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Coleman travels to Washington and talks – a little

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Former Sen. Norm Coleman said today that his legal fight with Al Franken will not be over “at least” until the state Supreme Court has a chance to review the case -- keeping the door open for the possibility of a federal fight and potentially a move to try and block an election certificate until such a case is concluded.

“Election certificates are issued at the conclusion of the legal process, and the legal process...certainly won’t be concluded at least until the Minnesota Supreme Court has a chance to review these issues,” said Coleman after a meeting this afternoon with supporters and donors at the National Republican Senatorial Committee in Washington, D.C.

Coleman, who appeared tired but did allow your dutiful D.C. reporter to follow him to his car after expressing surprise that MinnPost had a reporter in the nation’s capital, declined to say who, exactly, he met with.

“A lot of friends,” he said.

George Lowe, former chief of staff for former Alaskan Sen. Ted Stevens, had signed in at the front desk of building where the gathering took place. Lowe is now president of Lowe Strategies, a government relations organization. Coincidence? Perhaps. There were certainly other things going on in the building.

“We had a very good meeting,” Coleman continued. “We went over where the case is at and the position of the courts and we talked about the next steps.”

The Minnesota DFL Party responded later to the closed-door session.

“Rather than being transparent regarding his intentions, former Senator Coleman is hiding behind closed doors in a secret strategy session with national Republicans,” DFL Party Chairman Brian Melendez said in a statement.

Franken, of course, has also had his fair share of private meetings while visiting Washington.

Move to federal courts?

On Tuesday, the three-judge panel in Franken-Coleman legal fight over the U.S. Senate seat allowed the review of no more than 400 ballots, which was seen as a win for Franken, who leads by 225 votes.

Since then, the Coleman camp and Senate Republicans have been talking about a likely appeal to the state Supreme Court, and possibly a move to the federal courts depending on the outcome.

But, when asked today about the possibility of going federal with his appeal, Coleman demurred. “Just one step at a time,” he said.

The Coleman team’s primary issue remains “equal protection” violations. This means that they believe that different standards were used in accepting or denying similar ballots in various counties.

“The ruling is a very narrowly focused ruling; it ignores the fact that there are a lot of votes that haven’t been counted,” said Coleman of the 400-ballot decision.

Democrats have accused Coleman and other Republicans of stalling to keep a Senate seat open, depriving Senate leadership from what would likely be a dependable liberal vote in Franken.

Coleman said that he was “stunned” by the Democrat’s position.

“I am stunned that the other side would want to disenfranchise voters,” said Coleman. “This is an effort to make sure voters are enfranchised...I think this is what Minnesotans want, and in the end this has to be decided by insuring that all the votes that should be counted are counted.”

Once the state Supreme Court makes a decision in the case, Gov. Tim Pawlenty will have to make the decision whether to sign an election certificate or not. If the case continues to federal court, there is also the potential that a federal court could issue a stay and prevent a certificate from being issued.

Texas lawsuit

And speaking of legal matters, on that pesky Texas lawsuit alleging that a prominent Minnesota businessman improperly funneled money to Coleman through his wife’s insurance company, Coleman continues to deny any wrongdoing.

“There have never been any allegations that either my wife or I have done anything wrong,” said Coleman. “There are allegations between businessmen about a business dispute. But there has never been a single allegation that me or my wife have done anything wrong and we haven’t.”

Indeed, Coleman is not named as a defendant in the case. As the case stands now, there are allegations that money was paid to an insurance agency, where Coleman’s wife was employed, for the benefit of Coleman. The company has said that none of the money went to the Colemans.

There have been reports that the FBI had opened an investigation into allegations in the Texas lawsuit and a similar one in Delaware. Asked if the FBI had contacted him, Coleman smiled and shrugged his shoulders.

“I can’t say anything,” he said. “We want this matter to be fully reviewed and fully investigated because nothing happened and we are looking forward to that taking place.”

And on that note, we arrived at Coleman’s car and he ended the conversation by turning and putting his hands on my shoulders.

“Too many questions,” he said, laughing.

Then, he hopped into the passenger seat and was driven away with a wave and another broad smile.

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Comments (4)

"...but did allow your dutiful D.C. reporter to follow him to his car..."

How gracious of him.

Cynthia Dizikes reports:
“We had a very good meeting,” Coleman continued. “We went over where the case is at and the position of the courts and we talked about the next steps.”

So... Is he making his decisions based on what is best for the GOP leadership in Washington, or on what is best for Minnesotans?

"And on that note, we arrived at Coleman’s car and he ended the conversation by turning and putting his hands on my shoulders."

Good ol' Norm. All the stresses of the election don't stop him from being as creepy and inappropriate as ever.

Coleman refused to answer when asked if he is under investigation by the FBI.

Let's see there are two possibilities:

1) He isn't under investigation - in which case he would have jumped at the chance to publicly and loudly proclaim that, or

2) He is under investigation - in which case he would refuse to comment.

Thanks for letting us know where the contributions to your legal fund are really going Norm! The gross incompetence of your contest of the election now makes sense. The legal fund $$ are being hoarded to try to keep you out of the federal penitentiary.