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Undermining Witness Testimony in a White Collar Criminal Defense

White Collar Criminal Defense By Harvey Binnall PLLC - 2019/01/24 at 02:04pm

In the white collar criminal context, success often turns on the introduction of witness testimony that can give either party a significant advantage.  For example, prosecutors may attempt to put a witness on the stand to talk about how they saw you discussing the commission of bank fraud.  This could put you in a difficult position come trial, if the jury were to believe such testimony.

Attacking Credibility

As a white collar criminal defendant, it’s important that you undermine damaging witness testimony by attacking the credibility of the witness making such statements.  There are a number of ways in which to attack witness credibility.

Consider the following.

Prior Inconsistent Statements

If the witness makes statements that are inconsistent with prior statements that they made, then this inconsistency can be used to attack their credibility.  For example, suppose that a witness claims that they noticed you were “involved in something shady” when they overheard you talking about committing bank fraud over the phone.  Later on, however, the witness claims that they came across an email — not a phone conversation — which revealed your shady conduct.  This inconsistency would be sufficient to undermine their testimony.

Existence of Bias

Some witnesses may be making negative statements due to them harboring a dislike of the defendant.  For example, if you have a work colleague who you’ve always competed against and with whom you’ve had longstanding tension, then they might take the opportunity to “kick you while you’re down” and testify against you.  If you can show that the defendant disliked you before criminal litigation began, then you can attack their credibility due to bias.

Prior Criminal Record

If the witness has been convicted of a felony, or any “crime of dishonesty,” then you can attack their credibility and thereby undermine the testimony put forth by such witness.

Memory Issues

Increasingly, research shows that witness testimony may be significantly impacted by memory impairments.  If you can show that the ability of the witness to accurately recall the truth of the matter is impaired, then you can seriously attack their credibility.  For example, if a witness was intoxicated at the time (when the observation on which they are testifying took place), then their memory would likely be affected, and their testimony could therefore be undermined.

Conflicting Accounts

Depending on the case, there may be multiple witnesses.  If the testimony of one witness conflicts with others, then the fact that there is an inconsistency could be used to attack the credibility of the “outlier” witness.

Consult an Experienced Alexandria White Collar Defense Attorney for Help

Harvey & Binnall, PLLC is a boutique white collar criminal defense firm located in Alexandria, VA and serving clients throughout the region, in Virginia, Maryland, and the Washington D.C. metro area.

Our attorneys have decades of experience representing those who have been accused of and charged with various white collar crimes.  We understand what it takes to effectively challenge prosecutors (and their witnesses) and thereby maximize our clients’ chances in trial.

Ready to speak to a skilled Alexandria white collar defense attorney about your case?  Call 703-888-1943 or request an appointment online to connect with Harvey & Binnall, PLLC.  We look forward to assisting you.