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Taking the stand

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by dog428, Apr 24, 2007.

  1. dog428

    dog428 Active Member

    On Wednesday, I will be the one and only witness testifying in a public records case my paper has brought against a university. Basically, we've requested the documents several times, they've refused and we've sued. All the little hearings are out of the way and it's now time for the show.

    I can't say that it's really a nervous situation for me. At least, it's not yet. Maybe when I actually get to the courtroom.

    The cross-examination should be highly entertaining, since me and the university's attorney have had some very heated exchanges in the past couple of months, including two in which he told me, in response to my requests, to "go fuck yourself." Classy guy.

    Anyone else ever been through a similar ordeal?
  2. John

    John Well-Known Member

    No, but good luck. And see if you can work in some Colonel Jessup-like testimony.
  3. dog428

    dog428 Active Member

    I was planning more of an Alan Shore/Denny Crane tactic.
  4. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    Best wishes.
  5. Piotr Rasputin

    Piotr Rasputin New Member

    That works. Finish your testimony, just look the female jurors in the eye, and spring it:

  6. dog428

    dog428 Active Member

    Yeah, I'm working on an incredibly long-winded rant which I'll finish with "dog428" and a wink.
  7. Good luck.

    Please let us know how it goes.

    Try to work in "You can't handle the Truth!" into your testimony.
  8. I had to testify once in a libel action brought against another reporter. (The plantiff had told me the same things he was alleging the other reporter had made up.) It was about an interview that had taken place years earlier. I made Alberto Gonzales look like Jerry Lucas.
    Good luck, dog.
  9. Simon_Cowbell

    Simon_Cowbell Active Member

    Every time I post.
  10. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    Good luck dog... be sure you put the proper emphasis on fuck...
  11. Moland Spring

    Moland Spring Member

    As an FOI maven, I'm curious: What kind of stuff did you request?
  12. Lugnuts

    Lugnuts Well-Known Member

    Is it a jury trial?

    There's a GREAT tape out there that lawyers sometimes give their witnesses to help them prepare for cross examination and depositions.

    Here's what I remember from it:

    (1) At all costs, DO NOT lose your cool. Don't even get so much as testy or "miffed." It looks HORRIBLE to a jury. You are calm, almost pleasant, and matter of fact. Do not get indignant. Think of it as a chess match between you and the lawyer. He's trying to get you to appear agitated; You won't go there.

    (2) Never, never, never answer more than you are asked. Volunteer nothing. Keep your answers short and to the point. Long-winded witnesses get tripped up all the time.

    (3) The phrase "not that I can remember" is your friend. The lawyer is trying to get you to trip over your previous testimony or deposition. If you are unsure about a timeline, date, or fact, "not that I can recall at the moment" gives you a big out.

    Good luck... sounds fascinating... update if you are able.
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