Anderson encouraged by deposition

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 4, 2008

COLUMBUS — The deposition of Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner has advanced the case of Mary Wipert, the attorney for the local Republican Party contends.

However, Brunner — through a spokesman — affirms her decision to refuse to allow Wipert a place on the Lawrence County Board of Elections.

Wednesday Brigham Anderson, attorney for the Lawrence County Republican Executive Committee, went to the state capital to depose Brunner as part of a lawsuit the local GOP filed against the state executive.

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Earlier this year, the local committee nominated Wipert, the one-time elections director, to serve on the county’s board of elections, replacing the outgoing Richard Meyers.

However, before Wipert had the chance to join the board, Brunner rejected the committee’s decision. Brunner declared that Wipert, who had served as the elections director for 20 years, was “incompetent” and “unfit.”

Anderson said Thursday he would not comment on the content of the deposition, but was encouraged by the information he gained from questioning Brunner.

“We feel the deposition made our case stronger,” Anderson said. “We are more confident in our case after our deposition that we will prevail.”

The next step is to depose one of Brunner’s associates, Mike Struble, regional liaison for the secretary responsible for Lawrence County, he said. That interview will be in Anderson’s office in Ironton next week.

Also attending Wednesday’s deposition held in Brunner’s office was Wipert, Eleanor Speelman, general counsel for the secretary of state, Richard Coglianese, principal assistant attorney general, and Pearl Chin, assistant attorney general.

The deposition will become public record in a week or two after it is transcribed and filed with the Ohio Supreme Court.

After that it will be available online at the Web site for the Supreme Court of Ohio at or at 65 S. Front St., Columbus.

“Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner stands by her decision,” spokesman Jeff Ortega said. “She is cooperating fully with these legal proceedings.”