Already, this story is weird enough, casting the McCains in a fairly negative light. It gets better.
The court records clearly show the mother filed a suit against Carol in 1990, but:
Curiously, although the records clearly list the plaintiffs, McCain's campaign says that the Arizona senator didn't know about or authorize the 1990 lawsuit with his ex-wife, Carol, and that his mother's 1980 lawsuit was filed "unintentionally." And McCain's 96-year-old mother, Roberta, says she never sued Carol.
How on earth do you file a lawsuit unintentionally? "Oh, no, I only meant to use the threat of a lawsuit to extort what I wanted from Carol. I never wanted to actually file the suit!"
It continues to get better:
In the 1980 lawsuit, filed shortly after John and Carol McCain divorced, Roberta sued Carol to reclaim some personal property, including paintings, a needlepoint screen and a pair of earrings. A settlement was reached in 1981.
But in a brief telephone interview, Roberta denied filing the lawsuit.
"I have never heard of what you're talking about. ... I will put my hand on a Bible," she said, to attest that she had never sued Carol.
Roberta's denial prompted laughter from the ex-daughter-in-law.
"Yes, she sued me," Carol said in a brief phone interview.
Roberta's lawsuit sought personal property she claimed Carol was refusing to return. The disputed items included an "18th century Burmise Buddist Preist (Burmese Buddhist priest)" valued by Roberta at $2,000, and a "Butlers Tray for Liquor" she valued at $225.
I love it when statements are so ridiculous they generate laughter in response.
McCain campaign spokesman Tucker Bounds said in an e-mail, "Of course, by all accounts the divorce was completely amicable. After John and Carol McCain's divorce, there was apparently some confusion about belongings that were Roberta McCain's but we understand the court papers were unintentionally filed, and the matter never went further in the legal system. It went nowhere, and was of no consequence."
Relying on "unintentional lawsuit" as a defense is just plain weird. Only an elitist slips and files a lawsuit.
So John's lawsuit was "unauthorized." I guess that's slightly different that unintentional. And once again, we get laughter in response to McCain's denials from one of the expert witnesses. Brilliant.
In the 1990 lawsuit, John and Carol McCain jointly sought $1 million in punitive damages after a property management firm mistakenly threw out some McCain family treasures from a garage the McCains shared with an adjacent townhouse. The lost items included letters McCain wrote to his wife as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.
In his e-mail, Bounds said McCain "had no knowledge of the suit: He did not authorize the suit or participate in its filing."
But the lawyer who represented the McCains said she did indeed speak to McCain and get his permission to sue on his behalf.
"You can be sure that I talked to and got the permission of any client who is listed as a plaintiff," said attorney Barbara P. Beach.
It would be a serious violation to file an unauthorized lawsuit, and "I haven't been disbarred yet," Beach said with a laugh.
McCain sure does have trouble with his memory, eh? What with all the memory-related gaffes, we're once again presented an unpleasant set of possibilities. Either McCain is having real cognitive difficulties, and should not be President, or he is using the Alberto Gonzales approach to governing and accountability - "I do not recall" - and is not honest enough to be President.