Shrug: Beau Harrison’s Renewed Memory about Trump’s Lunge
One trick of trying to map the DOJ investigations into Trump onto the testimony available from the January 6 Committee is that so many Trump associates could be witnesses on so many aspects of the investigation.
I noted, for example, how Alex Cannon is a direct witness to matters pertaining to the stolen documents, Trump’s Big Lie, Trump’s misuse of money raised to combat voter fraud, and the effort to take care of Cassidy Hutchinson. When Stephen Miller appeared before a grand jury twice in eight days, did he appear on different issues, or the same? When the two Pats, Cipollone and Philbin, split a long day in grand jury rooms, were they both exclusively in a January 6 grand jury, or did they also testify before the stolen documents one?
And when three Trump aides — Dan Scavino, William Russell, and Beau Harrison– appeared before a grand jury on December 1, did they all appear before the same grand jury and for the same prong of the investigation? Their subpoenas were first reported in a NYT article that revealed the focus on Trump’s use of PAC financing. All three continued their association with Trump after he left the White House. But that doesn’t mean their testimony only relates to the financial part of the investigation. Beau Harrison’s two interviews with J6C reveal why.
I’m not aware that an interview with Russell has been released (more on him here).
Scavino refused to cooperate with J6C, for which DOJ declined to prosecute him, though the J6C report did focus on how Scavino has been paid by Save America PAC.
[F]rom July 2021 to the present, Save America has been paying approximately $9,700 per month to Dan Scavino,171 a political adviser who served in the Trump administration as White House Deputy Chief of Staff.172 Save America was also paying $20,000 per month to an entity called Hudson Digital LLC. Hudson Digital LLC was registered in Delaware twenty days after the attack on the Capitol, on January 26, 2021,173 and began receiving payments from Save America on the day it was registered.174 Hudson Digital LLC has received payments totaling over $420,000, all described as “Digital consulting.”175 No website or any other information or mention of Hudson Digital LLC could be found online.176 Though Hudson Digital LLC is registered as a Delaware company, the FEC ScheduleB listing traces back to an address belonging to Dan and Catherine Scavino.177
That leaves just Beau Harrison’s two J6C appearances (April 7, 2022; August 18, 2022).
Harrison played an Advance role in the White House and was one of several witnesses with incomplete memories about January 6 who reported to Deputy Chief of Staff Tony Ornato. In fact, Harrison shared a small office with Ornato (parts of whose unpersuasive testimony I tweeted about here).
Three things stick out about Harrison’s testimony. First, Trump’s Executive Assistant Molly Michael (who is a known witness in the stolen documents prong of the investigation and who was interviewed by the committee on March 24, 2022) named Harrison in her list of people who was employed by Save America PAC.
And how many other people from the White House staff did go onto Florida to work with him, your current colleagues or otherwise associated with the former President?
A A small handful
Q Who else was on that list besides you, Ms. Michael?
A Someone that works for the First Lady, Hayley D’Antuono.
Q Okay. She was in the White House and now works in Florida for the First Lady, correct?
Q Okay. Who else?
A Someone that worked in operations named Beau Harrison.
Q Okay. Mr. Harrison works for – he’s actually engaged to Ms. D’Antuono, right?
A That’s correct.
Q Okay. And what’s his role currently down in Florida?
A He continues in an operations role.
Q Okay. Are they all, like you, employed by the Save America PAC?
When asked about Save America in his second interview in August, here’s how Harrison answered.
Q Has anyone told you to not provide certain information, even if it’s the answer to a question that the select committee poses?
Q And then just a final set of questions. Are you receiving any assistance from anyone or entity to help cover your legal costs related to the select committee only, nothing else?
A Yes. I’m not personally — I’m not personally paying for legal representation.
Q Do you know who is, who’s covering those costs?
A Not specifically, which may be something I probably should know, but that I don’t Know.
Q Do you know what the Save America PAC is?
