A Look At The Work Of Daniel Goldman, The Lead Democratic Attorney For Impeachment
ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:
While lawmakers on the House committee have spent their political careers in the public spotlight, two of the key people asking questions today have not. Democrat Daniel Goldman and Republican Steve Castor are both attorneys, and each of them spent a big chunk of today's hearing questioning the witnesses under oath.
Danya Perry worked with Goldman, the Democrat, as a federal prosecutor in New York, and she joins us now. Welcome back to the program.
DANYA PERRY: Thanks, Ari. Glad to be here.
SHAPIRO: Steve Castor is the Republican's general counsel to the House Oversight Committee, and he's worked on that committee for more than a decade. So in some ways, he is an obvious choice to question witnesses. Daniel Goldman was only brought on this year. He's kind of like the prosecutor behind the prosecutor, Chairman Adam Schiff. Why do you think Democrats chose him?
PERRY: Oh, I think he's an obvious choice as well. He went in there, and he did exactly what the best prosecutors do and he's been trained to do as a federal prosecutor in the Southern District of New York for, I believe, about a decade.
SHAPIRO: Which is specifically what?
PERRY: Well, he took a tremendous volume of information. He had thousands of pages of deposition testimony from 15 witnesses. And it was his responsibility, along with his team, to condense it and to synthesize it and to, you know, go out there. And he came out of the box with some hard-hitting questions that went, you know, straight to the guts of the inquiry.
SHAPIRO: So was he trying to get a conviction, tell a story? I mean, how would you describe the task?
PERRY: Look; I think a little from Column A, a little from Column B. You know, here, the jury, you know, technically, under the Constitution, is going to be the Senate when the articles of impeachment are handed up as expected. But really, you know, all of the players in the action today were speaking to the viewers, the viewing public and voting public. And so people - you know, both sides put out their best case and went, you know, right to the heart of what this is about.
SHAPIRO: The stakes are so high here. Having worked closely with Daniel Goldman, do you think he's the kind of person likely to be fazed by that?
PERRY: He is unflappable. I could say...
PERRY: I mean, you saw it today. He was as well-prepared as you could be. He was clearly very, very close to the facts. He knew what answers he was going to get, but he also knew how to follow up when he didn't quite get the right answer. And it's a great trick of a good trial lawyer. You know what you're looking for, and if a witness doesn't quite say it, then you unpack it, you repackage it and you make sure that it comes out sounding exactly the way you want it to and the way that you want the jury to hear it.
SHAPIRO: Is there a specific incident in his professional background that you think comes close to preparation for something like this?
PERRY: Look; I had an investigation with him that lasted several years, and it was a far-flung and sprawling fraud and money laundering investigation with, you know, mob ties. And it went in many different directions, and some of them unexpected.
And, you know, he was the kind of investigator who left no stone unturned. He understood all of the facts. He pursued them doggedly. And then when it came time to trial, he was able to strip it all down and to present, I think, as clear and compelling a case as you could possibly want.
I was actually teaching a trial advocacy class at the time at NYU law school, and I brought my students in to watch his opening argument. And I think that's exactly the training that you would want for someone who has got to, you know, pare it all down and present it in the best possible light.
SHAPIRO: That's Danya Perry, who worked with Democrat Daniel Goldman, who questioned witnesses today in the public House impeachment inquiry. Perry is a former federal prosecutor in the Southern District of New York. Thanks very much for joining us today.
PERRY: Thanks, Ari.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.