Franken Lawyer Gets Coleman Witness to Concede Having Bad Evidence

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January 26, 2009 11:03 a.m.

The Minnesota election trial just had a truly brutal moment, one that could undermine the credibility of Norm Coleman’s whole case.

The Coleman campaign summoned political director Kristen Fuzer up to the stand to testify to the provenance of the photocopies of rejected absentee ballots that they’ve submitted in their efforts to get those ballots counted. You may recall that the Franken campaign last week pointed to some apparent alterations in the photocopied envelopes.

Coleman lawyer Joe Friedberg briefly interviewed Fuzer. Then it was Franken lawyer Marc Elias’ turn.Elias showed Fuzer a side-by-side comparison of an unaltered copy of one envelope and the version in the Coleman camp’s filing, with the latter missing the section where the local official described why it was rejected. Fuzer said it looked like a photocopying problem — as Coleman lawyer James Langdon said last week.

Then Elias showed her another comparison, and another, and another. In all, five altered ballot envelopes were shown, and in all five instances the obliterated information was the reason for the ballot to have been rejected. In some instances Fuzer said it was a photocopying error, while in other cases she said the Coleman camp probably thought the writing they were erasing was their own Post-It note, and not the local official’s.

At one point Elias asked if it might be best for the campaign to go back and review their copies. Said Fuzer: “I agree.”

Late Update: One more thing should be noted here. During her whole cross-examination, Fuzer looked really uncomfortable, and was frequently glancing back at the Coleman table with a nervous expression on her face. I can’t say I blame her.

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