Before evidence may be admitted, the proponent must show that it is authentic, i.e. that the evidence is what the proponent claims it is. Authentication rules apply to writings, documents, photographs, tape recording or handwriting and other similar “instruments.”
FRE 901 requires that evidence be authenticated prior to its admission. Under FRE 901 evidence is authenticated when its proponent produces evidence “sufficient to support a finding” that the evidence is genuine inasmuch as it “what its proponent claims.”
Generally, any evidence that tends to establish genuineness may be used to authenticate a writing. Evidence may be authenticated by either direct evidence or circumstantial evidence. Examples of evidence sufficient to support the authenticity of evidence are included in FRE 901(b).
A party may authenticate a document by presenting a wide range of evidence, including evidence relating to:
One party may admit the authenticity of a writing offered by the opposing party. In addition, a party who acts upon a document as authentic, will be deemed to have admitted its authenticity.
A witness may testify, from personal knowledge, that the document is what its proponent claims it to be.