Paterson’s New Lawyers

ALBANY—Democrats are attacking a court order restraining Richard Ravitch, the newly appointed lieutenant governor, saying it was obtained improperly.

“We continue to want an expeditious court review; we want it to be in the appropriate court, not Nassau County in the middle of the night,” Kathleen Sulivan, the former dean of Stanford Law School and the head of David Paterson’s newly named legal team, said. “If you’re going to try to enjoin action by public officers, you have to do that in the district where those actions take place. There is nothing you can stop the lieutenant governor from doing … in Nassau County.”

Sullivan spoke to reporters on a conference call along with Richard Briffault, a professor at Columbia Law School; Thomas Gleason of the firm Gleason, Dunn, Walsh & O’Shea; and Victor Kovner, a former counsel for Hugh Carey. Sullivan said Attorney General Andrew Cuomo could have represented the governor in this matter, but declined. The legal team will be paid with state money; Kovner and Briffault suggested they were working pro bono.

Kovner suggested that there were “ethical questions” by Republican attorneys for acting in the middle of the night. Austin Shafran, a spokesman for Democrats in the State Senate, said it was a “shameful attempt by the Republicans at stealth justice.” He added it was a clear case of “forum-shopping.”

Gleason said that Paterson and Ravitch would abide by the court order, but would “seek relief.” Details on that relief were not offered.

Paterson’s New Lawyers