Richardson and his wife divorce.

I take no delight in seeing people’s personal lives damaged, nevertheless this story is news. Sadly, the way in which the case was handled will certainly raise questions.

House Speaker Glenn Richardson and his wife filed for divorce, completed the dissolution of their marriage and got court records of the proceedings sealed — all in a single afternoon last week.

The Richardsons appeared privately on Wednesday before a Paulding County Superior Court judge who was not even assigned to their case. The judge, James Osborne, is a former partner in Richardson’s law firm.

The judge to whom the case was assigned, Tommy Beavers, said Friday he does not know why the case ended up in Osborne’s court. Beavers said Osborne told him he had received the divorce documents before they were officially filed.

The fast-track divorce defied normal procedures as it sped through the Paulding County Courthouse in Dallas, allowing Richardson to keep most details private, including any that might reflect on his performance as a public official.

Powered by ScribeFire.

71 comments

  1. Had Enough says:

    i hate that it came to this for his wife and children.

    the speaker is an embarrassment to our state, not because of his divorce but because of what led to it. and for how he abuses his power.

    Glenn, Earl, Jerry, and Mark need to go.

  2. juliobarrios says:

    I thought it was quite common for both parties in a civil proceeding to have the court documents sealed. I can think of countless lawsuits where one of the parties states they can’t go into the details of the case because of an agreement to be silent.

  3. M.P.E. says:

    Leadership, in any position and even moreso in government, must be trusted to do the right thing. If someone has a history of poor or unethical judgement, even if it is in thier personal life, it is relevant to the political conversation. A persons charector shines through in times of distress. A quicky divorce and sealing the records from public view does not illustrate the kind of charector I want in a legislative leader and certainly not someone who has asperations at higher office.
    These records will and should be opened. Why? Number one, because they can be. It will take time but they can be opened. Number two, because he had them sealed thier will be a frenzy to open them. Mr. Speaker, remember the Illinois Senate race in 2004. Blair Hull and Jack Ryan both were taken down when thier sealed divoreces were opened up. Sealing them only shows you have something to hide.

  4. shrike071 says:

    Nevermind the fact that he used his political-might to circumvent the state required 30-day waiting period… Another example of him manipulating the system for personal gain.

  5. SpaceyG says:

    Wow! I’m impressed with this Speedy Gonzales, Let’s Go To Mexico-style divorce, in a state that takes for freakin’ ever to get a divorce. (6 months or longer in my case.) Lots of juicy details in a sealed case no doubt.

    Any “real” jounalists out there know how to go about getting them “unsealed” as fast as they got sealed? There’s got to be a way.

    Then again, plain ‘ole gossip always works when all other forms of communication fail. Can’t wait to hear tell of…. whatever!

  6. Dave says:

    Was your case contested, Spacey? It normally only takes 30 days if it isn’t. I say leave them alone. It’s a private matter that is none of our business. I don’t think any divorce information should be open for review to anybody. I don’t care if it is granted by our public courts.

  7. SpaceyG says:

    Let’s start breaking this down. I mean , the marriage is already broken down, so what the hay…

    An uncontested divorce means that no one is, for the time being at least, challenging anyone on anything. (Oh sure, you believe that then I got some swamp land in New Mexico…)

    Ok, if it’s truly “uncontested,” this means TJ is giving the ex EVERYTHING, fighting her on nothing. So that means he wanted out bad. Real bad. And that also means he’s now likely dead broke, out of the house, and living on some dead-beat friend’s couch. (Or he would if this was Joe Blow reality and not Gold Dome World ‘O Fantasy On Our Dime.)

    Then again, maybe not! Maybe he’s got a warm, cozy place to run to, and maybe, and I’m just saying MAYBE here, oodles of cash stashed away in some very unknown areas.

    This kinda stuff happens all the time, only not quite so fast and not quite so “sealed.” He’s workin’ something, somewhere… big time. Maybe!

  8. Tea Party says:

    AJC ran ap ic of the lovely, yet former Ms. Richardson holding the Bible for Mr. Speaker. The looks on both of their faces say it all…

    Some snoopdog newsbot will unseal the records, it will take time, after the session will be out.

