Schmidt’s Deposition: ‘We Shouldn’t Forget the Past’


By Thomas C. Nash
Mirror-Spectator Staff

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The testimony from Rep. Jean Schmidt’s deposition given to opponent David Krikorian reveals a heated exchange in which she denies any link between her taking money from a Turkish American political action committee and her position on the Armenian Genocide resolution.

Schmidt, a Republican incumbent, charged Krikorian in April with making false statements during the 2008 election campaign in which he claimed Schmidt, an incumbent Republican, took “blood money” from the Turkish government in exchange for opposing the Armenian Genocide resolution.

Krikorian, an Ohio business owner running for the Democratic nomination in the 2010 House race, sought Schmidt’s deposition in order to defend himself against the charges — which were scheduled to be heard on September 3 after the Mirror-Spectator went to press.
Krikorian said Schmidt’s legal team had attempted to prevent the taping of the deposition. He added that they succeeded in getting the Ohio Elections Commission not to admit the tape into the record.

“[Schmidt] brought this complaint and I have a right to a videotape of the deposition,” Krikorian said after her testimony. “It’s not my problem that she feels her enemies might use this tape against her in the future.”

“The [Ohio Elections Commission] said the written transcript should be sufficient, but frankly their decision violates my rights.”
Ohio Elections Commission Executive Director Philip Richter said they are confident that their position is legal.

The following is a portion of the transcript released by Krikorian’s campaign. A draft of the transcript is available here, via the Brad Blog.

[Christopher Finney, attorney for Krikorian] Q: Okay. I’m going to give you something that’s been marked as Exhibit A. That is an article from a newspaper called The Daily — I’m sorry, Today’s Zaman. Do you know what that is? What is Today’s Zaman?

Q. Do you know what Today’s Zaman is, Mrs. Schmidt?

[Schmidt] A: May I please have time to read this, sir?

Q. Oh, I’m sorry. Yes. Sure.

A. (Perusing document.)

Q. Okay. Mrs. Schmidt, what is Today’s Zaman?

A. I believe it’s a periodical in Turkey.

Q. Okay. It’s a — it’s a newspaper in Turkey. That would be your understanding?

A. Periodical, newspaper, something that is read by Turkey’s citizens.

Q. Okay. And on June the 4th of this year you – you were published in Today’s Zaman in Turkey; is that correct?

A. Yes.

Q. You wrote an editorial?

A. Yes.

Q. And that was to coincide with President Obama’s visit to that country; is that correct?

A. Well, it coincided with his visit, yes.

Q. That wasn’t the purpose of it to coincide?

A. No. It wasn’t the purpose but it did coincide.

Q. Did you write this editorial?

A. Yes.

Q. You did? These are your words?

A. Yes.

Q. Did anyone else help you to write it?

A. I had it edited by my chief of staff.

Q. And did any outside persons, such as [Schmidt attorney Bruce Fein] or anyone else, help to write this?

A. No.

Q. You had it edited, but the original draft came off of your word processor or pen; is that right?

A. Well, I don’t use a word processor.

Q. Okay. So the original draft was a handwritten version from you?

A. Actually, it was an oral version to my chief of staff.

Q. You dictated this to him?

A. The ideas of it, yes.

Q. Okay. And in this you talk about the Armenian Genocide Resolution, right?

A. Where are you putting this in here so I know what you’re referring to.

Q. Well, we could start with the bold headline that says: “US Congress should not debate the Armenian genocide resolution.”

A. Okay.

Q. Were those your words or was that something the Daily Zaman added?

A. That I’m not sure of.

Q. Okay. Now, in the — in the very last paragraph of that it says, “What happened in 1915 must never be forgotten.” Do you see that?

A. Yes.

Q. What — what are you referring to that happened in 1915 that must never be forgotten? –

A. Well, there obviously was an incident that happened in 1915.

Q. And what was that incident?

A. Well, there was something that went on in Turkey that involved Turks and Armenians.

Q. Okay. And what is it that you remember about or that you know or have an understanding of about those events?

A. Well, I don’t remember them because I wasn’t there.

Q. Right.

A. And I’m still trying to have a complete understanding of those events.

Q. I understand that. But you told all the people of Turkey that we shouldn’t forget these events. I’m asking you: What is it that we’re
supposed to remember?

A. Well, we shouldn’t forget the past.

Q. And what is it about the events of 1915 that we’re supposed to remember.

A. When I become a scholar of this, I’ll let you know.

Q. Okay. But when you wrote this on June the fourth of 2009, you had no understanding at all of what happened in Turkey in 1915; is that right?

A. I said I had limited understanding.

Q. Okay. And I’ve asked you four times this morning to tell us what that limited understanding is, and you’ve told me nothing.

Q. Events happened. And what were those events?

A. People got killed on both sides. How many people? I don’t know.

Q. And that’s your total sum and substance of your understanding of that event?

A. That’s about the basic understanding, yes.