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Friday, June 30, 2006

Duke Case: Cosmic Cantina

updated: 2:30 p.m., June 30, 2006

Mr. Finnerty's lawyer said his client was at a restaurant several blocks away when the women were dancing. - NY Times

Car route to Cosmic Cantina from Duke Lacrosse House
Collin Finnerty's parents were interviewed on NBC's Today Show this morning by Dan Abrams. They reaffirmed Collin's complete innocence. They also said he had a 100% solid alibi that included witnesses, commercial receipt(s), dorm card, and cell phone records.

They have not released this evidence on the advice of their attorneys.

So far it is just an unconfirmed rumor that Collin Finnerty was at the Cosmic Cantina restaurant when the alleged rape occured.

The Cosmic Cantina is a Mexican food, California style, Low-fat foods, organic restaurant just across the Duke campus from the Duke lacrosse house.

1st update:

WRAL reports - Parents Of Charged Player Maintain Son's Innocence:
The parents of one of three Duke University men's lacrosse players charged with raping a woman at a team party said their son has evidence to prove his innocence and has passed a polygraph test indicating he didn't commit the crime.

In an interview with NBC's "Today" that aired Friday, Kevin Finnerty would not reveal specifics of his son's alibi. But he mentioned the cell phone records of his son, Collin Finnerty, at the time in question and electronic records showing when his son returned to his dormitory that night.

"He has numerous eye witnesses every step of the way, every minute of the night," Kevin Finnerty said. "So his whereabouts are totally verified every minute of the night."

2nd update:

Transcript of Dan Abrams interview with Maryellen and Kevin Finnerty (courtesy boards.courttv.com)

DAN ABRAMS:

I got to sit down with Mary Ellen and Kevin Finnerty at their home now that 1,800 pages of documents have been turned over from the prosecutor to the defense...they say they are even more convinced than ever that no rape occurred in that house. I asked them how they first found out that Collin could be in trouble.

KEVIN FINNERTY:

Two days before Easter, we got a phone call from our lawyer saying that for some unknown reason he had found out that Collin was on a short list. He didn't know who short the list was. So we were with Collin from that point on.

DAN ABRAMS:

When you first heard that Collin was on this short list of people who might be indicted, what'd you think?

MARYELLEN FINNERTY:

Terrified. Devastated. Didn't make any sense to us. We knew that he had nothing to do with it and nothing had happened. And…you know…why this nightmare was beginning? We had no clue.

DAN ABRAMS:

Have you ever for a moment wondered what…if it was possible that he could be involved in something like this?

MARYELLEN FINNERTY:

No.

DAN ABRAMS:

Now we’ve heard a lot about Reade Seligmann…about one of the other young men indicted. His alibi. Photographs, ATM, their witness accounts, telephone records, the time he swiped his card into the dorm. And we haven’t heard anything about Collin’s alibi. Does he have one?

KEVIN FINNERTY:

He does. And a very good one. From the outset, our legal team, our counsel, is adamant that they will not reveal the evidence in the media. Collin has taken and passed with flying colors…no surprise…a polygraph test. Numerous eye witnesses every step of the way…every minute of the night. Clearly there were 2 DNA tests done and, obviously, no DNA. He has numerous phone calls around the time in question. Many incoming. Many outgoing. He has receipts. And he also swiped himself with his card into his dorm. For every minute of the night

DAN ABRAMS:

So, what you’re saying is that he, like Reade Seligmann, has an alibi that would make it impossible to have committed this crime.

MARYELLEN FINNERTY:

Yes.

KEVIN FINNERTY:

Impossible.

DAN ABRAMS:

The accuser looked at a photo lineup of various Duke lacrosse players. Collin’s photo was shown. She stopped…and she said “that’s one of the guy’s.” Why do you think that she stopped on Collin?

MARYELLEN FINNERTY:

Could have been anybody there. I just think it was sort-of “pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey” and there was no other. Everybody knew that it could have been anybody on that team.

DAN ABRAMS:

You think it was totally random?

MARY ELLEN FINNERTY:

Yes.

KEVIN FINNERTY:

It was totally random. And everybody knew that they were looking for somebody. That the DA was committed to having three people arrested. And, as you’ve read, they only showed pictures of lacrosse players…they basically said “pick three.” Pretty unbelievable.

DAN ABRAMS:

The DA says that he is convinced there was a rape. That he believes her story. And he’s moved forward in this case against your son. You think it was political?

MARYELLEN FINNERTY:

Yes.

KEVIN FINNERTY:

Personally, we do. I think that this man was looking for a case that he could hold out to the public. This came along and he ran with it.

DAN ABRAMS:

It’s been months now and the two of you have remained silent. You’ve been asked to do interviews again and again. Why have you decided to go public now?

KEVIN FINNERTY:

Having seen what is theoretically all of the evidence that they have…that the DA has in their case…we realize that there is no case. There shouldn’t be a case. We know that Collin is innocent. We’ve actually been waiting patiently to get the story out there. Collin does in fact have a lot of exculpatory evidence.

DAN ABRAMS:

Are you angry?

MARYELLEN FINNERTY:

Sure. I’m angry that my family and the Seligmanns and the Evans are going through this right now. But I have faith in the justice system. I trust the system and I have faith that the truth will prevail and we will all move forward when this nightmare ends.

DAN ABRAMS (back at the Today show)

Collin Finnerty will be back in Washington, D.C. on a separate assault case on July 10th. His parents did not want to discuss that case on their advice of their attorney.

source:
video [msn.com]

Duke Lacrosse

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Duke Case: Latest news

updated: June 30, 2006

The Herald-Sun reports - Judge lowers bonds for Finnerty, Evans:

...Acting at the request of defense lawyers, Superior Court Judge Ron Stephens lowered the amounts Thursday for suspects Collin Finnerty and David Evans. He had reduced bail earlier for a third defendant, Reade Seligmann...

in asking that bonds for the three be cut, defense attorneys did not reiterate earlier assertions that the accuser was unbelievable and had told as many as a dozen different stories about the alleged rape. Rather, they simply promised the young men could be counted upon to appear in court when scheduled.
The News & Observer - Bond reduced for Collin Finnerty:
Superior Court Judge Ronald Stephens cut the bond for Collin Finnerty, 19, of Garden City, N.Y. to $100,000 from $400,000, the second player charged in the case to have his bond reduced.

Greta Van Sustren of Fox News - Is Durham DA Mike Nifong Politically Motivated?
Is DA Mike Nifong holding on to the Duke lacrosse case to help him hold on to voters and is his plan backfiring?

abc11tv.com - Nifong Opponent Has Shot at Ballot:
One of the men who might run against Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong appears to have enough support to be on the ballot.

Commissioner Lewis Cheek says he beat a Friday deadline to come up with 6,333 signatures to get his name on the ballot.

A representative for a campaign committee set up on Cheek's behalf says they have counted more than 7,200 signatures from registered voters after a huge mail campaign.

American Psycho fan, Ryan McFadyen, is back on the Duke lacrosse team. Ryan McFadyen is the sophomore Duke lacrosse player who sent a vulgar email the morning of Duke lacrosse party saying he was going to kill and skin strippers. AP reports:
A Duke University men's lacrosse player suspended for sending an inflammatory e-mail about killing strippers hours after a team party that led to rape charges has been reinstated and can return to the lacrosse team in the fall...

According to Moneta, McFadyen told Bryan the e-mail used language from the book "American Psycho," a novel by Bret Easton Ellis - later made into a movie - about a serial killer.

"He acknowledged the joke, especially given the context of the time, was not funny," Moneta wrote. "He accepted full responsibility for a significant error in judgment and acknowledged its inappropriateness with no qualifications."
sources:
AP NewsBreak: Duke player who sent inflammatory e-mail reinstated [charlotte.com, June 29, 2006]
Ryan McFadyen email [TheSmokingGun.com]

Duke Lacrosse

Duke Case: Nifong's Bluff - A Game of Chance

updated: June 30, 2006

Durham D.A. Mike Nifong has turned over 1814 pages of discovery information regarding the Duke lacrosse case to defense lawyers.

That total comes from 1,278 pages of evidence (including two videotapes and a compact disc) turned over on May 18th and an additional 536 pages of evidence turned over on June 22nd.

