Key, a former real estate attorney who was serving time in prison, was called as a witness for the government, and he testified about mortgage fraud.Let’s pause and reflect for a minute on the fact that we live in a time where federal judges do not even blink when federal prosecutors do this sort of thing; it’s perfectly commonplace.
Okay, ready for the holding now? Here it is:
The district court did not err in permitting Key to testify as a lay witness. Because the part of Key’s testimony that was elicited by the government was based on his own personal knowledge of mortgage fraud, which he had acquired through his experience as a former real estate closing attorney who had engaged in fraudulent transactions of that nature, he did not have to be qualified as an expert under Fed. R. Evid. 702.What? How do you possibly square that holding with the rule itself which specifically says that experts are people who gain specialized knowledge through “experience, training, or education”? Has no one on the Eleventh Circuit ever seen My Cousin Vinny?