Q Do you know if they have any role in helping to cover your legal costs or find somebody who would cover your legal costs?
A They — I don’t know if they are covering them. They are associated with — with whoever — whoever it may be that is.
Q Do you have a contact there who — who you talk to about issues related to this?
A The only — the only time it’s ever come up — or the only contact, you know, related to this would be when I got the initial phone call, whenever, you know, whenever, a couple months ago. whenever it was. And I contacted Justin Clark.
Like Cassidy Hutchinson, Justin Clark helped arrange for a lawyer. Like Cassidy Hutchinson, Stefan Passantino represented Harrison, including in this second interview.
A far more important part of Harrison’s testimony pertains to Trump’s reported request to be taken to the Capitol on January 6. Though the final J6C report focused closely on the story Cassidy Hutchinson first relayed about Trump lunging in his limo when informed he couldn’t be driven to the Capitol, it makes no mention of Harrison’s testimony on the issue.
In his first interview, Harrison claimed not to remember much of anything unusual about the day. The security alerts he elevated to Mark Meadows, including Ashli Babbit’s shooting, were just normal security alerts, per that testimony. Though he played a security liaison role, there was virtually nothing unusual about the day when Trump’s mob attacked the Capitol.
In that first appearance, over and over, Harrison denied recalling details of Trump’s interest in going to the Capitol. After explaining that he learned of Trump’s call to walk to the Capitol from Twitter, Harrison provided these answers about specific knowledge of discussions of Trump going to the Capitol.
Q Do you know whether Mr. Ornato or anybody else talked to the Secret Service or anyone about making arrangements for the President to goto the Capitol that day?
A I mean, I think that — again, I don’t know this for fact or specifics, but remember, you know, the – kind of the understanding was If for whatever reason it were to come up, it should be directed as with any game-time decision, it should be directed to the Secret Service, to, you know, Bob Engel or Robert Engel, you know, if that could happen.
Q Okay. And after the President said he was going to march or even shortly before, but on that day of January 6th, are you aware of those conversations or communications happening with the Secret Service or otherwise?
In his second interview, however, Harrison had a much clearer memory of Bobby Engel stopping in the office he shared with Tony Ornato than he did before Cassidy Hutchinson testified publicly in June (after she got a new lawyer to replace Passantino). In his revised memory, Harrison said that Bobby Engel described Trump “shrugg[ing] off” the instructions from Secret Service that he would not be taken to the Capitol.
Q When the President came back, do you remember Bobby Engel ever coming to your office or the office you shared with s Mr. Ornato?
Q Tell us about that. What was he there for? What happened? What did you guys talk about?
A So as Bobby Engel normally would do, so, you know, the limo would drop off, depending on where the President was, if they were arriving on the south grounds, you know, if the President was going up to the residence, it would stop at the portico there, you know, kind of the center of the residence. If he was going the — the President was going back to his office, they would pull forward. And, you know, he could walk. There’s a little pathway from. you know, you’ve probably seen that. There was a, you know, a pathway from the drop point to the corner of the, you know, the door of the in between the Oval Office and the Rose Garden that he would use. Tony — or Bobby would be in the car with him and would, obviously, he wouldn’t go back into the Oval Office. But he would continue through the West Wing back through his office in the EEOB. You know, one of the common things that he would do would be he would, you know, pop in our office and just kind of give us an update of how the trip went or what — really anything.
And so when they got back that afternoon, again, I don’t remember the time, when they got back. I remember Bobby popped into our office. It was the three of us — Tony, Bobby, myself. And he gave an update of, you know, kind of the events there at the Capitol.
I have a memory of Bobby saying that, before the President went onstage there at the offstage announce area, you know, the whole question of should he go up to the Capitol, should he go up to the Capitol. That was kind of getting tossed around. A lot of it was — was getting directed back to Bob Engel as kind of the deciding, you know, with the events in real time, you know. Anything like that would go — would run through Bobby.