That sounds very impressive doesn't it - 1814 pages. Judge Ronald L. Stephens, who is currently the presiding judge on this case and just happens to be Mr. Nifong's old boss, said:

"Frankly, for a case of this nature, with the voluminous amount of information that's been provided, there appears to have been at least a good faith effort" to fulfill the defense requests...
However, it turns out that over 95% of those pages are worthless. They are superfluous bureaucratic filler or as the defense attorneys said, "mainly of extraneous, irrelevant material."

Dan Abrams of MSNBC looked at all of the first 1278 pages and said:
Well now I‘ve seen them all. It‘s all numbered. Every page is numbered of the discovery. I‘ve seen it all now everything that the D.A. handed over to the defense team, and this case is even weaker than I originally thought.
Former Conn. state prosecutor and MSNBC analyst, Susan Filan, saw all of the first 1278 pages and said:
now, I have serious doubts about whether this case can be proved at all.
Yale Galanter another attorney who has seen all of the first 1278 pages of discovery has said the same thing - no case.

It seems that there are actual only about 70-75 pages or so of relevant information in this discovery dump that came out of Mike Nifong's office. Susan Filan said:
I think Dan Abrams said when you boil it down, there‘s about 70, 75 pages that really matter to this case.
The problem is that even these 75 relevant pages do not exactly show how and when the crimes of first degree rape, first degree sex offense, and first degree kidnapping were committed against Crystal Gail Mangum on March 14, 2006.

The 75 relevant pages (some of which the public has seen) probably consist of the following:
Crystal Gail Mangum's statement (portions released on MSNBC)
Kim Roberts/Pittman statement (5 pages)
Medical reports:
- including statement from SANE nurse
Police lineups (15+ pages)
Statements from police & investigators (including)
- statements from Investigator Benjamin Himan:
- with Ms. Mangum & Jarriel Johnson
- summarizing statement of Kim Pittman
- Durham police officer Sgt. J. C. Shelton
- Durham police officer G.D. Sutton

The bottomline is Mike Nifong has no case. He can't show us a case. Mike Nifong built his case around a sob story that was personally told to him by Crystal Gail Mangum sometime in the week or so after the March 14th incident.**

Mike Nifong looked Crystal Gail Mangum in the eye that day and he wanted to believe her and that particular version of her story.**

This "terrible gang-rape" case that had fallen into his lap would let him hit two fat birds with one stone. First, it would let him settle some old hidden feud he had with Duke University, and second, it would be his springboard to winning re-election, in a very tight three-way primary, in a racially mixed district.

Damn the deviling details, full speed ahead with a bold bluff.

In popular stud poker parlance, Mr Nifong, had no hand, weak hole cards (2 & 6 unsuited) and he was hoping to draw an inside straight (3, 4, 5 - or more evidence) or else bluff the defense into folding (taking a plea deal).

Mr. Nifong was a confident player and he thought he'd get his cards or a fold from his opponent, the spoiled Duke "hooligan" jocks.

As we know, that never happened and now Mike Nifong has flipped over his hole cards, this discovery evidence, to the defense (& MSNBC) and his bold bare-faced bluff is exposed.

The legal experts can't believe it. This can't possibly be all of his cards they say. He must have something else "up his sleeve" - right? A professional district attorney can't possibly indict based on a bluff.

Wrong. He did and it proves justice is just another game of chance in Mike Nifong's world.

Mike Nifong now looks like he's going to make everyone wait until next spring when he gets to flip over his losing cards again and show them to a Durham jury. He's hoping his bluff will work on them.

----------------------------------------------------------------

The defense attorneys are trying to show the world that this case is all bluff and bluster.

Kirk Osborn is a good attorney, no doubt. Just be glad you are not paying his legal fees. Like everything in this world you get what you pay for. Hopefully, he's not charging the Seligmann family by the word.

Kirk Osborn, attorney for Reade Seligmann, filed a "MOTION FOR BILL OF PARTICULARS" on June 21, 2006 that outlines the questions the 75 pages or so of "relevant" information fails to answer:
Now Comes the Defendant Reade William Seligmann, through counsel, and respectfully moves.....the Court to issue an Order directing the State to file and serve a Bill of Particulars setting forth factual information pertaining to charges herein upon the grounds that the Defendant cannot adequately prepare or conduct his defense without the information requested herein:

The Defendant has carefully reviewed this entire discovery which consists mainly of extraneous, irrelevant material. None of the discovery shows that any crime occurred. In fact it shows that the accuser Crystal Mangum even stated no rape occurred, and gave approximately one dozen conflicting statements, including one story were she alleged her co-worker robbed her of $2000.00. The discovery provides no account of which story is going to be presented as the "true story" or how any crime even occurred given the number of established facts which contradict every one of Ms. Mangum's stories (except of the true story that she was not raped)

With so many different stories floating through the discovery and elsewhere, and with Mr.Nifong having to bolster his reputation which he damaged with premature public statements. It is essential for Reade Seligmann to have a forecast of exactly which of the many stories Mr. Nifong, on behalf of the State and in his own self-interest, will use in his attempt to falsely prosecute the Defendant..

The defense respectfully request, at a minimum the following items of factual information pertaining to the charges herein upon the grounds that Reade Seligmann cannot adequately prepare or conduct his defense without the herein requested information.

1. Exactly where, when, at what time, and how does the State contend the Defendant committed a first degree rape?

2. Exactly how does the State contend the alleged rape was committed with another person by force and against the will of the accuser, and who was this person or these persons.?

3. Was a dangerous or deadly weapon or an article used during the alleged rape, which the accuser reasonably believed to be a dangerous or deadly weapon employed and/or displayed; and if so, by whom was it displayed or employed?

4. Was a serious personal injury inflicted up the accuser or another person during the alleged rape; and if so who inflicted this injury?

5. Was the alleged first degree rape committed by someone aided and abetted by one or more other persons; and if so, who was this person or these persons who aided and abetted, and exactly how did such person aid and abet?

6. The factual information which is the basis for the state's allegations of a first degree rape.

7. Exactly where, when and how the state contends the defendant committed a first degree sexual offense, and a specific description of the exact sexual offense?

8. Was the alleged first degree sexual offense committed with another person by force and against the will of the complaining witness?

9. Was a dangerous or deadly weapon or an article used during the alleged sexual offense which the accuser reasonably believed to be a dangerous or deadly weapon employed and/or displayed; and if so, by whom was it displayed or employed?

10. Was serious personal injury inflicted upon the accuser or another person during the alleged sexual offense; if so who inflicted this injury?

11. Was the alleged first degree sexual offense committed by someone aided and abetted by one or more other persons; and if so who was were the person(s) who aided and abetted, and exactly how did such person or persons aid or abet?

12. The factual information which is the basis for the state's allegations of a first degree sexual offense.

13. In regard to the first degree kidnapping charge, how does the state contend the accuser witness was unlawfully confined, restrained, or removed from one place to another?

14. Was the alleged confinement, restraint or removal for the purpose of holding the accuser for ransom or as a hostage or using such person as a shield; or facilitating the commission of any felony or facilitating flight of any person following the commission of a felony?

15.Was the alleged kidnapping to do serious bodily harm to or terrorize the person so confined, restrained or removed or any other person?

16. Was the alleged kidnapping to hold the complaining witness in involuntary servitude in violation of G.S. 14-43.2?

17. Was the person kidnapped released in a safe place or was the complaining witness seriously injured or sexually assaulted?

18. The factual information which is the basis for such allegations regarding the first degree kidnapping.

19. A detailed statement of the factual information upon which the State will rely to prove each of the elements of each charge in each indictment.

20 The names, addresses, telephone numbers and current occupations of each witness the prosecution expects to cal to establish each of the elements of each circumstances listed in the answer to paragraphs above, along with a statement of the expected testimony of each witness.

