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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Duke Lacrosse Scandal: Dufus Patrol

Stephen A. Smith - Clueless Dufus
Stephen A. Smith of ESPN is a clueless dufus.

Mr. Smith wrote a column Sunday for the Philadelphia Inquirer where he blasts the Duke women's lacrosse team and Duke University. He is upset that the Duke women wore sweat bands with the numbers of the three innocent men's lacrosse players. He is doubly upset that Duke University allowed them to do that. He wrote - It's a case of Dumb and Dumber at Duke:

I never believed the day would come when we'd see an educational institution so flagrantly stupid, so selfish, so conspicuously aloof. Evidently it's Duke, supposedly one of America's more honorable institutions of higher learning.

A few days before losing in the NCAA Division I women's lacrosse semifinals on Friday, members of the Blue Devils team told the world they would wear wristbands with the word innocent emblazoned on them during the game, in support of three Duke men's lacrosse players indicted on rape charges stemming from a March 13 team party.

These 18-, 19- and 20-year-old women evidently were either ignorant or insensitive to the fact that there were 94,635 rapes in the country in 2004, according to the FBI. Or they weren't aware that rape is one of the most underreported crimes, which one would think should heighten any female's sensitivity radar....

What are we to think now when it's clear that even at places such as Duke there's an absence of common sense?

Mr. Smith, the radar the Duke women are operating is called a "BS radar." That's why you go to college in the first place. You learn how to detect "BS" when it crosses your path.

The Duke lacrosse rape case is pure "BS." The three men are innocent. That is all that the Duke women lacrosse players are saying. It is called intellectual honesty. It is part of the skill set they teach at Duke.

The women are not making a sweeping statement about crime and all rape victims. They are simply using their college education for exactly the right purpose - to point out a very specific case of "BS." Or as they say on the quad, an injustice.

You are making sweeping generalities that have nothing to do with the facts of the case. It doesn't appear that you have followed the case very closely. The Duke women have. They have formed an educated opinion based on all the available information. That's another thing you learn in college, it's called the scientific method.

You are also saying the "adults" at Duke University should not allow the women lacrosse players to make any statement. Are you kidding me?

You want Duke University to lock down the student athletes so they can't freely express their strong opinion about a matter that is important to them?

You can't be serious. Who are you?

Let's get this straight. You want the university administration to suppress the student's First Amendment right of "free speech?" Are you now a corporate mouthpiece for "The Man?" Duke Unversity is not hypocritical, you are.

Tommie Smith(ctr) and John Carlos showing the Black Power salute in the 1968 Summer Olympics

So, Mr. Smith, instead of telling the Duke women to play stupid and the university to play big brother. Why don't you close your mouth, turn off your keyboard, so your stupidity is protected from public view and you stay off the "BS" radar.

sources:
Stephen A. Smith | Duke free-falling from grace [philly.com, May 28, 2006]
Duke women wear numbers of accused men's lacrosse players in semifinal defeat [USA Today, May 28, 2006]

update:

Stephen A. Smith may be contacted at ssmith@phillynews.com
or at his ESPN radio show - StephenA@1050ESPNRadio.com

2nd update:

Kevin Sweeney of Salon.com also uses flawed logic and bogus moralizing regarding the Duke women showing support for the innocent men's lacrosse players.

Mr. Sweeney said: "By wearing sweatbands saying "innocent," Duke's women's lacrosse team is displaying a pack mentality -- and disrespecting women."

Not true. Mr. Sweeney like Mr. Smith makes sweeping generalities without looking at the specifics of exactly what the Duke women did and why the did it.

The women did not exactly wear sweatbands with "innocent." "Instead, about 10 Blue Devils wore wristbands that said "45 13 6" — the uniform numbers of the three accused men. Other players wore wrist and headbands with the men's logo."

They are not acting like a "pack." They are not disrespecting all women. They just have a problem when one woman is a liar, whose lies are creating an injustice for three young men.

Mr. Sweeney is distorting the facts and applying his own brand of hasty hogwash stereotyping.

Duke women not innocent. (advertising) [salon.com, May 26, 2006]

3rd update:

La Shawn Barber takes Stephen A. Smith to task
:
Implicit in Smith’s fluff piece is that women can’t think for themselves and form their own opinions about whether men are innocent of rape charges or women guilty of false allegations in the court of public opinion. Since rape happens overwhelmingly to women, women are incapable of making rational judgments about rape. Why feminists aren’t all over Stephen A. Smith for this column is a mystery
.

Duke Lacrosse Scandal: American Victim

'American Idol' proves that there are scores of good young singers scattered across America. There is talent everywhere. By the same token, there is also excellent acting talent scattered across America.

There is one very talented actress down in Durham, North Carolina. Her name is Crystal Gail Mangum. She is going to make millions of Americans cry.

She will be coming to the small screen someday soon. America will get a chance to see her eyes well up with tears as she tells a story of how three Duke lacrosse players dragged her into a bathroom then raped, strangled, and sodomized her.

She will have Oprah Winfrey, Katie Couric, or Barbara Walters and millions of people in a nationwide audience crying with her. She is a very good liar, who plays a great crying game. Many will believe she is the victim of a terrible conspiracy.

However, the vast majority of Americans will not believe her. Her story will be proven a lie in a court of law. The real judges, a jury, will give her the boot.

America get ready to meet your new 'American Victim.'

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Duke Lacrosse Case: Nifong Rope-A-Dope?

Mike Nifong Rope a dope

Durham District Attorney, Mike Nifong is a legal and ethical punching bag. Why is he pressing on with the Duke lacrosse rape case when it looks like he has absolutely no case?

What does he know that we don't? Is he using some twisted rope-a-dope strategy on the defense attorneys? Will he come off the ropes and throw a bolo punch that knocks the defense out and silences the crowd of critics? Or is the dope really on the ropes?

The defense attorneys for the three Duke lacrosse players are rock solid in their conviction that all three young men are completely innocent. Crystal Gail Mangum is a false accuser - no exceptions. All of the information leaking out of Durham supports this position.

National TV "pundits hack his case to pieces almost nightly." Most of them are coming to the same conclusion, Nifong, "throw in the towel."

A Durhan Herald-Sun article discusses some of these questions:

The way University of Arizona law professor Jack Chin sees it, Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong's recent conduct "makes no sense unless he's very confident in his case."

"One interesting thing is that it's being tried so much in the press," Chin added. "Everybody seems to be taking positions they won't be able to get out of. The defense attorneys are using words like 'innocent' and 'falsely accused.' When you get in the face of the other side and say your client is wrongfully accused, you've added a lot of prison time to the deal if the day ever comes when you have to take a plea bargain.

"But I've read that these are excellent lawyers, experienced and sophisticated," said Chin. "They're putting their reputations on the line. I'm sure they know what they're doing."

The lawyers in question are Bill Cotter and Wade Smith, representing rape suspect Collin Finnerty; Joe Cheshire and Brad Bannon, representing David Evans; and Kirk Osborn and Ernest Conner, who represent Reade Seligmann.

