Trial: What’s A Witness Worth?

Duluth attorney Alison Lutterman at trial. (Pool photo by Elizabeth Flores, Star Tribune)

The three U.S. Senate election trial judges are considering whether local officials testifying in the case should be paid more than a small stipend for their time and travel costs.

The reimbursement issue arose for the first time Friday, after five trial weeks, when a Duluth attorney fought a subpoena because she said the cost incurred by that city’s clerk to testify is 10 times what Al Franken’s campaign provided.

“All we’re asking is for the city of Duluth and its citizens not to finance this litigation,” Deputy City Attorney Alison Lutterman told the court Friday.

The issue capped a busy trial day Friday that included debate over whether a witness for Norm Coleman can testify – after she already was blocked from testifying and later reinstated – and a decision by Franken’s campaign to drop its claim against 61 Becker County ballots.

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