20 March 2009

Coleman's Attorney Anticipates Loss

You have to feel badly for Norm Coleman.

Although the three judge panel has yet to rule on the Coleman/Franken battle over a Minnesota Senate seat, Coleman's lawyer, Joe Friedberg, acknowledges that Franken will most likely win the court case. Friedman seems to be okay with that because his team designed its strategy with an eye for the appellate court. In a radio interview, Friedberg said:
Our whole argument was that it was a constitutional argument. It's an argument that's really suited for the Minnesota Supreme Court, but not for the trial court. So we'll see whether we were right or not" (MPR).]
In other words, they took a heack of a gamble. Apparently, Friedberg's complaint rests on how the court panel ruled on ballots, asserting that,

the panel changed the vote counting rules in mid-February when it ruled some ballots illegal that the state canvassing board had already counted.

"There were rules on election day and they are desperately different from the rules that you're applying because you're looking at the statute, and on election day, many counties didn't," he said. (MPR).

I'm unsure of what they hope to accomplish by heading to the appellate court: that is, if the court rejcts the panel's ruling, what then? Does the whole mess just head back to the courts, or is Coleman still angling for a new election? If he hopes for the latter, he must worry whether a majority of Minnesotans will happily re-elect Coleman after nearly six months of political and legal drama (the latest of which involves the Coleman campaign's possibly illegal handling of a series of data breaches at the Coleman website; the first data breach occurred in January, but the campaign failed to notify donors until this month--a violation of state law).

It also looks as though interest is stirring in a pair of lawsuits brought against Coleman. He has asked the FEC for permission to use campaign contributions to fight off lawsuits that,

allege that the St. Paul insurance company [where Coleman's wife works] received money meant for Coleman disguised as payments from a Texas firm — Deep Marine Technology — controlled by Coleman friend and benefactor Nasser Kazeminy. (Minnesota Independent)
If there is a new election, you can expect much hay out of Coleman's misfortunes; similarly, you can expect Coleman's campaign, funded by an RNC desperate to prevent the seating of a 59th Senate Democrat, to hit Franken with everything they've got. . .and more. If the court decides against Coleman and he drags this out, it will be ugly.

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