franken-coleman-court.thumbnail.jpgDay Seven of the Coleman contest trial of the recount, and here are some notable things therefrom:

— Local Coleman team lawyer Tony Trimble was released from whatever dungeon the out-of-state Pros from Dover tossed him and Fritz Knaak in, and actually allowed to speak in court — for about two minutes or so, right after the lunch recess.

— Franken attorney Keith Hamilton then appeared and cross-examined a Coleman voter who had submitted an absentee ballot with non-matching signatures, for which it was rightly and legally rejected, but which Coleman thinks should be counted.  Under cross-examination, the witness revealed that she later went on to vote in person anyway, which is legal in Minnesota — the vote cast in person is counted and the absentee ballot ignored.  (Remember, Team Coleman’s been whining about allegedly double-counted ballots allegedly benefitting Franken all through this.  Oh, the irony!)

— Oh, and Team Coleman just dropped their challenge against the 933 fifth-pile (that is, wrongly rejected) absentee ballots that, when they were finally counted last month, turned Al Franken’s 49-vote lead into a 225-vote lead.  (As Eric Kleefeld points out, these were also ballots that the Coleman team had agreed to count during the negotiation of the fifth-pile ballot counting rules.)   That’s pretty huge, and a sign that the Coleman team knows it’s doomed on the merits. 

— Meanwhile, the judges of the Election Contest Court bounced Coleman’s attempt to muddy the waters by counting all 11,000-odd rejected absentee ballots.  Instead, they have "narrowed the universe" and identified around 4,800 of these rejected absentee ballots that they will allow to be reviewed for what will be a third time; this is more than what the Franken campaign wanted to see — and really, they have a point as these ballots have already been legally rejected twice — but the ECC is being relatively nice to Coleman so as to keep him from having any legitimate rationale for appeal.

So why are they fighting on?  In part, to cause fear, uncertainly and doubt over the recount process, in the hopes of getting a do-ver — even if it means sliming the reputations of tens of thousands of local, county and state elections officials and state judges, including the ones of the Minnesota Supreme Court.  But it’s also to make it harder for the Democrats to get the stimulus bill passed, which seems to be their top priority now.  But this might be all for naught, as State Representative Phyllis Kahn (DFL-Minneapolis) has a bill before the Minnesota House that would compel the Secretary of State and Governor to sign Franken’s election certificate, thus allowing Franken to be seated.  Pawlenty would veto it, but there is a chance, albeit slim, that the DFL might be able to peel off enough Republicans to override a Pawlenty veto; even Minnesota Republicans have got to be increasingly upset that we only have one Senator allowed to represent us right now.

Phoenix Woman

Phoenix Woman