Skip to Content

Support MinnPost

Franken team can’t rest yet; also: another legal scuffle, and Coleman fundraising takes a hit

Tuesday, when he announced Al Franken would rest his case in the Senate election contest, lawyer Marc Elias allowed that a “hiccup” could prevent his team of attorneys from putting a punctuation mark on the end of their case.

But in Minnesota, a blizzard is even more troublesome than a hiccup.

That’s why Franken’s side didn’t rest today. The county auditor from Clay County, in Moorhead, was expected to be one of Franken’s final witnesses but wasn’t able to get to St. Paul today because the snows of March shut down I-94.

Another couple of witnesses also will take the stand Thursday, and then – assuming no other hiccups – Franken’s side will rest its case.

Then, Coleman’s team is expected to put on its rebuttal to the Franken case. But there was a legal skirmish in court about how much Coleman could bring in. The judges hadn’t ruled on that issue by the end of the day.

Meanwhile, as expected, Norm Coleman’s lawyers presented a spreadsheet of 1,360 ballots. Those are the ballots Coleman believes the three-judge panel should order to be opened and counted.

Ben Ginsberg, Coleman’s legal spokesman, said all 1,360 should be counted. But Elias, noting key missing elements in all of the proposed Coleman ballots, had a smaller number.


If you remember, last week the Franken side sought to have the entire case dismissed. Analyzing more than 3,600 ballots once submitted by Coleman, Franken’s lawyers determined only nine followed all the guidelines established by Judges Elizabeth Hayden, Kurt Marben and Denise Reilly in their major order of Feb. 13.

Ginsberg has been critical of that ruling, saying it triggered a series of inconsistencies in the judges’ rulings and in how some local election officials counted ballots.

Be that as it may, it’s unlikely that all of Coleman’s 1,360 ballots will be opened. The Star Tribune’s Pat Doyle has an interesting analysis of the ballots already.

In this view, even if all of Coleman’s ballots are allowed in, he’d only pick up a net of 57 votes. And that assumes that absentee ballots break the same way as voters in person did on Election Day. Anecdotally, we know that it’s more like that Franken-leaning voters cast their ballots absentee.

Thus, Coleman’s vote pickup, even with his ballots, doesn’t seem to be enough to overcome Franken’s 225 vote lead, which was determined by the State Canvassing Board in January.

Speaking of which, Franken seemed to have picked up another 14 votes today as the result of a ruling by the three judges. In the subset of Franken-leaning voters represented by Minneapolis lawyer Charles Nauen, the judges agreed that 14 more were legally cast.

Unofficially, based on rulings during the seven-week-long trial, Franken probably now has closer to a 300-vote lead than the official 225.

On another front, Norm Coleman’s fundraising efforts may have taken a hit today. It appears that credit card information about his donors may have been compromised.

Read Associated Press St. Paul correspondent Brian Bakst’s report here.

Speaking to reporters after court today, a somber Coleman called it “an attack on this campaign,” “chilling,” “frightening” and “very debilitating.”

Of course, fundraising is what’s keeping Sen. Coleman’s legal efforts alive here.

Get MinnPost's top stories in your inbox

Comments (4)

Re: those wayward credit card numbers for Coleman supporters. Coleman called it an attack on his campaign. Fritz Knaak suggested that the hacking was politically motivated. Betcha that by tomorrow Limbaugh and Hannity and all the right-wing bloggers will be claiming that Franken is not only stealing Coleman's votes, but also his campaign contributions.

re Ginsberg: anything he might have to say should be treated like what any PR flack might say, since so far as we know he has not submitted to the authority of the court. Rather, he haunts the corridors.

Please report what is said by those who might be sanctioned for lying. Or, at least note for readers when hacks are hacking.

Or... perhaps it's possible that the Coleman "team" has been just as inept at computer security as they have been at this entire recount and election contest. If they had had decent security on the web site that accepted donations to his legal effort, it's unlikely they could have been hacked.

I see where Mr. Coleman is quoted in the Star Tribune as saying,

"We live in a world where privacy is hard enough to maintain as it is, and what little is left we find is compromised..."

Yes, Mr. Coleman, that's exactly what I was thinking as I pondered your votes to grant sweeping new eavesdropping powers in the FISA act reform (which left discretion as to the scope of those powers and how to implement them to our friends in the National Security Agency, rather than the courts) and similar encroachments on our personal liberties in the various incarnations of the Patriot Act.

Yes, Mr. Coleman, I also lament our mutual loss of privacy.

But I have to say my eyes remain dry when, having compromised our liberties, you now ask us to weep for the loss of yours.

Yeah, that's too bad.