Portions of Puzder’s Sealed Divorce Records Released by Judge

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By Hassan A. Kanu

A Missouri judge ordered the release of some previously unavailable portions of labor secretary nominee Andrew Puzder’s divorce proceedings, Daniel Stevens, executive director of Campaign for Accountability, told Bloomberg BNA Feb. 14.

Lisa Fierstein, Puzder’s ex-wife, previously accused the millionaire CEO of CKE Restaurants Inc. of domestic violence, although she’s since retracted those allegations.

CfA, a government watchdog group, opposes Puzder’s nomination and has filed motions to unseal the entire record in the case. Puzder’s confirmation hearing is scheduled for Feb. 16.

“The clerk for the St. Louis courts said that after Puzder was nominated she’d compiled a packet of information to release to the public,” Stevens said. “However, when we tried to get the documents they weren’t provided, and members of the press weren’t provided copies either, so while they’re saying the documents were publicly available it seems they actually weren’t.”

Stevens said the judge provided the packet Feb. 14. The documents contain allegations that Puzder “physically assaulted his then-wife on more than one occasion,” he said, and include new and unreported information. The organization is still reviewing the records.

Judge Douglas Beach of the St. Louis County Circuit Court directed attorneys on both sides to submit a proposed order by 9:30 a.m. on Feb. 15.

A proposed order essentially means attorneys will submit draft opinions supporting their position for the judge to adopt and sign off on. They aren’t uncommon and are requested by judges for different reasons, including expediency. The request by Beach indicates that he may want to decide whether or not to unseal the entire record Feb. 15, before Puzder’s hearing.

CfA “asked the judge to unseal all remaining records so that the Senate and the American people are able to make an informed decision as to whether Mr. Puzder is fit to serve,” Stevens said. “We hope that the sum total of this information is made available in the next 48 hours.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Hassan A. Kanu in Washington at hkanu@bna.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Peggy Aulino at maulino@bna.com; Terence Hyland at thyland@bna.com; Christopher Opfer at copfer@bna.com

For More Information

Text of the unsealed portions of the divorce proceedings is available at http://src.bna.com/meF and at http://src.bna.com/meG.

Copyright © 2017 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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