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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Duke Case: Truth is Calling

One of Mike Nifong's more amazing acts of arrogance during this Duke rape hoax was his posturing that information from the accuser's cell phone was not that important to his investigation.

At a May 18th hearing, WRAL reported:

Nifong said prosecutors are not interested in the contents of the phone, such as the last 10 numbers called...
Nifong's statements at the hearing regarding the accuser's cell phone as reported by the N&O:

An attorney for Seligmann, Kirk Osborn, spent much of the hearing trying to make sure that his experts get access to the cell phone, seized by police at the house days after the party. Osborn told the judge that if the phone is not handled properly, or if the battery loses its charge, the call log and other information could be lost. The evidence in the phone, according to a defense filing, could help track the woman's movements that night.

Nifong said the phone would be evidence in his case but not for its contents: It would help support the woman's story that she left the party in a hurry after three men raped her in a bathroom. The players deny that any assault occurred at the March 13 party.

"It would be evidence not with respect to anything contained therein, but obviously it confirms some of the testimony we've received about where items were left behind and some of the circumstances," Nifong said.

This incredible position regarding the cell phone records flies in the face of all commonsense law enforcement investigative procedures. Cell phone evidence has become a vital law enforcement tool. Cell phone records could provide crucial information in developing a timeline for the crime.

Nifong even had the audacity to make these comments regarding the accuser's cell phone after he knew that the defense would be using Reade Seligmann's cell phone records to support his alibi. Information that Mike Nifong was not interested in when Seligmann's attorney, Kirk Osborn, tried to bring it to him.
Lawyers representing some players have also complained that Nifong has refused to discuss the case with them or examine evidence they say helps their clients.

"I've known him for 25 years. It sure surprised me," said Kirk Osborn, representing Reade Seligmann, one of the players charged.

What is Nifong's problem with evidence? It's like kryptonite in his fantasy world, staring himself as a super prosecutor. Cell phone evidence must be especially evil because it destroys his alternate reality minute by minute.

The defense was justifiable worried that Nifong would intentionally "lose" the accuser's cell phone evidence. Because some of the information within the phone itself does not exist with the phone company. Once the cell phone's battery goes, that information goes with it. Judge Ronald Stephens interceded to force Nifong to protect the cell phone evidence.

In July Joe Neff and the N&O provided some details about the accuser's cell phone records:
In the middle of a Duke lacrosse party where a dancer said she was gang-raped for 30 minutes, a call was placed from her cell phone to a Durham escort service. The 12:26 a.m. call to the service, Centerfold, lasted one minute, according to a copy of her cell phone bill reviewed by The News & Observer.

According to a copy of the accuser's phone bill reviewed by The N&O, she received short calls at 11:11 p.m. and 11:22 p.m., and then called her father at 11:25, a call that lasted 7 minutes....

She received two more calls, at 11:33 and 11:36. This last call lasted three minutes, indicating she did not arrive at the party until 11:39 p.m. at the earliest.

Brian Taylor, a friend who drove her to the party, told The N&O in May she was late and he had difficulty finding the house.

"On our way there, she got two calls on her cell phone saying if you don't come soon, it's going to get canceled," Taylor said in an interview in May.
The information about the call that the accuser made from 11:36 to 11:39 is crucial in pinpointing the time that she arrived at the party. She finished that call just before or as she was arriving at 610 N. Buchanan St. As Joe Neff indicates: "she did not arrive at the party until 11:39 p.m. at the earliest." The arrival time as indicated by the cell phone information is also confirmed by her driver, Brian Taylor.

Last Friday Mike Nifong was again ignoring the cell phone evidence when he said he believed the attack took place between between 11:30 p.m. on March 13, when the accuser arrived at the party, and 12:55 a.m. on March 14, wral.com reported:
Nifong said he is not required to state the exact time of the alleged attack, but offered that authorities believe it took place between 11:30 p.m. on March 13, when the accuser arrived at the party, and 12:55 a.m. on March 14, when police arrived and found no one at the house.
Losing 9 minutes of his crime window, which is now from 11:39 p.m. (instead of 11:30) to 12:55 p.m. is a loss of 10.6% of Nifong's time. Nifong apparently wants to keep pretending that he has all this 85 minutes to now reinvent his reduced 5 or 10 minutes of attack scenario. So Nifong will just "never mind" the cell phone info.

The one minute call at 12:26 a.m. from the accuser's phone is also problematic to Nifong's alternate reality. Who but the accuser would be calling her escort agency? This call was completed just three minutes before the accuser is seen on the back steps of the party house looking very intact, except for her shoe.

12:30:12 a.m., (photo time stamp) The accuser is on the back porch, carrying what appears to be her purse and a makeup bag. Her clothes are intact. She is missing one white shoe.

accuser on the back porch

Here's another slice of time flicked away from Nifong by the cell phone records.

Nifong's 85 minute window is now a shrunken 37 minutes (11:39 p.m. - 12:26 a.m.). This remaining 37 minutes has already been dissected, but the point is that the accuser's own cell phone, the one Nifong said wasn't important, is helping to expose her lies.

Cell phone records will certainly help destroy this hoax and shame on any law enforcement official who ignores their value. However, for a man with no shame it hardly matters. The truth came calling in the form of cell phone records and Nifong hung up.

sources:
Judge Says Duke Lacrosse Case Won't Be On Fast Track [wral.com, May 18, 2006]
Lacrosse case goes to court [NewsObserver.com, May 19, 2006]
DA on the spot for comments [NewsObserver.com, April 22, 2006]
Duke Defense Seeks Accuser's Cell Phone [abcnews, May 23, 2006]
Cell Phone Evidence Becomes Key Law Enforcement Tool [newhousenews.com, Dec. 1, 2005]
DA: Alleged Duke Party Attack Took 5-10 Minutes [wral.com, Sept. 22, 2006]

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