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What to Do When a Witness Is Blowing a Deposition

It happens to every attorney who has appeared for a deposition.

It's that moment when it goes south, when the witness says something so cringe-worthy you don't know what happened. If only there were a pause button or a way to delete that last sentence...

You can use objections and instructions to reel in the problem witness, especially if it is your client. But then there are the inevitable pitfalls.

Dr. Oh No!

Dr. Enrico Fazzini gave a "disastrous deposition," according to Above the Law. He lost it in the first minute.

Fazzini was "combative and disengaged" throughout the deposition, which ended with "loud voices" in the hallway between the witness and counsel. Afterwards, counsel went back on the record to say Fazzini appeared to be intoxicated, wrote Joe Patrice.

There was a videotape online, but it was taken down. That suggests one way, however, to minimize a disastrous deposition -- don't videotape it.

Some things are lost on the printed word, and that's what you want if you have a problem witness.

Lil Wayne

If you can't get around the video, it's going to be more difficult to control the situation. Some people are more challenging than others, like rapper Lil Wayne.

In one deposition, an attorney played a television clip of the rapper with journalist Katie Couric and asked Lil Wayne if he gave the interview.

"What's your name?" Lil Wayne responded.

"That's not the question," the attorney said, apparently amused as the rapper ascertained his name.

"Pete Ross, that's a stupid ass question," he says. "You just saw me on there giving an interview with her."

That video is still online with more than 4.6 million views. For the deposing lawyer's sake, it might have been better to hit pause.

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