The Franken campaign will be provisionally resting their case tomorrow, lead attorney Marc Elias announced at his post-court press conference today.
A few tasks will remain in sorting evidence — for example, the Coleman camp is ready to introduce a spreadsheet of rejected ballots that it’s pulling for, though Elias doubted this would cause his side to delay resting. It’s also possible that they may delay resting if severe weather prevents some witnesses from coming in tomorrow, or if Team Coleman lodges further objections, but again Elias didn’t think these were likely.
“So far we’ve had 73 witnesses — 62 of them were voters,” Elias said. “That’s actually more witnesses in our case than they they had in their case, though their witnesses testified for a longer time.”
Just a week ago, Elias said their case would take two to three weeks — but instead, they’ve only gone for one week. After this, the Coleman campaign will get to wage a rebuttal to the Franken case (Coleman legal spokesman Ben Ginsberg said this would be “not terribly lengthy”) and the Franken side will get to make a rebuttal to the rebuttal, followed by closing arguments.Team Coleman’s case previously went for five weeks. The difference can be chalked up to a few things. First, Franken’s lawyers were able to cover a lot of ground while cross-examining Coleman’s own witnesses, leaving this past week as a period for them to get in their extra points.
Furthermore, the Franken campaign was generally very straightforward and methodical while presenting their case. Some of the votes they’ve advocated for could be counted, others were obvious duds that they went past quickly, and some were gray areas (which probably won’t be counted under the court’s strict standards). In short, there wasn’t much drama, as there was during the Coleman phase.
And fundamentally, it has to be remembered that the burden of proof is on Coleman to demonstrate that the state canvassing board got it wrong in saying that Franken got more votes, while it’s inherently simpler for Franken to play defense.
A reporter asked Elias how he knew this was really coming to an end. He laughed and replied: “Well I certainly hope we’re not at the beginning!”
During his own press conference, Coleman legal spokesman Ben Ginsberg continued to question the reliability of the election system, pointing to Minneapolis election director Cindy Reichert’s statement that someone changing apartments would have to re-register, but that someone else who was moving could potentially get their ballot counted. “So in terms of meeting consistency for people to have faith in the election result,” Ginsberg said, “I think you saw one of those head-scratching moments about the problems in this election, and whether the system is calibrated enough to deal with this.”
One thing that should be remembered about Ginsberg’s caution about the lack of faith in a super-close election: He worked for George W. Bush’s legal team in the 2000 Florida recount.
(Press conference c/o The Uptake.)