Most litigators fear cross examining a witness they have not deposed. Fear not. In an article entitled "Mastering Blind Cross-Examination," appearing in the ABA's "Litigation News," Mark A. Neubauer writes:
"The easiest way to control a witness is through the use of exhibits. Accordingly, use your documents to weave your testimony on blind cross-examination. What is the witness to do? Deny that he wrote the document? Deny that the document she wrote is a true statement? It almost doesn’t matter what the witness’s response is. What does matter is getting the witness’s own words in writing into evidence before the judge or jury.
Q: You wrote this letter, didn’t you?
Q: And when you wrote that “I cannot justify paying so much for senior staff when we are missing our budget,” you believed that to be a true statement, didn’t you?
What is the witness to say? He lied when he wrote it? By reading the statement into the record, you are driving home its content in a far more effective way than by just authenticating the document."
There are a number of other very helpful tips in this piece, including this admonition:
"So throw away those deposition transcripts. Save your clients thousands of dollars of reporters’ fees. Instead, cross-examine your witnesses the old-fashioned way—blindly, which, like Lady Justice herself, isn’t really so blind after all."