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Sunday, August 6, 2006

Duke Case: Digging through the gaps, inconsistencies, and rubble to see the Hoax

updated: Aug. 8, 2006

The underpaid and overworked reporters for The News & Observer are starting to get their keyboards in gear and respond to some of the criticism regarding a lack of solid journalism in their coverage of the Duke lacrosse rape hoax.

Apparently the News & Observer now has access to all 1,800 pages of the case documents Nifong has provided the defense. They also look like they've now read some of the material. Just like Dan Abrams and MSNBC did back in June the News & Observer is now showing that Mike Nifong has no case. He is prosecuting a hoax.

In today's N&O, in a front page above the fold article Joseph Neff picks through the massive pile of gaps, holes, inconsistencies, and documented rubble of District Attorney Mike Nifong's case and starts to find the hoax buried under all this crud.

Much of this information close observers of this case have seen and known for months. However, Mr. Neff's article is a must read because he turns over some important new rubble and puts it all in some nice neat piles.

In examining the files Nifong has produced in the case, The News & Observer found that the accuser gave at least five different versions of the alleged assault to different police and medical interviewers and made shaky identifications of suspects. To get warrants, police made statements that weren't supported by information in their files.
Mr. Neff says Ms. Mangum "gave at least five different versions of the alleged assault." It is unclear from Mr. Neff's article if the story for the registered nurse he cites is from the in-training S.A.N.E. nurse Tara Levicy.

In fact, Ms. Mangum gave in-training S.A.N.E. nurse Tara Levicy two different stories. One version was given during the checklist interview and another one during the narrative interview.

Mr. Neff also does not mention if Dr. Julie Manly, who examined Ms. Mangum with Levicy during an extensive sexual assault physical examination, heard yet another version of the story. There are also the versions she told two doctors and four nurses before seeing Levicy and Manly. You really need a spreadsheet to keep track of all these stories and their many permutations and combinations regarding the details.

Some of Crystal Gail Mangum's different stories:
  • Story for Officer Willie Barfield who transported Ms. Mangum from Durham Access to Duke Hospital:
    The woman told Barfield that "Nikki" had taken all her belongings, including $2,000 in cash obtained by dancing at the party, her cell phone and her identification.
  • Story for Sgt. Shelton:
    The woman said the men groped her, but no one forced to her to have sex.
  • Story for Officer Gwendolyn Sutton, Sutton wrote:
    Nikki wanted her to come into the bathroom with her and the guys. She ended up in the bathroom with five guys who forced her to have intercourse and perform sexual acts.
  • Story for the registered nurse at Duke Hospital:
    The accuser told the nurse that Nikki had urged her to have sex with her and one of the men, "Brett." The woman said something didn't feel right and she stormed out of the house. She said she argued with Nikki in the car. Brett and Nikki then carried her back into the house, the nurse wrote.

    "I kept telling them no," the nurse's narrative said. "Nikki said, 'Girl, you want some more to drink, we got to make some money.' ... I said no, I want to get back in the car."

    The woman said she was taken into a bathroom where three men -- Adam, Brett and Matt -- raped her anally, vaginally and orally, using racial and sexual slurs while they assaulted her. One of the men, Matt, said he was getting married the next day. They did not use condoms and threatened to kill her if she didn't comply, the woman said, according to the nurse's notes.

    "Someone was knocking on the door letting them know it was time to go. ... Nikki was on the other side of the door and we started arguing."

    The woman said she begged Nikki to take her home. She told the nurse that Nikki pushed her out of her car and took her money.
  • Story for in-training S.A.N.E. Nurse Levicy during the checklist interview:
    > Rather than claiming digital and penile penetration of her vagina alone, she claimed that penile penetration of her rectum and mouth also occured.

    > Rather than claiming that she was not physically assaulted, she claimed that she was "pinched," "pushed," and "kicked in my butt." She continued to deny that she suffered physical blows by hands or that she was restrained or tied down in any way. She specifically denied being choked. She specifically denied that fists were used against her.

    > Rather than denying alcohol or drug use, she claimed that she had consumed "one drink" of "alcohol" and was taking Flexeril, a muscle relaxer that causes increased drowsiness an dizziness when taken with alcohol.

    > She specifically denied that her alleged assailants used condoms.
  • Story for nurse Tara Levicy during narrative interview:
    > She claimed that only two men sexually assaulted her: one of them inserted his penis into her vagina and her mouth, and the other inserted his penis into her rectum alone.

    > Asked to describe any physical assault, she said only that "they kept grabbing me."
  • Story for two doctors at UNC Hospitals on March 15th:
    She told doctors she was dancing at a bachelor party and wanted to leave, but the other girls wanted her to stay. She said she was pushed into a bathroom and raped by three men.

