Former Sen. Norm Coleman’s legal team has rested. After five weeks of testimony from voters and election officials, they have finished making their case, and the gist of their argument is this: the election contest was rife with errors and the certification of Al Franken as the victor by 225 votes should be invalidated.
Tomorrow Al Franken’s legal team will begin making its own case, which attorney Marc Elias predicts will take two to three weeks. Franken’s attorneys, however, will present a much sunnier assessment of the state’s election system.
“Minnesotans have a lot to be proud of,” Elias said on a conference call with reporters this afternoon. “Their elections were run efficiently, were run effectively. The system worked.”
The three-judge panel hearing the case issued several orders this afternoon. It ruled that three Franken voters should not be included in the final vote tally and fined the Coleman team $7,500 for wasting the court’s time.
The latter stems from a dispute over the testimony of Minneapolis poll worker Pamela Howell. The Coleman campaign had failed to disclose communications between its attorneys and Howell. Consequently the three-judge panel initially ruled that her testimony would not be allowed. Ultimately the judges decided that Howell’s testimony will stand, but that the Coleman campaign should pay for the three days spent dealing with the matter.
“In the event this sanction fails to deter future conduct on the part of [Coleman’s attorneys], the Court will not hesitate to impose harsher sanctions, up to and including dismissal,” the judges warned in their order.