Attacking the Liar’s Best Lies:
“I don’t know,” “I don’t remember,” & “I do remember”

(In-house Presentations & Live Webinars)

Whether at trial or in deposition, the “yes-no” question quite frequently constitutes a Scylla & Charybdis problem for the adverse witness: the “yes” constituting a damaging-to-witness admission, and the “no” creating a risk of the witness being impeached … maybe a BIG risk of a BIG impeachment. Thus, a willing-to-lie witness (and there are so many!!), perhaps coached by an unethical attorney (and there are so many!!), tries to avoid Scylla & Charybdis by claiming “I don’t know X” or “I don’t remember X.” As all experienced litigators well know, and newbie litigators soon discover, these claims can be damn tough to successfully attack … damn tough to prove they’re LIES. Learn the very best lines of attack against each type of LIE.

DO THE GOOGLE re 3 search terms:  CLE + attacking + “I don’t remember” There’s not another CLE like this one anywhere. (See Reviews.)

Principal Discussion & Teaching Points:

  • Litigation §101: the best case theory
  • The Grand Unified Theory of deposition cross-examination
  • When to save impeachment for surprise at trial
  • Scylla & Charybdis
  • 3 meanings of “I don’t know X.”
  • 2 axiomatic cross-examination pressure points:
    • from Thomas Aquinas
    • from Aristotle
  • The valid & invalid “I don’t know X.”
  • Witness’s 3 silent interpretations of “Do you know X?”
  • Rosetta Stone Qs vs. “I don’t know X.”
    • Knowledge vs. information
    • Every witness’s exclusive choices
    • Witness’s relationship to “X
    • Witness’s “limits” of information
  • Case study: the most comprehensive analysis EVER re “I don’t/didn’t know X.”
  • The all-time, every-case, toughest answer to successfully attack
  • 3 purposes for witness’s deceitful “I don’t remember X.”
  • Make witness pick a chair: “Yes,” “No,” or “Maybe”
  • Case study: witness claims not to remember info favorable to cross-examiner
  • Case study: witness claims to have initially innocently mis-remembered info re X
  • Lawyer coaching the witness to lie: “I don’t remember X.”
  • Why depose?
  • How depose?
  • Word-hawking tests
  • Rosetta Stone Qs: dramatically strengthen witness’s relationship to “X
  • Cross-examiner’s cardinal blunder re attacking liar’s “I don’t remember X.”
  • Rosetta Stone Qs: dramatically define the purported limits of witness’s memory re “X
  • Attacking the “I don’t remember X” that seeks to reserve a bad surprise for trial:
    • enumerate
    • make a “speech”
    • loop memory limits
    • offer witness the “get-outta-depo card”
  • Attacking witness’s “I do remember” that disfavors cross-examiner
  • Rosetta Stone Qs: 12 lines of attack to weaken witness’s relationship to “X
  • “Keeping score” of witness’s claims: the can remembers vs. the can’t remembers