Friday, February 27, 2009

Coleman Camp hits Unethical trifecta

Just two days ago, Norm Coleman's attorneys got caught withholding discovery from Franken's lawyers and coaching a witness during a recess. The court excluded the witnesses testimony and rightfully so. They found that Colemans attys, despite being "repeatedly instructed of the need to supplement discovery responses" were guilty of "repeated failures to adhere to their discovery obligations under the Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure."

However, the Court reversed itself yesterday. They basically said that the record reflected the mistake "was inadvertent and not in bad faith."*

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 Haapoja) wrote on January 6,
saying this was being done "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 discussion before testimony, and the
Franken camp didn't know about her statement.

Remember...the Court reversed itself and allowed the testimony on the basis that the "mistake" was inadvertent and not in bad faith." Uh...that dog no longer hunts.
But wait, it gets better. After Franken's attys raised holy hell and moved for the entire claim of "double counting" be dismissed (what the witness was testifying about, and oh by the way, this lady is supposed to be an "election judge"'s that for impartiality?), Coleman lead atty Joe Friedberg starting to climb over the bow of this sinking ship:
"I can tell you that if I'd have known these things existed, I would have
disclosed them."

"Mr. Haapoja has never tried a case in his life," Friedberg said, and
he's sure Haapoja is sitting around thinking he should have disclosed this
I have seen a lot of stuff in a courtroom, but I ain't ever seen co-counsel throw their co-counsel under the bus quite that hard. The Judge took a recess then excused the witness for today. No ruling yet.
In my legal opinion, this case is over. Want to know why the Court reversed (see *) itself earlier? Because the Court already knows Coleman has no case. They reversed a perfectly justifiable decision because in the end, the lady's testimony won't matter. So why give Coleman an excuse to prolong the thing past this hearing, by handing him a potential ground for appeal.

I don't think the comedy team of Franken and Davis could have written a more ridiculous comedy than this. It's worth noting that Congressional Republicans are still embracing this loser. Just this week, he was attending party lunches on Capital Hill. As Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) proclaimed:

"He's always welcome...we still think he has a very good opportunity" to win.

Alexander and Coleman are obviously bosom buddies of the not-getting-it-and-never-will Committee. Isn't it time for Coleman to be cut loose?

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