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Coleman-Franken notebook: A lo-o-o-ng way to go, where’s Norm, an odd name and Thursday’s double dose of court hearings

Need the latest on Senate contest happenings? Here are four vignettes to satisfy your thirst.
Senate race trial: ‘A turning point,’ says Coleman side, but Franken set to seek election certificate Thursday

For today’s episode of “Showdown in Courtroom 300” …

See ya in apple blossom time
If Judge Denise Reilly means what she says, we could be here a long time. As in extremely long time.

This morning, Judge Reilly, of Hennepin County, said of the three judges: “The panel is going to make sure that every legally cast and wrongfully rejected ballot is opened and counted.”

That universe of possibly examined Coleman ballots is now in the 4,800 range.

If the judges allow the Coleman side to spend three minutes on each witness, that’s 30 eight-hour days, or six weeks of trial time. But, wait, that doesn’t allow time for Franken cross-examination. Add another 30 days.

That would take us into — gulp! — May.

Unless they come up with some other method …

Coleman off to work
For the second straight day, Norm Coleman wasn’t in court.

He attended the trial last week and chatted regularly and amicably with the assembled gaggle of journalists. He raised some worthy notes about the need for election reform to reach young people who are computer savvy.

“If I’m back in the Senate,” he said, he’d work to make changes that keep young people’s email, IM and PDF habits in mind. He was impressed by one voter whose ballot was rejected because he didn’t fill out an absentee ballot application form by hand or get it photocopied.

He was in Courtroom 300 Monday morning again at his lawyers’ table but then departed at the lunch break for “other work responsibilities,” spokesman Mark Drake said. Coleman, of course, was hired last month by the Republican Jewish Coalition.

A couple of cynics out there — yes, there are cynics who read MinnPost — opined to your humbled correspondent that Coleman ducked out of the trial immediately after Star Tribune reporters Paul McEnroe and Tony Kennedy popped off  to MinnPost’s David Brauer about how, in their words, Coleman “misrepresented the facts” about their work during an interview with Channel 4’s Esme Murphy.

Did that explosive item push Sen. Coleman out the courthouse door and away from reporters on site?

“Absurd,” said Drake. “Absurd.”

As for Al Franken, he’s still on vacation in Florida. He’s expected back in Minnesota later this week.

Best voter’s name so far
During a review of ballots and voters, the Franken campaign found a name that was too awesome not to share with bored reporters at the election contest trial.

The voter’s name: Rock Fonzarelli Nyarlathotep Awesome.

Shortened, it’s Rock F.N. Awesome. Say it fast.

In an email to the MinnPost investigative team, Mr. Awesome replied: “I hope I didn’t have my vote rejected due to election workers thinking I was voting under an alias!”

It is his legal name. Birth name unknown.

His Awesomeness voted in person, by the way, not by absentee ballot. We’re not sure how he voted, but his political views on Facebook are listed as “Obscenely Liberal.”

Courtroom A or Courtroom B?
On Thursday, this case will be staged in two courtrooms.

The trial is set to begin at 9 a.m. in the Minnesota Supreme Court courtroom on the third floor of the Minnesota Judicial Center.

Meanwhile, over at the State Capitol in the old Supreme Court courtroom, a Supreme Court hearing is set for Al Franken’s lawyer Marc Elias to argue that Franken should be awarded his election certificate and seated in Washington … pending the outcome of the trial, which will be ongoing a block away.

James Langdon of the Dorsey firm will represent the Coleman campaign.

Wonderfully accessible TheUptake, which MinnPost has been streaming, will show the Supreme Court hearing on its main site. The trial will be on another TheUptake page. But there’s a chance the trial will recess while the election certificate hearing is under way.

Check back here for details on how to see both feeds, a sort of ESPN and ESPN 2 of legal contests.

If this trial goes on any longer, there could be a Recount Classic channel coming to a cable system near you soon.

Jay Weiner can be reached at jweiner [at] minnpost [dot] com.