Often, the objective in cross examination is two-fold: first, to elicit testimony from the witness that will strengthen your case; and second, to challenge any weaknesses in your case. When you are able to prove a lie in your case, especially as it pertains to a central fact that is in dispute, it is essential to develop a thorough line of attack to fully expose the lie. Too often trial lawyers fail to maximize key points that, if fully developed during cross, will serve not only to discredit the witness, but to anger the jurors so that they begin to question and doubt your adversary’s entire case. A thorough line of attack with respect to a lie does not simply prove that a witness was dishonest, but explores the thought process that went into concocting the lie in the first instance, the motives behind that lie, and the ultimate goal that the witness hoped to achieve by engaging in such deception.

To illustrate this point, imagine the scenario in which a driver, who worked for the Department of Transportation, struck a pedestrian, who was lawfully in the crosswalk, while he was making a left turn. After leaving the accident scene he drove his truck back to the depot and, as part of his job, filled out an official accident report later that day. The driver knew he never saw the pedestrian before hitting her but he chose to write something else in his report. In his report he chose to write: “Pedestrian ran out between two parked vehicles, tripped and fell under the left rear tire.” What the driver did not know when he filled out his report was that there was a video camera at the intersection that captured the entire accident.

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