Wisdom of History

Wise Counsel: Mar-A-Lago

When reacting to shocking allegations and inflammatory gossip such as those surrounding the FBI seizure of documents from Mar-A-Lago pursuant to a court-approved search warrant, I recommend saying, “I don’t know”—at least until the testimony of two or more sworn witnesses with firsthand knowledge of a matter establishes it after the witnesses have been cross-examined.

For over 30 years, I was a General Counsel and Chief Legal Officer. I frequently counseled how to react when shocking allegations and inflammatory gossip arose.

Three of my “proverbs” are relevant to the recent FBI seizure of documents from Mar-A-Lago pursuant to a court-approved search warrant.

My first “proverb” is a quote from one of my CEOs: “”It’s not bad to say ‘I don’t know something.’ None of us knows everything. But it’s real bad to say, ‘I know something’, when you don’t actually know it!’”

Since I very much doubt that anyone reading this blog has any first-hand knowledge about the reason(s) and justification(s) for the court-approved search warrant or the way it was implemented, my “wise counsel” is: do not say that you know it was justified, nor say that you know it was not justified.

Second, the Law of Moses gives us this wise counsel that has stood the test of time:

One witness is not enough to convict anyone accused of any crime or offense they may have committed. A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. (Deuteronomy 19:15).

In such a formal proceeding, witnesses should swear (or affirm) that they shall abide by the moral requirement set forth in the Ten Commandments: “Thou shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.” (Exodus 20:16; Deuteronomy 5:20).

Jesus and the Apostle Paul both endorsed this wise counsel of Moses. (Matthew 18:15-16: John 8:16-18;  2 Corinthians 13:1).

Self-serving press conferences, speeches, and tweets do not count as witnesses!

And last—but far from least—if you’re tempted to say “I know” based on press conferences, speeches, or tweets, I hope you’ll say “I don’t know”.


Because you need to recall this wise insight from Proverbs: “In a lawsuit the first to speak seems right, until someone comes forward and cross-examines.” (Proverbs 18:17).


For a blog that applies this principle of not reaching conclusions until after considering all perspectives and viewpoints, please read my blog “Dobbs: I Agree with Chief Justice Roberts”.

For examples of why we need to be careful when reaching conclusions—especially conclusions urged by politicians, the government, or anyone exercising the Power of Money, the Power of Religion, or the Power of the Kingdoms of the World”, please read my blogs “Jezebel and Ahab: Greed, Lies and Violence”, “Jesus Climbs the Temple Mount”, “Places of Worship—Praying and Singing Hymns in ‘Prisons’”, “Building Houses on Rock: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”, and “The Webb Space Telescope: E Pluribus Unum”.