I remember Bobby, you know, saying, hey, you know, we can’t do that. You know, we have no plan for that. There are no plans to do — to do that. You know, we couldn’t — we couldn’t secure that in this amount, short amount of time, on and on like, you know, as we talked about last time. You know, further than, that he said the President went on stage, gave his remarks. And this is Bobby told Tony and myself that, you know, he was like — it was almost like he had to ask. And then when he was told that, hey, you can’t go to the Capitol, he was like, you know, kind of, again, shrugged it off and was like, all right, at least I asked. And that was it.
Now, there are a lot of ways in which this (and other parts of his) testimony conflicts with what Harrison had already said, what Engel testified to later, what records subsequently shared with the committee (and so far more readily available to DOJ) revealed.
But it’s not this conflict that I find most interesting. It’s the conflict between what Tony Ornato had to say about talking to Harrison and what Harrison had testified to months earlier.
When Liz Cheney asked Ornato whether he had spoken to anyone after Hutchinson’s testimony, he admitted speaking to the Secret Service people about Hutchinson’s testimony, but claimed that a conversation he had with Harrison was about real estate.
Ms. Cheney. Anyone else from the administration?
The Witness. I have talked to [Beau] Harrison, who has left the — Trump’s — at this point, but nothing about any testimony or anything of that nature. It was more about real estate and him moving to the area.
Ms. Cheney. Did you speak with the Secret Service spokesperson following Ms. Hutchinson’s testimony?
The Witness. I recall, that day after Ms. Hutchinson’s testimony, going to the Secret Service Counsel and being in his office and then the Secret Service spokesperson asking me about what my recollection was of that story. And I relayed that that is not a story I recollect and I don’t recall that story happening and the first time hearing it is when she had said it.
Harrison told the story differently. In an exchange just after Passantino piped in to make sure the record reflected Harrison saying that Trump “shrugged it off” rather than “shrugged his shoulders” in response to being told he couldn’t go to the Capitol, Harrison assured the committee he would know if this kind of conflict had taken place.
Q Uh-huh. so I think [redacted] had asked you about there was public reporting about a heated argument that occurred in the — and I’ll take it in two parts. First the heated argument, did you hear anything to that effect?
Q And how about what, as you said, you described, you saw Ms. Hutchinson’s testimony on TV. Is that — I want to make sure heard you correctly. Was that the first time you heard that testimony in terms of what occurred in the vehicle, as she said, relayed by Mr. Engel?
A Yes. Her — the story that was — the story that was told during her public testimony was the first I had heard of you know, anything like that being described.
Q Was there any kind of discussion, putting aside the testimony, but the days following, did you learn of anything that occurred that was more than just a back and forth of as you’re describing, of can I go and I guess Mr. Engel saying no? Was there anything in that range of more of a request, anger, heated 6 argument, altercation, anything?
Q Did you see —
A I would — I’m sorry
Q That’s okay.
A I would also add that, if something like had been described had occurred, I percent would have known about it and would have heard that.
Q And why do you say that?
A Because that is something that would have, you know — that’s — that’s the report that Bobby would share when he got — when he got back. You know, that would fall into the, hey, how’d it go and he’d be like, oh, you know. like, you know, this — this — let me tell you. But —
Q If it was shared only with Mr. Ornato, would Mr. Ornato have shared that with you?
A If it was shared with Tony, yes, Tony would have shared it with me.
Harrison similarly assured the committee, even less convincingly, that there’s no way Trump’s limo was left running to keep open the possibility of a trip to the Capitol without him knowing.
But then the committee asked Harrison, three months before Ornato would answer the same question, whether he had spoken to Ornato about this.
In addition to explaining that he’s “kind of a big brother” to Ornato’s son, Harrison revealed that Ornato called Harrison immediately after (during, maybe!?!?) Hutchinson’s testimony.
Q What about with Tony Ornato, have you talked to him about January 6th or anything that happened on January 6th before your testimony today?
