street cred

The courtroom is a world where telling the truth can be a Machiavellian strategic move.

My client was being cross-examined today on a minor point, using his bank records to establish an embarrassing expense. My learned colleague asked my guy to admit that he began incurring this expense in May 2004, which he did readily.

After my client was safely and completely off the stand, I noticed that the bank records actually established that the minor but embarrassing expense began in March 2004. Neither my client nor the OC had noticed this.

I immediately insisted that I disclose to the court the earlier date. In fact, I stood up and offered a stipulation to "correct the record."

Now, when OC started flogging this expense later, and exclaiming about the earlier date, I leaned back, believing that my client was immunized from harm on this point.

As I read my state's Rules of Professional Conduct, this disclosure was technically unnecessary because the fact was not material.

However. I determined this only after the fact. In my world, my credibility is always material. And there is a relationship, although it is not direct, between my client's credibility and mine.

Update: When I checked my horoscope for today after dragging myself home, it said:
"Today is a 7 - You're gaining respect, even from people who don't agree with you. This is because you stand up for your principles. You have some good ones."

Well. There you have it.

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