Coleman owes Franken $95k in court costs

By Chris Rizo | Jun 11, 2009

Norm Coleman (R)

Al Franken (D)

ST. PAUL, Minn. (Legal Newsline) - Republican Norm Coleman must pay Democrat Al Franken $94,783 to cover court costs for his appeal of Minnesota's protracted Senate race, an official ruled Wednesday.

The judgment entered by Ramsey County Court Administrator Lynae Olson comes after a two-month trial that ended with Coleman 312 votes behind Franken.

Coleman is required under Minnesota law to pay for some of Franken's court costs because he sued to overturn Franken's lead, and the subsequent trial did not change the Senate race's outcome.

Franken's legal team had sought $161,510 from Coleman.

Olson said Coleman should pay the costs immediately. Starting Wednesday, the judgment would start accruing interest for each day it is not paid.

The Minnesota Supreme Court has not yet released its decision on Coleman's appeal of the trial court's decision that Franken won the Nov. 4 election.

Coleman's legal team has said payment of the $94,783 should be delayed pending the outcome of the Supreme Court ruling.
Franken, the 57-year-old comedian-turned-politician, won the initial ballot recount in January by 225 votes. Coleman sued, contesting the election results.

In April, yet another ballot count gave Franken an edge. That time, he had a 312 vote lead over 59-year-old Coleman. The count was of 351 of 387 previously rejected absentee ballots. Forty-two of the ballots went to other and third-party candidates.

The outcome of the Minnesota Senate race could help affect the partisan balance in the U.S. Senate since a Franken victory would give Democrats 60 seats in the upper house -- counting the two independents who caucus with the Democrats -- which is enough to break Republican filibusters.

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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