All have said their clients are innocent and would not plead guilty to anything.

The Associated Press writes - Defense, Nifong differ in approach to Duke case:
Lawyers for all three players - not to mention attorneys representing players who do not face charges in the case - have been unanimous in publicly proclaiming the innocence of the entire team and promising a fight to the finish.

That kind of team approach is rare - and it contrasts sharply with the approach being taken by the man on the other side of the courtroom, District Attorney Mike Nifong. For nearly two months, Nifong has been almost silent about the case, which he has said he personally plans to handle. It would be the first case the veteran prosecutor has overseen in years.

The clashing styles could set up a reversal of the usual roles in a criminal trial, with the defense playing Goliath to the prosecution's David...

source:
Lacrosse case begs question: Does Nifong know something we don't? [herald-sun.com, May 27, 2006]
Defense, Nifong differ in approach to Duke case [AP, May 28, 2006]

related:
Duke Lacrosse Scandal: DA Mike Nifong - Fool or Fox?

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Duke Lacrosse Scandal: 2nd Lineup missing?

updated: 10:40 p.m.

Freddy Krueger Mike Nifong Jason Voorhees

Everyday brings new confirming information that the Durham D.A., Mike Nifong, is pulling off a legal horror show. Now we're learning that there were two three(?) police lineups for the accuser, Crystal Gail Mangum.

The lineup done on Tuesday, April 4, 2006, is the one where Ms. Mangum identified her alleged assailants, including Mr. Evans with "90% certainty." She actually picked four persons. That's the lineup where the transcript was released. See - Duke Lacrosse Rape: The Faulty Lineup.

The other lineup, actually the first, was done a week after the March 14th incident and there was no identification of Mr. Evans in that one. The transcript from the March 21st lineup is somehow missing from the "complete" case file given to the defense on May 18th.

What is so scary about this case is the steady stream of confirming information that these ID's made by Ms. Mangum were totally random.

Crystal Gail Mangum was doing an eenie-meanie-miny-moe with the Duke lacrosse players. She was aided by the Durham police department, who threw their own rules and common sense out the window.

The April 4th lineup was done in violation of police department and Department of Justice lineup guidelines that require "fillers" be inserted in all lineups to help establish the credibility of a witness.

The three men Ms. Mangum eventually picked out of the April lineup are very distinctive looking. Mr. Seligmann is very good looking. Mr. Evans has a more rugged look. Mr. Finnerty is tall, 6'-3" and distinct looking. Kim Roberts, the other stripper, remembered Mr. Finnerty too. She described him as the "little skinny one." All three men had easy faces and/or body types to get noticed in a crowd or a stacked lineup.

D.A. Mike Nifong then takes these flimsy ID's by Ms. Mangum and an ambiguous medical exam and flys with them like a bat out of hell to a rubber stamp grand jury. Mr. Nifong doesn't bother to do any due diligence in gathering corroborating evidence. He doesn't want to see or listen to any exculpatory evidence from the defense attorneys. He then quickly indicts and ruins the lives of these three young men.

Every guy who has ever gone to a keg party has to think, "there but for the grace of the almighty goes me" - doing a perp walk and having my mug shot posted on every news website in the world, because of some twisted D.A.

How scary is that? It's criminal, unless Nifong has one hell of a "smoking gun." It's a modern day reality horror story. Fictional evildoers like Freddy Krueger or Jason Voorhees strike randomly and finish their young victims off quickly.

Mike Nifong has no doubt that he is the good guy. Mike Nifong struck very quickly and it seems very randomly. He now lets his young victims twist slowly in the wind for months as he dedicates himself to ruining their lives.

This random case seems to have been his lucky springboard to getting re-elected in Durham. Random acts of evil are especially scary when the "good guy" is the perpetrator.

"It's always been important for me that the district attorney's office in Durham represent the absolute peak of ability and integrity." [Mike Nifong interview, FoxNews.com, May 3rd]

WRAL.com - Duke Lacrosse Defense Attorneys Want Details Of Second Photo Lineup:
Evans’ defense team says the state has not turned over all the evidence. Specifically, they say there were actually two photo lineups.

During one lineup done three weeks after the alleged assault, the dancer identified Evans with 90 percent certainty, saying the picture of the man was her attacker if he had a mustache.

However, Evans’ attorneys say there was a second photo lineup done just eight days after the woman says she was raped. In that lineup, attorneys say Evans was not chosen at all.

The motions also talk about information from the first officer to see the dancer. The motions say the officer had to use an ammonia capsule to rouse the unconscious woman.

The police report also says the alleged victim first reported that she was groped but not raped, but later changed her story and was taken to the hospital.

other sources:
Photo lineup made public in Duke lacrosse case [newsobserver.com, May 26, 2006]
Rape case lineup facts are sought [newsobserver.com, May 27, 2006]
Lacrosse defense: Stories changed [herald-sun.com, May 26, 2006]

updated - from defense motion
:
Thus, eight days after the alleged assault, and two weeks before the April 4 identification procedures in which she selected the Defendant with 90% certainty if he had a mustache, the complainant viewed a picture of the Defendant in this case and did not identify him as one of her alleged assailants.

There are indications in the defense motion that there were two earlier lineups - one on March 16th and another on March 21st. Does that mean the April 4th lineup was their third attempt to pick someone on the team? Included with the motion is a photocopy of the picture of David Evans used for the March 21st lineup. It looks like a very good picture - his individual lacrosse photo.

Request for Discovery and Motion to Comply (pdf file), 21 pages, filed by attorneys for David Evans, May 26, 2006

Friday, May 26, 2006

Duke Lacrosse Scandal: Abrams defends dropping charges

Dan Abrams This week Dan Abrams of The Abrams Report on MSNBC has been calling for Durham district attorney, Mike Nifong, to "throw in the towel" and drop the charges against the three Duke lacrosse players. On Thursday's show Mr. Abrams defended his position:

ABRAMS: Time now for "Your Rebuttal". Based on all of the evidence we know, I‘ve been calling for the Durham district attorney to drop the charges against the three Duke lacrosse players and I asked tough questions of our former prosecutor guests.

Greg writes, "What‘s your problem? You never stated on your show that the D.A. should drop the charges in the Michael Jackson case or the Kobe Bryant case. Explain this Mr. so-called reporter or lawyer, whatever you think you are."

That‘s an easy one, Greg. I didn‘t say it in those cases because there was evidence against both of them. In the Bryant case, inconsistent statements by Bryant, her blood on his shirt in addition to her statement. In Jackson‘s case, witness accounts and corroboration.

Nevertheless, I also said I thought they would never get a conviction of Bryant because there were too many problems with her story and I also said the Jackson case would be a tough one, but here her account is the only evidence and it‘s filled with holes. This case is far weaker than either Jackson or Bryant. And Greg, I like Mr. so-called reporter or lawyer. I think the name might stick.

Arlene Weiss from Hastings, New York, "You go, Dan. I believe you‘re the only one who is searching for the truth." Thank you.

