Patterico's Pontifications

9/29/2018

This Is CNN

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:40 am



Enjoy this headline:

CNN Blasey Ford

The actual content? Nothing has changed and she doesn’t remember anything:

Leland Ingham Keyser, a friend of the woman accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault when they were at a party in high school, does not refute the veracity of the allegation, although she does not remember the alleged incident, her lawyer said in a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, claims that during a party in the early 1980s at which Keyser and several others were present, Kavanaugh drunkenly pushed her into a bedroom, pinned her down and attempted to remove her clothes before she was able to escape. Kavanaugh has vehemently denied the allegation.

“Ms. Keyser does not refute Dr. Ford’s account, and she has already told the press that she believes Dr. Ford’s account,” Keyser’s attorney, Howard Walsh, wrote in the letter, which was sent to the committee overnight Friday. “However, the simple and unchangeable truth is that she is unable to corroborate it because she has no recollection of the incident in question.”

Walsh also said in the letter that Keyser will “cooperate fully” with an FBI investigation into the allegation.

But it doesn’t really matter that a friend doesn’t remember an unspecified incident from 36 years ago, right? I actually thought that, before the testimony. Now? I’m not so sure:

Regardless of how it’s phrased by the Feinstein-referred lawyers who apparently didn’t even tell Ford about the offer to interview her privately in California…the real takeaway here, CNN, is not that the friend doesn’t refute Ford. It’s that the friend does not corroborate Ford.

That’s your headline. Or, it would be if you weren’t partisan hacks.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

145 Responses to “This Is CNN”

  1. Lazy CNN. They basically transcribed what her lawyer said. When a person won’t or can’t corroborate her girlfriend’s story, despite the girlfriend placing her at the scene, it sounds like a refutation to me.

    Paul Montagu (0e687b)

  2. Yes, plus Dana and I discussed this before the hearings. Teen girls then didn’t go alone except with a boyfriend. Keyser would notice if she was a younger girl left alone with drunk older boys. That Blasey Ford was friends with her makes it even worse because Ford says they tried to assault her, but she got away and left Keyser alone with them. What chance did Keyser have, alone with 4 or 5 older boys? Ford clearly didn’t care.

    DRJ (15874d)

  3. You nailed the crux of the matter DRJ.

    NJRob (1d7532)

  4. That’s your headline. Or, it would be if you weren’t partisan hacks.

    Maybe it would have been if the right hadn’t spent the last week lying and saying Keyser had refuted Ford. Correcting that lie is rather important.

    Tlaloc (d38a6f)

  5. Yes, plus Dana and I discussed this before the hearings. Teen girls then didn’t go alone except with a boyfriend. Keyser would notice if she was a younger girl left alone with drunk older boys. That Blasey Ford was friends with her makes it even worse because Ford says they tried to assault her, but she got away and left Keyser alone with them. What chance did Keyser have, alone with 4 or 5 older boys? Ford clearly didn’t care.

    Yeah, clearly she should have been thinking tactically right after having a rape attempt, I mean it’s almost like she’s human or something and not a robotic vagina built for Kavanaugh’s use.

    Tlaloc (d38a6f)

  6. I see reports now that in 1982 in MD, sexual assault such as alleged would have been a misdemeanor.

    jim2 (a5dc71)

  7. A human would care about her close friend. I understand running but a human, a friend, would reach out to Keyser to make sure she was ok. Call Keyser later: “Are you ok?” ” Sure. Why?” “Because 2 of those guys attacked me and I ran away.”

    Or do nothing, as she did.

    DRJ (15874d)

  8. Yeah, “I was there and I don’t remember anything like that and neither Ford nor anybody else ever said a word to me about it until now” is not a refutation.

    nk (dbc370)

  9. This article also quotes Patrick J. Smyth, vouching for him:

    “Personally speaking, I have known Brett Kavanaugh since high school and I know him to be a person of great integrity, a great friend, and I have never witnessed any improper conduct by Brett Kavanaugh towards women,” the statement continued. “To safeguard my own privacy and anonymity, I respectfully request that the Committee accept this statement in response to any inquiry the Committee may have.”

    What a disappointing partisan hack.

    Tillman (61f3c8)

  10. I get it, if he friend he is innocent if he lives he’s a warlock

    Narciso (bc5af6)

  11. GD fake news CNN.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  12. it’s contagious

    you have one ditzy dollop of loopy sputum telling dirty rape lies

    then Mitt Romney wants to tell dirty rape lies

    and Jeff Flake wants to tell dirty rape lies

    then everybody at CNN wants to tell dirty rape lies!

    but the truth is beauty and beauty is truth

    and we have to hold onto that

    as Americans

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  13. And abc and cbc and NBC and the journal and USA today, the two minute hate stretched out like reed richards.

    Narciso (bc5af6)

  14. Ford clearly didn’t care.

    sleazy chrissy also didn’t care how many girls Brett would go into boisterously rape for decades and decades

    it wasn’t her problem

    seems like rape’s only really on her radar when it’s useful

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  15. Tillman, are you saying Smyth is partisan if he agrees with and/or does not condemn Kavanaugh? If so, do you hold Ford’s acquaintances to the same standard?

    DRJ (15874d)

  16. Or is your concern that he did not want to testify?

    DRJ (15874d)

  17. Still bet the DNC is trying to get a SJW who Kavanaugh coached to say he suggested unsavory things. This week will be to see if anyone bites.

    NJRob (1d7532)

  18. oops i meant go *on* to

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  19. Memo to Kerpen:

    Memories…

    Two college friends, both drunk, but one a routinely heavy drinker and much drunker than the other, are shacked up w/their girlfriends who’d also been drinking with them after some heavy duty Saturday night partying. They’re all in the same room.

    Suddenly one guy gets up and in the ambient light, drops trawl, and starts pissing in the middle of the room- right on to the rug and scattered clothing on the floor. The other guy sees it, the girlfriend of the pisser was in bed with watches it, both yell; ‘Whoa, Rory, you’re pissing on the floor!’ … the guy sways, staggers w/his tongue out, finishes peeing and falls back into the bed. Next morning over coffee he’s told what he did. He says has no memory of it. Laughter erupts. Just another ‘Rory Story.’ It’s filed away w/so many others and not mentioned again. Everybody graduates, drift apart and get on w/their lives. 40 years later the guys touch base. Rory is a retired stockbroker now. Respectable. Married w/two grown kids. One guy relates the pissing-on-the-floor-story to the other. The other guy again says he has absolutely no memory of the story or the incident it at all. The girl he was in bed with, now his wife of nearly 40 years and mother of his children, barks at him, ‘You pissed on the floor and on my clothes, dummy.’ ‘Course Roay isn’t up for a Supreme Court slot. Ah, yes. Memories.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  20. Quite a posse there, DCSCA.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  21. Drops trou is probably what you’d meant, unless your buddy had pretentions of being a Gloucester Fisherman…

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  22. I would like to know if Ford is going to be interviewed again. Of course, it will be with kid gloves, but it would be interesting.

