Minnesota Election Court Throws Out Coleman’s Mega-Trial Idea, Goes Mostly With Franken Plan

January 16, 2009 11:10 a.m.

The three-judge panel in the Minnesota election contest has just released their official schedule for the trial, after the Coleman campaign submitted a plan for a lengthy, multi-phase trial while the Franken camp wanted a prompt, single-phrase trial.

And as it turns out, the essential parts of their schedule were taken from the Franken team, Al’s first big victory in this phase of the never-ending Senate election. The key point is that that the judges appear to be going with a single-phase trial, beginning on January 26, two weeks before Coleman wanted to begin the first of his several mini-trials. The schedule also corresponds closely with the Franken team’s other dates for when arguments are to be filed, witnesses and evidence are to be listed, and other such procedural guidelines.

Coleman’s proposed schedule has been almost entirely scrapped, with the only major remnant being a January 21 hearing on Franken’s motion to dismiss the case — perhaps the only example in which the Coleman camp picked the earliest feasible date.

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One caveat: The Franken camp did ask for the trial’s length to be capped at 15 trial days — that is, three work weeks — but the court’s order is silent on this matter. There’s only one way to find out how long this thing will take.

Late Update: Lead Franken attorney Marc Elias has released this statement applauding the court for adopting this schedule — and making it clear how much Franken really wants to get to the Senate soon:

“With urgent matters pending before Congress, it is essential that we move forward and resolve this lawsuit in a timely fashion so that Minnesota may have equal and full representation in Washington. We’re pleased that the panel set this matter for trial on January 26th and has rejected former Senator Coleman’s attempt to slow-walk this process and further delay the seating of a second Senator from the state of Minnesota.”

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