Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Court Report
By Richard Blassberg

Here We Go Again?
State Supreme Court, White Plains
Acting Supreme Court Justice Francis Nicolai Presiding


White Plains, Thursday, November 9th, attorneys for Andrea Stewart-Cousins, apparent winner in the race for State Senate in the 35th Senatorial District, and incumbent Nicolas Spano, appeared in State Supreme Court to file motions before Judge Francis Nicolai in connection with the documentation of the outcome of the election.
Present in the courtroom were Attorneys Henry Berger, and Jeff Pearlman, representing Stewart-Cousins, and John Ciampoli, and Anthony Mangone representing Spano, and Rosemarie Panio, Westchester County Republican Chair, respectively.

Also present were Democratic Election Commissioner Reginald LaFayette, his counter-part Republican Commissioner Carolee Sunderland, Democratic Deputy Commissioner Jeanie Palazzola, and her Republican counter-part Melissa Nacerino, as well as Assistant County Attorney Gallagher.

Prior to the arrival of Judge Nicolai, Commissioner LaFayette, responding to a reporter’s question, indicated, “Nothing has been opened yet.”

Commissioner Sunderland, asked about how many absentee ballots had been received, stated, “There are more than twentyseven hundred so far, with more coming in until next Tuesday.”

Immediately upon entering Judge Nicolai offered, “I would suggest that what might be best at this time would be a brief adjournment until we see what develops.”

Attorney Berger responded, “I think that we can wait until next Thursday.”

Attorney Ciampoli agreed, however asking the Court if he might have “a survey of all the
paper ballots.”

Judge Nicolai expressed a willingness to go along with the request, and set Thursday November
16th, at 3pm for reopening of the hearing.

Outside the courthouse, remembering the record-setting, more-than-three-month election dispute between Stewart-Cousins and Spano following their contest in 2004, The Westchester Guardian asked Republican Attorney Ciampoli, “So, we’re not anticipating a protracted litigation, are we?”

Ciampoli responded, “I never anticipate anything. We’ll see what happens.”

Confronted with the same inquiry, Attorney Berger responded with an immediate, “No.”

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