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Sunday, May 21, 2006

Duke Lacrosse Scandal: Conspiracy Theories are Dead?

updated: May 23, 2006

Duke Lacrosse Team Poster - Please come forwardDurham Police, March 2006:

"We're asking someone from the lacrosse team to step forward," Durham police Cpl. David Addison said. "We will be relentless in finding out who committed this crime."

Mike Nifong, May 15, 2006:
Today, the Durham County Grand Jury indicted David Forker Evans on charges of first degree rape, first degree sex offense, and first degree kidnapping. I do not anticipate that there will be any further indictments in this case.

At the outset of this investigation, I said that it was just as important to remove the cloud of suspicion from the members of the Duke University lacrosse team who were not involved in this assault as it was to identify the actual perpetrators. For that reason, I believe it is important to state publicly today that none of the evidence that we have developed implicates any member of that team other than those three against whom indictments have been returned.

The Duke lacrosse house at 610 N. Buchanan Blvd is a small one story single family house. It was occupied by three senior Duke lacrosse captains: Matt Zash, Daniel Flannery and David Evans. There were over forty Duke lacrosse players at the party on March 13-14.

Not one Duke lacrosse player has come forward to support the prosecution's case. Based on DA Nifong's May 15th statement it doesn't look like any of the other Duke lacrosse players will be charged with obstruction of justice, conspiracy, or any other crimes related to this case.

So the three indicted players, Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty, and David Evans acted alone and were not aided or abetted in committing the crimes of first degree rape, first degree sex offense, and first degree kidnapping against Crystal Gail Mangum on March 14, 2006.

This seems very strange. There is no hint of any unindicted co-conspirators.

The DA and police have always suggested there was a conspiracy - fake names were used, drinks may have been spiked, the dancers were told it was the Duke baseball and track teams, not lacrosse, a fake mustache may have been used, digital photos may have been tampered with, the dancers were basically setup, etc, etc.

The police may even have even sent a fake email to some of the players in a clumsy attempt at a setup or "sting" operation to implicate other players.

Cash Michaels Cash Michaels lays out the prosecution's conspiracy theories:
There have been strong reports, somewhat supported by the second dancer, Kim Roberts, that mixed drinks given to the two women were allegedly spiked.

Roberts says she didn’t drink hers because she was driving. The accuser drank some of hers, something happened to her glass, so she then drank all of Roberts’ drink.

It was almost immediately after, while they were performing, that Roberts says she saw the demeanor of the alleged victim deteriorate rapidly to the point where she had to be later carried out to Roberts’ car.

Only the toxicology report can confirm if it was alcohol, or a date rape drug, that was the cause.

But finally, given the beating that both Nifong and his case so far has taken in the press, observers believe that authorities may have the best evidence of all - at least one of the Duke lacrosse players, who was at the party, has already turned state’s evidence.

Eyewitness testimony would change everything, and buttress the woman’s story, observers say. It could even explain the timeline, the alibis, and even, what some believe, a fake mustache many alleged could have been used to confuse the woman.
After all, it has been established that Evans and the other two team captains living at the address used phony names to book the dancers through two separate escort agencies.

Police have also established that the agencies were originally told that the dancers were being hired to perform at a private bachelor’s party for just five men.

And when the women arrived separately and saw that they were actually hired to entertain at least 40 young white male athletes, they were told it was the Duke baseball and track teams, not lacrosse.

Why was there so much deception, observers ask, and if those drinks were spiked, what was the reason for the alleged setup? The fact that Nifong says there will be no more indictments in this case, when, if there’s an alleged conspiracy of silence on the part of the Duke lacrosse team, it would be reasonable to assume that other players could be charged with the cover-up, if not the crime, suggests that deals could have been made.

This last point, "deals could have been made," is the straw that supporters of Mike Nifong are grasping on to. It's their life line.

However, there is not a single solid indication of any player turning "state's evidence." No deals have been made, no conspiracy.

The Duke players have gone home for the summer. The seniors have all left to start careers. Some underclass players will not return to Durham in the fall, deciding to transfer to other schools.

Will the DA's office now be calling the players all summer asking for their support? If Nifong doesn't have his "mole" by now, will he find one over the summer?

Without a conspiracy foundation under Mr. Nifong's case against the three lacrosse players, the case sits on sand. The case must crumble. If the defense calls all forty -some lacrosse players who were at the party and they all provide testimony supporting the defendants what is a jury going to believe?

No Conspiracy means No Crimes.

The logic is simple to understand - there is no conspiracy, because there was no rape, sexual assualt, or kidnapping crimes committed.


A NEWS ANALYSIS, HOW STRONG IS THE DUKE CASE EVIDENCE? [blackpressusa.com, May 19, 2006]
Duke Lacrosse Rape: Were Digital Photos tampered with? [TJN, May 1, 2006]
Were Duke Players Victims of an E-Mail Sting? [time.com, April 14, 2006]


More information about the attempted "email entrapment" - The Duke Chronicle, Aril 17, 2006, Police enter Edens for interviews:
the origin of a suspicious e-mail sent from one of the player's accounts and by defense lawyers preparing for District Attorney Mike Nifong to present his evidence to the Grand Jury as early as Monday.

The e-mail sent from a player's account, which read "sorry guys" in the subject line, contained a brief message:

"I am going to go to the police tomorrow to tell them everything that I know," it said.

Ekstrand said the player denied sending the message-he said he was in class when the time-stamped message went out.

Defense attorneys for the players have speculated that police are attempting to entrap the players.

The DPD has e-mail account information for some team members from earlier in the investigation

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