Impeachment | Problem 4

Civil fraud case by Plaintiff against Defendant for failed business partnership. Plaintiff calls Witness 1 to testify favorably for Plaintiff on key points. Later in the trial, Defendant calls Witness 2 to testify that Witness 1 has a reputation for acting dishonestly in the local business community.

Is Witness 2s testimony admissible?

Yes, its admissible to impeach Witness 1s character for truthfulness. Federal Rules of Evidence (FRE) 608 permits an attack to a witnesss character for truthfulness only by reputation or opinion testimony. But evidence of truthful character of a witness must wait until that witnesss character for truthfulness has first been attacked.

FRE 608 also permits, through cross-examination only, inquiry into specific instances of conduct of a witness if it is probative of the character for truthfulness or truthfulness of the witness or another witness whose character the witness being cross-examined has testified about.

Always compare the Federal Rules of Evidence to your state rules of evidence, which may differ.