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Monday, October 9, 2006

Duke Case: Rogue Reporter?


Reporter Joseph Neff of the News & Observer has become a journalistic force to be reckoned with as he helps to take apart the Duke rape hoax. Every article he publishes about the case has now become an event that all the Duke case watchers relish as he deconstructs more lies from Mike Nifong and the Durham police department.

The News & Observer seems to have developed a bipolar disorder. On the one hand, there is Joe Neff who has been chipping away at Nifong's case for months and on the other hand you had the News & Observer acting as an enabler of the hoax back in March and early April when they were assuming the alleged victim was a "victim." Hopefully, they stay on their meds and keep working in the fields on the hoax reservation.

The News & Observer is now utilizing Joe Neff to show that they want to be the last major newspaper left standing in the NC triangle area. The Herald-Sun under the lame leadership of Bob Ashley has abdicated its journalistic responsibilities and become the certified organ of a corrupt prosecutor and police department. Rest-in-peace, Herald-Sun.

Last month The Johnsville News was wondering if the local NC journalists were "Missing Their Watergate?" Well it seems, Joe Neff has put on Bob Woodward's old trench coat and is following the evidence. It would be nice if a Bernstein or two joined the hunt.

Neff's article today, Experts: Lacrosse IDs likely tainted, contains damning new revelations about how the three players were framed based on fatally flawed lineup procedures.

Compounding the flawed procedures are the accuser's attempts to pick out her alleged assailants. She selected 20 players when she viewed their photographs in March and April. Every choice contained flaws or contradictions, according to an analysis of police records turned over to defense lawyers by District Attorney Mike Nifong.

The woman recognized 15 players at one viewing but didn't recognize them at another.

She picked out only one player with certainty at both the March and April viewings. He, however, was in Raleigh, not at the lacrosse party.

She wrongly identified the player who made a rude comment about a broomstick...

In the lacrosse case, Durham police conducted several ID sessions with the accuser. On March 16, she viewed 24 photos of lacrosse players printed from the goduke.com Web site. On March 21, she viewed 12 more.

She recognized five of the 36 players, but police records of the March lineups are unclear whether she identified the five players as assailants or merely as partygoers.
Neff's other article today, The problem with Matt, highlights some of the "enee-menee-minee" strangeness of the lineups conducted with the alleged victim:

On March 16, the accuser told police her alleged assailants were named "Adam," "Brett" and "Matt." The team had two players named Matt, one named Adam, and one named Bret. Police put together four groups of photos, each containing six lacrosse players. Each group contained one suspect named Adam, Bret or Matt. She did not recognize any of those four players, including Wilson.

On April 4, the accuser looked at photographs of all 46 white members of the team and was questioned by Sgt. Mark Gottlieb. As lead investigator, Gottlieb knew that the woman had failed to identify anyone named Adam, Bret or Matt in March.

When she came to the photograph of Matt Wilson, she stared at the screen for a minute.

"Did you recognize that person?" asked Gottlieb.

"He looked like Bret but I'm not sure," she said.

"Who is Bret?" asked Gottlieb.

"One of the guys that assaulted me," she said.

"One of the guys that assaulted you? OK," Gottlieb said.

"Um hum," the accuser said.

Gottlieb ended the discussion of Wilson and turned to the next photo.

Update: One small correction for the The problem with Matt article, and it's a mistake TJN also made. There were three Matt's on the '05-'06 Duke lacrosse team, not two. The three Matt's were: Matt Zash, the senior captain, and Matt Danowski a junior, and son of the current Duke lacrosse coach, John Danowski, and Matt Wilson also a junior. We have the complete roster here.

Other takes on the Neff articles:
The Effects of Corrupted Procedures [Durham-In-Wonderland]
Advancing the Story [LieStoppers]
N&O Article on Lineup [forums.TalkLeft.com]


Experts: Lacrosse IDs likely tainted [Joe Neff |NewsObserver.com, Oct 8, 2006]
The problem with Matt [Joe Neff |NewsObserver.com, Oct 8, 2006]

Other N&O articles by Joseph Neff and other reporters -

Durham DA's stand draws fire - Joseph Neff, Anne Blythe and Benjamin Niolet, Sept. 26, 2006
Test: Lacrosse case accuser free of controlled substances - Joseph Neff, Sept. 1, 2006
Cop says nurse found trauma in Duke case - Joseph Neff, Aug. 27, 2006
Your questions about the Duke lacrosse case - Joseph Neff, Aug. 9, 2006
Lacrosse files show gaps in DA's case - Joseph Neff, Aug. 6, 2006
Call adds mystery to lacrosse case - Joseph Neff, July 12, 2006
DA's statements, record at odds - Joseph Neff, June 15, 2006
Duke prof: Rape case needs new prosecutor - Anne Blythe and Joseph Neff, June 13, 2006
Filing disputes lacrosse probe - Joseph Neff and Anne Blythe, June 9, 2006
Rape case lineup facts are sought - Joseph Neff, May 27, 2006
Test: Boyfriend likely sperm source - Jim Nesbitt, Joseph Neff and Samiha Khanna, May 19, 2006
City manager's role in inquiry stirs debate - Michael Biesecker & Joseph Neff, May 16, 2006
DA, police to be 'tried,' too - Joseph Neff, Michael Biesecker & Samiha Khanna, April 30, 2006
DA on the spot for comments - Michael Biesecker, Benjamin Niolet & Joseph Neff, April 22, 2006

Duke Lacrosse Case [TJN Archives]

Calculated Risk

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