Bernick endeavors to discredit Miller in cross-examination
The pulsing of a single oxygen tank attached to a former Libby, Mont., resident marked the passage time Wednesday morning like a metronome in the ongoing trial of the United States v W.R. Grace.
The morning kicked off with the cross-examination of expert witness Aubrey Miller by defense attorney David Bernick, but did not continue smoothly. Miller often balked at answering Bernick’s questions directly, offering explanations instead.
Judge Donald Molloy allowed the tug-of-war style of questioning to continue throughout the morning, telling the jury to ignore two of Miller’s answers because they did not apply to Bernick’s question.
In an attempt to discredit Miller’s expertise, Bernick reviewed earlier statements made about asbestosis by witnesses Alan Whitehouse, a pulmonologist, and Environmental Protection Agency on-site coordinator Paul Peronard in their respective cross-examinations. When asked if he agreed or disagreed, Miller said he felt as though each one had answered questions to the best of their knowledge.
“With respect, with how many people in Libby are you in the diagnosing position?” Bernick said.
Bernick continued to paint a picture of Miller’s tarnished credibility to the jury when he asked him to discuss the legitimacy of his own asbestos-related findings compared to those of other scientists.
“Have you ever written a peer-reviewed publication that is considered authoritative?” Bernick said.
Miller said that he had written about asbestosis, but just because he hadn’t written a book did not mean that he was ill-informed.
“I am an expert in this area,” Miller said.
Two hours after the cross-examination began Molloy stopped the questioning for a 15-minute recess.
- Elizabeth Diehl
Posted: March 11th, 2009 under News.