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'Impeaching' Cooperating Witnesses

4 Pages Posted: 3 Sep 2007  

Stephen A. Saltzburg

George Washington University School of Law


This article, discussing trial tactics, considers the scenario in which the government seeks to elicit testimony from a witness, involved in the criminal activity, that has entered into a plea agreement; the defendant offers to stipulate that the defense will make no effort to impeach the witness through the use of the plea agreement and moves to exclude it from evidence; yet the prosecutor insists upon using the agreement. The article discusses United States v. Richardson, 421 F.3d 17 (1st Cir. 2005), and United States v. McNeill, 728 F.2d 5 (1st Cir. 1984), and concludes that there is no sensible distinction to be drawn between them.

Keywords: impeachment, witness credibility, evidence, plea agreement, Richardson, McNeill

JEL Classification: K14, K42

Suggested Citation

Saltzburg, Stephen A., 'Impeaching' Cooperating Witnesses. Criminal Justice, Vol. 22, No. 2, Summer 2007; GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 344; GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 344. Available at SSRN:

Stephen A. Saltzburg (Contact Author)

George Washington University School of Law ( email )

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Washington, DC 20052
United States
202-994-7089 (Phone)

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