Historic Goering cross-examination put under the spotlight
It is widely considered the most significant cross-examination of modern times, and members of Faculty will be able to judge it for themselves when a US attorney and avid student of the Nuremberg Trials analyses the questioning of Hermann Goering.
Robert Hedrick, an aviation law specialist and an Adjunct Professor at Seattle University, admits to a “passion” for the fascinating history of the trial and Goering’s performance in the witness box.
He has put together a PowerPoint presentation, From History’s Greatest Trial: The Cross-Examination of Hermann Goering, which he has delivered to audiences in the US and Australia.
Mr Hedrick is coming to Scotland to speak at a conference on international aviation law and insurance, and will take the opportunity to give his Goering talk in the Mackenzie Building on Wednesday, 18 May.
Why an interest in trials that took place 70 years ago?
“The cross-examination of Goering is considered the most significant cross-examination in modern jurisprudence,” said Mr Hedrick.
“Numerous commentators over the years have suggested that the lead prosecutor, US Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson’s cross-examination may have been the worst in history. For me, this was hard to believe. As a trial lawyer, I wanted to decide for myself how Jackson fared and by what standard,” he added.
“So, I located, read and re-read the relevant trial transcripts. My curiosity led to further research and my interest evolved into a passion. I ultimately found myself on a quest, not just to understand the cross-examination separate from public opinion, but to answer the question for myself: what is a good cross-examination?
“In the presentation, after an overview of Goering’s direct examination, the focus shifts to Jackson’s cross-examination. Jackson’s mistakes are exposed and their significance analysed. In the end, who gets the best of whom? The audience is the judge.
“A review and comparison is also made to the cross-examination of Goering by Edinburgh’s own David Maxwell Fyfe, the leading member of Britain’s Nuremberg Prosecution Team. Fyfe took an entirely different approach than Jackson.”