  9. tedsimmons says:

    Kudos to the AJC for printing last year’s photo of the Speaker and his now-ex-. Her body language says all.

    http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/metro/stories/2008/02/10/MET_legis_070108_BG15.html

    But the best part is the look in Richardson’s eyes– reminiscent of the whacked-out look of another (thankfully, for Democrats) departed Georgia politician. Glenn Richardson is becoming the Georgia Republican party’s version of Cynthia McKinney. Loony, embarrassing, scary. Too bad for his kids. But it’s a great time to be a Democrat.

  10. SouthGaDawg says:

    Even more evidence of the Speaker’s arrogance. I wonder what is in those papers about his affair with the lobbyist? I wonder if the sealing is so that the ethics commission can’t see what’s in the file? Is this the kind of leader we want? Will the Republican caucus stand up to him and elect true leadership? We will see.

  11. shrike071 says:

    I wonder how many of the people saying that “this is a private matter” (cough – Dave) and that we should leave it alone, we calling for the impeachment of Clinton when his “private, family issues” were outed in the press?

  12. SpaceyG says:

    Think of the money we could all save in attorney fees if we could move through the court system as fast as The Speaker can.

    I suggest we change him from Tax Jesus to Greased Lightnin’.

  13. DoubleDawg3 says:

    Shrike, I think you’re absolutely right. While many will argue that Clinton’s was about “lying under oath,” there is a similar argument here that Richardson’s personal actions have influenced his public role (i.e. passing legislation supported by a lobbyist whom you had an affair with).

    I do know this…Atlanta Gas Light should have given that gal some serious bonus cash for the year.

  14. StevePerkins says:

    There’s nothing solid you can derive from this through speculation. Maybe it implies character flaws on the Speaker’s part… maybe it implies that his ex-wife is even WORSE than him and did something.

    I tend to agree with Dave above. I don’t think the problem is that divorce proceedings can be sealed when you’re a politician with a lot of clout. I think the problem is that they AREN’T sealed when you’re NOT a politician with a lot of clout. I’m no fan of the Speaker, but people only care about the details of divorce because it’s juicy gossip… I don’t think it’s really anyone’s business but the couple’s.

  15. DoubleDawg3 says:

    I will agree with the overall sentiment that a few have expressed that ALL divorce records should be sealed.

    However, since they aren’t, I’m not sure that how Richardson went about this is fair (I mean, basically, he used his political clout to make this happen).

  16. SpaceyG says:

    Come to think about even more juicy details of other people’s lives (schadenfreude has got me now), I wonder WHERE The Speaker is living right about now? And is it in the district he serves, as is of course required by law.

    A lobbyist owns a place near me, but no one’s been living in it for over a year now. I’ll take a peek in the windows when I go out to walk the dog. Just in case…

  17. Tommy_a2b says:

    I really really hope she got everything, including the lot on St. Simons.

    I also wonder if we will be seeing one lady from AGL who everyone thought disappeared off the face of the Earth?

  18. juliobarrios says:

    Shreik and DoubleDawg-

    It’s because Clinton lied under oath. If Richardson is put on the stand to discuss a case where possible character flaws would be relevant then he should tell the truth as well.

    It’s quite common to have divorce records sealed when you are a public figure, if you dispute this then just type “divorce sealed” into a Google search.

    Interesting enough I know Jack Ryan’s were unsealed, but plenty other’s remain sealed – like the disgraced former Connecticut Governor.

    I’ve seen different reasons for sealing divorce records, protect children etc.., but the overwhelming reason seems to be if you can prove the your privacy outweighs the public interest.

    I think what is more notable is the fact Richardson’s former law partner took this case out of order.

  19. OleDirtyBarrister says:

    I believe that there are grounds for a complaint to the Judicial Qualifications Committee for the actions of his old crony and judge. I’m sure the complaint will be made.

    Grounds for a divorce are statutory, and one of the grounds includes adultery. The most common ground is the “irretrievably broken” ground, and the filing spouse will often cite that and add that “there are additional grounds but the Plaintiff is not disclosing them in order to maintain family privacy, protect the children, etc.” It would be interesting to see who was identified as the plaintiff and what grounds were asserted which gets back to the lady on the side issue.

