That's what the secretary who (would have) typed the memos says.
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by Michael Froomkin
Laurie Silvers & Mitchell Rubenstein Distinguished Professor of Law
University of Miami School of Law
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Unfortunately, the memo scandal casts a cloud over the whole story now. Thanks, CBS.
Geeze, people, how complicated is this?
The memos, had they not been forgeries, would have been “evidence”.
The testimony of a secretary as to what other people were saying thirty years ago is “hearsay”.
Evidence. Hearsay. You do grasp this distinction, right?
Man, what we couldn’t have convicted Clinton of, if hearsay were acceptable as evidence…
Hearsay is a form of evidence (albeit generally inadmissible in court unless it falls into one of the exceptions to the hearsay rule).
It’s been a very, very long time since I took evidence, but isn’t a typist’s testimony as to the similarity of two documents NOT hearsay? The typist isn’t vouching for the truth of the statements contained in either one, just their similarity, a matter of personal knowledge. I suspect this is admissible if approached with care.
Heresay is a second or third hand account. The secretary would have first hand knowledge of the authenticity of the documents having typed them up.
I think that what happened here is that the original Killian memos were considerably stronger and that at some point they were rewritten to eliminate the statements about W.’s susbstance abuse being the reason for him being dropped as a pilot.
I suspect this happened shortly after the originals were created by Killian himself when the guard was covering up the substance abuse issue and sweeping everything under the carpet when Bush was being discharged. The person who provided the memos to CBS may well have known about them from having created them in the coverup.
I’m assuming that the factual issues are (1) whether or not Bush did not undergo a required physical exam and (2) whether he was given a direct order to do so.
If this were a trial in a court of law (which it isn’t), and Ms Knox’s testimony was “I typed memos dictated by Killian stating that Bush had not undergone a required physical despite having been ordered to do so”, this would be hearsay with respect to the two issues identified above. The testimony might still be admissible if there were an applicable exception to the hearsay rule.
But this isn’t a trial in a court of law, it’s an election campaign. In deciding how to vote, people can consider whatever they like. In my view, outside of a legal setting it is unhelpful to use terms like “hearsay”.
It doesn’t matter to me if the memos were forgeries or not. Substantial questions have been raised as to the President Bush’s integrity or lack thereof and corroboration by a secretary that the content was on target is good enough for me.
The American people have been deceived on so many issues by this president. The theme of negligence in Bush honoring his guard duties shouldn’t come as any surprise. Anyone who has done any investigational reading on the matter is aware that his service records were purged prior to his running for public office; therefore, the statements of the secretary should not be ignored or dismissed as simple hearsay.
Bush appears weak on character and long on deception . He served in a weak governorship position in Texas that should never have qualified him for the highest office of the land. His whole life speaks of advancement by a ‘silver spoon’ and misrepresentations. He was basically handed the presidency by a slight of hand and manipulation of fundamentalist voters who blindly accept his profession of faith as endorsement from God Almighty. Let’s send this man back to his ranch to tend his cattle. That would be far less dangerous than the recklessness we have seen with our economy and foreign affairs.