A The only — the only, you know, time that we — again. Tony and I are personal friends and have talked about — you know, I’m — I’m kind of a big brother to his son and to, you know — he — we’re personal friends. The only thing that we’ve talked about on this matter is during Cassidy’s testimony, he just — he basically said, can you — you know, can you believe this? And — and that was that. You know, nothing further — nothing further. you know, was — was discussed on the matter of — aside from the fact of like, you know. where is this coming from?
Q How did he say that to you? Did he call you? Did he send you a text message?
A I believe it was a phone call. And — and I think it was more of, you know, he was like, did I — you know, did I miss something or am I — am I — you know, clearly this did not happen, but how — how is this being — you know, where is this story even coming from or, you know, where could this even, you 12 know, be coming from.
Q In that conversation, did he — he told you it didn’t happen? What portion of the testimony did he say didn’t happen in that phone call with you?
A I –well, I mean, as it was described when — you know, the whole — the whole story of — the whole story of Bob Engel returning to our office, you know, and going into the — going into the — you know, the story about the President being irate and, you know, the President grabbing Bob Engel’s neck and grabbing for the steering wheel, you know, that was the part he was like, you know — like, did that happen? Did the — you know, did that — did — was that even discussed? Was that — did that ever come up? And at that point I said —
Q In that —
A I’m sorry, go ahead.
Q Go ahead. I’m sorry. I cut you off right before you were about to say what you said in response.
A And I’m saying, no, you know, the first — the first I had even — I have ever even heard of this was. you know, just this afternoon, this afternoon when it was being described, you know, that way on TV.
Q In that conversation, did Mr. Ornato kind of relay his recollection of the events to you?
A That, I don’t remember. But, I mean, I don’t think he went, you know, play by play of what happened. I think it was mainly just kind of just, you know, kind of shock as to, you know, getting associated with and being the kind of the source of that type of information.
Harrison and Ornato could — and one day may — testify in defense of Trump at some trial. On the issue of whether he responded angrily when told he could not going to the Capitol, their testimony might just present a conflicting account to that of Hutchinson and others (and some documentary records).
But on the issue of the conversation that Harrison had with Ornato, there’s a dramatic conflict, real estate versus a direct response to Hutchinson’s testimony, possibly even as she testified.
And that’s what I mean about how interlocking all these issues are. Sure, Harrison may have been interviewed about being paid out of funds originally raised based on false claims of voter fraud.
But it’s hard to separate those payments from his evolving testimony about that shrug.
Update: At the very end of Ornato’s testimony, after learning Engel’s testimony conflicted with his and learning that Hutchinson had shared Signal texts Ornato had sent her, he described speaking to both Engel and Harrison during Hutchinson’s testimony, a clear conflict with his earlier answer about real estate.
A No, sir. The only time I had reached out to Mr. Engel was when Cassidy Hutchinson was testifying during her – as she was testifying, and I was I wasn’t watching it, was called to put it on, and I was shocked and surprised of her testimony and called Mr. Engel and asked him, What’s she talking about? And his response was, I don’t know.
And then I then proceeded to say I said, Let me listen to the rest of this now. I have no idea And that was the only time I had — I had reached out to Mr. Engel. I actually reached out to Mr. Harrison as well, because I knew Beau was in my office. And I said, Beau, what’s she talking about? And Beau said the same thing. He said, I don’t know. I don’t remember her being in your office. that was just shocked and surprised at – of the testimony, and I did reach out 9 during her testimony, I believe, to the both of them to ask that. ~ But, at that point, after I~ my head settled down, I didn’t discuss it any further.
A larger, more fundamental question for the Speaker and Senate President Pro Tempore is why the US Capitol doesn’t generally have barest minimum level of security that passes US SS minimum standards which passes muster?
I suppose that the House doesn’t actually have anyone to even ask the question is part of that problem, although it’s just been made worse with removal of metal detectors.
On whose authority were the metal detectors removed? Why and by whom were those orders deemed valid?
That is my question too and my biggest concern.
