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The Champion

April 2019 , Page 62 

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Practice Points: The Self-Serving Cooperator: Now More Suspect Than Ever

By Drew Findling

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The use of cooperating witnesses in criminal prosecutions is an indispensable tool of the government. Cooperating witnesses are so prevalent that learning to effectively cross-examine and discredit cooperating witnesses now stands as an independent area of study within the criminal defense community.1 Even the U.S. Supreme Court has long recognized “the fact that many offenses are of such a character that the only persons capable of giving useful testimony are those implicated in the crime.”2 However, there has recently been a growing division within the Executive Branch on the use of cooperating witnesses by the Department of Justice. This division has opened a new venue for attacking one of the government’s strongest weapons in criminal prosecution.

On Feb. 27, 2019, President Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, began a second round of testimony before Congress. This testimony took place after his entry of a guilty plea on Nov. 29, 2018, to making a false statement before Congress

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