Koch Lawyer Proves — Lawyers Are Bad Witnesses

Oh my. Koch Industries, the company founded by brothers David and Charles Koch, sent their general counsel Mark Holden to MSNBC yesterday and it was painful to watch. The Koch brothers have given millions to a series of conservative causes and are the poster children for the erosion of democracy perpetrated by campaign finance rules that privilege the speech of the wealthy over the rest of America.

Holden went on the show to dispute the allegation, made by a guest host on a prior episode of the Martin Bashir show, that the Koch brothers supported Stand Your Ground laws. Holden explained that Koch was only involved in economic freedom issues. This has been thoroughly debunked by documents proving that Koch Industries worked on the ALEC committee to push Stand Your Ground laws throughout the country.

Holden was very lawyerly, giving overly long answers riddled with caveats. As a lawyer I understand that this is par for the course when lawyers talk to each other. Sadly, Holden was not in a conference room giving a deposition. Instead he was a witness on the stand being brutalized by an effective cross-examiner. On TV everything Holden said came across as defensive and shifty. As Bashir, predictably, moved the interview into other Koch controversies, Holden attempted to ignore those questions as “outside the scope” as a lawyer would say in a deposition. But there was no counsel by his side to object and Holden’s curt and evasive answers eroded his credibility with every response. Eventually he cracked like the worst witness in an old Perry Mason and started shouting his own version of “YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!” charging any attempt to question the Koch brothers for their influence over politics an assault on “democracy” and “liberty.”

This is why you never let a lawyer go on the stand.

The whole interview (save the introductions) is below:

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