21. A copy of any statement obtained from witnesses regarding any charge or element of any charge in this case.

22. Any information in the prosecution's files or known to the prosecution or which with the exercise of reasonable diligence could become known to the prosecution which establishes or might tend to establish the existence of any element of any of the alleged charges.
sources:
Judge orders reduction in Duke lacrosse player's bond [USA Today, June 24, 2006]
MOTION FOR BILL OF PARTICULARS - June 21, 2006 (.pdf) [KirkOsborn.com]

update:

BILL OF PARTICULARS
- A detailed informal statement of a plaintiff's cause of action, or of the defendants's set-off.
In all actions in which the plaintiff declares generally, without specifying his cause of action, a judge upon application will order him to give the defendant a bill of the particulars, and in the meantime stay proceedings. And when the defendant gives notice or pleads a set-off, he will be required to give a bill of the particulars of his set-off, on failure of which he will be precluded from giving any evidence in support of it at the trial. The object in both cases is to prevent surprise and procure a fair trial. The bill of particulars is an account of the items of the demand and states in what manner they arose.
via Bill of Particulars discussion [courttv.com]

Discussion of Motion - Bill of Particulars ['The Abrams Report' for June 27, MSNBC]

**2nd update/correction:
On October 27, 2006 it was shockingly revealed that Mike Nifong had never directly interviewed Crystal Mangum regarding the details of the case.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Duke Case: Take two

The Washington Post does a take two. A day after they ran the stupid Andrew Cohen column they give Ruth Marcus a chance to get it right. Ms. Marcus mostly gets the big picture right, but in the end she still wimps out. This case is more than discomforting and "troubling." She now thinks there is "reasonable doubt" at Duke:

Ruth MarcusAt the start, I presumed they were guilty. The rape charges against three members of the Duke lacrosse team sounded like a plausible case of Jocks Gone Wild....

But the more evidence that has emerged in the case, the more it appears that there is way more than reasonable doubt that the three accused committed rape...

the confluence of Nifong's political interests and the prosecution is itself another reason for discomfort. He brought the first charges just before a primary in which the black vote played a key role...

In an odd way, I hope Nifong's proved right, because the alternative -- that he began with a dubious case and stuck with it as it became shakier -- is so troubling. As it stands now, the case isn't expected to go to trial until spring 2007. That seems like an awfully long time to wait to find out.
source:
Reasonable Doubt at Duke [Washingtonpost.com, June 28, 2006]

Other Duke case news/links:
Ex-Duke Lacrosse Player Convicted On Noise Charge [nbc17.com, June 27, 2006]


Catherine Crier Live on Court TV with Lester Munson, Sports Illustrated, June 27th [discussion on courttv.com]

The Duke Case: The Damage and the Real Villains [Michael J. Gaynor | TheConservativeVoice.com, June 27, 2006]
Follow The Duke Rape Case Evidence, CleO [Michael J. Gaynor | PostChronicle.com, June 27, 2006]

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Duke Case: Wasted Days

updated/edited: 10:30 p.m., June 27, 2006

Wasted days and wasted nights:

- 105 days since the Duke lacrosse party and when the false rape accusations were first made. (Mar. 14)
- 69 days since Collin Finnerty & Reade Seligmann were charged with with first-degree rape, first-degree forcible rape and kidnapping. (Apr. 19).
- 43 days since Duke lacrosse captian David Evans was indicted and charged. (May 15)
- ??? days until trial starts

CBS News Chief Legal Analyst, Andrew Cohen, spins a story for the prosecution in the Washington Post: The Media Rush to Duke's Defense.

It's obvious he hasn't been paying close attention to this case. He probably doesn't have time to read the discovery information that's come online and do his homework. But, that doesn't stop Mr. Cohen from voicing an opinion and saying things that are wrong and not relevant. Cohen says:

And the prosecutor, after saying a bit too much too early about his case, now is saying nothing at all, leaving the defense spin unchallenged and gaining both in perceived credence and volume...

The case against the players didn't publicly get weaker last week -- so far as I know...

For years, I have considered the media a co-conspirator in the government's efforts to influence pretrial publicly. And now that the co-conspirator has moved to the defense side, I find the practice just as deplorable...
When the wheels of justice grind to a halt like they have in North Carolina doesn't the media have a responsibility to shine a light on the injustice?

Isn't the reporting of facts that support our traditional "Presumption of Innocence" better than reporting presumption of guilt?

The History of the Presumption of Innocence:
It is better than 5, 10, 20, or 100 guilty men go free than for one innocent man to be put to death. This prinicple is embodied in the presumption of innocence.

1st update:

From CourtTV.com message board regarding - Andrew Cohen Column, Washington Post:
My candidate for most bizarre quote from the column: "The case against the players didn't publicly get weaker last week -- so far as I know..."

Last week, in response to a public challenge by Nifong's investigator, the defense released the report of Officer Sutton from the night of the incident. Among other things, it said that the alleged victim claimed at one time that she was raped by five men and at another by no one. Doesn't that make the case weaker?

Police reports are not defense spin.
They are evidence that we will see in court. Defense spin has not turned the media around on this case. Police reports attached to defense motions have.

2nd update:

Lead & Gold Blog critiques Mr. Cohen's drive-by Washington Post column:
At the end, Cohen cuts to the chase. Nifong does not have a weak case. Oh, my no. This is all about race and class:
I suspect race and money and access to the media have a lot to do with it. I have often wondered how media coverage might be different -- how the cynical, skeptical skew would turn -- if the alleged victim in the case were white and the alleged defendants black.
....Andrew Cohen does not have to think while he grinds out columns and stories for the Post and CBS.

Other News:

The Herald-Sun reports - Defense lawyers: Dancer claimed she wasn't raped:
A new batch of prosecution information showed that no rape occurred during a Duke University lacrosse party in March and revealed roughly a dozen conflicting statements by the accuser...

The News & Observer reports - Lawyers press for specifics in lacrosse case:
"None of the discovery shows that any crime actually occurred," the lawyers wrote. "It is essential for Reade Seligmann to have a forecast of exactly which of the many stories Mr. Nifong, on behalf of the State and in his own self-interest, will use in his attempt to falsely prosecute the defendant."

3nd update:

Mike Nifong now needs this hoax case to last until the November election in order to keep his job. Attorney Michael Gaynor writes:
Since Mr. Nifong is "absolutely resolved" to keep his job and his re-election depends upon the black vote, he is "absolutely resolved" to keep the Duke case, a deplorable political prosecution, pending at least until he is re-elected.

133 days and counting to the Nov 7th election

Monday, June 26, 2006

Duke Case: Mr. Nifong, tear down this case!

She says she was raped by the prosecutor in the Duke lacrosse caseAttorney Michael Gaynor at renewamerica.us:
Give it up, Mike Nifong! Even Ruth Sheehan says so --

In the Duke case, race did not, does not and never will deserve a place. To give it one is a disgrace....Unfortunately, some people do and try to divide people on racial lines for their own benefit...

As for Ms. Sheehan, give her the credit she is due. Her June 19, 2006 article is titled "DA ought to hand off case" and strongly suggests that she has learned something.

Ms. Sheehan's article:
"There are two ways for Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong to get out of the mess otherwise known as the Duke lacrosse case.

"One, he can surrender to criticism and call for a special prosecutor to step in and take command.

"Two, he can wait for a write-in candidate to make history and unseat a sitting Democratic district attorney in Durham County.

"Great choices, eh?

"Every time I think this case can't get any messier, it reaches new lows.
sources:
Cartoon [Bullwinkleblog.com]
Give it up, Mike Nifong! Even Ruth Sheehan says so [Michael Gaynor | RenewAmerica.us, June 25, 2006]
DA ought to hand off case [Ruth Sheehan | NewsObserver.com, Jun. 22, 2006]

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Duke Lacrosse Case: Search

This Duke lacrosse hoax rape case is a big sprawling mess and unfortunately it looks like it will go on and on. There is now so much information that it's hard to remember what happened last week, forget last month.

TJN is putting a specialized Swicki search engine for the Duke lacrosse case on the sidebar. Search results will be tuned and tagged to hopefully find the most relevant information.

