Friday, February 27, 2009


This is truly amazing:
All hell just broke loose in the Minnesota courtroom, with Al Franken's lawyers catching Team Coleman in the act of yet more concealing of evidence -- and they've now made a motion to totally strike the Coleman camp's claims about double-counting of ballots, which the Coleman camp has hoped to use to subtract over 100 votes from Franken's lead.

* * *

This morning, Franken lawyer David Lillehaug was restarting his cross-examination of Howell, and inquired as to whether there had been any further communications between herself and Coleman. The answer was yes -- and Coleman lawyer Tony Trimble then had to cough up some private e-mails he'd sent to Howell in early January.

"Pam, the legal team and campaign have made a strategic litigation decision to hold off from having you sign and us file your affidavit at this time," Trimble (or possibly his assistant, Matt Hapooja) wrote on January 6, "to avoid tying you down to any particular testimony and to avoid having to disclose your name and statement."

Trimble assured Howell in the e-mail that she shouldn't worry -- that the campaign would be calling her at a later date and incorporating her into this case, just not at this time, and they were keeping her name private.

Howell wrote to them in late January to seek further clarification -- whether she would be coached, how much the Franken camp knew, etc. Trimble answered that there would be no further coaching, and the Franken camp didn't know about her statement.

Lillehaug demanded that not only should Howell's testimony be re-stricken, but that Coleman's entire claim about double-counting be tossed.

"And it is clear from contestants strategy in this regard that Ms. Howell was their star witness on the issue of original and duplicate ballots," Lillehaug said. "They picked out one election judge from one precinct -- she's the only election judge they're presenting on this claim - and then yesterday documents were offered and admitted into evidence based on that precinct and nine other precincts. It is clear that her testimony was the linchpin for the Coleman original and duplicate ballots claim."

Lillehaug said they should not have to go back to the drawing board to figure out how to cross-examine her, and thus her testimony must be struck, and with it the entire double-counting claim for all precincts.

Lead Coleman attorney Joe Friedberg got up to mount a defense -- and totally threw Trimble, Hapooja, and fellow lawyer James Langdon under the bus. He said he'd asked them on Wednesday if there were other things going on, and he didn't know about it: "I can tell you that if I'd have known these things existed, I would have disclosed them."

Are they trying to lose this case and look like fools? Maybe it's all just part of their "strategic litigation decisions."

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