You know, that seemingly fundamental point never appears to be detailed in any of the multitudes of articles reporting on it.
An example, and may be one of first:
Zilch. Nada. Who is in charge to give that direction? Who knows?
If I recall correctly re-ADA, it’s gov’t facilities that were the largest number of facilities that did not meet compliance.
Of course the gov’ts probably have the largest number of facilities.
Has Donald Trump ever in his life just shrugged off being told, No, as if what he wanted was of no great importance?
No. He doubles down, imagining that stubborn, angry, violent resistance to being told No is an expression of power and good management. Might be why he lost so much of his dad’s money. “No, sir, you can’t walk through that door. The stairway’s been dismantled and it’s a thirty-foot drop.”
Oh, I can see him shrugging off a performative “passion.” In fact, if I may suggest a possible scenario aboard this ship of fools on January 6: Trump in the limo after the rally acted pretty much the way Engle described – “And this is Bobby told Tony and myself that, you know, he was like — it was almost like he had to ask. And then when he was told that, hey, you can’t go to the Capitol, he was like, you know, kind of, again, shrugged it off and was like, all right, at least I asked. And that was it.”; Ornato, being the machismo douche bag so prevalent among Trump’s staff, relayed the story to Hutchinson the way she testified, because he thought that would impress her with Trump’s macho patriotism. But then it all blew up in his face when she publicly testified to the J6C. And a bunch of bullshit, conflicting testimony ensued.
Whether Trump actually tried to go to the Capitol is really immaterial to the case against him for obstructing the certification of Biden’s election. IMHO, of course, as I only play an attorney of blog comment boards.
The notion of Trump shrugging off being told No, about something in which he had a passionate interest, is as fantastic as the notion that he could “broker” a deal between contentious parties about something in which he had no direct interest. Laughable. The GOP will have to do without his honest services as it continues to implode over the task of naming a Speaker of the House.
If this is the honeymoon for the GOP House majority, I can’t wait for the divorce.
Trump: I say, shall we perambulate with these ladies and gentlemen to the Capitol and bestow upon Congress some hip hip hurrahs?
SS: Sir, we wish to avoid your being put out in the event someone has less than stellar intentions toward you.
Trump: Oh dash it all. *shrugs* Swing into the drive through on the way back and procure 4 of the finest Big Macs. I look forward to entertaining myself of the festivities on the dining room television. Oh, and call ahead to ensure ketchup is on the table.
As long as I’ve been alive, Republicans have always pushed for least possible gov’t.
So why would we expect them to provide us one and/or a competent one?
This is their playbook.
I believe Ornato got his B.S. from Trump University.
Smug as a thug with a shrug.
Savage Librarian — Hello. I’ve got a question that’s maybe for you: You’ve posted twice over the past year about Annie Howell‘s testimony to J6C. (You posted back on Mar 3 and again June 27).
Fast forward… a few days ago, on Jan 2, 2023, J6C posted their Witness Materials page linking to the transcript of the interview of “Annie Christine Howell”. The PDF they linked to was named 20220114_Annie%20Christine%20Howell.pdf (*).
((*) That filename’s url-encoded so %20 corresponds to a space character — you can ignore that.)
GPO now has that transcript as CTRL0000034889. And they show metadata for it as:
Ok, so far, all that’s consistent.
But looking inside that transcript, on the very first page, line 16, the transcript itself claims that the interview took place on “Friday, December 14, 2022”.
Dec 14, 2022 was a Wednesday. Jan 14, 2022 was a Friday.
That’s the only Howell transcript that I’ve seen, out of the 271 PDFs. The other 270 have dates internal to the PDF that match J6C’s apparent convention of open-coding interview/depo dates in the PDF filename. (GPO, though, does have a few apparently incorrect dates in some of their collection’s metadata: In those other cases, GPO is inconsistent with J6C’s filenaming convention.)
So what do you think?