From Miami, Florida, E. Hugo Bargioni, "The Duke case seems to have unleashed your reservoir of talent. In fact, given your grilling skills, you deserve the nickname King of Legal BBQ."

Rob Gatties from St. Joseph, Michigan asks, "Dan, I have just one question for you. What if it was your daughter? Would you still feel the same?" As if that‘s a tough one, Rob? If there were this many holes in my daughter‘s story, I‘d feel sorry for her, I‘d stick by her, but I‘d also understand why the D.A. was dropping the charges.

And Maggie adds, "Your attitude towards the victim nauseates me. What would you say if the victim were a white female?"

Oh, I would say drop the charges. I‘m not going to let the race baiters turn this into a race case.

Quincy Jones from Maryland, "Why not keep your nose out of the Duke case?" Because I‘m the only one who is talking straight about the case.

Craig Henry on my heated debates with our guests. "Let me commend you on your effort to get your guests to answer simple questions. I‘m disappointed in them for placing professional loyalty ahead of intellectual honesty."

source:
The Abrams Report for May 25 [MSNBC]

Duke Lacrosse Scandal: Step by step, inch by inch

"Niagara Falls! Slowly I turn, step by step, inch by inch...
- Harry Moses Howard (Moe), The Three Stooges

Slowly the wheels of justice turn. Step by step, inch by inch, the defense attorneys for the Duke lacrosse players are prying the truth out of Mike Nifong, the Durham district attorney's office, and Durham city officials.

The News & Observer - Rape case lawyers want ID information:
Lawyers representing an indicted Duke University lacrosse player say they want to know how a woman who says she was raped at a party described her attackers.

Lawyers representing Collin Finnerty, 19, of Garden City, N.Y., say they found no document that contains the woman's description of the three men who she says raped her at a March 13 lacrosse team party. On April 4, the woman identified three men during a photographic lineup, but the lawyers are looking for descriptions the woman gave to police without the use of photographs.

Durham attorney Alex Charns wrote "Diary of an Exploding Judge." Now he wants an investigation of the exploding scandal of why the Durham police and CrimeStoppers were distributing posters implying all of the Duke lacrosse team committed a crime.

Duke Lacrosse Team Wanted Poster - Please come forward The Herald-Sun - Lacrosse case complaint filed by attorney:
Constitutional lawyer Alex Charns says a police poster unfairly sullied the names of 46 Duke University lacrosse players, implying all were guilty of raping an exotic dancer before the district attorney announced he had sufficient evidence to indict only three.

Charns, representing one of the unindicted players, has requested a police internal investigation in connection with the poster that declared the alleged victim "was sodomized, raped, assaulted and robbed. This horrific crime sent shock waves throughout our community."

Charns said he believed the poster, which offered cash rewards for assistance in solving the case, was displayed around the Duke campus and adjoining neighborhoods.

According to Charns, the poster "impugned the entire lacrosse team."

Mr. Charns' email to City Manager Patrick Baker said:
"how is it that our police force offered to pay money to anonymous witnesses in order to solve a crime that it claimed to know for a fact had occurred? What happened to investigating a crime before a blanket accusation of guilt is made? Wasn't it 'Alice in Wonderland' in which the verdict came before the trial, and the accuser acted as jury and jury?"

The News & Observer, Alex Charns, 43 players, certified as not guilty:
...the Durham police crime posters pasted around town accusing the guys of covering up a known, not alleged, gang rape and sodomy? The police department, instead of apologizing, has offered only silence.

Neither have the sports pundits apologized after blaming the "helmet sport" gang mentality for the "code of silence" and maligning all who play lacrosse, hockey and football.

A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes - Mark Twain.

That's exactly what has happened in Durham. A lie about being raped has traveled around the world. It wasn't even a very good lie that a drunken sex-worker, Crystal Gail Mangum, first spun the morning of March 14th. It took her several attempts to make up a story that would work. Like a fiction writer going through several drafts. A story that would become a "Greek tragedy" that so many people wanted to believe.

VOANews. com - Race, Class Clash in Durham:

Fitz Brundage
, a history professor at the nearby University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He says it's hard to separate class from race in a city like Durham, where there have been deep-seated divisions between black and white residents going back generations. "From my vantage point, it strikes me that this affair has almost become a Greek tragedy…sort of the perfect storm of southern history, identity, all coming together in curious ways."

sources:
Police Report: Alleged Victim Changed Story [abc11tv.com, May 26, 2006]

related:
Duke Lacrosse Rape Timeline [TJN]

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Duke Lacrosse Scandal: Around the Horn

Today's items:

Dan Abrams Dan Abrams, The Abrams Report - May 24, 2006:

The Duke University rape investigation, I made myself clear yesterday that if the D.A. has turned everything he has to the defense as he‘s required to do by law, then I think he has no choice but to drop the charges. According to the defense, in almost 1,300 pages of discovery material handed over to them, the accuser changed her story more than once in the hours after the alleged rape, first saying nothing about being raped, then saying she was raped, then saying she wasn‘t raped, just groped outside the house, and then saying she was raped in the bathroom.

She also initially said the second stripper was in the bathroom during the rape. The second stripper denies it. Medical reports show she had no vaginal or anal tearing. We knew no DNA from any Duke lacrosse player was found in or on the accuser, even though based on her story, the authorities thought they would find it. But after that revelation, she apparently told police that the semen of any of the three men that she knew could have been in her body.

We also know at least one of the defendants seems to have an almost airtight alibi. Defense photos from the party support the players‘ account and timeline, as does a neighbor‘s account. The accuser‘s identification of the players through a photo lineup included only Duke lacrosse players and she I.D.‘d one of the suspects as having a mustache, even though pictures will apparently show he did not and all the players‘ stories have been consistent since day one. Now unless the D.A. has something he‘s holding back, which he‘s not suppose to do, I say it's time to throw in the towel.

Michael Gaynor - My email on Tawana Two (aka the Duke 'rape' case) Attorney Michael Gaynor says:
As more and more information becomes public, it looks more and more like the so-called Duke "rape" prosecutions are the result of (1) a false report, or hoax, and (2) a white Democrat attorney's politically motivated decision to secure indictments before a Democrat primary election in which black votes would be decisive, in a transparent attempt to pander to black voters more motivated by emotion than reason.

Greta Van Sustern of Fox News says:
Ordinarily I am willing to "wait and see" since a DA can have evidence we don't know about — but in this case, the DA — per the North Carolina rules — has turned over all his evidence to the defense (called discovery) and it seems, at best, pathetic.

What could the DA possibly have in his file that we don't know about? I keep trying to imagine what he could have that we don't know about. If he has DNA, he is required to surrender that info. If he has witnesses, I bet the discovery rules requires that he disclose that to the defense in discovery.

Cash Michaels Cash Michaels says:
Some websites have labeled her a “sexual predator,” who is lying just so she can later sue "the rich kids" of the Duke lacrosse team for a false attack.

Ironically, it is a community-based website that was launched Mother’s Day in support of the victim, www.ourheartsworld.com, that has attracted a fair share of hate e-mail directed at the 27-year-old woman after only one week.