    Between the rumors about the speakers and the lawyer Senator from NW Ga. for dalliances with ladies under the goldtop, the Republicans are damn sure trying to make a standing joke of “family values.” It appears to me that the best thing for the Dems in this state is to maintain composure and allow the Repubs to self destruct under the Sonny and Glenn show. Apparently they are not very good at learning lessons from Bush and the formerly Republican controlled Congress.

  20. shrike071 says:

    “Because he lied under oath…”

    Puuuuhleeze. You guys can wrap yourself in that until the cows come home and it still will never hold water. The fact that he lied was a secondary grievance, especially among the religious-right (I.E. Republicans). The reason there was so much ‘outrage’ against what he did was primarily based on his actions with the intern being a disgrace to his office, and a desecration against the sanctity of marriage.

    To have someone argue this point is beyond laughable. Call a spade, a spade and move on. Get a new horse, because this one is worn out.

    As for being a Clinton apologist, you could not be further from the truth, Dave.

  21. fishtail says:

    One of the Courthouse wags here in Savannah said it best today…”The Speaker ain’t any different than our own Senate leader from down here…they rode into Atlanta a few years ago with their talliwackers in one hand and a Bible in the other…the Republicans are just worst hypocrites than the Democrats.”

  22. bignothing21 says:

    I worked for Judge Beavers a couple of years ago. I wouldn’t define him as part of the good ole’ boy system. I always felt that he was impartial, and honest to the core. I suspect this is why Osborne swiped the case from him. For those still confused, there is absolutely a 30 day waiting period for divorces. However, unless I read wrong, it appears that they had a hearing. This means that it was not an uncontested divorce. From my experience, contested divorces usually didn’t make the next calendar, due to large volume of civil cases. Thus, the usual course of an unocntested divorce usually is somewhere in the 30 days to 6 months range. This was a big-time fastrack job. It should raise some serious questions in my opinon.

  23. ksuowls81 says:

    They didn’t impeach Clinton because of sexual misconduct, they impeached him for lying under oath. The same exact thing that Marion Jones is going to jail for now. The same exact reason that Scooter Libby resigned from all of positions.

    Just because you have an OPINION that he got impeached because of sexual misconduct does not mean that is why he was impeached.

    I am not a Richardson supporter in the least bit, but I do know what it is like going through a divorce from a childs stand point, and all of you ought to be ashamed at the joy that you are getting out of this tidbit of news. Is it news worthy? Absolutely. But to make light of it like you “pundits” are doing is absolutely deplorable. Not because of Richardson’s feelings, but because of the members of his family who have to go through this with him.

    And give me a break to the man who says that it’s a great time to be a democrat. In the state of Georgia it doesn’t matter what is going on Democrats are going to be in the minority for quite sometime. Rural Georgia cares about the platforms of the party and not so much about the people who are running under the platforms.

  24. Dave says:

    The articles of impeachment were drafted and based upon his lying, so they most assuredly “held water.” He was impeached based on his lying under oath, whether it was based on a sexual encounter or not.

  25. bird says:

    I’ve done exactly one divorce in my career, and it was a service to a client. But I did learn that for an uncontested divorce, the only details before the Court will be financial.

    Both sides would agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken, and there would an attached settlement agreement laying out who gets what. If the sides are in agreement, which apparently they are, there isn’t going to be a narrative of all the sleazy activities. It would be unnecessary.

    Now, if the former Mrs. Richardson gets everything, you know the Speaker acted inappropriately. Either way though, most people would want that information sealed.

    I can’t believe I just defended the Speaker! Waking up this morning, I thought it would be more likely I would become an astronaut this afternoon than defend the ‘Stache!

    To redeem myself, the waiver of the 30 days waiting period and the reassignment of the case smacks of some serious ethical issues. He clearly thinks he’s above the law.

  26. fishtail says:

    So if the Judicial Qualifications Commission hears a complaint about this mess, it would only be relative to Judge Osborne’s conduct in doing his old law partner a special favor and sweeping this matter under the rug, so to speak? Who serves on the Commission? Can the Speaker have a good deal of influence with the Commission? Sort of like Guv. Sonny had a little word with the State Ethics Commission regarding his illicit land deals? I predict nothing much more happens on this matter. However, I wish I could get invited to some of the parties that the Speaker holds over at the Mariott. Now that he’s officially single, I hear there’s lots of fun going on at that establishment. Sort of like the old Grady Hotel shenanigans. Those ol’ Dems really knew how to raise hell.

