Just kidding: Coleman's witness can testify, panel reverses order


Norm Coleman got a lucky break today his in election trial to win back his Minnesota Senate seat. The three-judge panel hearing his case reversed their ruling from yesterday that eliminated testimony from one of Coleman's key witnesses.

In a written order today, the judges said an "inadvertant" Coleman team mistake wasn't in bad faith and shouldn't lead to the elimination of evidence, says the Associated Press. Coleman's team alleged that some ballots were counted twice, but they failed to provide the written statement to Al Franken's team before the testimony.

More from the AP:
The woman had testified to having direct knowledge of an error that could have caused some voters to have two ballots included in the race.

In court Wednesday, Pamela Howell's testimony was struck after it was discovered she supplied written materials to Coleman's campaign that was not also given to that of Democrat Al Franken. The judges said then it was grounds to toss out her testimony entirely under civil trial rules.

If Howell's testimony had stayed out, it could have had big ramifications. Howell, an acknowledged Republican who served as an election judge in Minneapolis, is the only Coleman witness who said she was present when duplicated ballots without proper markings were fed through counting machines.

Coleman says that Franken gained more than 100 votes from the double counting.