Sixty percent of the messages sent to OurHeartsWorld.com - set up by the NC NAACP, Triangle Urban League and the Black Press, - are indeed inspiring and supportive...

The overwhelming numberof e-mails to OurHeartsWorld.com, however, has been supportive, not only of the “Sister Survivor,” but the effort itself.

“I want to thank you for the beautiful website you have created for Our Sister,” wrote a 65-year-old white grandmother named “Margaret.” “I believe in her. I cannot imagine what she is going through.”

“Thank you again for caring about this woman. It had appeared that no one did and that, in itself, broke my heart.”

ESPN/AP - Duke women's lacrosse to wear 'innocent' sweatbands:
In a show of solidarity with the Duke University's men's lacrosse team, members of the school's women's team plan to wear sweatbands with the word "Innocent" written on them.

The university canceled the rest of the season for the highly ranked men's team because of a woman's complaint she was sexually assaulted in March at a team party where she had been hired to perform as an exotic dancer.

The women's plan to wear sweatbands on their arms or legs was reported Wednesday by The Herald-Sun of Durham. The teams plays Northwestern in the NCAA semifinals Friday...
related:
Fox News also carried the story: Duke lacrosse women to wear ‘innocent’ bands

Duke Lacrosse Scandal: Nice Logo

When has a university mascot ever created a public relations image problem like the Duke "Blue Devil" has created for the Duke sports teams? What is a "Blue Devil" anyway?

WRAL.com - Duke Lacrosse WCSH6.com - Duke Lacrosse story TalkLeft.com - Duke Lacrosse Duke Blue Devil PBS - Outside the Lines - Duke Rape Case Associated Press - Duke Lacrosse story 1010Wins - Duke Lacrosse
The Johnsville News - Duke Lacrosse Scandal

Blue Devils is the mascot for Duke University's athletic teams. The mascot is named after the French Chasseurs Alpins soldier in World War I that wore a distinctive blue uniform with a flowing cape and a beret. For this reason, they were nicknamed "les Diables Bleus" or Blue Devils.

Just what Duke University needs at this time is an evil looking French guy representing their sports teams and their university. Is he leering or smirking? Viva la Duke.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Duke Lacrosse Scandal: Liberal Hokum

Add the name of Lynne Duke at the Washington Post to the list of microphone junkies, crackpots, racists, and pandering pundits using the Duke lacrosse scandal to push their own pet racial sterotypes and social theories.

The Duke Case's Cruel Truth - Hateful Stereotypes of Black Women Resurface:

The mainstream media have largely tiptoed around the brutal truth that has been discussed among black women in private conversations, in the blogosphere and on college campuses. It is that the Duke case is in some ways reminiscent of a black woman's vulnerability to a white man during the days of slavery, reconstruction and Jim Crow, when sex was used as a tool of racial domination.

It was the kind of predatory behavior that found its way into modern culture in the old Rolling Stones song, "Brown Sugar." And the stereotype of black women as highly sexed, like the lascivious Jezebel from slavery days, is a recurring image in music videos today, sparking complaints from many women.

Racial history still resonates, still touches a deep and tender nerve. You can hear it, can hear the bitterness, in the way even a prim older woman discusses the Duke case.

"I think there's a tendency to downgrade black women and to discount the fact that, no matter what they are there to do, they are not just animals to be used," says Dorothy Height, 94, president emeritus of the National Council of Negro Women.

What do these broad social essays have to do with the particulars of the Duke lacrosse scandal?

Specifically, the innocence of three young Duke lacrosse players and why a drunken sex worker, Crystal Gail Mangum, lied about being raped.

Prosecutorial misconduct and abuse, legal ethics, and credibility are the legitimate talking points, not some hokum about "the stereotype of black women."

Using this bogus Duke lacrosse case to make broad social commentary is like wetting your pants in public to show your support for the incontinent. It might feel good to do it, but you are still standing in a puddle of urine.

related:
Duke Lacrosse Scandal: A Rogues' Gallery [TJN, May 23, 2006]
Duke Lacrosse Scandal: Playing Race Cards in Durham [TJN, May 23, 2006]
Duke Lacrosse Scandal: DA Mike Nifong - Fool or Fox? [TJN, May 18, 2006]

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Duke Lacrosse Scandal: Crumbling Case

updated: May 25, 2006

The Duke lacrosse rape case continues to die the death of a thousand cuts.

All the TV pundits and their legal "experts" are coming to the same conclusion - District Attorney Mike Nifong does not have a case.

More revelations, all of them favorable to the defense.

Fox News - Defense Sources: Duke Accuser Gave Conflicting Stories About Alleged Rape:

The woman who has accused three members of the Duke University lacrosse team of raping her at an off-campus party told investigators several different stories about the night of the alleged incident, sources close to the defense team representing the players have told FOX News...

The woman also originally claimed that a second dancer who accompanied her to the party, Kim Roberts, was inside the bathroom during the alleged rape, the sources said....When police asked Roberts whether she was in the room at the time, Roberts reportedly told police, "that's a crock."

Defense sources also say the accuser admitted to having had sexual intercourse with at least three men around the time of the alleged attack. According to those sources, when investigators questioned her after DNA tests on the semen found inside her body did not match any of the Duke players, the accuser gave police the name of her boyfriend and two men who drove her to her dancing engagements.

The drivers say in police statements that they brought the accuser to at least five separate gigs the weekend before the alleged attack, defense sources said.

...the papers handed over by Nifong also reveal that the forensic nurse who did a gynecological exam on the accuser did not find abrasions, tears or bleeding in the vaginal area, which is often present in forcible rapes

There is a discrepancy between the actual documentation and what Mike Nifong told Dan Abrams on The Abrams Report, back in March, regarding why he is convinced a rape occurred:
"There is evidence of TRAUMA in the VICTIM's vaginal area that was noted when she was examined by a nurse at the hospital. And her general demeanor was suggestive of the FACT that she had been through a traumatic situation."

The Abrams Report on MSNBC covered the information contained in the above Fox News report. Defense attorney, Yale Galanter, who appears frequently on The Abrams Report, and has direct access to the Duke lacrosse players' defense attorneys confirmed the information in the Fox News report.

Mr. Galanter focused on the statement by Ms. Mangum that the other stripper, Kim Roberts, who she called "Nicky," was in the bathroom during the rape. Ms. Roberts said that was not true. Mr. Galanter thinks these new revelations further damage the credibility of the accuser and undermine the case.

Mr. Abrams said the totality of the evidence would certainly seem to indicate that the DA should drop the case, unless he was withholding a "smoking gun." If so, he should reveal that to the defense.

The false accuser, Crystal Gail Mangum, never seems to give a straight answer to anyone.

She gave an interview to The News & Observer in March - Dancer gives details of ordeal:
The accuser had worked for an escort company for two months, doing one-on-one dates about three times a week.

"It wasn't the greatest job," she said, her voice trailing off. But with two children, and a full class load at N.C. Central University, it paid well and fit her schedule.

This was the first time she had been hired to dance provocatively for a group, she said.

