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Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Duke Hoax: Day #260

We have decided that the right and fair thing to do is to welcome back Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty to resume their studies at Duke for the spring semester. - Duke President Richard H. Brodhead
Updated - today's items:

Collin Finnerty & Reade SeligmannABC11 TV/WTVD:
Duke Invite Seligmann, Finnerty to Return — Suspended Duke University lacrosse players Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann have been invited to return to the school as students, more than a week after the Durham district attorney dropped rape charges against them and David Evans and a full semester after the pair were placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the rape and kidnapping charges against them. The university made the invitation today in letters sent today to the two young men and their families...

News & Observer:
Lacrosse players Finnerty, Seligmann allowed back at Duke — In a news conference this afternoon, Finnerty's attorney, Wade Smith, said: "This announcement speaks to Duke's integrity as an institution, to its mission and to its belief in Collin Finnerty's innocence and that makes us very glad." It's unclear whether Seligmann and Finnerty will accept Duke's offer to return this semester.

Duke invites two lacrosse players back — Duke University said Wednesday that two of the lacrosse players accused of sexually assaulting a stripper have been invited to return to school and are eligible to rejoin the team...

Duke Chronicle:
Duke Offers to Reinstate Finnerty, Seligmann for Spring Semester — Finnerty's father, Kevin Finnerty, told The Chronicle Wednesday that Collin had been reinstated. He said that although Collin would like to return he would not do so until the remaining charges had been dropped...

Duke To Reinstate Seligmann, Finnerty — Citing the "unwarranted harm" that continued leave would impose on the falsely persecuted young men, Duke University has invited Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty to return to the University for the spring semester as students in good standing. The invitation follows last week's call from President Richard Brodhead for District Attorney Mike Nifong to drop the remaining charges.

In a letter to Reade Seligmann, Duke University Vice President for Student Affairs, Larry Moneta writes:
January 2, 2007

Dear Reade,

On August 3, 2006, your status at the university was changed from that of Interim Suspension to Administrative Leave of Absence. I am writing to tell you that you may return to Duke in good standing for the 2007 spring semester.

As circumstances have evolved in this extraordinary case, we have attempted to balance recognition of the gravity of legal charges with the presumption of your innocence. Now with the approach of a new term, we believe that circumstances warrant that we strike this balance differently. At this point, continued extension of the administrative leave would do unwarranted harm to your educational progress. For these reasons, Dean Thompson and I, with the support of President Brodhead, have decided to lift the Administrative Leave. Your status may be revisited upon final resolution of the criminal charges...

Reade, it is my sincere hope that you will choose to return for the spring semester. Please let me know how I may support you during this time.

Larry Moneta, Ed.D.
Vice President for Student Affairs
Duke University:
Statement By Duke President Brodhead Regarding Status Of Students Seligmann And Finnerty
The following statement was issued by Duke President Richard H. Brodhead on Wednesday:

“We have decided that the right and fair thing to do is to welcome back Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty to resume their studies at Duke for the spring semester. Although the students still face serious charges and larger issues require Duke’s collective attention, the circumstances in this case have changed substantially, and it is appropriate that the students have an opportunity to continue their education.”

Below is the text of a Jan. 2 memo sent by Vice President for Student Affairs Larry Moneta to President Brodhead regarding the status of Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann:

In response to your question about what is appropriate regarding the status of Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann, after consulting with Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education Robert Thompson and Provost Peter Lange, I recommend that these students should now be allowed to return to Duke and continue their education...
Statement of the Seligmann Family
The past nine months have been a very difficult time for our family. We are grateful and appreciate to those how have supported us during this time, and particularly the outpouring of support we have received from Duke alumni.

We appreciate the recent comments by Duke University President Brodhead, questioning the basis for the remaining charges against Reade and Mr. Nifong's conduct in ever bringing these charges. We are also glad that Duke University has now made it clear that Reade is welcome to return to the University and look forward to the day that he can return to living a normal life and continue his education as a full-time student.

By now it should be plain to any person who has any objectivity that the charges against Reade are transparently false. Reade is absolutely innocent and we will continue to fight this injustice. We are not going to rest until Reade's good name has been cleared and those who have been responsible for this injustice have been held fully accountable.

