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Franken-Coleman Update, 02/27/09: Under the Bus

The former Senator Blo-And-Go

This has been a bombshell day to cap off a bombshell week.  As noted earlier today, not only is Pamela Howell’s testimony yet again in question, but the whole Coleman-camp double-counting scenario she was supposed to bolster is in danger of being tossed. 

Eric Kleefeld, who like me has been following this case via The UpTake (throw them a few ducats if you can), beautifully described what happened next:

Lillehaug said they should not have to go back to the drawing board to figure out how to cross-examine her, and thus her testimony must be struck, and with it the entire double-counting claim for all precincts.

Lead Coleman attorney Joe Friedberg got up to mount a defense — and totally threw Trimble, Hapooja, and fellow lawyer James Langdon under the bus. He said he’d asked them on Wednesday if there were other things going on, and he didn’t know about it: "I can tell you that if I’d have known these things existed, I would have disclosed them."

Ouchie ouchie ouchie.  Then again, Friedberg has to do this if he wants to salvage his reputation as a hot-shot attorney — a reputation that has taken a beating with every Coleman camp gaffe and miscue.

The Pioneer Press’ Rachel E. Stassen-Berger has been doing signal work here, the best of the TradMedders, I believe.  (She’s also addicted to The UpTake.)  Here are her takes on the Howell hoo-ha, and on the sixty-three St. Louis County ballots Norm claimed were illegal, but were in fact legal overseas military ballots.

In other news, a Duluth elections clerk wants $60 an hour, in advance, before agreeing to testify before the ECC.  The big question:  Who should pay for this — Coleman, as the contestant, or the City of Duluth (which is flat broke)?

And in The UpTake’s liveblog, commenter Tomtech (who is also a diarist at DailyKos) summed up today’s proceedings thus, in successive postings:


Tomtech:  Today saw Mrs Howell back on the stand for a short period(not archived). Franken moved again that Mrs Howell’s testimony be struck after the court received E-mail that showed Mrs Howell and her testimony was deliberately hidden from Franken’s discovery requests. A lawyer working for Coleman and Trimble had communications with Mrs Howell discussing exactly how to keep Franken from discovering what she was going to testify about so she wouldn’t be tied into a definite story.


Tomtech:  The rest of the morning was on motions. Coleman asked the court to evaluate all 280,000 using the Valentine Eve’s standard and proportionately reduce the vote totals by precinct (since that has the greatest effect in large Franken precincts) whenever they find an AB that doesn’t comply with the strict interpretation standards. Marc Elias actually used an argument I have been pushing that all counted ballots were counted because the Party’s (DFL/GOP) agreed they should be counted (election judge agreement).


Tomtech:  Franken’s team stayed out of a motions argument that 8 of the 24 Nauen voters [PW notes:  "Nauen voters" are Franken voters whose ballots were initially rejected but which were allowed into the count earlier this month; they are named for their lawyer, Charles Nauen] didn’t apply with the Valentine Eve’s standard. Nauen agreed a three of those didn’t comply but since Coleman agreed they should be counted on Feb 13th (before the ruling) he should be prevented from asking those three, or all eight, should be thrown out.

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