Monday, February 24, 2020

Microstory 1306: Witness for the Defense

Opposing Counsel: Thank you, Your Honor. Now, Mister Witness for the Defense.
Witness for the Defense: Please, you can just call me Defense Witness.
Opposing Counsel: Witness for the Defense, how do you know the Defendant?
Witness for the Defense: He and I met for the first time in elementary school. Then he decided he wanted to try being homeschooled. He didn’t like it, but he was assigned a different middle school, so we ended up sort of meeting again in high school.
Opposing Counsel: So, you weren’t friends that whole time?
Witness for the Defense: Nah, we didn’t know each other that well in fourth grade.
Opposing Counsel: But you would say you’re close now?
Witness for the Defense: I would say that, yes.
Opposing Counsel: And do you personally know the victim?
Defense Counsel: Objection.
Opposing Counsel: Forgive me, Your Honor. Do you know the plaintiff?
Witness for the Defense: I think I met her once at a block party.
Opposing Counsel: In actual fact, you met her several times over the last two years. Once when you were so drunk that you banged on her door, thinking it was the Defendant’s. Plus, other times for other community events.
Civil Court Judge: Was that a question?
Opposing Counsel: The question, Mister Witness, is were you lying about how well you know her, or is my client so forgettable that you don’t recall her helping your brother get his son into their desired preschool?
Defense Counsel: Your honor, this line of question is not relevant. What the witness does or does not remember of the plaintiff is not part of his role as a witness today. He is here to speak on what he knows of my client.
Opposing Counsel: Your Honor, the witness is here primarily as a character witness for the defendant. His own credibility must first be established before his responses can be reasonably accepted.
Civil Court Judge: And I believe you have done that. Move on, Counselor.
Opposing Counsel: Very well. Witness for the Defense, are you connected with the Defendant on social media?
Witness for the Defense: Of course I am. We’re best friends.
Opposing Counsel: When did you first come across the thread in question, Exhibit One?
Witness for the Defense: I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Opposing Counsel: If you are unaware of which post I’m talking about, I happen to have an extra copy for you.
Witness for the Defense: ...
Opposing Counsel: May I remind you that you’re—
Witness for the Defense: Yes, I’m under oath; I understand. Like I said, the Defendant and I are best friends, which means the social network algorithm knows I’m more interested in his posts than most others.
Opposing Counsel: Meaning...?
Witness for the Defense: Meaning I received a notification about the post in question. I saw it immediately.
Opposing Counsel: And do you personally agree with the claim the Defendant made in said post?
Defense Counsel: Objection!
Civil Court Judge: Sustained. Counselor, you’re testing me. I never liked tests.
Opposing Counsel: Witness for the Defense, do you believe the Defendant had malicious intentions when he posted this update on his social media page? Do you believe he knew the outcome would be my client’s damaged reputation, the loss of her job, and a profound struggle with finding a new job?
Witness for the Defense: Absolutely not.
Opposing Counsel: Do you believe he believed the plaintiff would find the post distasteful.
Defense Counsel: Your Honor!
Civil Court Judge: Skip this question, Witness for the Defense. I’m giving you one more chance, Counselor.
Opposing Counsel: I only have a few more questions. you have access to the Defendant’s social media account password?
Defense Counsel: Your Honor, please!
Civil Court Judge: I would like to hear the answer. You may want to as well.
Opposing Counsel: Witness?
Witness for the Defense: [...] I do.
Opposing Counsel: Following your drunken encounter with my client, were you, in fact, the one who logged onto the Defendant’s social media account, and posted the distasteful update found in Exhibit One? And wasn’t the Defendant too drunk himself to deny his involvement?
Audience: [Collective gasp]
Opposing Counsel: Your Honor, I would like to submit as evidence Exhibit Two—an example of Witness for the Defense’s own writing—which a linguistic analysis expert can testify matches the writing style of Exhibit One.

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