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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Duke Case: Nifong's 4-11

"A liar needs a good memory." — Quintillian
What exactly happened at the meeting between D.A. Mike Nifong and the alleged gang rape victim, Crystal Mangum on April 11th? A defense motion described it this way:
Discovery reflects that, on April 11, 2006, Crystal Mangum met with three law enforcement officers and District Attorney Michael Nifong at the Durham County Courthouse to discuss the facts of this case. At a hearing in these cases on June 22, 2006, in response to a specific request for discovery of a report of the substance of Ms. Mangum's statements in that meeting pursuant to statutory and constituional law, Mr. Nifong indicated that the Defendants were not entitled to such a report, because the facts of the case were not discussed with Ms. Mangum during the meeting. However, in a typewritten narrative report provided to the Defendants on July 17, 2006, Sgt. Mark Gottlieb indicated that, at 2:00 p.m. on April 11, "the victim and District Attorney Nifong met one another and discussed the case."7 Moreover, Sgt. Gottlieb and Lt. Mike Ripberger were present for all of that discussion, and Inv. Himan was present for a portion of it.
7 see discovery page 1841

Mike Nifong has told the court twice that he did not discuss the "facts of the case" with Ms. Mangum during the April 11th meeting, once on June 22nd, and again on September 22nd. The N&O reported :
Although Nifong has never heard the woman tell her story, he believes her. He said in court last month [Sept] that he met with her and detectives April 11 to discuss the judicial process. Nifong said she was too traumatized to speak about the incident.
Nifong then turns around and tells David Smith, chairman of the political action committee - The Friends of Durham, on October 5th, that he "interviewed" Ms. Mangum. The Herald-Sun reported:
"And we asked Mike Nifong, and one of his comments was that he's the only one that's interviewed this victim," Smith said. "And he feels confident in his case."
By all reports so far the only meeting Nifong and Ms. Mangum ever had was on April 11th. It must have been pivotal in building Nifong's belief and confidence in Ms. Mangum. But Nifong has been insisting it was a meeting with no substance (or facts) and was about the "judicial process." Gottlieb's own writtten notes make Nifong out to be a liar.

Regarding Ms. Mangum being "too traumatized to speak about the incident," this is another Nifong lie. How could any meeting have lasted if Ms. Mangum was suffering an episode of post-traumatic stress disorder?

Ms. Mangum, was not "too traumatized" to speak to attorney Woody Van, who represented her four years ago, when she was accused of stealing a taxi and trying to run over a police officer. Prior to April 11th , Van said he spoke with his former client after the alleged incident. How did she seem? "She was concerned but composed, she wanted to know how to address this process — but, overall, subdued," said Van.

The April 11th meeting looms very large in this case. Five people were at that meeting. Four of them will probably testify in court. Exactly what kind of "interview" Mike Nifong had with Ms. Mangum will be determined. One fact that has not been divulged is how long the meeting lasted. This is one fact that all the attendees should be in relative agreement about. How the time squares with the different recollections and notes of the meeting will evetually help determine what really happened at the Durham County Courthouse on April 11th, 2006.

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