    Patricia (3363ec)

  23. Why is the investigation “limited in scope”?

    So, if they find he should’ve recused himself from a case because of a conflict of interest, the FBI ignores that? What if he used his public stipend on a hooker? Ignore everything outside the scope? What if one of his associates did something illegal many moons ago— can we flip him?

    Funny how some self-identifying conservatives limit the time and scope for a lifetime appointment, because they like the nominee, while approving a never ending investigation of unlimited scope of an elected official they despise.

    Actually it’s pretty scary, and quite damning.

    Hey Joe (240e1f)

  24. Ultimately, this is going to be about a list of eternal grievances. There are Democrats who still believe that Bush the Elder conspired with the Iranians in the 1980 election to perpetuate an “October Surprise.” They’ll be whining about Kavanaugh being confirmed until Obama’s great-grandchildren are running for President.

    M Scott Eiland (b16b32)

  25. The point about not abandoning a girlfriend is easily explained away by the trauma Ford is said to have experienced. If anyone would ever not be in their “right mind,” it would be one who has just suffered a sexual assault or rape. This goes double for one as demonstrably fragile as Dr. Ford.

    The only real consideration now is that of the Dhimms and when they will choose to unleash a new allegation(s). Do they come out tomorrow so that it is the lead for all Monday morning news? or, do they wait until Wednesday or Thursday so that they can self-righteously demand an extension?

    Did y’all see that the source of the Doxxing of the GOP Senators this week is a lead staffer for Maxine? :)

    Ed from SFV (6d42fa)

  26. this is a background chevk, not a criminal proceeding so the FBI does not have subpoena power. Thus, interviews are voluntary and Ford doesn’t have to consent to an interview. Kavanaugh and Judge have both agreed to interviews.

    DRJ (15874d)

  27. OP Pat the real takeaway here, CNN, is not that the friend doesn’t refute Ford. It’s that the friend does not corroborate Ford. [Para.] That’s your headline. Or, it would be if you weren’t partisan hacks.

    Seriously, Patterico? When His Honor (Hizzoner – a judge mind you) testifies:

    . . .we sit here today, some 36 years after the alleged event occurred when there is no corroboration and indeed it is refuted by the people allegedly there.

    Frankly, I don’t recall if this legal giant was raging, or weeping, or talking like a normal human being as he said this. But this falsehood was repeated or independently constructed by several GOP Senators on the Committee, by dozens or hundreds more GOP-sters in the commentariat, and by a few here, too, if I recall aright.

    Seriously, P?

    Perhaps, just perhaps – as Tlaloc, supra, writes Maybe [P’s version of the headline (?)] would have been [appropriate or well-taken (?)] if the right hadn’t spent the last week lying and saying Keyser had refuted Ford. Correcting that lie is rather important.

    Things that make you go hmmmm? Indeed.

    Q! (86710c)

  28. #10

    Yeah, “I was there and I don’t remember anything like that and neither Ford nor anybody else ever said a word to me about it until now” is not a refutation.

    I don’t think that’s what the friend is saying. She definitely is not saying “I was there” or even “I was at a party with BK and Ford”. In fact:

    “However, as my client has already made clear, she does not know Judge Kavanaugh and has no recollection of ever being at a party or gathering where he was present, with, or without, Dr. Ford,” the letter from Howard Walsh, Keyser’s attorney, said. It continued that Keyser “does not refute Dr. Ford’s account, and she has already told the press that she believes Dr. Ford’s account.”

    Does not know BK and has no memory of this party is not the same as “I was there but don’t remember anything like this happening”.

    It’s hard to square up “I was never at a party with BK but I believe my friend who says I was”. At best she’s saying I don’t remember everyone at every party I went to, which is fair. At best this doesn’t help or hurt Ford.

    But then we’re also left with “I don’t remember being left alone at a party with 4 or 5 drunk guys by Ford” which opens up more questions. That seems like something a girl would remember.

    I’m also curious about the simple question of how either of these girls generally got back and forth from a party. They went to several.

    frosty48 (6226c1)

  29. I would like team rino to make the democrats impeach Kavanaugh from his current Judgeship.
    Right now you pansie back side ingrates.

    mg (9e54f8)

  30. juanita broderick woman who accuse democrats of sexual assault like bill clinton should be believed. women who accuse republicans like brett kavenaugh of sexual assault should not be believed.

    lany (5bc24a)

  31. 5, 6: yes, it’s totally common for real victims to not only abandon their friends when victimized but not tell their parents about it that night or any other night, and never talk about the incident with their friends they abandoned ever again, this is completely normal behavior and not at all a hastily-thrown-together ex post facto fabrication that you’re hoping to repeat until it becomes your personal set of alternative facts.

    11: “Partisan hack” really shouldn’t be deployed by anyone on the Democrat side after their party just spent a week repeating and amplifying lies so egregious and over-the-top that it’ll be a wonder if they’re ever believed again. Anyway, this isn’t a court of law and partisan hackery is perfectly acceptable.

    Al-Khutr Davenport (c35acc)

  32. 5

    Maybe it would have been if the right hadn’t spent the last week lying and saying Keyser had refuted Ford. Correcting that lie is rather important.

    It’s not the job of an objective press to balance the scales by putting out deceptive headlines to counter balance some perceived injustice. If the correct headline is that the friend does not corroborate Ford then it’s correct no matter what the various parties being reported on claim.

    frosty48 (6226c1)

  33. #32 yep. The pearl clutching, have you no decency, how dare you accuse my staff of leaking, DF was a pathetic example of this. It’s hard for me to wrap my head around how voters represented by at least 50 senators can look at their part in the last few weeks and be comfortable with their decisions.

    frosty48 (6226c1)

  34. @28

    “I don’t recall if this legal giant was raging, or weeping, or talking like a normal human being”

    Yes, that patronizing, dehumanizing, and punctilious tone in the face of a man who has accomplished way more than you ever have and suffered more credulously-repeated spurious allegations than any public figure in recent memory is exactly the attitude I want to see in my opponents.

    It reduces pity on my side, inflames very righteous anger among prior moderates, and makes positions that would seem extreme as of last month suddenly very thinkable, easily justifiable, and absolutely doable.

    I won’t spoil the surprise by saying what those positions are, though!