Reade Seligmann
Kathy Seligmann
Philip Seligmann
LieStoppers forum: Duke To Reinstate Seligmann, Finnery
LieStoppers forum: Finnerty Attorney holding conference
TalkLeft: Duke to reinstate Finnerty and Seligmann
FreeRepublic: Duke To Reinstate Seligmann, Finnerty

KC Johnson: Duke Does the Right Thing
related: Glenn Reynolds, Instapundit: "Duke does the right thing at last" - Glenn's reader, Brian Gates, added:
"Wow. The school canceled their sports season, the faculty publicly condemned them, and they had to leave the university. But a year later, Duke has decided these young men are entitled to the presumption of innocence. That's mighty white of them.

"I'm no law prof, but isn't the presumption of innocence most useful before a pile of facts come out indicating that the accused are, in fact, innocent?"
Dr. Melissa Clouthier:
Nifong Gone Wrong UPDATED — Pardon me for being an ungrateful observer, but if it were me, I'd say, "Screw you, Duke."...Imagine how different their lives would have been during this difficult time had the school presumed their innocence. Oh sure, Duke would have received castigation from the politically correct within and without. Had the school taken a week or two to gather information, put the kids on a temporary suspension to check things out, perhaps the case against the men would have looked as suspect as most every fair-minded person thought it to be at first glance. But no, the institution rushed to judgment. They participated in the ruin of reputation, achievement and futures.


Finnerty FamilySharon Swanson, MetroNC.com:
Caught in the Crosshairs — A Visit with the Collin Finnerty Family - I live in Chapel Hill, NC, the next door neighbor to Durham and Duke University. I could throw a rock into this adjoining county from my house. These days, I often want to, for reasons I will attempt to explain...Collin is the middle child; his two older brothers live and work in New York City and his younger sisters are still at home...

“I’d like to believe that something good will come out of this,” Kevin Finnerty said. “I think that the Durham DA effectively answers to nobody, and I don’t know anywhere else in America where people don’t answer to anyone.”...

Apparently in the state of North Carolina, neither the governor nor the attorney general can get involved in an active case,” he continued. “In the state of New York, the governor can get involved in any case at any time. Then there is the North Carolina grand jury system, where no record is made of cases presented — there is no stenographer, no one taking notes, no tape recorder, there is simply no record of what is said to a North Carolina grand jury. We have friends who are lawyers in New York and they asked: ‘When are you going to get the transcripts of what was given to the grand jury in Durham?’ And there are none.”...

“People think that I have the toughest time,” Collin said, “but it’s harder for my mom. It’s tough to see her deal with this day after day for something that never happened"...
LieStoppers forum: Caught in the Crosshairs
The DNA Hoax - The DNA chronology, when examined with dates and events in sequence, unambiguously demonstrates Mr. Nifong's, and others', intentional misconduct and abuse of power....DNA Securities and DA Nifong....March 23 Non-Testimonial Order...Tests at SBI labs....April 5 Order to transfer samples....McFadyen E-mail Release....The Results of the DNA Securities Tests....The First Grand Jury – April 17...

What did Officer Gottlieb & Himan say to the grand jury? Did they knowingly lie or mislead them? Were they instructed to do so? Why were so many falsehoods spread by so many?

Frederick Grab (former Calif. deputy Attorney General), Washington Times:
What a predicament - Lyndon Johnson during his presidency once described what it was like waging the war in Vietnam: it felt like being on the road during a Texas hail storm -- you couldn't go forward, you couldn't go back and you couldn't stand still. I would imagine that Mike Nifong, district attorney of Durham County, North Carolina, must have similar feelings about his own albatross, the Duke rape case.

News & Observer:
Nifong: I'll help Durham heal — District Attorney Mike Nifong said after a private swearing-in Tuesday that he intends to help Durham heal the wounds of the Duke University lacrosse case...Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson swore in Nifong in a morning ceremony before the courthouse was opened to the public. Hudson said he was not aware of any specific requirement that the oath be taken in the open.

"I'm not sure it violated anything but common sense," Hudson said.
KC Johnson: Violating "Common Sense"
FreeRepublic: Nifong: I'll help Durham heal
Jason Trumpbour, Friends of Duke University:
Correspondence with Group of 88 — A few days ago, I invited supporters to contact members of the Group of 88 and politely ask them to join the University in calling for due process for Reade, Collin and David and perhaps even reevaluate their own rush to judgment. The early returns are not encouraging...

