December 16th, 2008
04:00 PM ET
14 years ago

U.S. senator hires defense attorney

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="CNN has learned that Sen. Norm Coleman has hired a defense attorney to represent him in two lawsuits against one of Coleman's supporters."]
ST. PAUL, Minnesota (CNN) – Sen. Norm Coleman has hired top Minneapolis-based defense attorney Douglas Kelley to assist with two lawsuits connected to the senator, a representative with Kelley’s office confirmed to CNN.

Coleman, a Minnesota Republican, is fighting to win a second term to the Senate and is currently in the middle of a recount with Democratic challenger Al Franken.

The pair of similar lawsuits accuse wealthy businessman and Coleman supporter Nasser Kazeminy of funneling approximately $75,000 to the senator through his wife Laurie Coleman.

Coleman spokesman Luke Friedrich said he considers these to be "baseless allegations that are nothing more than political and financial extortion."

Friedrich added that Sen. Coleman has retained counsel "to work cooperatively with authorities when such an investigation is conducted, and to quickly expose these allegations for what they are, and to hold those who made these false allegations against the Senator accountable."

"To this date the Senator, nor his legal counsel, have been informed that any such investigation is underway," he said in the statement.

Kazeminy will be represented by fellow well-known Minneapolis-based attorney Joe Friedberg, a representative of his office confirmed to CNN.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune also reports that Mrs. Coleman has also hired her own defense lawyer.

This comes on a day when Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie’s canvassing board begins what could be a long process of reviewing challenged ballots from the hand recount that was recently completed.

At the finish of the recount, Coleman held a slight lead of almost 200 votes over Franken, but the challenges will amount to more than 1500 ballots –- all of which the five member board will sift through in an effort to determine “voter intent.”

The Minnesota race is the final outstanding Senate contest of the 2008 elections.

Filed under: Norm Coleman • Popular Posts
soundoff (49 Responses)
  1. Matthew

    I don't know why but my bet is that Al Franken is not the one contesting those 1500 votes...

    December 16, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  2. Retired Army in San Antonio

    Let the lawsuits begin!......errr......continue!......ahhhh......WHATEVER!!!!!!!

    December 16, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  3. gordo

    Why don't they just have a special election without the other guy who got 15% of the vote. That's the only fair way to do this.

    December 16, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  4. Chi Town

    Scott... they just completed a hand recount... now they are looking at the thrown out ones for voter intent... whatever that means.

    December 16, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  5. Jon

    They should appoint the third-party candidate to the Senate.

    December 16, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  6. Frank

    Great picture! Hats off to whoever spent the necessary time to find a ghoulish, lit-from-below shot of Coleman.

    December 16, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  7. Drew

    Good Ol Boys at their best.

    December 16, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  8. roy

    With all the grief he has been giving Al Franken, glad someone is keeping an eye on Mr. Coleman! Elections can be bought either way!

    December 16, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  9. Pychic

    He has the face of a crook and may have a sore wrist too.

    December 16, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  10. Mari

    2000 all over again! The GOP crooks will steal another election. Disturbing.

    December 16, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  11. MikeH

    Scott, this vote split is statistically possible.

    Also, human error or fudging can explain a wide variety or results, even within the same data set with multiple recounts. We may never know the 'real' count.

    All the votes would have to be recorded one time automatically to an uncorruptable database to reasonably guarantee the same results with successive recounts, by machine, and even then bit flips caused by cosmic rays can introduce a subsequent error or two.

    Personally I'd like to see Franken win, but we have to go with the count we get and move on.

    December 16, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  12. Nannie Bouroughs - Milwaukee, WI

    Grab them attornys' and claim innocence... works for me!

    December 16, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  13. Rod Davis

    Its our turn to steal one... besides, why waste a good Senate seat, Coleman is going to jail anyway! LOL!

    December 16, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  14. Rick

    The senator's campaign and the senator's wife apparently have money to hire lawyers. Isn't that the reason they need to hire lawyers?

    December 16, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  15. Vicki5

    This guy has got to be totally stressed out. I would like the press to report on whether or not there really is an investigation into his allegedly corrupt dealings.

    December 16, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  16. Brian G, Sugar Land, TX

    Another one bites the dust!
    Aren't there any non-corrupt politicians.
    Oh sorry, that was just me living on another planet.

    December 16, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  17. Larry

    Democrat Al Frankin is now costing the country and tax payers more time,and more money,and after he loses ,he will probably just laugh and say it was another of his jokes.We are not laughing with you Al,really ,know one is even laughing at you .

    December 16, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  18. FreeNLovIt

    Did we count all votes? If not, let's recount.

    December 16, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  19. mike

    I don’t understand why all the fuss….give the office to the comedian…..after all, who take the Senate seriously anymore after the continued bailout fiasco?

    December 16, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  20. Viet Vet

    Too bad this din't come out sooner.

    December 16, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  21. RJ, CA

    People, people! We are ALL Americans who want the best for our country. Sometimes is "our" party "in power," sometimes it's not.

    Can we all just "bury the hatchet" and move forward. If this particular "forward" turns out to be good — GREAT! If not, we'll change course AGAIN — as we have so many, many times before.


    Happy Holidays to ALL my fellow Americans, of whatever polictical party affiliation!!

    December 16, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  22. NICK

    If the Senator is "not aware that there is any investigation underway"why hire an Attorney to defend him from it?

    December 16, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  23. Franky

    "In a letter addressed Tuesday to Mike Duncan, chairman of the RNC, Gingrich slams the committee for releasing a recent Web video that seeks to connect Obama to embattled Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich."

    Well, well. What do we have here. Gingrich slammin the RNC?? Hmmmm, I don't know, Gingrich is pretty smart and he was interested in running for Prez before. Hmmm, I'll give him props for it, I'm give him props...(maybe looking for bonus points in himself or something)...

    December 16, 2008 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  24. Western Voter

    Are Americans capable of running free and fair elections??? Where is Jimmy Carter and his team of UN election observers when we need them?

    December 16, 2008 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
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