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Associated Press, Published March 12 2009

Minnesota Senate trial down to final phase after Franken finishes calling witnesses

ST. PAUL (AP) — The long-running Minnesota Senate trial is moving into its final phase.

Democrat Al Franken finished calling his witnesses on Thursday, and Republican Norm Coleman is preparing his rebuttal case. The three judges in the case limited the scope for Coleman in a ruling from the bench.

The judges say Coleman can't delve into the reliability of the statewide voter registration database. Coleman has criticized the database as being incomplete.

Both sides have consulted it to determine the eligibility of both absentee voters who had their ballots rejected and the witnesses for those voters.

However, the judges say they will allow Coleman to enter more evidence to prove some voters with uncounted ballots were properly registered.

Coleman trails Franken by 225 votes after a statewide recount.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.