Nice try, Al Franken. The three-judge panel appointed to hear Minnesota's contested Senate election denied Franken's motion to dismiss Norm Coleman's recount lawsuit.
The panel's rejection clears the way for the contest hearing to begin next week. Coleman filed an election contest after the state Canvassing Board certified Franken's 225-vote lead after the recount.
The panel also rejected Franken's attempt to limit any court review to verifying math and other technicalities of the recount and canvass, clearing the way for the judges to consider Coleman claims that some votes in Democratic areas were counted twice, that some absentee ballots from GOP areas were wrongly rejected and that there were other irregularities.
The panel noted that the Minnesota Supreme Court had ruled that while those claims shouldn't be decided during the recount, they "would be properly heard in an election contest" in court.
Coleman lawyer Ben Ginsberg called the panel's decision "a stinging defeat for Al Franken. It underscores that the Coleman contest will proceed, that there will be a trial."
Said Franken lawyer Marc Elias: "We look forward to the trial commencing ... and moving forward expeditiously so that Minnesotans can have two Senators representing them as quickly as possible."Coleman also had a setback on Thursday when the judges denied his request to have counties ship 12,000 rejected absentee ballots to the court so they can be quickly counted when everything goes his way, the Associated Press reported.