Franken-Coleman Update, 03/03/09 (AM Edition): Now It’s Al’s Turn
After six weeks of representing Norm Coleman’s case to the three judges on the Election Contest Court, the Coleman legal team has "provisionally" rested — which means it’s now the Franken team’s turn at bat.
The Franken team will make a motion to dismiss the case entirely as the Franken camp claims that there’s no way for Coleman to take the lead in the vote count. (Franken’s lead, per Jay Weiner at MinnPost, stands unofficially at 255 — that is, 258 minus three of the Nauen voters; those three voters’ ballots were pulled from the count by the court yesterday.) This motion will likely not get anywhere as the court has already indicated that some additional ballots will be counted, and it has hinted that some others such as Pile 3a (which WineRev explains here) will also be counted. Taken together, the total number of additional ballots is large enough to potentially give Coleman the lead, and so long as that possibility exists, however small, the case cannot be dismissed. Franken may fare better with the motion for summary judgment, especially if it involved the missing Minneapolis ballots that Coleman’s camp finally admitted existed last week; if the ECC now believes there is no factual dispute to be settled any more with regard to these ballots, then that issue may be struck from the contest in the interest of speeding things along.
During yesterday’s lunch recess, the Coleman camp continued its custom of holding press conferences in order to make various unsupported statements that they don’t dare utter in court for fear of drawing sanctions and fines. Ben "Pro Hack" Ginsberg attacked "systemic corruption" in voter databases, attempting to make a mountain out of the molehill that was state elections official Gary Poser’s testimony that the voter database could theoretically be corrupted. Nobody at the presser bothered to ask Ginsberg if anyone on Coleman’s legal team had brought this up before the judges while court was in session. Meanwhile, the Election Contest Court ruled that the Coleman camp owes Al Franken’s attorneys $7,500 — which is the price of three days of court action, the amount of time that the court figured the Coleman camp had wasted with its attempt to hide Pamela Howell until the last moment and coach her even when she was in court. (Meanwhile (h/t WineRev), Noah Kunin of The UpTake points out that during the recount, Franken’s people issued a complaint over Howell’s handling of ballots in her precinct. Could it be that her unsupported word on the stand is payback for this?)
Oh, and remember the Duluth election official who wanted to be paid for his time spent on the stand or he wouldn’t show? Well, guess what? The ECC ruled that 1) they’re not paying him and 2) he’d better show up or else.