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Special Event

Election 2000: Closing Arguments Heard on Martin County Absentee Ballots

Aired December 7, 2000 - 12:25 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: We're going to take you live now to Tallahassee. This is closing arguments in the question about what to do with thousands of absentee ballots in Martin county. Let's listen in.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you very much, your honor.

JUDGE TERRY LEWIS, LEON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, your honor, one other thing before the argument. As a procedural matter, your honor -- if the court likes, we could have to the court proposed findings sometime later this afternoon -- if that would be helpful.

LEWIS: I don't think you need to. I mean, it's nice if you want to, but everybody's got a lot to do. I was going to say, timewise I will try to get something today, but I doubt it. So what I suggest to you is by noon tomorrow I will have something, and I want to consult with Judge Clark, who has a similar case -- similar issues -- and I don't know what the timing would that be, but she's going to have arguments in about 35 minutes on that case, and then I'll find out. But I hope at least by lunch tomorrow I'll have something for you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your honor...

LEWIS: I've also been asked by the bailiffs to remind you that they have to set this thing up real quick for 1:00, and so if everybody could cooperate and exit the courtroom quickly -- not in a mad panic, but quickly -- we'd appreciate it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your honor, if I might ask, do you anticipate you'll issue a written order or that you'll rule from the bench?

LEWIS: Written order.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.

LEWIS: Thank you.

KAGAN: Well, we went to that at interesting time, just as closing arguments were really closing up there, just before Judge Terry Lewis. And he was explaining, even though it seemed like a little bit of housekeeping items, it actually explains what the challenges facing these judges in Leon county circuit court today -- you have two similar cases, one coming from Seminole county, the one we dipped into coming from Martin county, both together talking about what do you do with about 25,000 absentee ballots coming from those two counties, and still decisions to come on that.

This on the same day that we heard oral arguments in front of the Supreme Court of Florida, a case that had been kicked out from the U.S. Supreme Court.

So, waiting on that.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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