Joe Friedberg seems to be throwing in towel, pinning last of hopes on Hail Mary 'Constitutional argument' appeal...
By Brad Friedman on 3/20/2009, 12:41pm PT  

According to a transcript of a radio appearance this week by former Senator Norm Coleman's attorney, Joe Friedberg, the Republican will most likely lose his election contest against Al Franken for the U.S. Senate seat in Minnesota.

Hotline's Jennifer Skalka quotes Friedberg as conceding that Coleman will "probably" lose when the 3-judge panel currently deliberating the case, which both sides rested last week, announce their verdict.

"I think it's probably correct that Franken will still be ahead and probably by a little bit more," Friedberg admitted, after announcing that he was "done" with the case.

The Democratic challenger, and now apparent Senator-elect Franken was certified by the bi-partisan state canvassing board to have received 225 more votes than Coleman, out of some 2.9 million cast, at the end of the painstaking, transparent, post-election hand-count of all of the states paper ballots. During the course of Coleman's election contest, which followed that hand-count, Franken gained another 50 or so votes after it was determined that a number of legally cast absentee ballots were inappropriately rejected by election officials.

The 3-judge election contest panel may reach their verdict at any time. Among their decisions is expected to be a finding on whether another 2000 or so rejected absentee-ballots, submitted for consideration by both Coleman and Franken, were "legally cast" and if their results should be added to the final totals. Even so, statistics mavens --- and results of already-counted absentee ballots --- suggest that Coleman will likely have a difficult time closing the gap against Franken, even if all of those currently-uncounted ballots are counted and added to the totals.

Coleman's lead attorney, Friedberg, would now seem to be admitting that and hanging any last hopes he may have on "a constitutional argument, and it's an argument suitable for the Minnesota Supreme Court, not for the trial court."

Our previous coverage of the Coleman/Franken election contest, is indexed here.

The short transcript, posted by Hotline, from Wednesday's interview with Friedberg on KFAN's Dan Barreiro Show, hosted by fill-in Ron Rosenbaum, follows below...

Joe Friedberg, attorney for former Sen. Norm Coleman's recount effort, seemed to suggest in a MN radio interview yesterday that Democrat Al Franken will wind out on top when the three-judge panel finishes reviewing the counting process. Friedberg says that he's "done" but that the case could drag on for some time.

Q. Joe, are you done?

A. Yes, I'm done.

Q. Let me ask you in a different way. Is Norm done?

A. Well, I think that we have been trying this case with the appeal record in mind, and that's where we're going, and it's going to be a very quick appeal, and then I will know whether or not it worked.

Q. Well, when you say quick appeal, are you confident that you are going to lose the case in front of the three-judge panel? By losing the case, I mean Norm ends up with less votes.

A. I think that's probably correct that Franken will still be ahead and probably by a little bit more. But our whole argument was that it was a constitutional argument, and it's an argument suitable for the Minnesota Supreme Court, not for the trial court. So we will see whether we were right or not.
...
Q. We could still be awhile before this thing gets decided?

A. Yeah, I think that's clearly true.

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