Bad guys, blackmail, thist, and embarrassment.

I thought it'd fun (and a little embarrassing) to share a story about the first time I testified in federal court for an FBI case.

I had never been a courtroom before, and I really wasn’t into any of the shows that took place in one either. I didn’t really know what to expect. The Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) told me they’d call me into the courtroom, then I would be sworn in, and sit down in the witness stand. Sounds simple enough.

Then once in the witness stand the fun would begin…

They’d ask me many questions about my background to get me brought in as an expert witness, I'd have to do a whole song and dance to see my notes when I didn’t recall the answer to something, and I'd have to speak to the jury like they have a 5th grade education (from the 1950s and know nothing about computers) with analogies aplenty.

In this story, there’s a bad guy who did some nasty stuff to a woman and then tried to blackmail her.

This how I remember the day...

  • The AUSA started off with 1000 questions for me.
  • I’m getting thirsty. I’m getting dry mouth. I need a drink.
  • I'll get some water out of the pitcher sitting RIGHT. IN. FRONT. OF ME.
  • I try to pour water out of the pitcher. Nothing comes out. I try again (while I’m in front of an entire courtroom full of people).
  • Crap, I can’t get any water out.
  • I’m SO thirsty.
  • 500 more questions from the AUSA.
  • I’m casually trying to examine this highly complex pitcher to determine how to make it work. It’s heavy - there has to be water in it.
  • Now half of the jury is crying.
  • I’m so thirsty. Is it always this hot in here?
  • Now the judge is dismissing the jury so I can answer his questions directly.
  • Oh, thank goodness. Nobody is looking at me now. I grab the water pitcher. How does this thing open?! Grabbing and twisting and turning in every way. On the verge of giving up, something finally gives and twists.
  • Success!! I have water!!
  • Yes, your honor. Yes, your honor. No, your honor.
  • Mmmmm... that water is good.
  • AUSA wraps of questioning.
  • Defense asks if I examined the computer registry. I answer, “Yes.”
  • The defense has no more questions.
  • Well, that was anti-climatic.
  • I’m excused.
  • Bad guy convicted.
  • Why was the hardest part of the testifying trying to get a drink of water?!
  • Facepalm.
  • Well, that was embarrassing…

Don't take this the story the wrong way. Give me some grace as I am sharing something I felt quite embarrassed about. I'm not making light of the situation. I spent a ton of time prepping for that testimony. Sometimes we get derailed by something ridiculous and that's what we remember.

If you'd like to make me feel better drop a comment below with your public embarrassment story. Bonus points for evidence on the Internet.


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