December 17th, 2008
08:00 AM ET
2 years ago

Senator's lawyer denies corruption allegations

Coleman has hired a defense attorney.
Coleman has hired a defense attorney.

ST. PAUL, Minnesota (CNN) - The attorney hired on behalf of U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman said Tuesday that recent allegations facing the Minnesota Republican are "inherently suspect," adding he'll "put them to rest."

Two lawsuits–one filed in Delaware, the other in Texas–allege Coleman accepted approximately $75,000 from wealthy businessman and supporter Nasser Kazeminy. Plaintiffs in the suit accuse Kazeminy of funneling money to Coleman's wife, Laurie Coleman, in order to get it to the senator because, in Kazeminy's words according to documents, "U.S. senators don't make [expletive deleted]."

In a phone interview Tuesday afternoon, Minneapolis-based attorney Doug Kelley told CNN that he wasn't going to comment on specific facts of the case at this point, but said he was skeptical of the accusations.

"I do believe that these charges will not be proven," Kelley said.

"I think any time allegations such as this are raised a week before a hotly contested election they’re inherently suspect," he continued. The lawsuits were filed in October.

"So the senator has asked me to get to the bottom of these allegations quickly on his behalf and to cooperate with the authorities in order to put this to rest," Kelley said.

Though Kelley said the senator has not been contacted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, numerous media reports have indicated an investigation is imminent. Spokespersons with the FBI would neither confirm nor deny an investigation.

UPDATE: Sen. Coleman's senate campaign will cover the cost of all the senator's legal fees. In a statement, spokesman Luke Friedrich said, "We intend to have any legal fees related to what we believe to be a politically inspired legal action to be covered by the Senator’s campaign. We will be seeking the necessary approvals at the proper time to ensure that this is done in strict accordance with all appropriate laws and rules.”

The senator's wife, Laurie Coleman, has also hired her own lawyer. However, Friedrich said any legal fees incurred by her will be "personally handled by the senator and Mrs. Coleman."


Filed under: Norm Coleman • Popular Posts
soundoff (114 Responses)
  1. Pat in IL

    For those who think he's corrupt because he's a Republican (and all Republicans are corrupt).......Blago is a Democrat!
    FYI: I'm a Dem who voted for Obama, but I can recognize good and bad when I smell it, no matter what it's colors are.

    December 17, 2008 03:05 am at 3:05 am |
  2. proudliberal-independent

    will $75,000 cover it?

    December 17, 2008 03:09 am at 3:09 am |
  3. 911willie

    If Franken can't win in the voting, we'll recount them to death, and if that doesn't work, we'll allege all kinds of voter fraud, and if that doesn't work, well, just slime the guy til he quits...

    December 17, 2008 03:48 am at 3:48 am |
  4. Sue

    to Mike:

    A good start?

    December 17, 2008 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  5. Al Franken

    Don't look at me.

    December 17, 2008 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  6. Brian - St. Paul, MN

    I'm from St. Paul. Coleman is as slimmy as they come. He is the type of politician that will do ANYTHING to win. Heck, he even changed parties because the Democratic Party here in MN wouldn't support him! The bottom line is that even if they don't find him guilty, he still is guilty of many, many under-the-table crimes. Scumbag.

    December 17, 2008 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  7. Marc

    First, there's no corruptionproof party, ideology or profession. Yes there are Democrats that are corrupts, as well as Republicans that are corrupt and independents that goes throught the same trail. So all this 'Dems/libs are...' or 'Republicans are...' is pointless. I disagree with many of the Republicans points of view, but that doesn't means that they are the Party of the Corrupts, Inepts or whatever... They are just the party of the people who disagree with most of my points.
    Second, the lawsuits are not new, seems that they date back a few months, but even IF they were new it wouldn't matter. If they are substantiated and really based on something (even if that something is not illegal) than Sen. Coleman will have to deal with them for a while more. If they are like the ones that Phil 'Endless Baseless Spin' Berg is trying to pin on the PEOTUS Barack Obama than they will vanish...

    December 17, 2008 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  8. bushisuseless

    Blago's corruption stems from need not greed. If the freaking repukes did their job as they're supposed too then no one especially the democrats will stoop to the level of the repukes. Democrats are not corrupt by nature they might be womanizers. But not corrupt, phedophiles, and shameless
    homosexuals. the stupid bastard has 8 years in office being coddled oblivious to the facts about the countries suffering and his inabilities to to a good job.The fact is; WETHER THE REPUKES CHEERLEADERS HERE ADMIT OR NOT THE DEMOCRATS HAS MORE RESPECT TO THE COUNTRIES RULE OF LAW. REGARDLESS OF BLAGOS EXISTENCE.