PardonMyEnglish.com said - Duke Rape Case Falling Apart:
Tonight, Fox News is reporting that Nifong, who spent the first few weeks of the case holding 70 press conferences seemingly for the sole purpose smearing the defendants, will now seek a gag order in the case. Apparently he can dish it out but he can't take it.

Fox News is also reporting that an ethics complaint is going to be filed against Nifong and Fox News legal analyst Andrew Napolitano was opining tonight on the O'Reilly Factor that going forward with such a weak case could result in Nifong being stripped of his license to practice law. So much for the Duke rape case.

Duke Lacrosse Scandal: A Rogues' Gallery

Stuart Taylor Jr., of the National Journal, tears into a bunch of liberals, who used the lacrosse scandal to make their own prejudicial political and social statements:

My rogues' gallery does not (in all probability) include any Duke University lacrosse player. That's because the available evidence leaves me about 85 percent confident that the three members who have been indicted on rape charges are innocent and that the accusation is a lie.

The gallery does include more than 90 members of the Duke faculty who have prejudged the case, with some exuding the anti-white racism and disdain for student-athletes that pollutes many college faculties.

Some of the Rogues:

  • Princeton University President William Bowen


  • civil-rights lawyer Julius Chambers


  • Mike Nifong, the Durham, N.C., district attorney


  • Houston Baker, a Duke professor of English and of African and African-American studies


  • James Coleman, a liberal, African-American law professor at Duke
    "It's a perfect storm," Duke law professor James Coleman said on NBC this month. "It involves race, privilege. ... It involves arrogance, sex, athletes, the South.

A perfect storm, very nice sound bite Mr. Coleman. Let's see who ends up manning the lifeboats. Here are two more metaphors to consider.

Calling Mike Nifong a rogue is too kind. When this Duke lacrosse case finally dies, it will be a horse race between the pandering fool prosecutor Mike Nifong and the false accuser, Crystal Gail Mangum, as to which one the public thinks is more evil.

Will the rest of the witch hunters become the hunted?

Trick Question:
The group has a 100 percent college graduation rate. Sixty percent have a 3.0 grade point average or above. During the past four years, 80 percent have made a national honor roll. Members regularly volunteer at more than a dozen community agencies, building houses for the homeless and serving in soup kitchens, while raising more money than any other group for the Katrina Relief Fund.

Answer: (a) Tri-Delta sorority at the University of North Carolina; (b) women's rowing team at Clemson University; (c) synchronized swim team at Harvard University; (d) men's lacrosse team at Duke University.

OK, I know, you're smart. You're onto this trick. Obviously, it's (d), the infamous Duke men's lacrosse team, that rowdy drunken white-boy club that rapes black women forced to strip to put themselves through college and feed their fatherless children.

sources:
In Duke Case, A Rogues' Gallery [National Journal, May 22, 2006]
For lacrosse athletes, truth loses [philly.com, May 21, 2006]

related:

updated - Duke Lacrosse Rape Timeline [TJN]
Duke Lacrosse Rape: Credibility of Crystal Gail Mangum [TJN, May 9, 2006]
Duke Lacrosse Rape Case: Dying the Death of a Thousand Cuts [TJN, May 20, 2006]
Duke Lacrosse Scandal: DA Mike Nifong - Fool or Fox? [TJN, May 17, 2006]

Duke Lacrosse Rape Case Documentation [TJN, May 14, 2006]
Duke Rape Case: Prosecutor Mike Nifong Shares Evidence with Black Panthers [TJN, May 3, 2006]
Duke Lacrosse Rape: Defense wants DA Nifong thrown off case [TJN, May 2, 2006]
The Duke Administration's Response to Lacrosse Allegations (pdf) by William G. Bowen and Julius L. Chambers [duke.edu, May 4, 2006]

updated - Houston Baker and other liberal prejudical rants:
Dealing with 'Town vs. Gown' Clashes [npr.org, April 7, 2006]
Duke rape case exposes system’s contradictions [workers.org, Apr. 4, 2006]
From Bad to Worse at Duke [insidehighered.com, April 6, 2006]
Race and class divisions shade case against 2 lacrosse players [usatoday.com, April 19, 2006]
Duke’s Poisoned Campus Culture [insidehighered.com, May 1, 2006]
Duke Professor Strongly Criticizes Lacrosse Probe [wral.com, May 2, 2006]

Duke Lacrosse Scandal: No Toxicology Report?

updated: May 24, 2006

Duke Lacrosse ScandalHow is it possible there is no toxicology report for Cyrstal Gail Mangum? The Herald-Sun reports:

Medical records of the alleged victim in the Duke lacrosse rape case suggest she might not have been tested for drugs or alcohol, according to a defense filing Monday...

the nurse who filled out a report on that exam indicated no toxicology tests were performed, according to a defense motion filed Monday.

Several attorneys not connected with the case said Monday they were surprised by the apparent lack of a toxicology report.

If such data showed the exotic dancer was intoxicated on the night in question, it could be highly beneficial to the defense, lawyer Mark Edwards said.

"Either way -- whether it was a date-rape drug or voluntary intoxication -- it would affect the reliability of her identification," Edwards added. "It goes to the question of her credibility."

Defense attorneys said there was no toxicology information contained in the 1,278 pages of evidence turned over by the DA's office last Thursday, May 18th.

WRAL.com reported:

"If there was a toxicology report available, it would've been included in the discovery I handed over to the defense," Nifong told WRAL on Monday.

Nifong told WRAL he had turned over all the evidence he has to-date and that when any new reports or documents come in, they too, would be handed over to the defense

News Observer:
The evidence provided to the lawyers includes mention of a blood sample and cheek swab taken from the woman, but a nurse trained in sexual assault examination specifically noted that toxicology samples were not collected, according to Seligmann's court papers filed Monday.

The District Attorney, Mike Nifong, in a Newsweek interview had hinted at the presence of a date-rape drug in Ms. Mangum:
Nifong, a white man who is running for election in a racially mixed county, hinted to NEWSWEEK that blood and urine tests of the woman would reveal the presence of a date-rape drug.

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark North Carolina.

If there is no toxicology report, the rape examination done on Ms. Mangum by a SANE [Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner] nurse and a doctor at Duke University Hospital on the morning of March 14th was unprofessional and an act of malpractice. How could Nifong then say what he did to NEWSWEEK?

If DA Mike Nifong is withholding the report, that is unprofessional and another act of prosecutorial misconduct.

The only possible out might be that Ms. Mangum refused to take a toxicology screen [urine test]. What does that suggest?

Anyway you slice it, add something else to the list for rotten fish stories coming from Durham.

sources:
Defense Attorneys Seek Toxicology Reports On Accuser In Duke Case [wral.com, May 23, 2006]
Defense seeks toxicology reports [Herald-Sun.com, May 22, 2006]
Defense seeking results of tests [NewsObserver.com, May 23, 2006]
What Happened at Duke? [Newsweek, May 1, 2006]

related - "one more cut"
Duke Lacrosse Rape Case: Dying the Death of a Thousand Cuts [TJN, May 20, 2006]

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.

sources:

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]

update:

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

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Duke Lacrosse Scandal: Playing Race Cards in Durham

Add the names of Victoria Peterson and Ruth Sheehan to the list of microphone junkies, crackpots, racists, and pandering pundits using the Duke lacrosse scandal to push their own pet issues and agendas.