    Pencil-necked Pundit (931ad1)

  35. 31: Juanita Broaddrick has numerous witnesses to whom she told her story soon after it happened. Some of them saw the bruised lip that Bill advised her to “put some ice on.” There are no such contemporaneous witnesses for Blasey Ford’s allegation.

    There were other, less-reported allegations of actual rape by Bill Clinton, including one while he was at Oxford.

    What’s more certain is that Broaddrick’s story fits with a pattern of behavior that Clinton was continuing to display even during his presidency, according to various women whom Democrats chose to ridicule.

    Radegunda (b0ffbf)

  36. @35 P-NP I won’t spoil the surprise by saying what those positions are, though!

    lol. Oooo! Oooo! Oh yes! Please don’t spoil the surprise!

    Q! (86710c)

  37. you just know those horned-up fbi weasels are fighting over who gets to go ask the graphic sex questions

    it’s my turn you did it last time

    ok but you have to tape it this time

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  38. Not corroborating a tale – described as horrific and seared in her memory in the mousy, little girl voice of Ford – when the accuser claims you were at the party where this alleged incident was to have occurred… well it’s just very, very strange.

    Again, Ford’s allegations have not been corroborated by a single person alleged to have been in attendance.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  39. 37… squeeee!

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  40. Charles Lane
    @ChuckLane1
    Really don’t get why there’s so much controversy over this: Keyser respects her old friend and therefore sincerely doesn’t want to suggest Ford is lying. At the same time, she is an honest person herself and doesn’t want to testify to anything she doesn’t remember.

    harkin (a4b010)

  41. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=18c_02ay4Yo

    ‘memories… may be beautiful, and yet; what’s too painful to remember; we choose to forget; so it’s the laughter, we will remember…’

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  42. keyser knows her old friend is a vindictive dishonest lying nutbird and she’s probably never been more terrified than she is right now, worrying what that crazy sociopath will do to her if she gets triggered

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  43. why are arizona senators such disgraceful sniveling cowards?

    it’s SO weird

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  44. Leland Ingham Keyser, a friend of the woman accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault when they were at a party in high school

    didn’t the nutty rape fantasist decide this wasn’t actually a party?

    i seem to remember this

    i couldn’t focus on the whole hearing a lot of times it was just in the background

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  45. Again, Ford’s allegations have not been corroborated by a single person alleged to have been in attendance.
    Colonel Haiku

    And they even deny remembering any party at all.

    Patricia (3363ec)

  46. she’s a dirty liar

    nobody tried to rape her

    she’s just lying on purpose

    that’s why everybody hates her lying guts

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  47. Regardless of how it’s phrased by the Feinstein-referred lawyers who apparently didn’t even tell Ford about the offer to interview her privately in California

    No way Christine knew about the offer to interview in california – it wasnt in the newspapers 24/7 (or was it)

    Joe _dallas (debac0)

  48. O/T, Breaking: Elon Musk out as CoB at Tesla.

    Shocka; electrifying.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  49. 39-46
    These are the reasons GrAssley should have stopped the nonsense from the beginning. Let alone allowing code abort into the hearings.

    mg (9e54f8)

  50. DRJ, my point was, for her to be a “partisan hack” as Patterico put it, she should have left out dude’s quote vouching for his character. That wasn’t very hackish of her.

    Tillman (61f3c8)

  51. The scene: SNL writer bullpen, Thursday night.
    Topic: cold opener. Time: 4 minutes.

    Fade up on image of U.S. Capitol dome. Cut to hearing room. Seated is angry, indignant 2018 Kavanaugh look-alike. Begin loud parody rant challenging classmate memories and dismissing endless partying and beer drinking. Time: 30 seconds.

    Audio down, dissolve to thought bubble. Audio up, soundtrack: ‘Memories’ by Barbra Streisand- Time 3 minutes, 30 seconds.  Dissolve to montage of 1982 Kavanaugh look-alike w/pals and gals ‘ralphing’ ‘boofing,’ ‘laughing,’ ‘Devil’s Triangling’  ‘junk-wiggling’ etc., partying  through assorted scenarios to lyrics. Dissolve to 2018 hearing room set.

    Tag w/opening: ‘ And in conclusion, I’d like to say, ‘live from New York, it’s Saturday Night!’

    Roll opening credits. 

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  52. That she won’t corroborate is the old news.

    The new news is that now, even with the FBI’s microscope on her, she still won’t corroborate — not for them, not for the Committee, not for Dr. Ford.

    Headline: Witness Again Refuses to Perjure Herself!

    Good for her. Typical for CNN and the left. Journalism is not a profession anymore, it’s just another form of politics.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  53. Beldar – This is no time for you to be posting here. Get to rooting your Horns home!

    Ed from SFV (6d42fa)

  54. Hey Joe Hey Flake

    Hey Flake, where you goin’ with that look on yo face?
    Hey Flake, I said where you goin’ with that look on yo face, oh
    I’m goin’ down to screw teh old poochie
    You know I gotta mess things up just one more time
    I’m goin’ down to screw teh old poochie
    You know I gotta mess things up just one more time
    And I’m playin’ the fool
    Huh, hey Flake… I heard you stabbed ‘em in the back
    In teh back now
    Hey Flake, I heard you stabbed yo party now
    In teh back and ass, yeah
    Yeah
    Yes, I did, I stabbed ‘em
    You know I gotta mess it up, mess ‘em up one more time
    Yes I did, I stabbed ‘em
    You know I am teh joke ’round town
    So I gave ‘em teh shank
    And I stabbed ‘em

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  55. 32:

    5, 6: yes, it’s totally common for real victims to not only abandon their friends when victimized but not tell their parents about it that night or any other night, and never talk about the incident with their friends they abandoned ever again, this is completely normal behavior and not at all a hastily-thrown-together ex post facto fabrication that you’re hoping to repeat until it becomes your personal set of alternative facts.

    I agree events can be traumatic and cause people to act erratically. Maybe that was the case for her but, if so, she didn’t tell anyone so apparently no one close to her noticed and asked what was wrong. If they did, she didn’t tell them.

    Significant trauma in teens affects sleep, health, grades, attitude, and interpersonal relationships, but despite that she told no one and no one noticed? (I don’t think she has claimed her behavior changed, only her feelings.) If you want to argue this was a life-changing event that left her unable to think of anyone but herself, it seems unusual to also think her behavior didn’t change enough for anyone to notice.

    DRJ (15874d)

  56. BK categorically denies the Ford account BUT can not refute it. That will be a future CNN headline. You know, because proving the negative without and starting point is BK problem.

