All the Special Counsel needs, in order to charge a subject of an investigation with lying to a prosecutor, is a single witnesses willing to contradict the subject.
The witness may not only be “singing,” he may also be “composing” – that is making up or embellishing a story because he knows that the better his story, the better the deal.
Under federal law, the testimony of such a flipped witness need not be corroborated in order to secure a conviction.
Even one question that results in an answer that is contradicted by one witness would be enough to spring the perjury trap.
When Rudy Giuliani stated, perhaps inartfully, that “truth isn’t truth,” he was getting at a higher – or should I say lower – truth. This is a truth that virtually every experienced defense attorney and prosecutor understands: namely that prosecutors get to pick which witness — and which “truth” — to believe.
Giuliani was discussing President Trump’s decision whether or not to be interviewed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Giuliani made the point that even if President Trump testified truthfully, he could be accused of lying to a prosecutor – a serious felony – if the prosecutor chose to believe witnesses who have provided a different account.
To be specific, US President Donald J. Trump has stated publicly that he was not aware of the Trump Tower meeting between a Russian woman and his son until after it took place. One of Trump’s attorneys at the time, Michael Cohen, has apparently said that Trump was aware of the meeting.
President Trump has also stated that he did not ask former F.B.I. Director James Comey to go easy on Michael Flynn. Comey has said that President Trump did.
If President Trump were to repeat these denials in an interview with a prosecutor, he would be walking into a perjury trap even if he truly believed that his denials were the complete truth, or even if he actually were telling the complete truth. All the Special Counsel needs, in order to charge a subject of an investigation with lying to a prosecutor, is a single witness willing to contradict the subject. The witness may himself be a criminal who has been squeezed into “singing” in order to save his own skin. The witness may not only be “singing,” he may also be “composing” – that is making up or embellishing a story because he knows that the better his story, the better the deal. Under federal law, the testimony of such a flipped witness need not be corroborated in order to secure a conviction.
US Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating US President Donald J. Trump. Commentators who repeatedly pronounce that if the president is telling the truth he risks nothing by submitting to an interview, are simply wrong. (By The White House from Washington, DC (P072012PS-0298) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)
Because of these realities, most experienced defense attorneys would never allow their clients to get into a swearing contest with a flipped witness, even if the client were telling the absolute truth. That is what Rudy Giuliani meant when he said, in the context of a decision whether to have his client interviewed by the Special Counsel, that “truth isn’t truth.” Truth may be truth in science (although even scientific truth is subject to challenge and revision), but when it comes to Special Counsel, truth is often in the eyes – and ambitions – of prosecutors, who decide which “truth” to believe.
Every experienced defense attorney with whom I have discussed this issue has said that he or she would never advise a client in President Trump’s situation to be interviewed by the Special Counsel, even if that interview were limited to a handful of questions. Even one question that results in an answer that is contradicted by one witness would be enough to spring the perjury trap. That is why pundits and commentators who repeatedly pronounce that if President Trump is telling the truth he risks nothing by submitting to an interview, are simply wrong. Many former prosecutors who repeat this falsehood in their roles as “expert” commentators know the truth. But in their “anything goes” when it comes to nailing President Trump attitude, they are willing to mislead the public into believing that only witnesses who willfully lie are at risk from an interview.
Traditionally, it has been liberals and civil libertarians who have complained about prosecutors springing perjury traps using questionable flipped witnesses. Traditionally, it has been conservatives and law-and-order types who have defended this tactic. But now that President Trump is in the cross-hairs of the Special Counsel, the attitudes have been flipped as quickly as a witness threatened with prosecution.
Hypocrisy abounds on both sides. I, for one, am pleased that Rudy Giuliani, who himself was a tough prosecutor, now understands how this tactic can be used to trap innocent people. I am disappointed, however, that so many liberals, civil libertarians and defense attorneys are unwilling to criticize this tactic when it is directed at a President of whom they disapprove.
Alan M. Dershowitz is the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law Emeritus at Harvard Law School and author of The Case Against Impeaching Trump, Skyhorse Publishing, July 2018.
Published in Gladstone institute site
“The Truth, the Truth” When It Comes to Prosecutors? by Alan M. Dershowitz
At the same time, the Trump administration is readying further possible sanctions on Venezuela, the official said.
Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro attends a military exercise in Maracaibo. (photo credit: MIRAFLORES PALACE/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)
WASHINGTON, Feb 8 – The United States is holding direct communications with members of Venezuela’s military urging them to abandon leader Nicolas Maduro and is also preparing new sanctions aimed at increasing pressure on him, a senior White House official said.
The Shalva Band following their final performance on “Rising Star.” Photo: Screenshot.
The Shalva Band has removed itself from the race to represent Israel in this year’s Eurovision competition because some of its members observed Shabbat and would not be able to partake in mandatory rehearsals, The Jerusalem Post reported on Tuesday.
The group, made up of eight musicians who have special needs, was one of four finalists in the “Rising Star” singing contest — the winner of which will represent Israel in Eurovision, set to be held in Tel Aviv in May.
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As Birthright Israel reaches its 700,000th participant, certain voices in America have done their best to slander the organization and force it to make drastic changes. Having staffed multiple Birthright trips as a madrich (youth leader), I have had the amazing opportunity to pass on some of the love for Israel that helped change my life.
Local police in Manchester’s Whitefield neighborhood declared the vandalism a criminal act rather than antisemitic.
Protesters hold placards and flags during a demonstration, organised by the British Board of Jewish Deputies for those who oppose anti-Semitism, in Parliament Square in London, Britain, March 26, 2018.. (photo credit: HENRY NICHOLLS/REUTERS)
The Philips Park Jewish cemetery in Manchester, England, was vandalized on Saturday, during which the tomb of Rabbi Yehuda Zev Segal, who died last year, was desecrated.
Protestors call for the severing of diplomatic ties with Israel during a march in Cape Town. (photo credit: MIKE HUTCHINGS / REUTERS)
A proposed multi-million dollar deal between Israel’s Central Bottling Company (CBC) and South Africa’s biggest dairy producer Clover could be in serious trouble due to heavy pressure from the anti-Israel lobby.
Newly-formed consortium Milco, in which Israel’s Central Bottling Company (CBC) holds a majority, is offering to buy 59.5% of the South African dairy producer.
We need to give the Likud Party some credit for not destroying itself in Tuesday’s internal elections. Given that primaries are the very embodiment of deal-making, political machines and big worker unions voting in lockstep, the results could have been far worse.
When it came to casting a secret ballot, the Likud Party’s registered voters did display some maturity. They weren’t the obedient foot soldiers of Benjamin Netanyahu, who has failed again and again in his machinations.
With elections barely two months away, the greatest challenge facing Israel’s Right emanates neither from the Center nor the Left, but, rather, from within.
Indeed, if recent polls are accurate, several small parties on the Right, most of which may not individually pass the minimum threshold to make it into the next Knesset, could nonetheless win a combined total of 10 to 12 seats, all of which would end up in the dustbin if they fail to run together.
August 2017, white supremacists marched in Charlottesville shouting, “Jews will not replace us”. October 2018, one white supremacist posted on social media that “Jews are taking over the white house”, and that Trump is a puppet of the Jews. Shabbat, the same month, a man enters a synagogue during a Bris celebration and butchers Jewish people who are praying. December 2018, Women’s March leader and Louis Farrakhan (“I’m not an antisemite, I’m an anti-termite”) fan, Tamika Mallory says: “White Jews, as white people, uphold white supremacy…”
Henry Ford devoted his life to two passions: making cars and demonizing Jews. When Hitler said, “I regard Henry Ford as my inspiration,” he wasn’t referring to his car manufacturing. He was referring to Ford’s anti-Semitic ideology that eventuated in the genocide of six million Jews.
Henry Ford does not deserve to be honored. The question the good people of Dearborn should ask themselves is: What would you do if the performing arts center were named after Jefferson Davis? If the answer is that you would remove Davis’s name, then you should remove Ford’s.
It was reported recently that the USA and the Taliban have reached a peace agreement on Afghanistan that will allow US forces to leave that country 17 years after they invaded it on October, 2001, less than a month after 9/11.
Al Qaeda had used that dysfunctional state as a safe haven and, while there, was able to plan and execute the attacks that took the lives of over 3000 people in. After the West invaded, the Taliban