Ruth Sheehan of The News & Observer uses a resident crackpot and racist, Ms. Victoria Peterson, to squirt some more fuel on the fire of racial tensions in Durham. Forget the specifics about the lacrosse case and the justice system let's mix in some tangential inflammatory racial remarks.

Ruth Sheehan - columnist & blogger The News & Observer Ruth Sheehan columnist and blogger for The News & Observer said, "Race has a place in Duke case" -

Victoria Peterson is an unusual woman.

She's a frequent, though uniformly unsuccessful, candidate for office in Durham -- someone who seeks the spotlight at public forums, especially if microphones or TV cameras are around.

During the recent rally of the New Black Panthers, one of my colleagues observed, the chairman of the group struggled to keep Peterson from monopolizing his megaphone. She was running for City Council at the time.

Cheshire, who has been the point man on the defense side of the Duke lacrosse case, was holding forth on the "false accusations" made by the "false accuser."

Peterson inserted herself into the event by asking about the racial epithets said to have been used by some of the lacrosse players on the night that three team members are accused of raping one of the dancers, who is African-American.

Cheshire responded by saying that in any group of 46 people, you could hear a racist or sexist statement of some sort. He said his client, team captain David Evans, and the other young men on the lacrosse team are victims.

He also said, "This case is not about race."

Cheshire may be right that his client and others have had their lives "chopped up" unfairly. They may in fact be innocent of every charge. But on the issue of race, he is wrong. This case is about a lot of things, and race is definitely one of them.

For once, Victoria Peterson was dead-on.
For once? FYI, last month Ms. Peterson was making allegations that are not supported by any facts, or by the alleged victim, Crystal Gail Mangum, who spoke with Ms. Peterson twice:
Durham civil rights activist Victoria Peterson told the Observer on Wednesday that an investigator in the case told her the woman had been sodomized "with an object."

"He did not say a broom, just an object," said Peterson, who has become a friend and adviser to the woman's family since the party. "He told me she wasn't just raped, she was terribly sodomized."
...
Peterson said she's spoken with the accuser twice and found her "under great duress. She's depressed. She's crying. She needs help; this lady is out of it."

It looks like Virginia Peterson has been throwing everything she can against the Duke lacrosse players and hoping something sticks. This week it's the race card.

Joseph B. Cheshire V Raleigh attorney, Joseph Cheshire V, defense attorney for David Evans, responded to Ms. Sheehan's column in an email that Ms. Sheehan posted:
I read with interest your column this morning. I have the following points for you to consider. Race is an issue in our society and it should be kept on the front burner.

Your points about how this case would be treated if the defendants were black are correct, I see it everyday. The criminal justice system is not fair to african-americans and never has been. I have spent much of my life fighting this as has my family before me in different ways. That said, however, there is absolutely no question that there are people pandering to the race issue in this case for their own agendas.

This case started by the DA pandering to race and class to get elected. Pandering to race is as dangerous and self destructive to society as bigotry itself. It is certainly harmful to the criminal justice system. We saw in OJ an acquittal on race/political grounds by a largely African American jury paying the man back for years of injustice.

When articles like you wrote today insinuate that this case is about race because one or two boys may have spouted racial epitahs in response to same being hurled at them (and by the way it is not alledged that those very few statements came from any of these indicted young men) you, in my opinion become one of the problems in this discussion as opposed to one of the solutions.

You embolden racists like Ms. Peterson who are as distructive to the cause of racial equality and a discussion of same as any white racist I have met. Intolerant, uncaring and with an agenda that has nothing to do with truth or justice that feed on the worst in people as opposed to the best.

You also give fire to what I fear could be a reverse OJ in Durham. Even though these boys are demonstably innocent, several African Americans have said and many more think and will be emboldened by columns such as yours to believe that: "We do not care if they are innocent, they should be convicted and go to prison because of the injustices that have been heaped on our race by the system". Is that what you want?

Do two wrongs make a right? This is not a racial case, but statements like that and well meaning articles like yours are making it so and in that event justice will suffer and the racial divide willl grow larger.

sources:
Race has a place in Duke case [Column by Ruth Sheehan, News & Observer, May 18, 2006]
Is this case about race? [blogs.newsobserver.com, May 18, 2006] - the blog comments illustrate how volatile the case has become.

Duke Lacrosse Rape Case: Dying the Death of a Thousand Cuts

The Duke Lacrosse Scandal looks like it will sit like an ugly boil on the American justice system until next year. Afterwards there will be a pock mark left by D.A. Mike Nifong's malicious prosecution and his abuse of the legal system.

The prosecution's case grows weaker and weaker with every passing day. Every day and every new report about the details surrounding the Duke case supports the innocence of Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty, and David Evans.

This is the exact opposite of how a normal criminal case proceeds. It looks like Mike Nifong will not stop this injustice. The case will have to die the death of a thousand cuts.

Here are some opinions and new information about the Duke Lacrosse rape case as it stands today.

Thomas Sowell Syndicated columnist, Thomas Sowell, said:

Now Nifong is riding a tiger he cannot safely get off. His best bet may be to let this case drag on until it fizzles out, long after the media lose interest. His extraordinary postponement of trial for a year suggests as much.

In the meantime, the taxi driver who provided the first airtight alibi for one of the accused Duke lacrosse players has been picked up by the police on a flimsy, 3-year-old charge, supposedly about shoplifting. He was held for five hours for questioning -- reportedly not about shoplifting, but about the Duke rape charges.

Does this smell to high heaven or what? The taxi driver himself is not accused of shoplifting. But two women who were passengers in his cab were. Since when are taxi drivers held responsible for what their passengers did before or after being in their cab?

What purpose can harassing the driver serve? His account of what happened in the Duke rape case has already been corroborated by a surveillance camera at the bank to which he took one of the lacrosse players, as well as by other time-stamped records indicating where his passenger was during the time when he was supposed to be raping a stripper...

If nothing else, the harassment can serve as a warning to anybody who might come forward with testimony that undermines the prosecution's case.

Is this America or some banana republic?

Jonna M. Spilbor - defense attorney and frequent guest commentator on Court-TV Court TV analyst and attorney, Jonna Spilbor, presents strong arguments on what's wrong and unjust with DA Mike Nifong's case:

Nifong's judgment has been poor all along- and the old adage that a D.A. can get a grand jury to "indict a ham sandwich" shouldn't be forgotten. Without defense attorneys there to test the prosecutor's evidence via the invaluable process of cross-examination, weak evidence can be made to look pretty convincing. It's not the grand jury's fault; it's just the reality that if you only hear one side, you tend to believe it.