  27. DemBones says:

    Ya’ll seem to be a bit too quick to assume that this judge acted inappropriately. The AJC reported that there are some circumstances where the 30 day waiting period can be waived.

    The real question is which one of these exceptions is the one he relied on:

    1) Richardson treated his wife cruelly

    2) Richardson committed adultery

    3) Richardson is incurably mentally ill.

    My money is on #3.

  28. OleDirtyBarrister says:

    DemBones:

    The case was assigned to another judge by the automated system. Richardson bypassed the assigned judge and went in to see a guy with whom he formerly practiced law. Finally, I am not a domestic lawyer but have friends who are, and they tell me that is extremely difficult to get around the 30 day rule. But apparently not when you can go straight to an old partner willing to bend all the rules.

    KSUowl:

    Richardson’s kids may be a victim of a divorce, but it is not due to something that the “pundits” have done, it is due to something their egomaniacal father did.

    Bird:

    The requirement of filing financial info has been used as an excuse for superior court documents not to be accessible on line as they are on PACER. You are correct in that the financial affidavits and child support worksheets should not be publicly accessible, but it does not necessarily follow that the pleadings should not be or that the final order/decree should not be. It is reasonably difficult to seal a case file in state courts and the federal courts and typically requires a pretty good showing. Of course, one does not have to worry about that if there is a judge that acts like a lapdog for an elected official who happens to be a party.

  29. OleDirtyBarrister says:

    Fishtail:

    Google is your friend. The JQC has a detailed website that provides the rules, identities of the members, etc.

    In light of the fact that the judge in issue took on a case that was not assigned to him and took some fairly extraordinary steps for someone with whom he formerly practiced law, a complaint to the JQC would not be deemed to warrant no further investigation.

  30. shrike071 says:

    Dave – you’re hiding behind the dead horse… The original source of the impeachment was the Whitewater land deal, which was expanded to cover the Paula Jones fiasco. Why? Because the Republican’s smelled blood the water and saw it as a prime opportunity to throw some mud.

    That was the source of my original question – back in those days, it was all well-and-good to hold up the harsh lights of investigation into Clinton’s extramarital affairs. Now that it is one of your own – you are eager to cry ‘foul’ and hide behind the privacy that Republicans seem to otherwise have little regard for.

  31. Bill Simon says:

    Shrike,

    Were the Clintons just victims of having the unusual happenstance of being surrounded by a bunch of crooks (the ones who were prosecuted and put in jail)? Are they just innocent lambs that have been unjustly accused?

  32. DoubleDawg3 says:

    I do find it quite sad, as someone alluded to on here earlier – DemBones, I believe, that many of the Republican leaders, those who have preached the “Holier than thou”…”I will defend the sanctity of marriage” spill for the past few years, seem to be having their own problems with preserving the sanctity of marriage.

    These guys in charge are no better than Tom Delay and the Congressional Republicans that have cost our party control of Congress for the foreseeable future – several of them have some serious ethics & moral issues.

  33. Bill Simon says:

    Lying under oath is pretty much “direct violation of the law.”

    Of course, folks like you, Grift, think real war is just a Powder Puff game, don’t you?

  34. shrike071 says:

    Are you fellas that dense? Or just simply trying to divert the focus from my original question? Why is it bad to focus on the Speakers private life, when it was just fine to do it to Clinton?

    He was acquitted of lying, btw – and regardless, the ‘lies’ took place AFTER his personal life came into view.

    Bill – you ever been in combat or are you armchairing it now, much like the folks in power?

  35. Dave says:

    Shrike, I understand that you Dems have to dance with the one that brung ye…It’s just too bad it has to be a guy who’s only remembered world wide for swabbing off on a blue dress. LMAO!

  36. shrike071 says:

    He was acquitted of perjury and obstruction of justice.

    I’d rather have the dude that got blown in the oval office, than the largest political moron in our nation’s history who also just happened to start a war based on lies that led to 3,960 U.S. servicemen and women dead – as well as gutted the personal liberties of this nation’s inhabitants..

