Alexa

Franken wants simple format for Senate challenge

Franken wants simple format for Senate challenge

Democrat Al Franken proposed a trial schedule Thursday for the disputed Senate election that his lawyer said would bring the contest to an end faster than the format proposed by Republican Norm Coleman.
"We believe Norm Coleman has the right to go to court. We don't believe he has a right to use the process of going to court to delay the people of Minnesota having a new senator as soon as possible," Franken attorney Marc Elias said.
Coleman is disputing the recount results, which showed him 225 votes behind Franken. The decision rests with three district judges appointed to hear the case.
Elias said Franken's proposed schedule could make it possible to finish the trial by the end of February.
The proposal suggested the proceedings would be similar to a standard trial, with Coleman presenting his case first, followed by Franken.
On Wednesday, Coleman recommended conducting the trial in stages. He said the case should proceed to the next step only if he gains "a sufficient number of votes" in the prior stage.
Coleman's attorneys said Thursday there was no reason the trial couldn't proceed quickly under their proposed format, and suggested that Franken was trying to push the panel into a quick resolution without weighing evidence of possible irregularities in the election.
"All the Franken campaign wants the court to do is take the same numbers reported out on Jan. 6 and certify them," Coleman attorney Fritz Knaak said.
Franken's court filing suggested the Coleman model would "take too long" and be "burdensome and inefficient." Multiple stages to the trial would force local election officials, some from far-flung parts of the state, to travel to St. Paul numerous times to testify instead of getting it all done in one trip, Franken's lawyer said.
Knaak said the two campaigns had been summoned to meet Friday morning with the panel, to discuss their timetable proposals and other issues concerning the trial. He said he didn't expect an immediate decision from the judges.