  • The Mounting Evidence in Favor of Defendants' Innocence

  • The Problems with the Accuser's "Identification" of Evans

  • The Problems with the New DNA Evidence

  • The D.A.'s Unusual Hostility to Even Viewing Defense Evidence

  • If There's A Card Up the D.A.'s Sleeve, the Law Requires Him to Play It Soon
    The discovery statutes in North Carolina - as in most states - do not allow prosecutors to play "hide the ball." This is a judicial proceeding, not a magic show. So D.A. Nifong will have to reveal this evidence sometime before trial.

    He ought to opt to reveal it right now - to give the defense a chance to counter it. When evidence suggesting innocence is as strong as it is in this case, it's wrong to just let the case go to trial and "see what the jury says." These three young men's live will be forever affected, even if they are acquitted. Even an arrest leaves a scar; the scar of trial is far deeper.

    D.A. Nifong should listen to the defense, and should drop the case unless he has strong evidence supporting the accuser. Moreover, if he does have such evidence, he should show it to us now.


Cash Michaels Cash Michaels presents arguments supporting Mr. Nifong's postion:
former prosecutors, say the Durham D.A. has to have a powerful ace-in-the-hole, especially with DNA evidence barely implicating Evans, and none conclusively matching any of the other 46 Duke lacrosse players, according to the defense attorneys.

Nifong has a medical report of an extensive rape examination of the alleged victim from Duke Medical Center, reportedly showing evidence “consistent” with a brutal sexual assault.

The alleged victim’s father has repeated that when he saw his daughter come home from the hospital the morning after, her jaw was swollen, her body was bruised, and her leg was injured, impairing her ability to walk.

And then there is the toxicology report that is part of any rape kit procedure at a medical facility. Police officers routinely ask emergency room nurses to do a blood alcohol or date rape drug analysis when a victim who seems under the influence is in custody.

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.

Mr. Cash's last point about a Duke lacrosse player "turned state's evidence" is not supported by a single news report or any unofficial leaks coming from the legal teams in Durham.

Yale Galanter - nationally recognized authority in the field of criminal litigationDefense attorney, Yale Galanter, who appears frequently on The Abrams Report, has direct access to the Duke lacrosse players' defense attorneys.

On Friday's (May 19th), The Abrams Report [MSNBC], Mr. Galanter reported that sources on the defense team said that they have not come across any kind of "smoking gun" in the discovery material they have gone through to this point.

He said, if anything, they even have more exculpatory material.

In fact, he says that the alledged victim (Crystal Gail Mangum) told the SANE [Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner] nurse at Duke University Hospital that the players did not wear condoms when they raped her.

sources:
Much bigger Duke scandal [contracostatimes.com, May 19, 2006]
Is The District Attorney In The Duke Lacrosse Rape Scandal Turning A Blind Eye To Valuable Evidence? [findlaw.com, May 19, 2006]
How strong is the Duke case evidence? [blackpressusa.com, May 19, 2006]

Duke Lacrosse [TJN Archive]

Friday, May 19, 2006

Duke Lacrosse Scandal: Fine tuning the Rape Timeline

updated: 1:00 p.m.

Today The News and Observer, provided more information regarding Crystal Gail Mangum's activities on the day of the Duke lacrosse party:

Where accuser went

On March 24, in her only interview with a reporter, the accuser said she was notified about 8:30 p.m. the night of the party that she was supposed to appear at the Buchanan Boulevard house about 11 p.m.

In an interview earlier this week, her father said he saw his daughter a few times March 13. That afternoon, he said, she picked up her two children from elementary school. About 9:30 p.m., he said, she brought the children to their grandparents' house for the evening.

"She was fine," he said.

After their arrival, he and his daughter took a short car ride about 10 p.m. to a neighborhood convenience store at Cornwallis Road and South Roxboro Street. He bought a pack of cigarettes but said he did not recall what his daughter purchased.

When the two returned to his house, the woman said she had to go out and wouldn't return until 1:30 a.m. He said he does not know whether she left in her own car or someone picked her up. He said she did call him to say she safely reached her destination -- about 11:30 p.m., about the start of a late-night talk show he was watching.

The man said he did not know his daughter was working as an escort that night. She didn't return until late the morning of March 14, the father said.

An earlier Newsweek story said that Ms. Mangum arrived at the Duke party house about 11:45 p.m. So it seems the exact time for Ms. Mangum's arrival falls sometime between 11:30 and 11:45 p.m.

The Johnsville News, Duke Lacrosse Rape Timeline, was updated to reflect this new information.

This story also shows how important Ms. Mangum's phone records are to nailing down the exact timeline of events for the incident. At yesterday's hearing for Reade Seligmann, DA Mike Nifong, said:
prosecutors are not interested in the contents of the phone, such as the last 10 numbers called

How foolish is that statement? Is this just false bravado on his part? Mike Nifong has said he doesn't care about the defense's timeline. They don't know his timeline.

In fact, Mr. Nifong, has tipped his hand slightly regarding the prosecution timeline. The indictments of Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty, and David Evans all list the "Date of Offense" as March 14th. So Mr. Nifong is going to have to show that the rape took place after midnight.

Show us the timeline?

Mr. Nifong is going to have to perform some magic to prove that beyond a reasonable doubt.

Specifically, with regard to Reade Seligmann, who has provided the most detailed account of his activities, where is the time window for a rape?

Between 12:03:57 a.m., when Ms. Mangum and Ms. Roberts stopped dancing and 12:19 when the taxi driver, Ahmad Elmostafa (Mr. Mostafa), picked up Reade Seligmann and Robert Wellington, Seligmann made eight phone calls.

Ms. Mangum's statement says she was raped after she returned to the house. The neighbor, Jason Bissey, says a dancer (Ms. Mangum) returned to the house around 12:15 to 12:18 a.m. Reade Seligmann and Wellington were picked up a block away from the lacrosse house at the corner of Watts and Urban streets at 12:19 a.m. A time confirmed by Mr. Wellington and Mr. Mostafa.

Forget that Ms. Mangum said the gang rape took place for "30 minutes."

How is Mr. Nifong going to prove Mr. Seligmann participated in a gang rape? The window of opportunity looks like it's only from about 12:15 to 12:17, Seligmann and Wellington then have to run and catch a taxi. Wellington said:
"I was with Reade the entire time from when we left the house on 610 N. Buchanan Blvd. until we exited the taxi van at the end of the fire lane a few minutes before 12:46 a.m. to enter our dorms."

It looks like there will be some forty other lacrosse players and the persons he called on his cell phone verifying and filling in Mr. Seligmann's timeline between midnight and 12:19 p.m.

What time will Nifong say the rape occurred on March 14th?

sources:
Test: Boyfriend likely sperm source [NewsObserver, May 19, 2006]
Duke Lacrosse Rape Case Documentation [TJN, May 14, 20006]
Duke Lacrosse Rape Timeline [TJN, April 21, 20006]

Duke Lacrosse Scandal: Slow Road to Justice

updated: 9:37 a.m.

Reade SeligmannOne of the three Duke lacrosse players charged with sexual assault had their first day in court.

Reade Seiligman appeared in court on Thursday, May 18th, at a 25-minute hearing in front of a packed courtroom.