This Duke Lacrosse Case - Swicki.Eurekster.com search engine focuses on the following websites for information about the Duke lacrosse case:

Durham Area Newspapers:

The News & Observer (Raleigh, Durham , Cary, Chapel Hill) - newsobserver.com
The Herald-Sun (Durham, Chapel Hill and the Research Triangle Region) - herald-sun.com
The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte) - charlotte.com

Local Television:

WRAL - TV (Raleigh-Durham, Fayetteville) - wral.com
NBC 17 TRaleighegh-Durham, Chapel Hill)- nbc17.com
WTVD - ABC 11 (Raliegh-Durham) - abclocal.go.com/wtvd/

Duke University

Duke University - Information on Sexual Assault Charges
The Duke Chronicle - dukechronicle.com

Attorneys:

J. Kirk Osborn (kirkosborn.com) - Duke Lacrosse Case

National media:

The Abrams Report - MSNBC
Newsweek - newsweek.com

Blogs:

The Johnsville News
La Shawn Barber - lashawnbarber.com
Robert KC Johnson at CLIOPATRIA/hnn.us - Duke Lacrosse Case
Lew Rockwell - lewrockwell.com
Jeralyn Merritt - Duke Lacrosse @ talkleft.com
friendsofdukeuniversity.blogspot.com
justice4twosisters.blogspot.com

Message Boards:

Court TV (boards.courttv.com) - Duke University Scandal
freerepublic.com - Duke

Other:

Duke Basketball Report - dukebasketballreport.com

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Duke Case: The Banana Republic of North Carolina

Cousin Skeeter is riled up. This Duke scandal is making his state look bad. North Carolina "ain't suspended the Constitution," he grumbles, while talking on his cell phone from his bass boat on Lake Wylie.

"We have a good state and it's getting dragged through the mud by this damn fool in Durham," he complains.

How come you are not giving these guys a speedy trial, Skeeter? Next spring seems like a long time for three innocent young men to have wait until they're exonerated.

"Shoot. I ain't sure about that. But I know our judges don't like to get pushed around by anyone," said Skeeter.

Why did Superior Court Judge Ronald L. Stephens say he won't fast-track the trial? He said the case "is not going to jump ahead of the line and be handled any differently." Doesn't this leave a stench of injustice hanging over Durham and the whole state for months and months?

"I know what the damn judge said. I read the papers," replied an irritated Skeeter.

How come no one in the state is stepping in and forcing Nifong to step aside for a special prosecutor?

"I think some folks are digg'n their heels in because they don't like be told what to do," sighed a resigned Skeeter.

What's with Nifong trying to intimidate that cab driver who was a witness, because he gave a supporting statement to the defense?

"I don't know. I forgot about that one," Skeeter's voice trailed off.

Aren't there some kind of checks or balances on a rogue district attorney? Don't rogue cops go to jail or at least get suspended down your way?

"I'm not a legal expert, but you'd think so wouldn't you," muttered Skeeter.

Skeeter, you North Carolinians seem like you're living in some sort of banana republic.

Cousin Skeeter hung up.

Duke Case: Pick a Number - 3, 5, or 20 Rapists?

updated/edited: 9:40 a.m. June 24, 2006

Simply amazing - The Durham D.A. Mike Nifong and his investigators never seem to have all the evidence or understand the big picture.

ABC TV 11 reported:

A bitter exchange that started outside of the courtroom when Linwood Wilson, an investigator for the District Attorney's Office, interrupted a press conference by defense attorney, Joseph Cheshire.

The interruption came as Cheshire was referencing the discovery documents that indicate the accuser gave conflicting accounts of the alleged rape.

In affidavits filed by police, authorities said the accuser told police she was raped by three men at the March 13 team party where she was hired to perform as an exotic dancer with a second woman. District Attorney Mike Nifong won indictments against three players and has said they were the only ones implicated by the evidence.

After the exchange, Wilson told Eyewitness News that he personally read all 1814 pages of discovery documents and has not read that the alleged victim changed her version of the story.

Friday morning, Cheshire, who represents charged player David Evans, provided proof...

Cheshire, Parker, Schneider, Bryan & Vitale Attorneys at Law
133 Fayetteville Street Mall
Raleigh, NC 27601

Linwood Wilson
Investigator, Durham County District Attorney's Office
201 East Main Street
Durham, North Carolina 27701

Dear Mr. Wilson:

Yesterday in front of the press you questioned my statement that the false accuser in the Duke case had stated she had been sexually assaulted by five people, as shown in newly released discovery. Since you are the District Attorney's Investigator, the press have assumed - falsely, as it turns out - that you had actually read your file. You also asked to be directed to the page about which I commented. As a result I enclose page 1304 of your office's discovery for your edification.

I can only assume your motivation in questioning my assertion was simply ignorance. A simple reading of your file might solve that problem in the future.

Since you raised your accusatory question in front of the media, I am sending them a copy of this letter and its enclosure. I am sure they would be glad to question you as to this matter.

Sincerely,
Cheshire, Parker, Schneider
Bryan & Vitale

Joseph B. Cheshire V

Enclosure

Durham Police Department
Reporting Officer Narrative - Durham Police officer G.D. Sutton
Victim: Crystal Gail Mangum
Offense: Rape -- Forcecible
Date/Time Reported: Tue 03/14/2006 01:22

Original Narrative
On March 14, 2006 at approximately 0122 hours I responded to Duke Emergency Room in Reference to a rape. Upon arrival I spoke with Ms. Crystal Gail Mangum who stated that she and three girls, Nikki, Angel, and Tammy, had performed at at Bachelor Party on 610 North Buchanan at around 2300 hours on March 13, 2006. While I talked with Ms. Mangum she was crying and seemed very nervous, she said that her vagina was sore and she was bleeding. Ms. Mangum said that there were about 20 guys there. Nikki wanted to have sex with one of the guys and tried to talk her into it. She did not want to. Nikki wanted here 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. Ms. Mangum stated that one of the guys Brett, penetrated her vagina with his hands and penis. She later stated that she was penetrated by all five of the guys. Ms Mangum said that about 20 minutes after that she rode to the Kroger Shopping Center at 3457 Hillsborough Road with Nikki. This is when Nikki called the police because Ms. Mangum would not get out of the car. When the responding officers arrived Ms Mangum was passed out and had to be awakened with smelling salts. Because of of her mental state she was transported to the Durham Access Center. It was here that Ms. Mangum first told the doctors that she had been raped. While being interviewed at Duke, her story changed several times. At one point she said that she had not been raped. She also said that Nikki had stolen her money and cell phone. Ms Mangum also said that she might have deposited the money. Ms. Mangum was treated at Duke ER. Investigator Jones responded to Duke to attempt to interview Ms. Mangum.

update:

Investigator Wilson tried to explain his statements, but he's still wrong. The Herald-Sun reported:
Wilson said in an interview Friday, however, that Cheshire was "trying to twist what I asked him." He said he was questioning the lawyer's reference to 20 alleged rapists, not the reference to five.

"I was upset about the 20," Wilson acknowledged. "There ain't nothing about 20 in anything I've read. I wanted him to show it to me. One of the police officers did say there were 20 people present, but he didn't say 20 people raped this woman.

"We all know she said three," Wilson added. "We all know that because three people are charged. I wasn't questioning the three or the five. I was only questioning the 20."

However, a reference to 20 assailants was made in a Duke police report on March 14. It said that "a female was brought into the Emergency Department by Durham Police in reference to possible rape. The female was picked up at the Kroger on Hillsborough Rd., and she was claiming that she was raped by approximately 20 white males."

Wilson has not been paying attention. This important story was out in early May - Police Report: Accuser Said 20 Raped Her:
Duke police officials released a report Tuesday night indicating that the accuser in the lacrosse rape investigation changed her story.

A Duke committee released a report Monday saying that Durham police sent mixed messages in the early hours of the lacrosse investigation. It said that police initially told administrators that the accuser was not credible and initially said 20 men had raped her. She later said three had raped her.

Durham City Manager Patrick Baker told Eyewitness News earlier Tuesday that he had never heard that she claimed 20 men had raped her.

But Duke police released a copy late Tuesday of its report from the morning after the March 14 party.

"The female was picked up at the Kroger on Hillsborough Rd., and she was claiming that she was raped by approximately 20 white males at 610 N. Buchanan Street," the report says.

"The victim changed her story several times, and eventually Durham Police stated that charged would not exceed misdemeanor simple assault against the occupants of 610 N. Buchanan," the report later states.

Yes, the reference to 20 assailants is from a Duke police report and not a Durham police report. But, an investigator can't get in a debate with a lawyer outside the courtroom over the accuracy of evidence from non-Durham police sources. Durham is sounding more and more like a banana republic.

sources:
Attorneys Dispute Report in Duke Rape Case [abc11tv.com, June 23, 2006]
Lawyer cites more rape story variations [herald-sun.com, June 23, 2006]
Joe Cheshire letter to Investigator Linwood Wilson (.pdf) [abc11tv.com, June 23, 2006]
Police Report: Accuser Said 20 Raped Her [abc11tv.com, May 9, 2006]

Friday, June 23, 2006

Duke Case: Friday Linkfest

updated: June 24, 2006

Robert KC Johnson - Turning on Nifong:

Nifong’s behavior at best explicable by incompetence and more likely by malfeasance, the press has started to look hard at the district attorney’s actions...
La Shawn Barber - Scottsboro, NYT, and Hauntings:
The following is a sampling of Nifong’s contradictory and often race-baiting pre-identification statements that were not restricted to a “belief that the victim had in fact been sexually assaulted at the 610 N. Buchanan Blvd. address” or his “hope that one or more of the persons who were present but not involved with that assault would cooperate with the investigation.” It is my hope all these statements come back to haunt him, especially the hate crime charge hints...