    "She was knocked to the floor multiple times and hit her head on the sink during one of these episodes," the UNC records said. "She states she was drunk and had a lot of alcohol that night. She denied any pain in the emergency room because she was 'drunk and did not feel pain.' "
  • Story from Ms. Mangum's written statement made on April 6th, three weeks after the party:
    "Nikki and I started to leave again, and three guys grabbed Nikki," the woman wrote. She said men named Brett, Adam and Matt grabbed her. "They separated us at the master bedroom door," she wrote, "while we tried to hold on to each other."

    Three men dragged her into the bathroom and raped her, she wrote. They kicked her in the behind and back, hit her in the face, choked her and screamed racial obscenities.

    "I heard Nikki on the other side of the door, and when Adam opened the door she rushed in and helped Adam to get me dressed. They dragged me out to the car because my legs couldn't move. Nikki said, "What happened girl, did they hurt you," I said yes, and she said that she would get help for me."

It's amazing to learn from Mr. Neff's article that Ms. Mangum's handwritten statement wasn't given until April 6th. That is incredible. You have to wonder if she made an earlier written statement that was "lost" by the investigators because it was just too preposterous a story.

Identification of Suspects:
About noon on March 16, 2 1/2 days after the alleged rape, the two lead investigators went to the accuser's home. Sgt. Mark Gottlieb and Investigator Benjamin Himan interviewed her in her living room, Himan's notes say.

The woman told the officers she was raped vaginally, anally and orally by three men -- "Adam," "Brett" and "Matt" -- in a bathroom at the house. Two of the men ejaculated, she said. (note: this is yet another version of the story)

The woman described each of the men, according to Himan's handwritten notes.

Adam: "white male, short, red cheeks fluffy hair chubby face, brn"

Matt: "Heavy set short haircut 260-270"

Brett: "Chubby"
For the home gamers, Collin Finnerty (6-3, 175 lbs, boyish) is supposed to be Adam.

The Michele Soucie Note:

The Michelle Soucie Note

Michele Soucie made this note on April 4th. Not on April April 17th, which was the day before two Duke lacrosse players were indicted. The Neff article originally said it was made on the 17th, but they have since made a correction.

It was made because Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong did not know if the accuser’s "trauma" was caused by activities before the alleged assault. But, Ms. Mangum had no trauma. The pelvic exam found that she only had vaginal swelling, technically referred to as "diffuse edema of the vaginal walls."

Investigator Himan did not picked up the subpoenaed records from Nurse Levicy at Duke Hospital until April 5th, according to Himan's own notes.

Highlighted part says:
and need to nail down what victim did
on the day before arriving at 610 N. Buchanan
so that we can show that she did not receive
trauma prior to the incident
However, Nifong was already making public statements saying he was convinced a rape had taken place and there was evidence of trauma. For example, on the March 28th Abrams report, Dan Abrams interviewed Nifong and he said:
NIFONG: I am convinced that there was a rape, yes, sir.

ABRAMS: And why are you so convinced of that?

NIFONG: The circumstances of the case are not suggestive of the alternate explanation that has been suggested by some of the members of the situation. There is evidence of trauma in the victim’s vaginal area that was noted when she was examined by a nurse at the hospital.
A week after he made this public statement he is asking his investigator to make sure the "trauma" didn't occur in the course of Ms. Mangum doing her sex worker job. They did not even have the official medical report yet. Talk about putting the cart before the horse. Unbelievable.

addendum:
Reviews in for the Neff article:

The story will help build public pressure for the replacement of Nifong ASAP
Duke lacrosse: A "first take" on Joe Neff 's N&O story [John In Carolina]

It appears the N&O has finally decided to take District Attorney Mike Nifong to task.
Larry, Moe, Curly and maybe Shemp [liestoppers]

Mr. Neff finally came through. I'm speechless. What a piece of investigative journalism. Joe, if you're out there, you get a star from me.
New Neff Article -- BOMBSHELL!! [forums.talkLeft.com]

Hmmm...Wonder what/who caused the N&O to finally perform some real journalistic investigation?
DukeLax - NandO FINALLY tells the story [freerepublic.com]

Mr. Neff proceeding to eviscerate Mr. Nifong's politically convenient, but morally and professionally contemptible, case against the Duke Three
Doomsday is coming for Durham's diabolical duo [Michael Gaynor | RenewAmerica.us, Aug. 6, 2006]

This memo, in short, is the clearest example of date of misconduct by Nifong in his public remarks. Not only was he violating the state bar’s prohibition against statements "that have a substantial likelihood of heightening public condemnation of the accused," he was, to put it bluntly, dissembling.
The Soucie Memo [hnn.us, Aug. 8, 2006]

sources:
Lacrosse files show gaps in DA's case [NewsObserver.com, Aug. 6, 2006]
Duke Lacrosse Scandal: Nifong Lies & Deception [TJN, June 17, 2006]

Duke Lacrosse Case [TJN Archives]

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