Franken’s Recount Team Rests

Posted March 12, 2009 at 5:51pm

Democrat Al Franken’s legal team rested its case on Thursday, marking another milestone in the lengthy Minnesota Senate recount trial between the comedian-turned-politician and former Sen. Norm Coleman (R).Franken led Coleman by 225 votes after a hand recount of the 2008 vote that was completed at the end of January — a final tally that Coleman has contested in court.Now that the Democrat has rested his case, Franken attorney Marc Elias said both sides will present their closing arguments on Friday before the three-judge panel begins to deliberate. In a conference call with reporters, Elias commended the thoroughness of the recount process. “After four and a half months, we are now near the very end of what has been a very thorough and complete process to determine the winner of the Senate race in Minnesota,— Elias said. After their deliberations, the three judges will rule how many more previously uncounted ballots should be added to the recount and which candidate received the most legally cast votes in the election.Given the small number of votes that could potentially be added to the final tally, it is unlikely Coleman will be able to overcome Franken’s lead. Coleman has said publicly that he is open to appealing the decision. If a higher court takes the case, Minnesota’s second Senate seat could remain vacant for the foreseeable future. But Democratic Senate leaders could also move to seat Franken at any time, since it is the prerogative of the Senate to determine its membership.