AP - Judge Reduces Bond of Duke Lacrosse Player:
None of the players were in court Thursday. Stephens set their next appearance for the week of July 17.

Among the items the defense is seeking is an analysis of the accuser's computer, which Nifong said was still pending, and records from the mental health facility where authorities took the woman before she told police she had been raped. The only record from the facility, Nifong said, is a single page from a log book he is still working to obtain.

The defense also has requested the results of any toxicology tests performed on the accuser in the hours after the party. One of the first police officers to encounter the woman described her as "just passed-out drunk," and the defense has suggested she arrived at the party impaired.

Nifong told the court he didn't have a toxicology report to turn over...
Joseph C. Phillips of realitycheck.org writes - Cosmic Justice in Durham:
in the final analysis that makes Mike Nifong as irresponsible as politicians fanning the flames of racial discord for votes or as wicked as the racist jurist puffed-up with the dangerous and misguided notion that they alone are the arbiters of the beneficiaries of justice.
The NY Times - Defense Criticizes Duke Case Accuser:
Mr. Cheshire described the woman as "the false accuser" and said she had claimed rape by 3, 5 and 20 men.
Duke Chronicle - Abrams lambastes Nifong:
Dan Abrams-former news anchor for MSNBC's "The Abrams Report" and recently named general manager of MSNBC...

one of the most vocal critics of what he calls the "outrageous" rape charges and of District Attorney Mike Nifong's handling of the case.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Duke Case: Rounding up Real Suspects

Mike NifongNifonged: 1. the intentional railroading or harming of a person or persons for one's own gain; 2. the destruction of innocent lives for personal reward.

Mike Nifong was back in court on Thursday. He is a smirking, evil, oozing, open sore on the legal system. He doesn't seem to have a clue that he is marching into infamy:

Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong this afternoon gave defense lawyers in the Duke lacrosse case 536 pages of evidence, saying he had answered most of their questions.

But after a court hearing one of the defense lawyers said that a quick review of the evidence raised even more questions about Nifong's prosecution of three lacrosse players on charges of raping an escort service at a March 13 team party.

Lawyer Joseph B. Cheshire V said after the hearing that the documents apparently contain a reference to the accuser saying she was raped by five people. "She's told so many different stories I'm not sure how many there are," he said.

Harvey AratonNY Times sport columnist Harvey Araton button's his lip about Duke. Clay Walters of Newsbusters reports on the disappearing half-pimple, half-pustule known as Harvey Araton:
So, what does Times sports columnist Harvey Araton have to say about this turn of events? After all, Araton went after the Duke lacrosse team in two previous columns, even attacking the university'’s women'’s lacrosse team for daring to defend their athletic colleagues....

Today'’s missive is a hard-hitting fantasia about Roger Clemens and the future Hall of Fame pitcher'’s constant retirements and returns. It's no doubt sheer coincidence that his last seven columns haven'’t addressed the Duke situation at all.
The same could be said of Stephen A. Smith of ESPN, who has gone mum on the Duke case since he wrote a brainless editorial calling the Duke women dumb.

These JV sports columnists should stick to scrutinizing sweaty jockstraps and stay away from hard news stories, about which they are clueless.

Greg Kiddera of The Duke Chronicle takes inventory of the witch hunters and the other oozing pustules at Duke, who rushed to judgement:
I applaud Randall Drain, Trinity '05, for his courageous and poignant column published in the June 15th issue of The Chronicle.

I agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Drain that the lack of support for the men's lacrosse team has been appalling. A mere accusation set off an unforgivable rush to judgment in which the Duke faculty and administration willingly participated.

Eighty-eight professors signed an ad calling "what happened to this young woman" a "social disaster" and decrying the racism on Duke's campus.

Professor Houston Baker accused the team of hiding behind a "silent whiteness." Professor Peter Wood took the opportunity to complain about, of all things, attendance in his class. Professor Melissa Malouf suggested the "condoms theory" to counter the exculpatory DNA results.

As recently as June 17, Professor Joseph Dibona published a letter in the Durham Herald-Sun complaining that the decision to reinstate the team ignored "whether the team will be found guilty."

Cash MichaelsHearsay Hearsay -

Cash Michaels
needs to see a proctologist. He's got a blockage. Stuff that should be going out the back end is coming out of his mouth. He reports: Cousin Jakki says Crystal Gail Mangum turned down $2 million to drop rape case.
The cousin of the alleged victim in the Duke University lacrosse rape case says alums of Duke� quietly offered the accuser lots of money - a staggering $2 million early on to drop the charges, and go on with her life.
And my cousin Skeeter in Filariasis, N.C. tells me he heard this whole case is a plot to extort millions from Duke University.

sources:
Lacrosse hearing raises more questions for defense [newsobserver.com, June 22, 2006]
NYT Columnist Harvey Araton on Duke Lacrosse Accused: First the Smear, Then Silence [newsbusters.org, June 22, 2006]
Faculty, administration rushed to judgements [dukechronicle.com, June 22, 2006]
COUSIN SAYS $2 MILLION 'HUSH MONEY' OFFERED [Wilmington Journal, June 22, 2006]

Duke Case: SI reports on "The Damage Done"

Sports Illustrated looks at some of the fallout from the Duke lacrosse case:

THE ACCUSED

"It was a lottery drawing," [Duke lacrosse captain] Matt Zash says. "We know it could be any one of us."

THE ACCUSER
...two weeks ago, The New York Times cited Travis as saying that his daughter was undergoing psychological treatment and was in no condition to testify.

"I don't know where they got that," Travis says now. "A lot of times we hear stuff about [her] in the paper that we hadn't heard before."

Asked about her state of mind, Travis says, "I think she'll testify. That's just my feeling."

The accuser's mother went last month to Carrboro, N.C., to meet famed Florida lawyer Willie Gary, raising the possibility of a civil suit against the players or the university, which purchased the lacrosse players' house just a month before the party.

THE PROSECUTOR
"I don't understand how he can prosecute this case," says one Durham lawyer who supported Nifong's reelection. "It's a travesty."

THE COACH
So far, no one has taken a more obvious hit from the case than the 46-year-old Pressler, the 2005 national coach of the year, a man who had spent the last 16 years building the Duke program to the highest level. On April 5 he woke up still thinking he could salvage the season. Then, around noon, news broke of McFadyen's e-mail, which described how he would kill and skin a stripper at the next party while gratifying himself in his "Duke issue spandex." Few outside the team knew that McFadyen's twisted boast was a takeoff on American Psycho, the Bret Easton Ellis novel that will be taught in at least two classes at Duke this fall...

THE SCHOOL
the factor that made the rape case such a media sensation, that gave it the legs for its continuing run across the cable universe, was the school's long-standing and at times obnoxiously trumpeted sense of itself.

source:
The Damage Done [Sports Illustrated, June 26th issue]

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Duke Case: Wikipedia.org Unlocks Bio Page for Crystal Gail Mangum

updated: 11:55 p.m., June 21, 2006

Wikipedia.org the internet encyclopedia has just unlocked the biographical page for Crystal Gail Mangum. The page had been locked down (left blank) because there was no "Verifiability" of her identity from a "Reliable Published Source" as required by Wikipedia policies.

The Johnsville News reported on June 10, 2006, that verifiability from a reliable published source of Ms. Mangum's identity in the Duke case was available from the court filings on attorney Kirk Osborn's website.

After an intense internal debate and some foot dragging the editors of Wikipedia released the first "official" biographical entry for Ms. Mangum based on the Kirk Osborn filings. Although the page does have a "considered for deletion" warning, which means the debate still rages.

Her name now also appears in the the Wikipedia entry: 2006 Duke University lacrosse team scandal.