    December 17, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  9. xargaw

    If news reports are true, Coleman is a cheating husband and a cheating Senator. I wonder if the good people of Minn. would still vote for him today?

    December 17, 2008 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  10. KampBell_BrOwn SUx

    How long is this thing going on for!

    December 17, 2008 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  11. KampBell_BrOwn SUx

    Hey GOP supporters get over yourself! You Lost, deal with the pop vote and the electoral landslide. Stop cryin. GOPS are still the worst people on earth.

    December 17, 2008 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  12. Glenn Doty, Columbia, SC

    Can we get an update on the challenged ballots?

    December 17, 2008 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  13. Chris

    lilacs,

    You obviously have no grasp of how this works. When someone files a compliant it can take any were from months to years to reach court, so if this was filed in October than it has moved rather quickly.

    December 17, 2008 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  14. Pel

    I am happy Al Franken and the democrats are not folding their tents on this election like they did in 2000. They should fight to the end. A DEMOCRATIC SENATOR should come out of the great state of MN.

    December 17, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  15. Kevin in Ohio

    I smell Al Franken............... and it STINKS to high heaven.

    December 17, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  16. Truth Hurts

    To all the conservatives haters!! You was so quick to judge Jesse Jr. and he was not even accused of wrongdoing!! This Coleman guy is accuse of funneling money and has obtained himself a lawyer. It don't take long for the tables to turn huh!!

    Also it is quite clear that Blago was upset with Jesse and Obama for not participating in his pay to play schemes, that he wanted their names tainted!! Jesse has been working with FBI since 2006, because Blago wanted Jesse and his wife to participate in the pay to play regarding an airport and Jesse wife getting a position with the lottery. This is why I thought that Jesse being involved in this now scandal did not make sense. Jesse already knew the FBI was investigating Blago!! So, conservatives, haters and conservatives media pick up your face because it just dropped on the ground!!

    December 17, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  17. ran

    Another reason not to vote for the current Republicans. I hope he does not get reelected. People we need to get our country away from those who want to divide us by their quest for power/far right ideologies/special interest groups.

    December 17, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  18. Truth Hurts

    Corruption is at all level of Government and in all cities and neighborhoods!! Corruption has all kinds of faces, race, shape and sizes. Corruption is not just in Illinois either!!

    December 17, 2008 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  19. Greg in MN

    I think that very few people who commented on this story actually live in Minnesota.

    Coleman is nothing more than an opportunist. He changes parties when he sees who has more power and influence instead of sticking by his ideals. He backs bills only after the public starts yelling and screaming. He panders to whomever is in power just to get a little kick back. He is a textbook slimey senator. The only reason he won 6 years ago is because Paul Wellstone died in an accident...not because people were excited about Norm. Heck, he lost to an ex-pro wrestler a few years back remember?

    Take it from someone who lives in MN...Norm Coleman is in this all for himself. Not his party, not his state, not his country.

    December 17, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  20. obama-mama

    Maybe he can use those big teeth to climb his way out of this one.

    December 17, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  21. TJ

    What a climate of corruption has been created in our government. And, the arrogance that these supposed public servants display when they are caught. America is becoming more and more like a third world country – a banana republic of sorts. We must insist on cleaning up the corruption and demand integrity of our representatives in government. We the people must hold them accountable and take swift action to remove them from office when they fail to properly execute the duties of their office. Until we do this, we are in trouble. We cannot expect other nations around the world to look to us as an example given the current conditions here. We must place our house in order.

    December 17, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  22. Nelson Colorado Springs Co

    Well I think almost at any time every senator can be charge with allegations but than there Delaware, the other in Texas–allege Coleman accepted approximately $75,000 from wealthy businessman. Its all about the dollar dollar bill.

    December 17, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  23. LIP

    Hey Mike...you are stealing Danny Devito's line that was actually "What do you have when you have 1000 (qty?) lawyers at the bottom of the sea?" Response was "A good start".
    Regardless, Franken and his Democratic supporters have pulled out all the stops...they desperately want this Senate seat and it appears they will do virtually everything they can to get it.

    December 17, 2008 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  24. Terry, Lakeland Florida

    doens't anyone else find it strage that these charges were made right before an election...why sit on it for so long...oh wait, they must be taking orders from Obama.

    December 17, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  25. John, Brooklyn, New York

    Dear U.S. Senate,

    Haven't you had enough of scandals and candidates who "push the boundaries" on ethics. Regardless of whether Coleman wins the re-count or not, you should use your authority and simply refuse to seat him and give the citizens of Minnesota the opportunity to pick someone who genuinely represents the ideals of their great state.

    December 17, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
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