    Rich (de9149)

  57. Where did she claim she abandoned friends? She called Keyser a life-long friend.

    DRJ (15874d)

  58. It’s fair to say that Keyser’s failure to recall the party described by Ford, in and of itself, is no direct evidence that the party didn’t happen just as Ford claimed that it did. It doesn’t directly rebut that possibility, as it would have if she had instead said, “I remember every party that summer, I kept a contemporaneous diary, here it is, both it and my memory are clear and complete, and my clear and complete recollection is that no such party ever happened.” That would be a very direct and emphatic refutation; that’s the sort of refutation Judge has offered.

    But Keyser’s repeated confirmation that she has no present recollection circumstantially undercuts Ford’s story if, and to the extent that, you believe it makes her story less probable, using your common sense.

    My common sense tells me, for example, that a woman who insists that she had only one beer, but can’t explain how she got to or left the party, nor the day of the week, nor the month, nor the location, is an unreliable reporter of the events, if any, that happened. The “one beer” detail ain’t the one that should normally have stuck, and the more she insists upon it, the less I believe the accuracy of the rest. (Me believing the accuracy of her report, and her believing it, are two entirely different things; I’m quite sure she’s got herself thoroughly painted into this corner of tangled memory and emotion.)

    Likewise, every bit of vivid detail Ford offers about the alleged assault makes more improbable, as a matter of common sense, the notion that her lifelong friend Keyser could have been at such a party without now remembering it. Even if she was downstairs and had no first-hand basis to see or hear or otherwise observe the assault, most folks’ common sense tells them there’s too much that’s memorable about the story of the party for it to have entirely slipped Keyser’s memory.

    And that is a “refutation” in the sense of diminishing the overall credibility of Ford’s allegations of assault. Word-game it all you want, but the fact remains: Ford’s dear lifelong friend, whom Ford says was at the party, and whom we would expect to work very hard therefore in searching her memories very hard to the slightest consistent fact or detail which might help bolster Ford’s case, came up flat-dab empty, zero, nada, bupkis. Pretending that somehow this enhances the credibility of Ford’s allegations is childish and pathetic.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  59. I completely missed that, Tillman. Thank you for clarifying it for me.

    DRJ (15874d)

  60. based on her own account of what happened Ford abandoned her friend at the party with the rapists.

    kaf (8a536b)

  61. Judge’s recollection, it should be noted — and he will, and Kavanaugh has too, and Judge wrote a book about — Judge’s diminished capacities for observation and recollection. That does indeed undercut the power of Judge’s unequivocal refutation. But refute Ford’s claims, rather than simply saying he has no present recollection which could corroborate Ford’s claim, Judge has indeed done, subject to (cough) penalty of felony. The FBI Form 302s reflecting his answers to much more detailed questions questions are certain to further highlight Ford’s ugly past, but then again, he wrote a book as part of his attempt to get off that path, and maybe the more detailed questioning, even though it will reflect badly on him, will be therapeutic for him.

    What I do not expect, though, is that Judge will recant his refutation.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  62. 58: ‘abandoned’ only in the sense of that particular event, though if it had gone anything like she described, it would be the sort of thing that you DO abandon or at least strain friendships over, at the very least have heated discussions about the next day, certainly not end up forgetting just like the other 10 everyday drunken rape festivals that opposing counsel would have us believe were commonplace at the time.

    Al-Khutr Davenport (d36d9b)

  63. Are we to believe, Tilman, that Keyser was so used to friends like Ford disappearing from parties that this occasion, on which by Ford’s account Ford disappeared without explanation, would have gone unnoticed? Or are we to believe that it was notice, and so unremarkable that it was forgotten? What’s your theory?

    Beldar (fa637a)

  64. BK categorically denies the Ford account BUT it’s too good not to be true.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  65. Also, 32, let’s talk about who has an agenda here (or, as you put it, “a hastily-thrown-together ex post facto fabrication that you’re hoping to repeat until it becomes your personal set of alternative facts”). You made this personal. Why?

    DRJ (15874d)

  66. I’m with DRJ. Paying attention to who goes up the stairs with whom, who disappears with whom, and how surprised or unsurprised we were by such things, was a large part of the social gossip I recall from teen parties/courting rituals in my day, and I’m seven years older than Kavanaugh.

    That Ford could have vanished from an underaged drinking party without being noticed and remembered strikes me as ridiculously improbable — not impossible, but the next thing to it.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  67. But Ford is the one who said nothing for over 25 years. She didn’t apparently abandon Keyser or ever mention this incident. That sounds more like it either wasn’t such a big event after all, or it was a big event but she acted like nothing happened even with friends. I can see teens doing that for a week or two, maybe even a month or two, but not for decades.

    DRJ (15874d)

  68. Even if I buy Ford’s story about the actual events in that room,, it is unpossible for me to buy she kept it entirely to herself. Her “safe” buddy didn’t ask her why she bolted the night before? Ford, or whatever her name was, could not have convincingly explained it away. Basically, that conversation never happened. Because the assault never happened.

    Ed from SFV (6d42fa)

  69. Impeach B.K. now.

    mg (9e54f8)

  70. If I were going to speculate, it would be that this did happen to Ford but with one minor difference that would be major to a teen girl — she went to a party with older boys, no parents, and no other girls.

    Something happened and she told no one because she knew her family and other adults would question why she went to that party. It would not be an issue today but it would have been then, and that might have led her to change the narrative enough so she felt blameless. Once she changed one fact, other changes were easy.

    DRJ (15874d)

  71. To the extremely long list of simple questions of objective fast that Dr. Ford has not been asked in public, I would add:

    You’re from a reasonably affluent family, with access to resources and healthcare, who’s earned a Ph.D. in psychology. Was the couples therapy in which you first revealed the details of your recollections of this assault in 2012, after 30 years of near-complete silence, the first therapy you ever personally participated in? No? [Avoid feigning surprise, it would be rude.] When did you begin therapy? Group or personal? How many years? [Again, avoid feigning surprise and suppress all snark.] In your __ years of therapy, did it ever occur to you to mention this sexual assault from age 15 to any of your therapists, but you rejected that opportunity? Or, on the other hand, did it simply never occur to you, whether you mentioned it or not? [It’s one or the other; she hid it from her past therapists, or she wasn’t thinking about it. This is my guess, but it’s a guess based on examining and cross-examining witnesses under oath and otherwise for almost forty years now.]

    *****

    Ford’s story is a series of Himalayan peaks — she was pinned, his hand was over her mouth — with vast unexplored, unilluminated chasms in between. If I were her lawyer, and I were her advocate trying to help her make her version of events as credible as possible, I would have asked her every possible question — the trial lawyers I hang around with call this, disgustingly, “swabbing out” the prospective witness, and it’s a process that takes hours or days to do thoroughly. And then I’d use every helpful detail, even if it was only helpful in inferentially rebutting bad things people might say about Ford.

