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Has The Fbi Contacted Norm Coleman? He Won't Say

Norm Coleman met with the Minneapolis Star Tribune yesterday to publicize his no-hope legal appeal of the Minnesota Senate election. The paper asked whether the FBI had contacted him about the Nasser Kazeminy investigation. (A subject in which I've taken an interest largely because of the strange dearth of media interest.) Coleman's reply:

I'm not gonna [pause] I've made my point that, there's, we did nothing wrong, this is a dispute between two businesspeople. There's never been a single allegation that either my wife or I did anything wrong. Not one! That we did anything wrong. And so, uh, you know, I've made it clear that I'm just not going to comment about that.

A couple things here. First, the Star Tribune oddly titles this segment of its interview, "Norm Coleman Answers a Tough Question," but a more appropriate description would be "Norm Coleman Does Not Answer a Tough Question." I mean, he was asked if the FBI contacted him and he said he wouldn't comment. I don't see how you can call that "answering" a question.

As to what his non-reply suggests about the question, the two possibilities here are:

1. Coleman has not been contacted by the FBI, but refused to say so because of his deeply held principle that public figures should not disclose whether or not they have been contacted by law enforcement officials about allegations of corruption, or

2. Coleman has been contacted by the FBI.

I'm leaning toward #1 myself.

And as for Coleman's defense that nobody has alleged that he's done anything wrong, well, I alleged it. Of course, what he's saying is that nobody has a public allegation against him in court. That's technically true. But aformer CEO is alleging that he he made payments, on the orders of the company's owner (who is a close Coleman friend) that he was explicitly told would go to Coleman through an intermediary. So Coleman's defense here boils down to the fact that the intermediary hasn't admitted to passing the payments on to Coleman. Of course, that may be one of the issues the FBI is looking into.

--Jonathan Chait