Some of the debate regarding the publication of Ms. Mangum's identity and bio can be followed on these Wikipedia discussion/talk pages:

Talk:Crystal Gail Mangum
Talk:2006 Duke University lacrosse team scandal
Talk:2006 Duke University lacrosse team scandal - Revision
Talk:Uncensored:Crystal Gail Mangum

Wikipedia's authority on these matters has become a big deal. Wikipedia is now the defacto standard for public information. Wikipedia about Wikipedia says:

However, there has been controversy over Wikipedia's reliability and accuracy, with the site receiving criticism for its susceptibility to vandalism, uneven quality and inconsistency, systemic bias, and preference for consensus or popularity over credentials. Nevertheless, its free distribution, constant and plentiful updates, diverse and detailed coverage, and versions in numerous languages have made it one of the most-used reference resources on the Internet.
The biggest challenge is to keep Ms. Mangum's page neutral and objective in light of the strong emotions this case has generated.

The Johnsville News biographical page for Ms. Mangum agrees with all the facts that Wikipedia.org has published so far.

There is no doubt that Crystal Gail Mangum has become a person of historical significance. So it seems completely appropriate for Wikipedia to provide information about her.

It will be interesting to see if any "reputable" news organization decides to break ranks and release her name while the case is still pending. Certainly Dan Abrams the new general manager of MSNBC and the managers of Fox News are discussing this very topic.

How history treats Crystal Gail Mangum is another extremely interesting question. One that everyone will certainly be paying close attention to.

sources:
Duke Lacrosse Scandal: Verifying the Identification of Crystal Gail Mangum [TJN, June 10, 2006]
Duke Lacrosse Rape Case: Identifying the Accuser Debate [TJN, May 15, 2006]

update:
The Wikipedia biographical page for Mike Nifong is still very skimpy. The official biographical information for Michael B. Nifong is posted here at ncdistrictattorney.org. Anyone can contribute to Wikipedia as long as it is done in a neutral and objective manner with verifiability from reliable published sources.

Duke Case: A dead case continues to roll over the innocent

Former Conn. state prosecutor Susan Filan: serious doubts case can be proved Former Conn. state prosecutor and MSNBC analyst, Susan Filan, said on Tuesday's 'The Abrams Report':

Hi, everyone. I‘m Susan Filan. First up on the docket, more of our exclusive look at the 1,278 pages of evidence the prosecutor in the Duke lacrosse rape investigation turned over to the defense. Dan Abrams saw it all and I finally got to see what I‘ve been asking to see for months, the accuser‘s statement to the police and to the sexual assault nurse. I got to see that report. And now, I have serious doubts about whether this case can be proved at all.

File this next one under Mike Nifong harassment.

Herald-Sun - Hearing on lacrosse subpoenas set:
Lawyers trying to quash subpoenas Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong issued to Duke University soon will have their day in court.

Nifong scheduled a July 3 hearing on the issue Tuesday, indicating he would fight to keep the subpoenas alive so he could glean potentially critical information in the Duke lacrosse rape case.

In the May 31 subpoenas, Nifong demanded that Duke turn over the home addresses of 47 lacrosse players and two other students.

Sadly, the emotional and financial costs of this case are adding up.

Indicted Duke lacrosse player to seek bond reduction at hearing:
The father of a Duke University men's lacrosse player charged with rape said the case "has taken an unbelievable and horrendous emotional toll" on his family, which borrowed $400,000 from a close friend to post their son's bond.

In an affidavit filed Wednesday, Philip Seligmann said his son, Reade, "has never been involved in the criminal justice system in any state before the filing of these charges."

"We are committed as a family, along with Reade, to do everything necessary to restore our good name," Seligmann said in the affidavit, which was filed along with a motion by defense attorneys seeking discovery evidence from District Attorney Mike Nifong.

Sources:
'The Abrams Report' for June 20 [MSNBC]
Hearing on lacrosse subpoenas set [Herald-Sun.com, June 20, 2006]
Indicted Duke lacrosse player to seek bond reduction at hearing [macon.com, June 21, 2006]

Duke Case: Other views

updated: 9:22 a.m. June 21, 2006

USA Today Editorial - As time ticks by in Duke's rape case, facts grow short:

Every day, the criminal case against three Duke University lacrosse players accused of raping a woman hired to strip at a team party last March seems to unravel a bit more....

the prosecutor who brought the charges stands nearly mute — unwilling or unable to explain why the case he once pushed so publicly now seems so weak.
MSNBC - Coach K breaks silence on Duke lacrosse case:
"I think it’s important for me to remember my place."

"I am the basketball coach. I’m not the president, I’m not the athletic director and I’m not on the Board of Trustees, and don’t want to be."

"Giving support does not mean you’re choosing sides. Giving support is what a university should do ... because we’re in the kid business."
ESPN - Players take different approaches to life after scandal:

Matt Zash, Duke lacrosse captain:
"To me, rape is the most hated crime there is, and to be accused of that is completely horrifying," Zash says. "But nobody wanted to hear the truth. They wanted us to admit something that did not happen, and they wanted to see us pay for it."

"The way the media portrayed this pretty much determined whether we could go to class," he says. "If there were favorable media, maybe we wouldn't be harassed. It was tough to be a Duke lacrosse player on campus and all of a sudden a mob of students crowd around and start yelling at you to step forward and tell what happened that night.

"Maybe I was young and naive, but I thought that nothing bad is ever going to happen. The worst was when my name and home address was posted on a Web site, along with my picture and my parents' name, calling for vigilante justice. That really worried me. My parents live in that house and they were distraught. That's when it really hit me that anything could happen."
Dan Flannery, Duke lacrosse captain:
The strain of the past three months shows on Flannery, who often pauses and takes a deep breath before providing details of his experience. He finishes many of his sentences shaking his head slowly and soulfully, his pale blue eyes narrowing. He talks about giving DNA for the first time, on his 22nd birthday. He talks about how at first no one really thought the case would get this big, maybe except his and Evans' mothers. And how he took for granted that he would be able to play lacrosse forever.
Rocky Mount Telegram Editorial - Our view: Duke case raises more questions:
If the statements and evidence Nifong's office has collected support the account of the victim, then by all means, Nifong should continue the prosecution with every ounce of energy his team can muster. But if the case against the Duke lacrosse players is built on something less, that scenario raises troubling questions indeed...

Here's hoping the outcome of the case is decided by truth — and not by politics.
TheConservativeVoice - Mike Nifong Makes Newsweek Look Great:
The most egregious flaw with Mr. Nifong's position is his belief (really, hope) that the accuser was a victim. He raced to indict without waiting for DNA results. He gave the accuser photos of all the white members of the Duke lacrosse team and let her pick. No photos of others, as there should have been, to test her identification. An operating assumption that the accuser, despite her employment, medical and criminal histories, was credible, and at least some of those white lacrosse players had to be guilty, whether or not corroborating evidence was available.

There was a time when blacks were lynched based on baseless accusations. This time three white men were indicted and jailed (until they each posted $400,000 as bail) on baseless charges. Oh well. At least they were not lynched.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Duke Lacrosse Scandal: MSNBC says Nifong has no case

Dan Abrams -I don‘t understand how Mike Nifong brought this case. I really don‘t understand it. MSNBC has the entire 1300 page discovery file for the Duke case. They first discussed it on Monday's "The Abrams Report." Dan Abrams said:

"I don‘t understand how Mike Nifong brought this case. I really don‘t understand it."
The transcript for the show is now online.

Tuesday's show also continued to hammer away at Mike Nifong and the false accuser, Crystal Gail Mangum.

Monday's show:
Hi everyone. I‘m Susan Filan. First up on the docket, an MSNBC exclusive. The media‘s first ever look at the almost 1,300 pages of evidence Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong turned over to the defense in the Duke lacrosse rape investigation.

Bits and pieces have been released in defense motions, but our own Dan Abrams is the first to get a look at all of it. Dan thanks for joining us.

DAN ABRAMS, MSNBC GENERAL MANAGER: Well, Susan, it‘s good to be back on the program. I‘ve got to say, we hear so many times on this program again and again, we talk about this case, well, we don‘t know everything...

FILAN: Right.

ABRAMS: ... well, we haven‘t seen all the discovery. Well now I‘ve seen them all. It‘s all numbered. Every page is numbered of the discovery. I‘ve seen it all now everything that the D.A. handed over to the defense team, and this case is even weaker than I originally thought.

