Coleman Lawyer Still Advocating For Forgers

February 16, 2009 10:45 a.m.

Fun fact: Every court in the state of Minnesota is closed today for the federal holiday — except the Senate election court.

Today it was very much abbreviated, though. The attorneys spent the morning with the judges in closed negotiations over how to sort through the evidence, then the court held a short 18-minute session.

And even during that 18 minutes, it turns out, lead Coleman lawyer Joe Friedberg was still looking for a loophole to allow forgery. Friedberg presented five ballot envelopes where he admitted a person other than the voter signed the ballot application form. But, he said, it had been done with the “knowledge and authority” of the voter, and was thus a legitimate, genuine signature.

Friedberg did not give any indication that the voters in these cases were disabled or otherwise physically unable to sign their forms, which is the specific statutory exception to allow someone else to sign in one’s own name. Without that, the court’s opinion from Friday forbade the counting of these votes — indeed, they singled out one of Coleman’s witnesses as an example of this kind of illegal voter.

But Friedberg still seems to be pushing ahead on forgery.The post-court press conferences also contained some important news. After Friday’s ruling severely limited Coleman’s chances to find new votes — the campaign’s official estimate is that they’re down to a pool of 3,300 ballots, though as we saw above that number might still be inflated — Coleman is now filing a letter to ask the court to reconsider the opinion.

Coleman lawyer and spokesman Ben Ginsberg explained that the campaign wants the decision reconsidered because there have been previous cases of rejected absentee ballots that were later allowed in and counted, but which he says would have been forbidden under the new decision. Remember that the Coleman camp’s position is that it’s a violation of Equal Protection if a certain kind of illegal vote is counted in one part of the state, but excluded in another.

When a reporter asked Ginsberg if it would be unusual for the court to so quickly reverse its decision after handing it down, he replied: “Well, I don’t think there’s anything typical in a case like this, where you have a three-judge panel in an election case.

Lead Franken lawyer Marc Elias used his own presser as an opportunity to ridicule the Coleman camp: “Between one-quarter and one-third of the universe disappeared. Whole galaxies, just poof. Let’s be glad the Milky Way survived.”

(Press conferences c/o The Uptake.)

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