    I’d ask my client, for example, about things which might have misled her attacker and Judge into believing she welcomed, or at least consented to, a make-out attempt. I’d want to know what happened at the party before she went upstairs to the bathroom. Any and every detail, certainly including things like how long it could have lasted (best estimates), whether there was any flirting, where everyone was sitting. Has every single one of those details disappeared from her recollection?

    It’s reasonable for us to presume her lawyers swabbed her out. It’s reasonable for us to infer that the absence of any details means that she genuinely remembers nothing else about that night than she’s already related. It means that all she’s got by way of context for us to evaluate her credibility is this untestable and uncorroborated set of the specific details that are now, well, convenient for her to remember.

    One beer. Oh, yeah, and all the bad stuff.

    Maybe that’s the trauma, and it flushed out all her other recollections, conveniently leaving behind the clear memory of the one beer. That’s not impossible, I guess.

    Is it credible? Aren’t we to the point now of talking feathers, not cement sacks, on those scales of justice?

    Kavanaugh’s presentation is cement sacks. Those calendars he’s produced, friends and neighbors, are tangible, contemporaneous evidence that has been unchallenged, and together with his testimony — which he demonstrated includes a lot of fond and obviously sentimental detail about his old friends and relationships at the onset of his adulthood — is powerful alibi evidence, broad enough in scope to cover even her pathetically imprecise estimation of when this assault allegedly occurred.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  72. (If you get the impression that I’d volunteer to give the closing up arguments for Kavanaugh on the floor of the Senate this week, you’re right.)

    Beldar (fa637a)

  73. Beldar approaching the Floor – alert the Pages!

    Ed from SFV (6d42fa)

  74. Thanks, Ed. 😉

    Hey, narciso, that Weekly Standard link from your #74 is very interesting, and contains new and original reporting. Thanks for sharing it here.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  75. It is great to see you, Beldar. I was thinking about leaving when I saw your comment, and I knew I wanted to stay as long as you are here.

    DRJ (15874d)

  76. Well, our friendship predates and transcends that, DRJ: I was re-reading something I’d written in 2004 on my own blog, on which both you & Patterico had left wonderful and perceptive comments.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  77. You’re welcome, in different but significant ways, it does remember another defamation campaign you were privy to ten years ago, doesnt it.

    narciso (d1f714)

  78. Alice Longworth Roosevelt famously said of her dad, Teddy: “My father always wanted to be the corpse at every funeral, the bride at every wedding, and the baby at every christening.” I want to be the cross-examiner at every trial or hearing. Can’t help it.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  79. E. Musk effed up hanging out with hip hop chicks, albeit a Walkaway.

    urbanleftbehind (847a06)

  80. 82: Don’t forget the Flake at every festival:

    https://twitter.com/NBCNews/status/1046165635649220608

    Al-Khutr Davenport (b138f1)

  81. What would you have done with Ford — question her gently for details to pin her story down, or push her to show how weak her story is — bearing in mind that you have to please the conservatives without losing the moderates?

    I thought Mitchell was too gentle but it worked to keep the moderates on board for awhile, until Flake ran into the protesters in the elevator and Coons in the woodshed.

    DRJ (15874d)

  82. I’ve got an assignment for the FBI: Investigate Christine Blasey Ford for possible conspiracy and perjury.

    DN (e91bf6)

  83. But the particulars suggest an update of the strategy that Kennedy and leahy had planted around 2004.

    There wasnt any evidence there still isn’t, I suppose kavanaugh shouldn’t have been let to dangle in the wind for nearly two weeks.

    narciso (d1f714)

  84. After witnessing what’s happened over the course of the past month, it’s difficult if not impossible to put fresh eyes and ears on what constitutes as evidence. However, if one takes a methodical approach to reviewing it, I am confident what is supported and what is not comes shining through. One outrageous aspect of all of this is how the MSM has completely lost sight of what reporting the unvarnished news, no opinion, just facts on the ground as we know them.

    They care not a whit about truth or damage to our political system and institutions, as long as the product they put out sells. That is dangerous.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  85. Only lawyers would create this mess.
    Progressive judicial yoga, I ask are you for sharia law?
    Ellison from Minnesota practices it, I am told.

    mg (9e54f8)

  86. @ DRJ (#85): It would take a good questioner at least six hours to examine her competently. It should have been done, obviously, in July, not live before the Committee. In a private setting, whether the examiner is a lawyer or an FBI agent, there are a ton of nonjudgmental open-ended questions that simply HAVE to be asked in order to have a basis to weigh the credibility of the testimony she and her lawyers have chosen to volunteer. From her original report to her Committee testimony live, these chasms — all the landscape below the peaks, all concealed in clouds of memory — have to be explored. Maybe it’s clouds all the way down, maybe there are hard answers that they deliberately chose to keep to themselves. (I’m wagering, actually, that there are a ton of hard answers, but that’s speculation based on past experience & common sense.)

    If I’d been in the box that Mitchell was in — “You must not leave any bruises, and your kid gloves have to be 47 layers thick, and you’re doing this live in five-minute spurts intermixed with Dem clownery & grandstanding” — I’d have prioritized my six hours of questions into however much time I actually had, and I’d have combed through them repeatedly to make them as nonjudgmental and avoid anything that could remotely be misinterpreted to be accusatory or sexist. Mitchell clearly was under those instructions.

    On the subject of the airplane flights, I thought: Yeah, Mitchell has been to a few courtrooms and has impeached the credibility of a few witnesses. But there, the target wasn’t Ford, but rather her lying, scheming handlers.

    What I couldn’t change would be the optics. In 1992, I tried a dram shop case at the request of one of my female partners when I was still in BigLaw, a crackerjack trial lawyer from our Austin office who wanted my experience with the local bench & jury pool. It was a death case, and the widow had to be cross-examined, and we were very definitely challenging her tale that we’d deprived the world of the world’s greatest husband when he flipped his pickup truck at 2:30 a.m. after leaving our client’s bar. She took a sharp, but very businesslike tone during the cross that brooked no nonsense, and she could get away with confrontations that might very well have boomeranged if it had been cis-white-male me asking the very same questions. Ultimately, though, we proved the widow’s tale of the perfect marriage was a falsehood through other witnesses, who testified to her late husbands many and conspicuous affairs.

