How do you know when your legal case looks bad? Your lawyer tells you that he’s quitting before the verdict comes in. Joe Friedberg told local sports station KFAN that he was “done”, and then had to explain what he meant by “done”:
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.
After Politico ran with this, Friedberg tried clarifying himself:
“I was interviewed on KFAN by Ron Rosenbaum. He asked me if I was ‘done’, speaking of the trial, I told him that I was ‘done’, not speaking slang but literal, in the sense that my part in the trial court was concluded,” he said. “I believe that our position of enfranchising thousands of Minnesotans who had not had their ballots counted was, and remains, the proper way to proceed.”
It sounds like a miscommunication; Rosenbaum clearly meant done in a slang sense, and Friedberg apparently didn’t pick up on that in his first answer. Still, Friedberg hardly brings sunshine and rainbows to the discussion. He concedes what most of us presume: that the election contest panel will wind up locking in a Franken victory, and that it will take an appeal on constitutional grounds to overturn it.
This seems to confirm that the Coleman team will appeal a loss to the state Supreme Court. Presumably, one focus of that appeal will the taint that occurred in the recount, when the Secretary of State assumed the role of an election contest and started opening ballots rejected on election night. We still don’t know whether they will appeal it to the federal courts on Bush v Gore equal-protection grounds. We can conclude, however, that this will stretch on for at least several more weeks.