I’ve had some experience with polygraphs, thanks to two things: a psych course experiment in college, during which I was the designated liar; and, given my time working for lawyers, how and why a lawyer might ask a client to take a polygraph.
Never mind the first thing. Well, except to say the set-up was greatly intelligent and it proved I have sweaty guilt about lying. That is, I won’t guarantee that you can trust me but I can guarantee that I can.
So let’s go to the polygraph tape.
A young woman called our law office, asking for help. She’d been raped by a couple of cops during an incident which — if I remember — involved an arrest either for drugs or prostitution. The arrest itself may have been false.
We were all immediately sympathetic because things like that happen a lot to vulnerable people, as any civil rights lawyer knows.
I don’t recall which lawyer interviewed the young woman who was accompanied by her mother, and I don’t remember where the interview occurred. She did not live in the New York area.
But I do remember that she was asked if she’d take a polygraph test.
Most judges won’t accept polygraphs as valid, i.e., scientifically supported, evidence. But they can still be useful when, as in this case, the guy I worked for explained to me that while everyone wanted to sympathize with the young woman, there were parts of her story which sounded iffy. A good polygraphist could confirm whether her story was credible, or not.
It’s a real problem for lawyers. Potential clients are, almost by definition, in a crisis state — which is why they need a lawyer — but crisis states that make a potential client openly distraught are difficult to interpret.
Lawyers are not psychotherapists. They need a straightforward story to know whether they can accept a case. And emotional clients are not good at delivering straightforward stories. As a lawyer listens to a potential client, she will be thinking, how can I present this person to a jury? If I don’t believe her, how could they?
So a polygraph can at the least confirm that, no matter how scattershot the story sounds, it is in essence true.
The young woman agreed to take a polygraph. An excellent polygrapher was retained, an appointment made. She took the polygraph.
I don’t know how it was explained to her that her case could not be pursued by our law firm. But it wasn’t pursued by our law firm.
So, Stormy Daniels. In 2011 a magazine — InTouch (!?!??!) — requested in 2011 that she take the test, presumably to figure out if they wanted to publish her story. In the end, they didn’t publish it. (Despite the polygraph, I’ll bet they were worried about Trump suing them.)
Stormy Daniels lawyer, Michael Avenatti, bought that polygraph for $25,000, and has released it. He’s already convinced she’s telling the truth. Now he wants us to believe it, too.