, whose running mate was the late Peter Camejo, is seeking punitive and compensatory damages.

Nader’s attorney, Oliver Hall of Washington, D.C., said this week that the Maine and National Democratic parties, The Ballot Project and others attempted to sabotage and bankrupt the Nader-Camejo campaign by filing 29 complaints and lawsuits against it in 18 state courts. At least 95 lawyers from 53 law firms nationwide joined the Democrats’ litigation against the Nader-Camejo Campaign, Hall said.

Friday’s hearing will be the first time that any court in the nation has heard such evidence regarding a presidential campaign, he added.

During a hearing held this summer in Machias, the defendants’ attorneys maintained that the suits were legitimate challenges of the validity of Nader-Camejo nomination petitions and urged Cuddy to dismiss the Maine lawsuits.

“Sooner or later, you have to bury a corpse,” Lewiston defense attorney Stacy O. Stitham said.

When the lawsuit was tossed out of a District Court in Washington, D.C., in June 2009 because the three-year statute of limitations had expired, Nader filed in Washington County. Maine’s statute of limitations is six years.

The evidentiary hearing will be a chance for both parties to present their cases.

Hall said Nader will not attend the hearing, which is

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