Here’s another fun moment this morning from Minnesota: The Coleman legal team was literally unprepared for a speedy trial.
Earlier this morning lead Coleman lawyer Joe Friedberg called as a witness Robert Hiivala, the county auditor of deep-red Wright County, to review recount procedures and ballots from his area. Friedberg conducted his direct examination, Franken lawyer David Lillehaug did his cross-examination, and then Friedberg did a re-direct.
And then…that was it. Hiivala was excused, making this the first time that a local official was excused in the court of a single morning — in fact, all the others have gone for more than one day.
Then the judges asked Friedberg to call his next witness. He didn’t have anybody ready until after lunch. A very nonplussed Judge Elizabeth Hayden called a recess “with great reluctance,” and admonished Friedberg to make sure he would have additional witnesses ready at that point, and to have more witnesses on tap for tomorrow.During the lunch-hour press conferences, Coleman lawyer/spokesman Ben Ginsberg was asked by a reporter whether this whole trial is just a maneuver to stall seating Franken in the Senate, and to keep the Democrats from getting a 59th vote. Ginsberg denied it.
“We ain’t that smart,” Ginsberg said with a chuckle. “We’re trying to win the case.”
Lead Franken lawyer Marc Elias used his own presser to attack the Republican Party’s whole legal logic here. “They are no longer in support of strict construction of the laws, but have now argued quite openly for judicial activism,” Elias said, noting the Equal Protection argument that Coleman’s lawyers have made, saying that the Constitution now requires letting in legally invalid ballots because other invalid ballots have made it into the mix.
Elias declared that the Coleman camp should go out and find the individual wrongly-excluded ballots that could put them over the top: “Rather than talk about Bush v. Gore and Bush v. Gore and Bush v. Gore and Bush v. Gore and Bush v. Gore and standards, they ought to be finding if those ballots are out there.”
(Note: I might not have properly counted the exact number of times Marc Elias repeated the name of that famous Supreme Court case. Also, press conferences c/o The Uptake.)