    The very, very best thing about Mitchell’s involvement was that it deprived the Dems of the soundbites and video clips of old white Republican men daring to seek facts. If Grasley had asked my advice, I’d have told him: “Yes, let her testify live for the committee, but only after she’s been deposed first, using single lawyers in continuous and much larger blocks of time, so that the subsequent live testimony can be crisp and short.” The deposition would have saved us from rabbit trails. But the Dems want rabbit trails and drama. Tactically, I think Grasley gave them more of that drama than they deserved, but he clearly made a strategic call about what hills he chose to stand and fight on, and what hills he was pulling back from.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  87. BK goes from 11th most important judge to the 9th most important, maybe. Why haven’t impeachment hearings started on the judge? #11 to #9 makes you marked for life. What a disastrous episode. GrAssley, GrAssley, GrAssley…

    mg (9e54f8)

  88. What alleged crime do you believe Ford has conspired to commit, DN (#86)?

    I find her testimony on the subject of the alleged assault, including her (almost entirely absent) foundational testimony about how she could identify her alleged attacker, to be incredible — to be entitled to no weight. If you believe that she also told material, deliberate, and knowing lies on matters of material fact, how do you propose that would be proved at her perjury trial? Hint: Kavanaugh won’t help you a bit. His testimony, if believed, can show (and I think has shown) that he didn’t commit a sexual assault, on Dr. Ford or anyone. But establishing that doesn’t prove — at all, much less beyond a reasonable doubt — that Dr. Ford was deliberately, intentionally lying under oath, because it doesn’t negate the possibility that she’s mistaken (e.g., because she can no longer distinguish between what really happened, if anything, and the version that she’s supposedly kept insider for 30 years).

    I don’t think there’s even circumstantial evidence of perjury, frankly. Her story is too ridiculous. If her intent was to perjure herself, why invent a story in which she names five of six people who were present, when four of the five she’s identified (everyone except herself) can’t corroborate any of it?

    There won’t be a perjury investigation, nor a conspiracy investigation. This is politics — ugly, dishonest, bad-faith politics, but politics. She’ll no more be investigated for perjury or conspiracy than Brett Kavanaugh will be charged with criminal sexual assault.

    And to get to conspiracy, you have to have an underlying crime. Conspiracy for her to commit perjury? Can’t prove that if you can’t prove perjury. Conspiracy to frustrate those who want to see Kavanaugh confirmed?

    Sorry. I’m almost certainly as disgusted as you are with this whole thing, but we ought not kid ourselves that Ford, or more appropriately, the people who are manipulating her, will ever be investigated or charged with crimes from this.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  89. That makes sense. I think Mitchell could have been tougher, because she is a woman, but maybe they told her to be extra gentle. One thing I wish she had asked (when Ford was talking about anxiety and how nervous she was) is whether Ford had taken anything to help her not be as anxious. Her affect seemed off to me and sometimes she looked like she was in slow motion.

    DRJ (46c88f)

  90. I do wonder if Mitchell had some tougher questions planned but never got a chance to ask them. She had 8 x 5 minutes (40 minutes) but only got half of that time for actual questions.

    DRJ (46c88f)

  91. They don’t care about those details, the prospect of a hanging concentrates the mind, re progressive initiatives going forward, the color and texture of the rope doesn’t interest them.

    narciso (d1f714)

  92. Two sets of laws.
    One for lawyers and the government hacks they defend.
    And one that can ruin a man and his family’s life.
    Give these lawyers the npp

    mg (9e54f8)

  93. Haiku,

    I think we’ve reached a point where half of America cares about emotions and the other half still believes in the Rule of Law, even if they aren’t sure how it works. We used to be a nation that understood the concept but no one teaches it in school or life anymore. One of the reason I like blogs like this is the host and commenters like Beldar explain legal issues that we see in the news. We are more informed as a result, but not many people care to make the effort or care at all. At least the readers and commenters here still care.

    DRJ (46c88f)

  94. What you want to do with the sympathetic witness, in general, is to commit her or him to as many details as possible, to wall off future changes in testimony or new inventions, and then to get her or him off the stand to attack the witness’ credibility inferentially and through other witnesses.

    My partner’s cross-examination of the widow, for instance, included highlighting all the widow’s testimony about how wonderful and perfect her dead husband was, and to invite her even further out on that limb. But then my partner didn’t try to knock her off the limb. She called other witnesses, who sawed it off closer to the trunk, which accomplished the same effect without ever laying a glove (proverbially) on the witness directly.

    That’s in general what the GOP strategy was: Clearly someone made the call, “We’re not going to challenge, or even probe, any of the details of her story of the assault itself, nor the run-up to it, even though there’s an excellent chance that in probing those details we could catch her in inconsistencies or otherwise strike directly at her credibility while she’s on the stand.”

    I was not a fan of Mitchell’s smiles and “us girls” schtick — they looked like (and probably were) an attempt to be ingratiating, which I generally find unprofessional — but it works for some lawyers, at least some of the time; and for some audience members (on the left, anyway), it worked for Mitchell.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  95. If the polygraph test had consisted of more than two questions — which is a contemptible farce! — those questions, even if not challenging her, would necessarily have more systematically and repeatedly confronted her (in her internal mental dialog with herself) with the gaps and conflicts in the story she claims to remember. It should surprise no one that a two-question test, one of which is, “Is this written statement [sculpted of of your raw testimony by your lawyers, to exclude all the rough spots] true?” wouldn’t produce enough self-questioning interior dialog to, in turn, return meaningful physiological data that would show up on the polygraph.

    The whole polygraphing episode is another spectacular example of the dishonesty and bad faith of Ford’s handlers. It probably ought to be imputable to her, but as a practical matter, it won’t be. And I think she’s in her own bubble.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  96. I was not a fan of Mitchell’s smiles and “us girls” schtick — they looked like (and probably were) an attempt to be ingratiating, which I generally find unprofessional — but it works for some lawyers, at least some of the time; and for some audience members (on the left, anyway), it worked for Mitchell.

    If you’re in a position like MItchell’s and you want to come off as the “good guy” (good gal), then you probably should step down and let someone else take the job. I agree with DRJ that the GOP committee members might have told her to keep her powder dry and not be antagonistic, but in that case her questioning should have been very business-like, direct, and formal.

    JVW (42615e)

  97. Of course the examiner was a contractor for the Katz firm, but the fact there was a polygraph lent legitimacy to this sham. Like a certain iintelligence document.

    narciso (d1f714)

  98. The hippie from Rhode island gets referred for criminal prosecution.

    narciso (d1f714)

  99. Agree, DRJ. Would that we had Beldar doing the questioning of Dr. Ford.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  100. Good points, Beldar, and Mitchell did pin Ford down on the Democrats’ and her handlers’ roles. That may be what (almost) solidified support for Kavanaugh in the GOP caucus. I doubt every Republican agreed that Kavanaugh was 100% right and Ford was 100% wrong, but they probably all agree that the Democrats manipulated Ford and this hearing. Maybe that is enough to base a consensus on that will ultimately get Kavanaugh confirmed.

