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Martin County Elections Supervisor Testifies at Absentee Ballot LawsuitAired December 7, 2000 - 8:50 a.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: Back inside Judge Lewis' courtroom again. This is the case regarding applications for absentee ballots in Martin County.
Once again, on the stand, Peggy Robbins, heads up the elections office in Robins (ph) County. Quickly, we will listen again to her testimony.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
BRADY EDWARDS, BUSH CAMPAIGN ATTORNEY: You were allowing representatives of the Republican Party to come take the absentee ballot request forms, correct the problem that they had made, and return them, in connection with that activity, in any of the discussions that you had associated with that activity, did you ever tell anyone to keep this quiet?
PEGGY ROBBINS, MARTIN CO. ELECTIONS SUPER.: No.
EDWARDS: Did you ever tell anyone this is just between us?
EDWARDS: Did you ever hide during any of these procedures or discussions?
EDWARDS: Did all of these discussions and activities and goings on occur out in public?
EDWARDS: Do you believe that you committed any crimes in connection with this decision?
EDWARDS: Do you recall the date that you gave you deposition in this case? Do you remember when it was, how long ago? You can look on the front.
ROBBINS: It was this last weekend. EDWARDS: December 3rd.
ROBBINS: That's sounds correct.
EDWARDS: Have you ever given a deposition before?
ROBBINS: No, I have not.
EDWARDS: Do you know that, generally, when you give a deposition, you usually have a period of 10, 20, 30 days, depending on what state the deposition was given in, to read the deposition and check your answers to see if you made any grammatical errors, to see if you misspoke, and you have an opportunity to correct that, and fill out a sheet, called an errata sheet, to turn in those corrections and have them incorporated into the document?
ROBBINS: No, I did not know that.
EDWARDS: Have you been given an opportunity to read your deposition before today?
ROBBINS: I was given my deposition, though, to tell you the truth, I haven't had time to read it.
EDWARDS: It has been a busy week, hasn't it?
ROBBINS: It has been very busy.
HEMMER: Indeed, it has been a busy week for just about everybody involved. Peggy Robbins heads up the elections office down in Martin County on the stand. We are going to go away from this trial shortly here now, but we will come back again throughout the morning, and we will monitor it for you.
In the meantime, though, there are a number of moving parts today in Tallahassee. Linda Kleindienst, with the "Sun Sentinel" here in Florida, is our guest now to talk more about so many different things happening right now.
You were paying attention to Seminole and Martin from last night and again today. Do you have a sense of where that case is headed?
LINDA KLEINDIENST, "SOUTH FLORIDA SUN-SENTINEL": Well, it is hard to really tell at this point, but they have presented some very strong evidence that Democrats were treated differently than Republicans, that public documents were altered by Republican operatives in those counties.
HEMMER: It appears, though, that there's a big question about remedy. Does the punishment fit the crime?
KLEINDIENST: Right, they are talking about maybe they should throw out just a portion of the ballots, if the judge rules with them. I don't think they have quite gotten to the point of how that is going to work out yet. HEMMER: I am going to jump around here. I know you follow the legislature here quite closely. They called a special session tomorrow on Friday. How critical was that to do it yesterday, knowing the state Supreme Court has oral arguments in about an hour's time?
KLEINDIENST: Well, I think they are trying to send the court a message, as the court sent them a message a couple of weeks ago, they are now sending the court a message, saying: Hey, look, we are ready to act. We are going to will appoint a George W. Bush friendly slate of electors, and we want you to do something really fast here, or we will come back next week and pass this out.
HEMMER: When the court convenes again in about an hour's time, we talked about this three weeks ago, again it is Groundhog Day in Tallahassee. What should we know that strikes you about the makeup of the seven justices?
KLEINDIENST: Well, first of all, it is a very independent court. They were all -- six were appointed by Democratic governors, one was appointed by a joint appointment by Gov. Lawton Chiles, a Democrat, and Gov. Jeb Bush, a Republican, but interestingly enough, even yesterday, Gov. Jeb Bush was saying: You can't look at the political makeup of the Florida Supreme Court. The national media are making too much out of so many Democrats being on the bench, and that you have to look at the decisions they've made. And they will do the right thing.
HEMMER: All right, Linda Kleindienst, thanks for stopping by. It was brief, but good.
KLEINDIENST: Appreciate it.
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