Social Media Being Used As Evidence
Robert Mueller is Examining Trump’s Tweets in the Obstruction Inquiry
This is fascinating to me.
The fact of the matter is that “content” shared on Twitter and other social media platforms can be used as evidence in criminal and civil cases. I’m here to tell you, right now, that Trump’s tweets will be used as evidence in the Mueller case.
As a consulting expert to the book, “Effective Introduction of Evidence in California- Chapter 54 Electronic and Social Media Evidence” by Julie Brook and put out by the Continuing Education of the California State Bar (CEB), I’m interested in seeing exactly how Mueller’s team handles the authenticity and foundation issues that are present with using social media content. I’m also looking forward to watching defense attorneys trying to get into evidence “alternative explanations” as to why Trump’s tweets mean something different than what they purport to say on their face.
Several years ago, I was able to use public postings on Facebook to impeach the testimony of a witness on the stand. The defendant denied while testifying in front of the jury, ever using certain derogatory terms referring to women. After about 20 minutes of direct examination, I pulled up his Facebook newsfeed and I walked him through each of the same derogatory words that he clearly used while sharing opinions on Facebook, that he had just denied ever using to the jury.
Doing this live in front of a jury was a powerful moment during the trial. Looking back, I believe using the witnesses own Facebook posts to show his true character and intentions helped me win the case and create new law in the State of California.
Here’s the deal. These are fascinating times and when it comes to the law, social media is creating new opportunities, and challenges, when prosecuting cases and representing clients. Be careful and understand just how powerful social media is in business, law and in court.
Here’s the link to today’s New York Times story