In an opinion today, Judge Cote denied a motion to compel brought by the defendants in an SEC enforcement action relating to one of the SEC’s witnesses. The defendants claimed that the witness gave inaccurate deposition testimony about having been disciplined at work for having harassed a former romantic partner, and so wanted more documents about the incident, and an additional deposition. Judge Cote, who chose not to identify the witness by name, emphatically denied the motion:
[T]his line of questioning — about strife in the witness’s personal life that occurred over a decade ago — was inappropriate. The relationship between the witness and the Partner has no bearing whatsoever on the issues at stake in this litigation, or the witness’s capacity to give relevant, reliable, and helpful trial testimony. Compounding the harassment reflected in this inappropriate line of questioning, the defendants now seek to throw this material into the public record and to insert it into the trial on the ground that the answers (to questions that they should never have asked) are false . . . .
[A]n event that took place over twelve years ago between the witness and a former romantic partner does not have any relevance to the witness’s credibility now, and the witness’s answers during the deposition do not alter that fact.