In the Depp/Heard trial one of the lawyers reads headlines to Johnny Depp in the witness stand and then only asks "Did I read that right?"
The lawyer appears to be using this as a tool to read negative headlines to the jury. The only question asked is about the reading skills of the lawyer himself, which seem entirely irrelevant to the case.
Yet the judge and Depp's lawyers let him drone on and on without any objection, despite the fact that he is not asking any relevant question at all and using this as a backdoor to present emotionally charged information that he otherwise may not be able to introduce.
- What is the purpose of the question "did I read that right"? What is the rationale behind asking this from a witness, instead just reading it? Isn't this a purely rhetorical question ?
- What is the witness supposed to answer, other than "yes"?
- Why is this question (about the reading skills) not dismissed as irrelevant and as it's obviously a backdoor mechanism ?
- Does it make a difference if Depp or someone else on the witness stand? Confirming basic reading skills can be done by pretty much anyone.
- How far can this be taken? Could theoretically a lawyer put a random stranger in the witness seat, start reading whatever they want, and ask the witness each time "did I read this correctly?"
This question is NOT about what the lawyer is reading and whether tabloids are useful for evidence, it's about the purpose of the question "Did I read this right?" and whether that question would allow the lawyer to read whatever they wanted: the declaration of independence, their favorite book, an opinion from a 3rd party etc.