    DRJ (15874d)

  101. I’m sure Beldar and Patterico are both great at cross-examination. Wouldn’t it be fun to see them in DC?

    DRJ (15874d)

  102. This fiasco has made the senate -useless

    mg (9e54f8)

  103. Kicking derrière and taking names.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  104. It strikes me as weird that Ford never talked about this party at all with any of her friends, including Keyser, for 25 years. I can imagine her running out of the party and then going home via…what, a cab?… but not perfect silence for decades. No phone call to a friend the next morning? Nothing.

    So it strikes me, as a potential juror, as untrue.

    Patricia (3363ec)

  105. Tough love.

    DRJ (15874d)

  106. That was for nk, not you, Patricia. I agree with you.

    DRJ (15874d)

  107. This committee never has order, ever. And next week wont be the end of it. BK and family have been falsely persecuted by a bunch of hack lawyers. Shame on you GrAssley.. He let the pigs out of the pig pen and made a mess all over that will last forever. My daughters deserve better. Man, this is really screwed up.

    mg (9e54f8)

  108. @88. Colonel, what’s the phrase mostly used topping media coverage of this and nearly every other ‘event’ of this era: it’s ‘high drama.’ “High drama” on Capitol Hill, in the White House, on a football gridiron, in Helsinki, in a hurricane… or on ‘Dancing With The Stars.’

    ‘Drama’ is a theater term. Entertainment. Recall your ‘Network':  ‘You’re television incarnate, Diana: Indifferent to suffering; insensitive to joy. All of life is reduced to the common rubble of banality. War, murder, death are all the same to you as bottles of beer. And the daily business of life is a corrupt comedy. You even shatter the sensations of time and space into split seconds and instant replays. You’re madness, Diana. Virulent madness. And everything you touch dies with you. ‘ – Max Schumacher, [William Holden]  ‘Network’ 1976

    Diana ‘learned life from Bugs Bunny;’ and if programming this ‘high drama’ today, she would tell you the ratings show Americans don’t want to be governed; they wish to be entertained.  We’re not going to change that. ‘Politicizing’ everything these days is a profitable enterprise. But as thinking adults, all we can do is try to work at how to decipher what we select to ingest and reason with it accordingly. Saturation programming can create multiple revenue streams but can also be counter productive for the greater audience as a whole. So as more outlets and platforms develop, it just gets harder- or takes too much time, for most people with busy lives to sift through what Howard Beale finally ran out of: ‘b-lls–t.’ So letting others like [insert your favorite cable news talker’s name here] do your thinking for you can be a relief; one less thing to do today; so much easier– and entertaining.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  109. You make Americans sound like British subjects. There are similarities but we had a revolution because we are different in important ways.

    DRJ (15874d)

  110. Maybe she did talk to someone.

    DRJ (15874d)

  111. @115. Most important: we drive on the correct side of the road. 😉

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  112. Heh. True. Speaking of the Brits, this may be old news but the Daily Mail says the FBI will only investigate the Ford and Ramirez claims but not the Avenatti-Swetnick claim.

    DRJ (15874d)

  113. Ah you miss the point of network, Schumacher as well as Beale, know there is objective truth there is guilt sin regret, Christensen and duvalls character don’t acknowledge any of that, inflation the crime spike the disruptions typified by the sla or the weathermen come from real choices,

    narciso (d1f714)

  114. At least in Missouri its not helping mccaskill,

    narciso (d1f714)

  115. @119. Worked at a network; it’s operationally more accurate than you may realize. OTOH, ‘you may very well think that; I could not possibly comment.’ 😉

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  116. In the beginnings of England’s — and therefore our — justice system, they did things differently:

    If the two litigants contradicted each other in fact then there was yet no capacity for the holding of cross-examinations and judging the worth of a witness statement. In these circumstances, recourse would be to the supernatural, to prove ‘by God’ that one or the other was correct. This took three forms; (1) oath and oath-helpers, (2) ordeal and, after 1066, (3) trial by battle.

    1) If a man was accused of some offence, he would be required to swear on his word, his oath, the truth (typically that he was innocent). Rarely was his single oath allowed to clear him of the offence. Usually, a number of oath-helpers were needed.

    These were people that could give witness to the character of the accused and claim that his oath was ‘clean’. A great deal of early legal procedure focuses on complex mathematical calculations as to the number of oath-helpers needed and the quality of them.

    It seems, at first glance, that you could just call a bunch of friends to acquit you but there were strict ceremonial rules and phrases that had to be followed for oath-helpers. One mispronunciation or stutter and the accused’s adversary would win.

    The polygraph was a modern-day oath-helper. When Keyser says she has no memory that could corroborate Ford’s story, but she believes Ford anyway, Keyser is an “oath-helper.”

    Modern personal injury lawyers on both sides — in deciding which witnesses are worth the time and trouble and expense to take advance depositions from — might ask each other, if they’re being cooperative and straightforward: “How about your guy’s nephew, number six on your witness list? What’s he got to say?”

    If the nephew is going to be called only to say things like, “Before the truck accident, Uncle Bob taught me how to waterski, but ever since he came out of the hospital we can’t have any fun together at all,” then Uncle Bob’s lawyer might say, “Don’t bother. He didn’t see the accident, has no medical training. He’s an oath-helper, basically.” (Yes, I’ve actually known and worked with, and respected, opposing lawyers with whom I can be that candid.)

    We’re now apparently in a political trial by ordeal, in which Judge Kavanaugh is to be tortured until he taps out or until the GOP majority in the Senate stops the torture.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  117. I learned a new word from that source, by the way, that I quite like, and will probably use in the future, as a near-synonym for “oath-helper”:

    Compurgator: “a person who vouches for the innocence and truthful testimony of another.” Cool beans! (I’ll bet nk already knew it, though!)

    Beldar (fa637a)

  118. We’re now apparently in a political trial by ordeal, in which Judge Kavanaugh is to be tortured until he taps out or until the GOP majority in the Senate stops the torture.

    Beldar (fa637a) — 9/29/2018 @ 6:43 pm

    Well said, so I’m quoting it again. That is exactly what this feels like, and every extra week is more torture.

    DRJ (15874d)

  119. In the beginnings of England’s — and therefore our — justice system, they did things differently…

    Meh. And now for something …”completely different”…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2xlQaimsGg

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  120. DCSCA, you don’t seem like a Rule of Law fan but this used to be a law-related blog (and still is to me). What interests you here?