Unlike your impressive technical skills, nedu, mine are quite minimal. So my best guess is that the difference in dates might have something to do with either edits or typos. I have not read Howell’s transcript/s. But If she had multiple interviews (which I thought she may have) maybe the metadata reflected edits.
Howell was interesting to me because of her actions in Pennsylvania and because of her attorney, Heather Shaner.
The high-level question that I’m working on is — Does the GPO Transcript Collection accurately reflect the transcripts originally published on the J6C website? specifically including the GPO metadata? and the GPO OCR?
(My guess is that, on the whole, it mostly does. But you don’t know until you check, right?)
I had expected that dates printed within the transcripts were most reliable. So I’m slightly flummoxed to encounter that Howell interview date issue… That one needs outside info to resolve.
PDF meta-data isn’t helpful: creation date 12/24/2022 and modification on 1/1/2023. Someone likes working on holidays.
However, near the bottom of page 24 (line 22) the Questioner says “… I guess we’re in, what, January of 2022.” The context is pretty clearly referring to the date of the interview.
So December may be a typo based on the PDF creation date?
Forgive me, but what law would of been broken if trump did want to go to the capital that day?
Forgive me, but it depends on what he did and how he did it. He gave no appearance of going there to help Congress perform its fundamental duties, and every appearance of going there to disrupt them, at the head of a violent mob.
US Presidents must be invited to the Capitol by the Congress. Presidents are not permitted to disrupt the Congress on a whim.
I don’t disagree with the sentiment, but there were all manner of “civillians” present inside the Capitol on Jan. 6. For example, Karen Pence and Charlotte Pence Bond probably being the most famous.
Whatever apparent basis was used to extend invitations to guests is likely somewhat flexible in excuses that could be composed.
It would be interesting to have the complete list of guests and their sponsor on Jan. 6., but that’s never going to be released if it’s even been compiled.
A non sequitur, as neither Karen Pence nor any other authorized guest was the sitting president.
That is also a non sequitur because it doesn’t address that if they happened to be, whether that status would prevent them as a Congressional guest. It probably would not.
We can be reasonably sure that as a guest himself, his guests were vetted.
But more directly to point, a Congressor could likely invite a POTUS to the proceeding as their guest, and whether it managed to fly or not would likely depend on the Congressor, their party, perhaps their Congressional seniority, the Congressional body’s leadership and their party, the POTUS and their party.
But if there are other unofficial guests, being POTUS may prohibit POTUS’ unilateral visit under separation of powers, but likely wouldn’t prohibit his presence as a guest if guests are generally allowed.
On Jan. 6, Pelosi is on video (taken by her daughter) listening to Trump tell his crowd that “after this, we’re going to walk down, and I’ll be there with you, we’re going to walk down. … And we’re going to the Capitol,” and Pelosi responding “If he comes, I’m going to punch him out. I’ve been waiting for this. For trespassing on the Capitol grounds, I’m going to punch him out. And I’m going to go to jail, and I’m going to be happy.” Without an invitation from Congress, she’s right that he would have been trespassing.
There were not “all manner of “civilians”” at the Capitol on January 6th. There were a very limited number of certain members’ families allowed to be present (like family members of the VP and Speaker of the House), but even those were highly restricted.
The Capitol was under COVID restrictions at the time, including social distancing measures, meaning that not even every member could be physically on the floor of the chambers at the same time. Members rotated in and out for votes, and video was set up for members not in the chambers.
Some of the rightwingnuts railed against these restrictions, but Nancy was having none of it.
> US Presidents must be invited to the Capitol by the Congress. Presidents are not permitted to disrupt the Congress on a whim.
Presidents have standing permission to access both the House floor (Rule IV, https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/GPO-CLERK-RULE-PAMPHLET-117/xml/GPO-CLERK-RULE-PAMPHLET-117.xml) and the Senate floor (rule XXIII, https://www.rules.senate.gov/rules-of-the-senate).
