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“Court testimony” refers to the statements made by witnesses and, when relevant, defendants during the course of a trial. These statements, including prepared comments and answers to questions posed by prosecutors and defense attorneys, are made under oath. As such, court testimony is legally required to be truthful. Statements made by witnesses and others under oath that are subsequently revealed to be false are labeled “perjury.” Individuals found guilty of perjury can be prosecuted for lying while under oath.

In addition to statements made on a witness stand, “court testimony” can include statements made as part of a deposition. Depositions are written and/or oral statements made outside of a courtroom as part of the legal process. Depositions, like witness statements made in court, are given under oath and, therefore, must be truthful. They are generally submitted to the court as legal documents and are considered as part of the evidence used in the trial or other legal proceeding. While they exist as part of the court documentation, they are usually only referenced in the event of a contradiction between a statement made on the witness stand and what is presented in the deposition.

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Court testimony is words spoken by someone who is a witness in a legal proceeding, in court, in response to questions from an attorney for a party in the proceeding or questions from the judge. Court testimony is always given under oath, meaning that the person swears to tell the truth.  Court testimony is always taken down by a court reporter and transcribed so that it becomes part of the official record of the proceeding.  If a person is hearing impaired and uses American Sign Language, an interpreter accompanies the person so that the testimony can still be written down.  Very occasionally, when someone has died or is completely unable to be in court for a legitimate reason, a deposition (testimony taken under oath, but not in court) of that person's testimony will be admitted to the record to stand in as court testimony.  This is quite unusual, though, since court testimony is always supposed to be subject to cross-examination, and it is impossible to cross-examine a transcript. 

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