Newly discovered evidence

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Newly discovered evidence is the basis for many motions by criminal defendants to obtain a new trial.

There are formidable legal doctrines, however, that prevent defendants from obtaining a new trial even if they prove that a key witness against them committed perjury. For example, the "[v]eracity of witnesses may not be tested for a second time and by an appellate tribunal." United States v. Rutkin, 208 F.2d 647, 654 (3d Cir. 1953). If the defendant challenged a witness's testimony at the first trial, then this doctrine precludes the defendant from challenging it again in a request for a new trial, even if newly discovered evidence shows that testimony delivered during the first trial was incorrect.