AP NEWS

Lumaj complains he’s ‘a victim of a character assassination’

May 2, 2018 GMT

HARTFORD — Republican gubernatorial candidate Peter Lumaj held a press conference Wednesday to complain that a profile of him by Hearst Connecticut Media was “fake news.”

“I am the victim of a character assassination,” Lumaj said.

He offered no verifiable evidence of mistakes in the story, but rather took to the Capitol stairs in front of four reporters to protest a story that pointed out wide gaps between his campaign speeches and what the record shows.

In particular, Lumaj makes broad claims abut his criminal and immigration law practice, but officials at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law from which Lumaj graduated in 2007 said he was granted a Master of Law degree — not a Juris Doctorate, which most states require to sit for the Bar exam. He is a member of the Bar in the District of Columbia, which does not require a J.D.

Lumaj, 50, offered few more details on his law practice Wednesday. He said he now has 300 active cases and waved at reporters a spiral notebook containing a handwritten list of what he said were the 1,119 cases he said he has handled.

“Let’s go to court together,” he told reporters.

Kathryn Mattingly, a spokesman for the Executive Office of Immigration Review under the U.S. Department of Justice, told Hearst that Lumaj is registered to practice before the immigration court and the Board of Immigration Appeals. But his eRegistry account has been deactivated due to lack of activity.

Connecticut Democrats said Lumaj was merely copying President Donald J. Trump’s strategy of attacking the press.

”These attacks on the press lauded by the Connecticut Republicans and their candidates are directly from the Trump playbook,” Christina Polizzi, communications director for the Connecticut Democrats, said in a statement. “Peter Lumaj’s attacks on the media are jarring, but it’s not hard to see where he got idea.”

One of 12 GOP candidates for the state’s top job, Lumaj received only one vote out of 62 at the Republican Town Committee in his hometown of Fairfield Tuesday night.

Reporting contributed by Kaitlyn Krasselt.