The deposition of Paula Deen, defendant

We all know now that Deen made statements during her deposition that were racist.

Yesterday, the Times, via Kim Severson, followed up on the Deen story, with “Chef Loses Major Endorsement Deal.” I was less interested in her ham deals than I was with this paragraph about Deen’s deposition:

… a person in New York who works closely with Ms. Deen’s media operations said the TV cook went into the problematic deposition in May ill prepared. She was convinced the case would be dismissed because of the earlier demand for money and thus spoke in her usual forthcoming and folksy style, said this person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because she feared losing her job.

Deen’s unpreparedness for her deposition emphasizes something I noted about Lady Gaga, during her deposition: media celebrities, no matter how entertaining they may be on the Big Stage of Life, do not understand that deposition testimony requires a virtual rejection of their normal personalities. During a deposition, you do not perform. You do not charm. Indeed, you can’t charm; the person asking the questions is the opposing lawyer.

I’ve watched lawyers in depositions for years. They are very, very good and smiling and seeming to be hamische. They can. They are acutely aware that charm and wit and eloquent pauses do not manifest themselves in the written testimony.

What shows in the written testimony is truth and awkward, damning lies.

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