Al Franken's lawyer Kevin Hamilton just finished his opening arguments against Norm Coleman's lawsuit to contest the results of the Minnesota Senate race. His case boils down to this: Norm Coleman is suing because he lost, and is searching for things to complain about.
Hamilton said that Coleman has failed to meet the very burden that is necessary to win an election contest -- that is, to overturn the presumption of regularity on the part of the state and local officials -- and is instead set on finding little errors that may still exist out there. "It's better than most," Hamilton said of Minnesota's election system, "but it's not immune."
Hamilton also pointed to Coleman having reversed his position on the crucial issue of improperly-rejected absentee ballots, noting that his campaign litigated during the recount to keep ballots out -- but are now trying to get up to 5,000 ballots put in. "Against that history, against that backdrop, it's simply stunning to see the most recent position," said Hamilton.
Hamilton made a similar attack on the subject of double-counted absentee ballots, which have become a major part of Coleman's case. Hamilton quoted Coleman lawyer Tony Trimble writing in an e-mail during the recount, approving a directive from the state on how to handle absentee ballots.
"Now before this court, fully aware of the results of the recount, contestant [Coleman] wants to change the rules he agreed on, but only in these 22 cherry-picked precincts," said Hamilton, lambasting Coleman's case.
In the end, Hamilton said, it's not good enough for Coleman to allege that errors might have occurred, but he must instead prove "that serious errors did occur that did in fact change the outcome."