Mitt Romney’s testimony in Staples founder’s divorce case to be considered for public release in open court

CANTON — Mitt Romney’s 1991 testimony in the divorce of Staples founder Tom Stemberg will be considered for public release on Thursday in open court and with television cameras rolling at Norfolk Probate and Family Court.

The court on Wednesday rejected Stemberg’s request to close the hearing, siding with the Globe, which is seeking access to the impounded testimony of Romney, now the Republican nominee for president.

Stemberg’s ex-wife, Maureen Sullivan Stemberg, appeared in court on Wednesday and supported the release of Romney’s testimony. Robert G. Jones, an attorney for Romney, said the candidate has no position on whether his testimony should be unsealed.

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Gloria Allred, an attorney for Sullivan Stemberg, produced two, inch-thick volumes of testimony Romney delivered during the divorce proceedings two decades ago.

Attorneys for Stemberg, Staples and Romney, who had not reviewed the testimony before Wednesday’s hearing, were granted a continuance to do so. The court will reconvene at 9 a.m. on Thursday.

All documents in the divorce case were impounded, and all parties signed a confidentiality agreement that prevents them from discussing details of the case with the press. The Globe is seeking only Romney’s testimony, which he delivered in June 1991.

At the time of the divorce, Romney was the owner and chief executive of Bain Capital, a private equity firm that invested $650,000 in Staples to help the office supply company open its first store in Brighton in 1986. In total, Bain Capital invested about $2.5 million in Staples and reaped a $13 million profit when the company went public in 1989. Romney sat on the Staples board of directors.

During the current presidential election, Stemberg has served as a surrogate for Romney. Stemberg spoke at the Republican National Convention in August.

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