Coleman’s Supposedly Friendly Witnesses Backfire

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We have seen the best thing that Norm Coleman’s legal team has done so far in this election trial — and it ain’t pretty.

This afternoon the Coleman team was bringing in rejected absentee voters to show that their ballots were improperly tossed. So far the court has heard from six people, most of of whom said they were contacted by the Republican Party in the last few weeks. They mostly seemed sympathetic enough, putting a human face on the disenfranchised Coleman voter — but at least two of them appeared to have been rejected properly under the conditions of Minnesota law.

One of the voters was Douglas Thompson, who admitted under oath that his girlfriend filled out his absentee ballot application for him, signing his name with her own hand and purporting to be himself. His ballot was rejected because the signature on his ballot envelope (his own) did not match the signature on the application (his girlfriend’s). The Coleman team’s argument appears to be that he is still a legal voter in Minnesota, as the signature on the ballot was his own, even if admitted dishonesty was involved in getting the ballot.

Keep in mind: Thompson’s story came up during the direct examination by Coleman lawyer James Langdon. So the Coleman camp fully knew this information and decided to make him into a witness.Another one of the voters, an older man named Wesley Briest, initially responded that he voted at the polls — not by absentee. Then Coleman attorney James Langdon showed him his absentee ballot envelope, reminding him that he did not go to the polls, too. Upon cross-examination by Franken lawyer Kevin Hamilton, Briest admitted that his wife, who served as the witness on his ballot, did not fully complete the witness section of the absentee ballot.

On top of this, the court began over four hours late today, after the judges and lawyers had to go into a closed-door meeting to figure out how to bring in original rejected absentee ballot envelopes in the wake of yesterday’s mess involving the Coleman team making alterations to their photocopied evidence.

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