Norm Coleman's attorney Joe Friedberg just finished his opening statements in the election-contest trial, and he said his case hinges almost entirely on one issue: Another review of rejected absentee ballots that will get another 4,500-5,000 votes into the pool.
Friedberg said that some ballots were rejected in one area of the state, while ballots with similar minor perceived errors were accepted elsewhere -- a violation of equal protection. As such, he wants the judges to review these ballots again, after local officials have looked at them a few times before, and level the playing field by approving ballot envelopes if one like it was already accepted.
And again, Friedberg insisted that the campaign is not cherry-picking the ballots -- though he seemed to concede that the campaigns have had experts hard at work on that question.
"Nobody -- Mr. Franken's side, Norm Coleman's side - we don't know what's in here. For all I know, I'm trying to get you to count ballots that might overwhelmingly favor Mr. Franken," said Friedberg. "I just don't know. Everyone's projections in this election were wrong. That's clear. I'm sure both sides have had experts trying to figure out who these missing ballots would favor, but their projections were so wrong we haven't got a clue at this point."
As we've noted before, both sides have had ample opportunities to figure out who a rejected voter cast his or her ballot for, or at least guess at the probabilities. As such, we can't say with total confidence that a claim of non-knowledge on this matter really holds true.