FILAN: Really?

ABRAMS: I mean, look, I was—I had come out on this program and said that I didn‘t think that—I thought it was time for the D.A. to drop the charges, after seeing the accuser‘s statement, after seeing the sexual assault nurse‘s statement, after seeing the statement of Dave Evans and the other captains who gave statements early on, after seeing dates for when documents were subpoenaed, all the medical reports, everything else, I don‘t understand how Mike Nifong brought this case. I really don‘t understand it. And I‘ll tell you and I mean this seriously, because you look at the accuser‘s statement and you‘ve got the quotes there...

FILAN: Right.

ABRAMS: ... it is constantly contradicted by the other evidence and even the accuser‘s statement itself is entirely contradicted by the sexual assault nurse‘s report.

source:
'The Abrams Report' for June 19 [MSNBC]

update:
Courttv.com message board discusses Tuesday, June 20th Abrams Report [courttv.com]
Courttv.com message board discusses Monday, June 19th Abrams Report [courttv.com]

Duke Case: Who is more Evil - Mike Nifong or Crystal Gail Mangum?

updated:

Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong Crystal Gail Mangum - false accuser

Regarding the Duke lacrosse scandal.

Scarborough Country on MSNBC ran a poll on Monday (June 19th):

Should the district attorney drop the charges in the Duke lacrosse case?
* 863 responses
Yes 82%
No 18%

Fair enough. Not everyone has had time to read the voluminous documentation and evaluate the alleged rape timeline minute by minute. Millions watch "Law & Order" and believe the prosecutor is always the "good guy." That was the TJN assumption when this Duke mess started.

But, Mike Nifong has gone way off the "good guy" reservation. He is in a different place now. He's an egotistical, pandering, lying, bully, who's been called out by most legal experts, who have actually looked at the evidence. This case is a total hoax. It only continues as a dead man walking, ruining the lives of three innocent young men, for reasons known only to Mike Nifong.

The false accuser, Crystal Gail Mangum, is a sad person too. But, she has sat through numerous police interviews and lineups(3?) and lied and lied and lied some more. Perhaps she became upset because the Duke players locked her out of the house and wouldn't let her get her shoe back.

"Mess with my shoe and you'll have hell to pay."

Accusing three young men of rape and trying to send them to jail, because one of your white shoes is missing sounds like a pretty evil thing to do. But, it is some stupid twisted logic like that which is guiding Ms. Mangum. She might also have other personal issues which are impacting her.

So, thank you to Ms. Mangum, the perception of all future legitimate rape victims has been badly damaged.

So the real question is:

Who is more evil: Mike Nifong or Crystal Gail Mangum?

Final Pollhost.com Results

Selection Votes
Mike Nifong 143 (84%)
Crystal Gail Mangum 27 (16%)

170 votes total

update: June 26, 2006

Clearly, Mike Nifong is more of a villain in the eyes of most people. He had the power and discretion to both prevent and end this huge injustice. Even Reade Seligmann's mother, Kathy Seligmann, said she doesn't blame her son's accuser. CBS News reported:

In an exclusive interview with CBS News correspondent Trish Regan, Seligmann's mother, Kathy, said that despite her family's nightmare, she does not blame the accuser.

"I don't hate her...I think she panicked and made up this story. I pray that she didn't mean for this to happen," Kathy told Regan.
Duke Mom Does Not Blame Son's Accuser [cbsnews.com, June 22, 2006]

Duke Lacrosse Hoax - Johnsville Archives

Duke Lacrosse Scandal: Nifong v. Newsweek

Newsweek Senior Writer Susannah Meadows & Mike NifongMike Nifong is mad. Look out or he'll send you a rambling, long winded, email rant. His Newsweek email rant will soon be dissected, but for now here's the original correspondence in the Nifong v. Newsweek flap.

Office of the District Attorney
State of North Carolina
Fourteenth Prosecutorial District

Michael B. Nifong
District Attorney

Press Release
June 19, 2006

An article in the June 29, 2006, Newsweek, which is scheduled to hit newsstands today, contains the following paragraph:

Asked for an interview last week by NEWSWEEK, Nifong declined, but sent an angry e-mail accusing the national media of getting spun by defense lawyers and sticking to his earlier comments to the press. "None of the 'facts' I know at this time, indeed, none of the evidence I have seen from any source, has changed the opinion that I expressed initially," he wrote. He lashed out at "media speculation" (adding, "and it is even worse on the blogs"). He said that he was bound by ethics rules against commenting any more about the case or evidence.
Because I think the Newsweek report mischaracterizes the tone of my response, and in order to set the context of the briefly quoted remarks, I am today releasing both the original e-mail request for an interview and my response thereto, copies of which are attached to this release.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
From: Susannah.Meadows[meadows]@mycingular.blackberry.net
To: Michael.b.nifong
Sent: Tuesday, 13 June 2006 2:46pm ET
Subject: Possible cover story

Dear Mike,
I've been going over these documents in the duke rape case. And I have to tell you that they raise questions about was known while you were making certain assertions. Please can we talk about this. I'm not asking that you comment on anything that isn't public. We're getting ready to do a big story about this, possibly on the cover, about how certain things were said in public
when the facts were known to be different. We won't close the issue until saturday morning. Please think about commenting. As it appears now, it doesn't look good. But I'm sure that's because we haven't heard your side. I can be reached at ___________ I'll be in durham tomorrow night trough friday.all
the best, susannah meadows
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mike Nifong is madFrom: Michael.B.Nifong@NCAOCISD
To: smeado@newsweek.com
Sent: Tuesday, 13 June 2006 4:26pm ET
Subject: RE:Possible cover story

Ms. Meadows

I am afraid that I must decline your request for an interview. All of my public comments in this case were made prior to any specific defendant being identified, and were essentially restricted to 1) my belief that the victim had in fact been sexually assaulted at the 610 N. Buchanan Blvd. address, and 2) my hope that one or more of the persons who were present but not involved with that assault would cooperate with the investigation. Once specific defendants were identified, I considered myself to be ethically bound to avoid any further comments on the case or the evidence. That has left the field pretty much open to the defense attorneys. That part I understand, and have no choice but to live with. What has surprised me is the utter lack of any degree of skepticism of the part of the national media with respect to the claims of the defense attorneys, many of which are misleading and some of which are absolutely false. As an example, when those attorneys held press conferences to announce that the first round of DNA testing "completely exonerated" the players (a claim that, on its face, is rather preposterous), I saw not a single report that any reporter had actually seen the test results (none of them had), or had asked to see them and had that request denied (which is what happened to those who bothered to ask(. Now you are going over "documents" in that case. Where did you get them? What other documents did they not show you? But, of course, you cannot possibly know. Is anyone surprised that the defense attorneys are spinning this case in such a way that things do not look good for the prosecution? Their job, after all, is to create reasonable doubt, a task made all the easier by an uncritical national press corps desperate for any reasonable detail, regardless of veracity. Did not exactly the same thing happen with the Michael Peterson case in 2003? Do you recall how that one came out at trial?

Now, to get specific, what are you accusing me of saying in public "when the facts were known to be different?" None of the "facts" I know at this time, indeed none of the evidence I have seen from any source, has changed the opinion that I expressed initially. I have seen quite a bit of media speculation (and it is even worse on the blogs) that either starts from a faulty premise or builds to a demonstrably false conclusion. That is not my fault (although some of your colleagues have acted as if it were). The only people I have to persuade will be twelve sitting on the jury, and if you want to know how I am going to do that, you need to attend the trial. If, in the meantime, you and other "journalists" want to continue your speculations in the competition to come up with the most sellable story - and that seems to be everyone's bottom line - then please spare me the recriminations when you get things wrong, as you inevitably will.

Not that this will make the slightest bit of difference to you, but the real irony of this whole situation from my point of view is 1) that my initial cooperation with the press was based not on any perceived political advantage to be had, but on my (in retrospect, admittedly naive) belief that such cooperation would help effectuate a more accurate public discourse on an issue with great social resonance; 2)that my initial comments on the situation before there was a case against any identified defendant which would trigger the ethical rules resulting in my being accused of unethical behavior, and now my silence, which is mandated by those ethical rules, is apparently raising further speculation about the ethicality of my behaviour; and 3) the lesson I have learned from all of this is that I would probably be best served in the future by avoiding speaking to the press at all.

