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March 28, 2017
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This tricky attorney couldn't make any progress with me in court.

I was a reporter for a newspaper and did a story about a politician who was not making his child support payments to his wife. The politician, who was guilty, sued the newspaper and me for reporting a true story, evidently in the hope he would scare us into apologizing or retracting the (true) story.

After I was served with legal (lawsuit) papers the politician sent an attorney to question me in the hope he could force something out of me, some kind of confession or incriminating statement—-even though the politician had as my article said not made his child support payments.

The attorney, tricky, trained in law school, experienced in twisting facts to benefit his client, came up against something he had never before had to deal with—-me. I’m a man who like Peter Pan never matured. I’m still childlike. I’m simple. I’m honest. My naiveté is so pronounced, I have been likened to an “idiot savant,” a person who seems really dumb, but who in fact is brilliant in an accidental way that often seems dumb.

No matter what question this attorney asked, my simple logic, the sheer mind-numbing childlike honesty of my answers baffled this attorney, frustrated and ultimately infuriated him. Like some giant boulder it became an immovable object he couldn’t budge no matter how hard he tried. As the questioning went on he became more stressed, more agitated, more angry, wiping sweat from his forehead as he paced in front of me like a caged lion.

Here is a recreation of that questioning. This is a true story:

Let me get this straight, you just walked in off the street and a clerk for the city handed you the report (child support payment schedule showing missed payments)?

That’s right.

She just handed you the document.

Yes.

Why?

I don’t know.

Why don’t you know?

I don’t know.

You mean to tell me, you just walked in off the street and got the document, and she never asked you who you were?

That’s right.

Just like that?

Just like that.

Did she say anything?

I don’t remember.

Why don’t you remember?

I don’t know.

Shouldn’t you remember?

She may have said, hello.

Well…what did you say to her?

I said…can I have the document (child support payment schedule) please?

What did she do?

She went into a room, came back and gave it to me.

She went into a room, came back with the record, and gave it to you?

That’s right.

She just gave it to you, just like that?

Just like that.

Why?

I don’t know.

Why would she do that? Why would a clerk for the city hand out a case-sensitive document to just anybody who walked in from off the street.

I don’t know.

What did this woman look like?

I don’t know.

You spoke to this woman and you don’t remember what she looked like?

That was four months ago.

(Attorney stares at me).

Maybe dark haired, middle-aged, short like a woman.

(Attorney grimaces). What makes you an expert on child support?

I never claimed to be an expert.

Oh is that so (attorney angrily takes a paper from his pocket and waves it in my face). Then how do you know what this is about?

Oh you see it’s very easy (I take the paper from him and point to a spot on the paper). See these little boxes here? Those are the months. See how they’re empty? That means he (politician) didn’t pay his child support for these months. See this notation where it says ‘non-payment?’

Give me that! (Attorney angrily grabs the paper from me). Mister Sammon (sarcastically), anytime I need advice on court-related documents, I will come to you.

(Innocently, ignoring the sarcasm) Well thank you, that’s very kind.

Sweat appears on the attorney’s forehead. He takes a handkerchief and wipes his brow. Okay, now where were we?

Easy to understand forms.

Oh yes, easy to understan…..(angrily) Don’t put words in my mouth. Isn’t it true you and your newspaper were out to smear my client?

No.

Isn’t it?

True?

True. Why not?

Because it’s false.

It is?

That I wanted to smear….

Where is your proof Mister Sammon?

Proof of what?

That it’s false

Why do I have to prove what I know to be true?

(Attorney is befuddled, as if he doesn’t know what to say). Well, I mean that….I…Uh… (he stammers). Well, you should have proof.

Truth is proof.

Run that by me again.

Proof is truth.

(Angrily) Proof is proof and truth is truth Mister Sammon.

I would have no problem with that idea (I eagerly nod).

(Attorney buries his face in his hand as though he has a migraine). Let’s start from the beginning. You work for a newspaper.

That’s right.

You’re a reporter.

That’s right.

You write stories.

Right.

You wrote a story about my client.

That’s right.

You called my client a deadbeat.

I never used that word.

What word did you use?

I just said he was behind.

Behind what?

Behind in his payments.

So my client is the only one behind?

There are more I guess.

You singled my client out to pick on.

No, I received an anonymous tip.

What tip?

A person told me he (elected official) was behind.

Who told you?

I can’t tell.

Why?

I told the anonymous tipper I wouldn’t tell who he is.

What if I got documents that forced you to tell?

Then I would tell.

You picked on my client you made a special example of my client.

I never pick on people I only ask questions.

(Attorney shouting) There are other deadbeat…..I mean people behind on their payments.

I would probably agree with that.

Oh you’re clever you’re really clever with that dumb act.

I’m not acting.

Your Honor this witness is misleading me!

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