WRAL.com reported that Seligmann endured taunts from members of the New Black Panther Party, one of whom repeatedly yelled, "Justice will be served, rapist."

Greta Van Susteren
of FOX News reported about the man yelling the tauts. She said it made for a very tense courtroom. She said the man remained quite while the judge was in the courtroom, and it wasn't clear if he was with the New Black Panther Party or not.

Mike Nifong laughs at request for a bond reduction for Reade SeligannDistrict Attorney Mike Nifong (seated, left in photo) laughed as defense attorney Kirk Osborn requested a bond reduction for Reade Seligmann.

Osborn also asked the judge to reduce Seligmann's $400,000 bond to $40,000, saying he had letters from "senators, congressmen and friends" vouching that the player was not a flight risk.

Noting that Seligmann is out of jail, the judge said he would take up the matter at a hearing set for June 19.

Key points from the hearing:

  • Defense would like a speedy trial.
    "We want a trial as fast as we can," said Kirk Osborn, the lead attorney for Duke sophomore Reade Seligmann. "This young kid wants to go to school in the fall and he can't until this is resolved."

  • But, North Carolina justice system is slow. The case goes to trial next year.
    District Attorney Mike Nifong said at the end of Thursday's brief hearing he intended to try all three players together. The prosecutor has said he doesn't expect any trial to begin before next year, and Superior Court Judge Ronald L. Stephens gave no indication he would put the lacrosse case on a fast track.

    "This case is not going to jump ahead of the line and be handled any differently," Stephens said.

  • The defense wants Crystal Gail Mangum's (the accuser) cell phone records from night of incident.
    Most of Thursday's hearing dealt with defense access to the accuser's cell phone...

    Osborn asked the judge if a defense expert can examine evidence from a cell phone that the alleged victim had the night of the incident. Osborn said the phone was found outside of the home used by some members of the lacrosse team and brought inside. Police later took the phone and it is currently in police custody.

  • Surprisingly, Mike Nifong is not interested in Ms. Mangum's cellphone info.
    Nifong said prosecutors are not interested in the contents of the phone, such as the last 10 numbers called

  • Interesting new fact about where Ms. Mangum's phone was recovered.
    Osborn said the phone was found outside of the home used by some members of the lacrosse team and brought inside. Police later took the phone and it is currently in police custody.

  • Carton of evidence handed over.
    Nifong handed the defense a carton he said contained his case file -- 1,278 pages of reports, notes, summaries and other evidence, along with two videotapes and a computer disk containing photographs. The evidence was turned over under the court's discovery rules.

  • There is no "mole." There was some speculation that DA Mike Nifong might have found a Duke lacrosse player willing to testify for the prosecution. No evidence of any such person based on the leaks coming from the defense team.

sources:
Judge Says Duke Lacrosse Case Won't Be On Fast Track [wral.com, May 18, 2006]
Duke player wants speedy rape trial [cnn.com, May 19, 2006]

update: North Carolina Legal procedures-

RULE 4. CALENDARING PRIOR TO TRIAL

Thurdays's hearing was called a "first setting."

4.3 The first administrative calendar setting ("First Setting") shall occur four weeks after indictment. The following matters shall be accomplished at the First Setting:

  • Determination of counsel;

  • Existence of conflicts;

  • Status inquiry; including possible disposition by guilty plea;

  • Confirmation of filing of Disclosure Certificate; and

  • Pre-trial discussions between counsel.


4.4 The second administrative calendar setting ("Second Setting") [June 19th for Seligmann] shall occur eight weeks after indictment. The following matters shall be accomplished at the Second Setting:

  • Hearing of pre-arraignment motions;

  • Pre-trial discussions between counsel; and

  • Pre-trial conference with Presiding Judge (if requested); and,

  • Status inquiry, including possible disposition by guilty plea.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Duke Lacrosse Scandal: Speedy Justice or Slow Truth?

"We all hope that the legal process will proceed to a speedy resolution so that everyone can know the truth."

John F. Burness, senior vice president for public affairs and government relations at Duke Univesity said that on Monday, May 16, 2006, following the indictment of the 3rd Duke lacrosse player, David Evans.

Sorry, but there will not be a speedy trial and resolution of this scandal. District Attorney, Mike Nifong, will not take the Duke lacrosse rape case to trial until next spring.

Why is Mike Nifong delaying the case until the spring of 2007? Who exactly does this benefit? Does it benefit the alleged victim, Crystal Gail Mangum, who will be forced to hideout for another ten months to a year?

The old Nixon era phrase, "twisting, slowly, slowly in the wind," comes to mind.

Does it benefit the three Duke lacrosse players who have been charged with the gang rape of Ms. Mangum?

What is going on here?

Does Mike Nifong secretly want to sabotage the will of Ms. Mangum to hang in there and testify at the trial? If she was raped, he is doing her a great disservice by requiring her to put her life on hold until next spring.

Is this delay solely for the benefit of Mike Nifong so that he can get his act and his case together? Is he hoping the nation and the media will lose interest in the case and go away?

Sorry, but we have to wait before answering all these questions.

Thomas Sowell Thomas Sowell, of The Washington Times, has an opinion on why Mike Nifong is delaying the trial:
If there is a smoking gun in the Duke University rape case, it is not about the stripper who made the charges or the lacrosse players who have been accused. The smoking gun is the decision of District Attorney Michael Nifong to postpone a trial until the spring of 2007.

That makes no sense from either a legal or a social standpoint, whether the players are guilty or innocent. But it tells us something about District Attorney Nifong.

Suppose, for the sake of argument, the players are guilty. What is the point of letting a bunch of rapists remain at large for another year? What about the dangers they would pose to women on or off the Duke University campus?

Now suppose the players are innocent. Isn't it unconscionable to have this damning charge hanging over their heads for another year?

The Constitution of the United States includes a right to a speedy trial, to keep people from being jerked around by unscrupulous or vindictive prosecutors who cannot prove they have committed any crime. Prosecutors have to put up or shut up.

This is not a federal case, however, and the laws of North Carolina do not require a speedy trial. Justice delayed is justice denied, whether the players are guilty or innocent.

What purpose does the delay serve? The most obvious purpose is the same one delay serves in confidence games. After a fraud has been perpetrated and it is only a matter of time before the victim finds out, it can still make a big difference whether the victim finds out suddenly or slowly over an extended time. This is called "cooling out the mark."

If the mark (the victim) finds out suddenly and immediately, instant outrage may lead to a call to the police, who can then get hot on the trail of the con man.

However, if the realization of having been taken begins to emerge at first as a sense of puzzlement, then as a sneaking suspicion, and ultimately -- after some time -- as a clear conclusion a fraud has taken place, the emotional impact is not nearly as strong. The victim of the fraud may even be reluctant to go to the police, having had time to think about what a fool he seemed and how little chance there is now to do anything about it...

postponed until the spring of 2007 may be Mr. Nifong's way of beginning the process of "telling the truth slowly."

source:
Justice delayed [washingtontimes.com, May 18, 2006]

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