As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Loser Pays

Al Franken's legal team is nailing Norm Coleman.

Democrat Al Franken wants the judges who heard the U.S. Senate trial to force Norm Coleman to pay court costs and some opposing lawyers' fees -- a potentially expensive bill -- if the Republican loses his bid to overturn the results of the recount.

Franken sought such payments in a document filed Tuesday summarizing his case. In it, he also asks the judges to consider evidence involving 430 absentee ballots that he had identified as wrongly rejected, and is asking specifically that 252 of them be counted [...]

Franken's document asks that Coleman pay the costs of the seven-week trial. And in seeking attorneys' fees for Franken lawyers, it refers to sanctions that the judges earlier imposed on Coleman for failing to follow court rules on disclosing information about a witness, Minneapolis election judge Pamela Howell.

Franken asked for "reasonable costs and attorneys' fees in connection with [Coleman's] failure to disclose."

Asked whether the request for attorneys' fees was limited to fees involving the disclosure flap or other expenses, Franken lead lawyer Marc Elias said, "We're going to leave it to the court to decide that."

This is established law in Minnesota, and would likely be the option of the court anyway. I appreciate the gentle reminder. Because Coleman wants to drag this trial out as long as humanly possible, he should be made to pay for it. At least there would be some cost to the deliberate attempt to overturn an election.

Coleman, who through negligence revealed the personal financial information of his entire online donor base earlier this year, probably has less fundraising juice now. The Republican campaign committees have been furnishing lots of cash, but in a "loser pays" scenario, would they continue to tilt at windmills when the money could be put to use in elections they actually have a chance at winning?

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