Mike Nifong
District Attorney
14th Prosecutorial District

sources:
Nifong Publicly Releases 'Angry' E-mail To Newsweek [wral.com, June 19, 2006]
Nifong press release & Newsweek/Nifong email correspondence [wral.com, June 19, 2006]
Nifong Fires Back At 'Newsweek' Story About Duke Investigation [video, WRAL, June 19, 2006]
Doubts About Duke [Newsweek, July 29, 2006 issue]

update:
The email address shown for Mike Nifong, Michael.B.Nifong@NCAOCISD, does not work.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Duke Lacrosse Scandal: Show Us the Subpoena Timeline

updated: 3:40 p.m., June 19, 2006

Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong and his Investigator Benjamin W. Himan still have some explaining to do. As The Johnsville News first pointed out on Saturday-

They need to explain how and why Investigator Himan stated on a Probable Cause Affidavit, dated March 27, 2006, for a search warrant that they had "medical records and interviews" about the victim Crystal Gail Mangum.

Because, according to a defense motion filed on June 15th for David Evans by his attorneys, the police and prosecution, based on their own documentation, did not have the the subpoenaed medical records until April 5, 2006.

From the defense motion:

Discovery materials provided to the Defendant on May 18, 2006, trace the following timeline by whic the records of Crystal Mangum's treatment at Duke Hospital on March 14, 2006, were provided to the prosecution in this case.
  • March 16, 2006: Durham Police Investigator Ben Himan contacted Nurse Tara Levicy to discuss the "rape kit and examination" of Crystal Mangum. According to Investigator Himan's notes of his activities that day, Nurse Levicy responded "that due to HIPAA laws she was unable to divulge patient information but stated that ther were signs consistent with a sexual assault during her test."2

  • March 20, 2006: Durham District Attorney Michael B. Nifong issued a subpoena to Duke Hospital for copies of the records of Crystal Mangum's treatment at Duke on March 14, 2006, and specifically named Investigator Himan as the person to whom Duke was commanded to produce the subpoenaed records.3

  • March 21, 2006: The subpoena was served on Duke Hospital.4

  • March 30, 2006: The medical records of Crystal Mangum's treatment at Duke Hospital on March 14, 2006, were printed out for purposes of complying with the subpoena. The date and time-stamp indicating when the records were printed is readily visible at the bottom of the Duke Hospital records provided to the Defendant in discovery.5

  • April 5, 2006: Investigator Himan picked up the subpoenaed record from Nurse Levicy at Duke Hospital.6
There is no indication elsewhere in discovery that anyone involved in the investigation and prosecution of the above-referenced case had any other personal contact with Nurse Levicy or anyone at Duke Hospital regarding the contents of the medical records of Crystal Mangum's treatment on March 14, 2006.7 Indeed, had such contact been made and any substantive conversation occured, the statutory discovery laws would have required the substance of that conversation to be reduced to writing and provided to the defense. See N.C.G.S. 15A-903

Thus, given that lack of record, the timeline sketched above, and Nurse Levicy's initial reluctance to discuss the case in light of HIPAA restrictions, it is reasonable to assume that the earliest point in time when anyone involved in the Investigation and prosecution of this case could have received any details from Duke Hospital personnel or records about the hospital's treatment and interaction with Crystal Mangum on March 14, 2006, was April 5, 2006.

2 See Attachment 2 (Investigator Himan's notes dated March 16, 2006).
3 See Attachment 3 (subpoena issued to Duke Hospital by D.A. Michael Nifong on March 20, 2006)
4 See Attachment 3
5 See Attachment 1 (the bottom of the Duke Hospital medical records, filed herein under seal)
6 See Attachment 4 (Investigator Himan's notes dated April 5, 2006)
7 In a sworn probable cause affidavit submitted on April 18, 2006, to support the search of co-defendant Collin Finnerty's dorm room in Edens Hall on Duke's campus, Investigator Himan and Sgt. Gottlieb swore under oath:
"A Forensic Sexual Assault Nurse (SANE) and Physician conducted the examination [at Duke Hospital]. Medical records and interviews that were obtained by a subpoena revealed the victim had signs, symptoms, and injuries consistent with being raped and sexually assaulted vaginally and anally. Furthermore, the SANE nurse stated the injuries and her behaviour were consistent with a traumatic experience."
Because there is no reference in Investigator Himan's narrative of his case activities before April 18 to any conversation with Nurse Levicy other than those noted above and memorialized in Attachments 2 and 4, one can only assume this statement was a reference to those conversations (although it is notable that there was absolutely no evidence of rectal trauma observed by anyone at Duke Hospital on March 14, 2006). If not, and if there were other interviews with Nurse Levicy and/or any doctor at Duke Hospital, their absence in discovery is yet another example of the deficiency of voluntary discovery at this point.
TheSmokingGun.com has the March 27th Search Warrant and Probable Cause Affidavit:

Duke Lacrosse Search Warrant and Inventory of Seized Property, for Ryan McFadyen's dorm room #204, 2C Edens Dormitory, Duke Univ., March 27, 2006, 9 pages [TheSmokingGun.com]

It says:
Medical records and interviews that were obtained by a subpoena revealed the victim had signs, symptoms, and injuries consistent with being raped and sexually assaulted vaginally and anally. Furthermore, the SANE nurse stated the injuries and her behavior were consistent with a traumatic experience.
As indicated by Nurse Levicy, medical records are protected by HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), which has a privacy rule:
The Privacy Rule took effect April 14, 2003, with a one-year extension for certain "small plans". It establishes regulations for the use and disclosure of Protected Health Information (PHI). PHI is any information about health status, provision of health care, or payment for health care that can be linked to an individual[12]. This is interpreted rather broadly and includes any part of a patient’s medical record or payment history.
It sure sounds like something happened on March 27th regarding the medical records. Because as the defense pointed out in their motion:
D.A. Nifong's Public Comments About Crystal Mangum's Treatment at Duke

On March 27, 2006, local and national media outlets began reporting on what would become dozens of public statements that District Attorney Michael Nifong would ultimately make in March and April about the investigation and prosecution of the above referenced matter. Those statements would often be made by Mr. Nifong to the public through interviews with print and television media outlets, both local and national.
Someone please explain all of this.

sources:
June 15 motion for David Evans by Cheshire and Bannon (.pdf) [newsobserver.com]
attachments to June 15 motion (.pdf) [newsobserver.com]
Duke Lacrosse Scandal: Nifong Lies & Deception [TJN, June 17, 2006]
Duke Lacrosse Search Warrant and Inventory of Seized Property [TheSmokingGun.com]

update: It's disappointing to see Jeralyn Merritt at the blog TalkLeft.com cite this subpoena discrepancy in her blog post on Sunday, June 18th, that The Johnsville News first pointed out on Saturday, June 17th, and not give TJN a link/credit. Thank you, Ms. Merritt. I guess liberal doesn't mean liberal with the links. Ms Merritt wrote:
I would note that in the March 27 search warrant the Affiant officer wrote:
Medical records and interviews that were obtained by a subpoena revealed the victim had signs, symptoms, and injuries consistent with being raped and sexually assaulted vaginally and anally. Furthermore, the SANE nurse stated the injuries and her behavior were consistent with a traumatic experience.
This raises a legitimate question of whether the investigator actually had obtained the subpoenaed records by March 27 as he claimed, or he was misstating information to the Court, which would seem to be the case if the defense is correct the report wasn't received until April 5.
Ms. Merritt will probably say her policy is not to link to blogs or posts that use the name of the alleged victim. Every blogger can certainly set their own policy, but even a non-linked citation would have been nice.

Interestingly, Ms. Merritt just got a small write up in AARP Magazine (saw it at the library, thank you) about her blog:
Jeralyn Merritt, a Denver crimminal defense attorny and an MSNBC talking head, says her blog TalkLeft.com where she discusses everything from Iraq to Social Security gets more attention (almost 20,000 unque visitors a day) than her TV spots...
Every Blog Has It's Say [by Andrea Poe, AARP Magazine, July/August issue]

Jeralyn E. Merritt is a very old 56Funny, Ms. Merritt doesn't look a day over 65 from her website photo.

But, all of her 20,000 visitors a day should know that according to the article Ms. Jeralyn E. Merritt is 56-years-old, repeat 56-years-old. Just wanted to make double sure that Ms. Merritt never cites The Johnsville News.

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