Newsmax has learned that Marc Elias, the controversial attorney whose legal maneuvers helped Democrat Al Franken go from being 700 votes behind to winning his election against incumbent Republican Sen. Norm Coleman, has joined with the Martha Coakley campaign to prepare for a major legal initiative to contest the integrity of the election if necessary.
During the Franken recount, Elias steadily maneuvered the Coleman legal team into a narrower and narrower path to victory, until finally Franken was named the winner by a razor-thin margin.
Already, Elias appears to be laying the ground work for an election challenge.
The Politico's Ben Smith is reporting that the Coakley campaign called an urgent news conference Tuesday afternoon with Elias, to "discuss integrity of election."
On Monday, Newsmax reported some in the GOP fear that if the race is close, a legal challenge and subsequent recount could swing the result in Democrats' favor as apparently occurred in Minnesota.
Now those fears appear much less farfetched.
The significance of Elias entering the fray in Massachusetts has not been lost on observers in Minnesota. A writer for the Minnesota Independent commented: "If a few weird ballots and premature cries of 'stolen election' aren't enough to suggest Massachusetts' special election might not be resolved quickly, perhaps this is: Marc Elias, who served as lead attorney for Al Franken's legal team, has set up shop in the state, just in case."
Brown has hired attorneys as well. His team will include Daniel Winslow, a partner at the Duane Morris firm in Boston, and Sean Cairncross, an attorney with the National Republican Senatorial Committee, according to a Politico report.
Veteran observers of Massachusetts machine politics might be tempted to dismiss claims of Republican vote fraud. But the Coakley campaign is asserting that it has received several reports of ballots "pre-marked" for Brown being handed to voters.
While claims of fraud are routine in tight elections, they usually do not materialize into serious legal contests. Minnesota proves that is not always the case, however.
Wall Street Journal online commentator, author, and election expert John Fund tells Newsmax that Brown would need to win by at least 20,000 votes to eliminate the possibility of a recount and an extended lawsuit.
According to Politico, the Coakley campaign on Tuesday released the following statement:
"We've received several independent and disturbing reports of voters across the state being handed ballots that are already marked in favor of Scott Brown. This is obviously a serious violation, and our legal team is taking immediate steps to protect the integrity of this election.
"We do not yet know why this is happening, but you and everyone you know needs to be aware of the situation so that you can carefully inspect your ballot."
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