(Used to be CJ, but CJCJCJCJ to hit the 8-character rule. :) )
[Thanks for updating your username to meet the 8 letter minimum. /~Rayne]
Hutchinson testified that Cipollone told her that “we all” would be charged with obstruction if he went.
Going to the Capitol itself would not be a crime (though trespassing in it would be). Going to the Capitol with the intent of sowing violence and stopping the vote count would be. That’s still the crime he’s on the hook for. His intent to go is one piece of evidence in it.
Not sure if there will be enough for charges.
Pretty sure Cipollone hasn’t corroborated that testimony. Plus, the under reported part of trumps speech, where he tells the crowd to ,”peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard”, might hurt the bad intent charge.
Cipollone does not need to corroborate his own testimony.
I was referring to hutchinson’s testimony where she said cipollone said something to her. Wasn’t sure if anyone ever asked him if he told her that?
Ah, yes, “And if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.’
A jury will be able to sort it out.
“Cheney asked Ornato whether he had spoken to anyone after Hutchinson’s testimony, he admitted speaking to the Secret Service people about Hutchinson’s testimony, but claimed that a conversation he had with Harrison was about real estate.”
The real estate around Engel’s neck?
As in a thing of value or…?
It is mind boggling how someone as inarticulate as Harrison could get a job anywhere near the White House.
Inarticulate on purpose, like “I don’t recall” the witnesses have been told to say?
Also all the commentators talking about TFG’s insane comments, is he doing this “insane” bs so he gets away with insanity defense?
I counted a total of 42 “you know” in the testimony above. Verbal skills of a 13-year-old.
[FYI — I’ve reverted your username from “Mike Schmitt” to “Michael Schmitt” which you’ve used for your previous 34 comments. Please use the same username each time you comment so community members get to know you. / ~Rayne]
Those aren’t the verbal skills of a 13-year old. They are the verbal markings of someone who is, at a minimum, nervous, and possibly of someone who is lying.
There’s no reason to believe any of us would be different in the same situation.
I may well have taken a thousand depositions in my career, am sometimes hired specifically for that purpose (like, next week in a hotly disputed domestic case) altho’ 99% in the civil context.
However, I have also been deposed, I think three times in regulatory/bar matters, and I have been a witness a few times re miscellaneous stuff like fee and lien disputes …
It is not always easy to be a testifying witness.
Luca Brasi of the White House.
Luca was much more attractive.
[s/ or /s?]
Yep. You can just smell the spaghetti.
I’m not sure these guys were just nervous. The type of word salad we see from them is common among witnesses who’ve been coached a great deal, who want the appearance of responding to a question without ever really committing to anything.
Yup. But I can’t prove that.
All this stuff brings back lots of bad memories for me. One witness against me got so tangled up in the lie she was coached to tell that her conscience got the better of her and she blurted out, “That’s all I’m saying. I’m not saying any more.” It wasn’t until years after things were settled that a coworker confided in me that city attorneys had spent a great deal of time coaching (and intimidating) staff.
My own attorney did not coach me at all. He just told me to tell the truth. But I really was very disoriented as a witness myself. So, that did not help. Yet, in the end it all worked out. Even when justice (and poetic justice) prevail, though, there can be a lingering sense of sadness that it all happened the way it did. A disappointment in the shortcomings of human beings.
SL, I had a similar experience with a pair of lawyers who “coached” me only to tell the truth in defending a nasty but personal (not civic, like yours) suit almost 20 years ago. I tried in vain to match a black skirt with a black blazer, to mimic the lawyers on Law & Order. My legs, face and voice shook uncontrollably. The only thing fixed was the idea: Just tell the truth.
I was doing okay until the other side sprang fabricated evidence on me, in the form of staged photographs purporting to show damage caused by me. The fact and brazenness of the lie just undid me. I had no brilliant Law & Order response. I had nothing except the assertion that it was fabricated.
I too found Harrison’s words stammery and unconvincing. But I wonder how much better I would have done, with Passantino pulling one way and “the truth” very much pulling another.