Fitzgerald says Buchanan no-show demonstrates ‘contempt for the legal process’

Keith Fitzgerald

Democratic congressional candidate Keith Fitzgerald told reporters on a conference call this afternoon he is “disappointed” that U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan was a no-show at a deposition scheduled for today, July 30, saying “we’re a nation of laws” and that “it’s incumbent on each of us,” particularly political leaders, “to respect our legal system.”

The Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported this afternoon that Buchanan did not show up for a deposition he was scheduled to give in a lawsuit filed against him by a former business partner, because, according to “Buchanan’s legal team,” Buchanan attorney Mark Ornstein “was seriously ill.”

As The Sarasota News Leader reported last week, attorneys for the man suing Buchanan, Sam Kazran, were unsure whether Buchanan would attend. The deposition was supposed to be an important step in the lawsuit filed by Kazran, who has accused Buchanan of (among other things) instructing Kazran to collect illegal campaign contributions from employees at a car dealership the two co-owned.

Pointing out that polls show a large majority of Americans distrust government, and Congress in particular, Fitzgerald said political leaders have a “special obligation” to abide by the legal process. Fitzgerald has largely stayed quiet about the Kazran case, but he is speaking out now because the case has become an “embarrassment.”

“When I decided to run it was because I’m concerned about the direction the country is going in,” Fitzgerald said. “I wasn’t running because I was interested in giving anybody a bloody nose.” But Fitzgerald said it’s an issue he can’t avoid. “I would far prefer to be talking about the big challenges this country faces,” he said, “but I can’t avoid talking about this, because I’m asked about it nonstop.”