    But that’s just me…

  37. griftdrift says:

    First of all Bill, I’m pretty sure I’m quite familiar with what war is. Second, it’s rather convenient to sweep aside the balance of powers between the branches when it suits your needs. Which is exactly what Reagan offiicials did. Which is why there were a swarm of convictions and pardons at the end of his Presidency. Not that dissimilar from your argument about Clinton. Many would argue much worse.

    Julie, the only trial of Clinton ever was the impeachment. He was acquitted in this trial therefore it is hardly a given he lied under oath.

    The fact remains the founders established the threshold for impeachment as the highest of all our laws. Now the House certainly defines what constitutes the rather vague terms. But in my opinion they lowered the threshold significantly by bringing such a ridiculous case to the Senate for trial and in the process tarnished themselves easily as much as Clinton in their eyes tarnished the Presidency.

    Having said all that. The fact remains Clinton was acquitted of all charges. This is something you will never be able to avoid.

  38. bowersville says:

    The fact is this is not news, only gossip.

    Article III, Section 7, Constitution of Georgia. The judges of Superior Court, or ANY ONE OF THEM, shall have power to issue writs…

    Section 9, Divorces shall…have…a… trial before a superior court judge…

    DUH-ah, nothing in there about having a superior court clerk set the agenda or make a ruling.

  39. juliobarrios says:

    Maybe if Clinton had been around to give the order to take Osama out, instead of doing things like getting blown in the oval office things would have turned out a little differently.

  40. shrike071 says:

    A certain network reporter was talking about taking up ‘the original story’ again, regarding the speaker…. Could be interesting

  41. bowersville says:

    A certain network gossip, a monger of lewd reporting was talking about taking up ‘the original story.’

    Again, regarding the monger/reporter…a lewd monger of gossip is just that, a gossip and not a reporter.

  42. Painterman says:

    The man and his former wife just went through a week of hell. Some of their best friends were killed in a plane crash and thier marriage ended. Cut them some slack and have some sympathy for their kids.

  43. Jason Pye says:

    On the perjury charge 10 Republicans voted not guilty

    Actually, nine voted not guilty, one voted “not proved.”

    The House managers were screwed from the start by their counterparts in the Senate.

  44. The Comma Guy says:

    Back to the issue at hand:

    To prevent judge shopping, cases are randomly assigned when filed. The Tax Jesus ignored the judge to whom the case was assigned and went to his old law partner, who was sitting on the bench that day, and got his divorce heard. For those of you not members of the bar, the only times you can file and get heard on the same day are when there is an “emergency” and then the relief is only temporary. If a husband was beating his wife and after leaving the hospital with broken limbs and black eyes she stopped off at the local courthouse to file for divorce, the wife could not get a final decree of divorce that day.

    Many counties require divorcing parents with kids to attend a DHR course and show compliance to the court before the divorce. Does Paulding and was this another requirement waived?

    As stated before, the division of property is VERY important as well as the current residence of the Tax Jesus. Is he now a full-time Fulton County resident? Or is the property on SSI his home?

    In making the decision to run for political office, the Tax Jesus decided that his life would be lived under a bigger spotlight than Joe from Alma. He has to abide by and live under the same rules that the rest of us do and when he gets something that appears to be special treatment, he’s got to be able to explain how it was not or face the consequences.

  45. ksuowls81 says:

    The man got a divorce. He didn’t kill anyone. He wasn’t found with a crack pipe. It wasn’t like he used any leverage to get out of any time in the slammer. Let’s put this in perspective. I understand that there are people out there who do not like this guy and would call it a major story if he accidentally sneezed on somebody. And besides elected official or not we are all human. If anyone in here tells me that you don’t use any special treatment if it is given to you then I would be surprised. It’s called networking people, that’s how the world works.

  46. shrike071 says:

    I find it telling that so many here are willing to look the other way when it suits them. What happened to morals? Ethics?

  47. jsm says:

    This new crowd even makes Rosco Dean look brilliant.

    Since they don’t make Bobby look brilliant, I would think he would take that as an insult.

  48. Bill Simon says:

    Morals? Ethics?

    I’ve been dumbed-down by 7 years of Bush, and 5 years of Sonny Perdue and Eric Johnson. I am not responsible for my state of mind when I have THESE fools as my leaders (sic).

Comments are closed.