When evaluating statements for truth and credibility listen to determine if they denied the act they are accused of doing.
Sometimes it only sounds like a denial. Because people don’t want to lie, guilty people will often do a word dance to make you think they are denying it without actually saying they did not do it.
- I couldn’t do that
- I wouldn’t do that
- I could never do that
- I had nothing to do with
- I am innocent
- I am not guilty
- There is no evidence
- I deny doing that
- I haven’t done anything
They want you to believe it is impossible for them to have done what you’re suggesting. However, when these examples above, or similar, are used they still have not told you that they did not do it. They have not denied committing the act. They want you to conclude they haven’t done it.
Since content statement analysis is not about interpreting, concluding or assuming, you should only believe what people tell you. When these phrases are used, you cannot believe they did not do it because they have not told you they have not done it.
Some historical examples of non-denials:
“I loved Nicole. I could never do such a thing.” – O.J. Simpson
“The evidence… will show that I had nothing to do with these crimes.” – D.C. Sniper John Allen Muhammad
“I say that I am innocent of those charges.” – Jerry Sandusky
“The only way we can really answer that [did you do it?] is we are going to plead not guilty.” – Timothy McVeigh
When people give a denial, look to see if they denied specifically what they are accused of and not the conclusion that others believe they are guilty. The only true denial is when the person denies the act by saying, “I didn’t do it” or by specifically denying the allegation.
I am certain / confident
In 2008 Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was arrested by the FBI on federal corruption charges relating to selling Barack Obama’s vacant U.S. Senate seat. In his statement to the media, Blagojevich said,
“I am absolutely certain that I will be vindicated.”
When a person uses the word “certain or confident” it tells us they are thinking about other possibilities. After careful consideration, they then conclude they are convinced [this] is what happened or will happen.
If a person is certain or confident of something, they won’t use the word certain or confident. A person who has done nothing wrong probably would not contemplate being found guilty.
In 2011 a jury found Blagojevich guilty on 11 criminal counts related to President Obama’s old Senate seat and six counts involving fundraising shakedowns.
Now consider this –
Headlines this week include the FBI reopening the email investigation on Hillary Clinton. In her press conference regarding this new revelation, Clinton said,
“I’m confident, whatever they are [new emails], will not change the conclusion reached in July.”
Was that a denial?
Has she told us there are no incriminating emails? Did she deny it? Or does she want you to conclude she has not done anything wrong?
Believe what people tell you. You cannot believe people did not do something wrong if they have not told you they have not done it.