    DRJ (15874d)

  121. Beldar’s law points are interesting. Our laws come from England and understanding what we kept, what we changed, and why, is very interesting.

    DRJ (15874d)

  122. @127. They’re not bad, at all, DRJ:

    https://www.ruleoflawmusic.com/music

    But still like a good Sinatra tune. 😉

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  123. #92

    Don’t you understand irony? I know perfectly well Ford couldn’t be charged with perjury.

    What is the FBI supposed to find with their SEVENTH investigation (payed for by the taxpayers) of Kavanaugh and an event for which no time or place can be determined?

    DN (e91bf6)

  124. Irony and sarcasm can be hard to catch online, where we can’t see each other and may not “know” each other well enough to tell. It’s hard for me to spot online but easy to spot in real life.

    DRJ (15874d)

  125. (I’ll bet nk already knew it, though!)

    Actually, I did not, Beldar. Thank you! It will be my daughter’s word of the day tomorrow.

    nk (dbc370)

  126. “I’m sure Beldar and Patterico are both great at cross-examination. Wouldn’t it be fun to see them in DC?”

    It would, which is why DC bureaucrats can smell and disqualify a good cross-examinator from a mile away while nominating their own guys for the job who won’t stray a whit from the talking points.

    Al-Khutr Davenport (2205c2)

  127. @103. There is some validity and irony in that POV; they could have had the great Ted Cruz and other talented GOP senators doing just that. But they chose not to and sub-contracted it out.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  128. The Free Dictionary says compurgation was

    “the medieval procedure by which a person could defend a claim or charge by giving his oath and being supported by compurgators, usually 12 in number. They testified that they believed the person who called them and did not speak to the facts of the case, as is the modern procedure.”

    Does that mean the opposites (or alternatives) of compurgators were jurors?

    DRJ (15874d)

  129. Re 118, now Trump says there is no limit on the investigation.

    DRJ (15874d)

  130. We’re now apparently in a political trial by ordeal.

    True. We haven’t come all that far, have we?

    Patricia (3363ec)

  131. Melding law, history, and current events in a pithy comment. Well done, Patricia.

    DRJ (15874d)

  132. @ DN: I’m sorry for missing your irony. I don’t recall us conversing, and I was taking your words with no context beyond their ordinary meaning, but yes, I certainly accept now that you intended them ironically.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  133. I think Trump would like nothing better (except possibly a plate of meatloaf and a Diet Coke) than to have the FBI charge Avenatti with lying to the Judiciary Committee and/or to them.

    nk (dbc370)

  134. (My apology is unironic, I assure you.)

    Beldar (fa637a)

  135. Regarding watching someone’s cross-examination for pleasure or profit:

    Among my many mentors at the beginning of my career was a lawyer named Dick Miller, whom I’m sure I’ve written about here, and certainly on my own blog, before. Dick was the best Texas civil trial lawyer of his generation, by popular acclaim of defense lawyers statewide, and by respectful acclaim of the plaintiff’s lawyers he regularly bested over decades of very active trial practice statewide. He was Texaco’s trial lawyer in Pennzoil v. Texaco, among other great representations.

    I was the third-chair lawyer carrying his briefcase on a products liability/crashworthiness trial in roughly 1982 or 1983, just before Miller left our firm to open the litigation boutique at which he later represented Texaco. Word got around the courthouse, and beyond, that Dick was going to be cross-examining one of the plaintiff’s experts, a Ph.D. metallurgist with world-class credentials. The expert’s opinion condemned the steel frame within the back of the passenger-side front bucket seat of a mid-1970s Toyota Corolla, the collapse of which in a one-car spinning collision severed the 22-year-old plaintiff’s spinal cord, leaving her a paraplegic for life; he was the key witness to the case. His pretrial deposition had been taken by our team’s second-chair lawyer, a competent senior associate, but I had no idea what strategies Miller was going to use in cross-examining him.

    I looked out into the audience just before Miller started his cross, just after a lunch break. I recognized at least four trial judges from other Harris County District Courts (not in their robes, obviously — only one of those per courtroom normally) who’d taken afternoon recesses. I recognized clumps of lawyers, including senior partners, from a handful of other prominent Houston firms with big-time trial practices. There were the assorted courthouse regulars, plus a bunch of bailiffs and clerk’s office personnel. The courtroom was packed.

    We all got our money’s worth, so to speak. Indeed, I was actually being paid — and how cool was that?!? — for the privilege of getting to watch this magnificent knight of the trial bar ply our craft: After about 45 minutes, Miller had converted the expert, on the stand, from a proponent of the expert’s own original opinion, into a proponent of our own engineers’ very different opinion (which was: this seatback is not defective). The good doctor literally swiveled in his chair and apologized to the jury for his mistake. There was no redirect examination, and Toyota won the case 12/0 after a 30-minute jury deliberation.

    I stand of the shoulders of giants, and for decades I’ve stolen their best lines and techniques and strategies without apology or blush. But thanks, those of you who’ve said nice things, which I’m sure our host appreciates too.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  136. I actually stand on the shoulders of giants, who also were probably better proofreaders.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  137. Standard oath-helper cross-examination:

    Good afternoon! When Uncle Bob tells you about his sore back and knee now, you, his nephew, believe him, of course. It would be surprising if you disbelieved your own uncle, wouldn’t it, because you have no reason to disbelieve your own uncle, do you? Okay, then. Pass the witness.

    Closing argument about nephew’s testimony:

    And then there was Nephew Phil. He did not claim to be a mind reader. He did not claim to be a doctor. He claimed to be a nephew with no reason to disbelieve, to even question, his uncle’s statements. But you, ladies & gentlemen, are not nephews and nieces, and your duty — which you swore to do when you were empaneled by Judge Smith onto this jury — is to scrutinize and test every single witness on every single point before deciding whose testimony is weighty. I submit, with due respect, that Nephew Phil’s testimony is entitled to no weight at all when you’re deciding what facts are more probable than not in this case. Judge Smith is not asking you whether Nephew Phil is indeed a dutiful nephew, for that’s undisputed. And since Nephew Phil was being a good nephew rather than a dutiful juror when forming his own beliefs about Uncle Bob, you shouldn’t feel bound by Phil’s opinions. Indeed, they count for nothing; they’re evidence of nothing but a nephew’s affection, and bless him for it. It’s you who are the sole judges of the credibility and weight of evidence — not Uncle Bob’s family.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  138. So I told the daughter. “Compurgator”, what they were, and how it worked. And on the way back from church a Model T Ford pulled out in front of us, which I told the daughter was the car that put cars in the hands of poor people. Two pieces of Anglo-American history in one Sunday morning.

    nk (dbc370)


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