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U.S. Appeals Court Rejects Bush Recount ChallengeAired December 6, 2000 - 2:31 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: So again, the development today in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals here in Atlanta: The Bush team has taken a case to the appeals court. The question about whether manual recounts are constitutional: The Bush team is claiming they weren't. However, that has been denied by this circuit court of appeals. Of course, this means that -- means that Gore needs to win at the Florida state Supreme Court to put this decision to use allowing for manual recounts to proceed in Florida.
We heard from Patty Davis for the Gore team. Let's go now to CNN's Jeanne Meserve, who's covering the Bush camp there in Austin, see if there's any reaction to this as of yet -- Jeanne.
JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Natalie, no official reaction as of yet. Of course, I'm sure the Bush team would have preferred to have won this case, but I don't think they'll portray it as catastrophic that they have not.
They made this argument in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals that it was unconstitutional to only count selected ballots from Democratic -- from Democratic counties as sort of a firewall, a second line of defense. They wanted to have that ruling in place just in case the Florida Supreme Court should in the coming days overturn Judge Sauls' opinion and allow the recounts to go forward. But as of yet, Natalie, no official reaction from the Bush campaign.
Back to you.
ALLEN: All right. We'll wait to here when that happens. Thanks, Jeanne. Now here's Lou.
LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Before this legal fury out of Atlanta, reaction from Washington and Austin, we were talking about the -- about the trial that's going on in Judge Nikki Clark's Leon County courtroom. We were just getting started there and it all broke up. They're back in chambers.
We have CNN's Gary Tuchman, though, who's very plugged into every aspect of all legal activities in Tallahassee, who joins us now.
Gary, what's going on in that courtroom?
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Lou. As plugged in as anyone can be in this marathon and crazy day of legal proceedings here in the Leon County Circuit Court in Tallahassee. What's happened, what this break's about was a dispute over the reading of the depositions in the courtroom. Two of the key witnesses in this hat case -- the election supervisor of Seminole County, Sandra Goard, and also the man accused of going into the office and filling out ID numbers on absentee ballot applications, Michael Leach -- both sides have agreed that these people will not testify in person. Instead, they were deposed. Their depositions have been written in legal papers.
Now, the plaintiff's side, who filed the suit, wants to read the legal papers to the court. The judge asked why they would need to read them to the court. They said it's important, it's a matter of public record, and they said, very frankly, this is on television, we want the viewers to know what's going on, we want the public to know what's going on.
The Republicans, the Seminole County people, the Bush lawyers felt that it was not necessary, that this just could be presented to the judge as a deposition and she could read it before she made her ruling. So, that's what they're meeting behind closed doors about right now, to decide if they will allow this to be read basically on television to the people watching this trial right now.
So we expect there to be a short delay. They're hoping to finish this case, the Seminole County case in Tallahassee, and a similar case, the Martin County case, all today. The Martin County case won't start until the Seminole County case is over. So this could go on into the early morning hours conceivably in this courtroom in Tallahassee -- Lou.
WATERS: The Republicans, as I understand it, did not want this court trial to end in a day. Then did request a jury trial, did they not?
TUCHMAN: They requested a jury trial. They made that motion yesterday. The judge, Nikki Ann Clark, said she would decide that today. She came in this morning and said there is no legal record of a jury trial ever being done in a contest proceeding before, and therefore, she ruled against it and she will be the arbiter of what happens here.
WATERS: All right, Gary Tuchman, keeping watch there in Tallahassee. Judge Nikki Clark in chambers with attorneys, a matter over what documents will or will not be read in the courtroom when this trial does eventually resume.
We will resume with more coverage of the Florida recount and all subsequent matters associated with that after a break.
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