KC Johnson:
The Absence of Self-Reflection — Three articles have appeared in the last week, in different publications, that speak to a question that virtually all in the Duke administration and faculty have thus far done everything possible to avoid: how will the University deal with behavior by prominent faculty and to a lesser extent administrators that, with every day, looks less and less defensible?

Forum topics of note:

The News & Observer coverup: There has been a continuing heated discussion on the News & Observer's Editor's blog regarding the News & Observer's efforts to withhold information from their "brief" March 24th interview and subsequent March 25th and April articles about the alleged victim, Crystal Mangum.

LieStoppers forum: N&O Editors Blog, Getting hammered again today

N&O comment from HLM: For the newcomers, let me give some background on why this is so embarrassing for Editor Sill. And why she will not publish the only press interview the accuser has ever given in the case.

The first 3 weeks of coverage were spearheaded by 3 women of color on the N&O staff and turned out to be embarrassing, distorted and potentially libelous. Including, besides the bowdlerized accuser interview, publication of the famous wanted poster, pro-Nifong fawning, the famous "swaggering" piece and gratuitous use of the n-word.

Either Melanie Sill or upper management was then forced to directly intercede and begin close oversight of the coverage. Which immediately and dramatically improved....

One of many other pointed comments on the N&O Editor's blog:
Email to Mr Quarles, N&O publisher. They can't even keep their facts straight in this blog...Mr. Quarles,

There was no stone wall of silence from the Duke Lacrosse team. That was a Hoax. But there is a stone wall of silence and misinformation from the new editors of the N&0.

The N&O in the March 24 article fanned the embers of this incident into a roaring fire of racial bigotry and male dominance over poor working women, but has refused to set the record straight.

In the Editor's blog comments (link below), the three news editors cannot keep their stories straight.

First Ms Valenzuela writes on 12/23 "...Samiha did not withhold any information that would make a difference in the lives of those involved ...Neither Samiha nor any editor omitted anything that sheds light on what happened that night or that would have made a difference in how this situation has played out... It was not an accusation against Kim Roberts"

Then Linda Williams continues on 12/24 "...the accuser offered a description of the second dancer hired for the party... The accusers' speculation about the actions of the second woman was also not printed... If we had printed that utterance- an admitted speculation without the slightest foundation to suggest the possibility of truth-- it would have been a conscious act of libel."

Ms Sill in three later entries in the comments section does nothing to reconcile the differences between Ms Valenzuela's and Ms Williams' accounts. She simply defends the N&O right to leave out information if they wish and to not publish it regardless of the outcry.

Who is telling the truth? Isn't an "accusation" and "speculations about the actions" the SAME thing?

Ms Valenzuela..."it was not an accusation against Kim Roberts"

Ms Williams: "The accusers' speculation about the actions of the second woman was also not printed... If we had printed that utterance-an admitted speculation without the slightest foundation to suggest the possibility of truth-- it would have been a conscious act of libel."

And how can anyone state with certainty that publishing the apparent ... "admitted speculation without the slightest foundation to suggest the possibility of truth" by the accuser just 10 days after the incident would not "make a difference in the lives of those involved or would not "have made a difference in how this situation has played out..."

Maybe a change in news editorial staff in warranted. Or at least let the public decide (since they have minds that work as well) how the statements of the accuser should be judged.

Brian Johnston, Poway, CA
LieStoppers: Hairstat5, Test done on Crystal's hair — Info on the test done on Crystal's hair. It was the Hairstat5 test.

TalkLeft: Players cower behind sweatshirts and jackets

Yesterday (1/2) items:

John in Carolina:
Pajamas expose Nifong — Early this morning DA Mike Nifong got up, dressed, drove with his wife to the courthouse, and was sworn in in private while media and the public were locked outside. Nifong later assured media and the public it wasn’t his fault they were locked out. But, like so much Nifong says, that wasn’t true. Pajama media folks quickly moved into action, and helped expose Nifong’s full-frontal, naked lie...

Michael BaroneMichael Barone, US News & World Report:
Happy New Year — The second happy development is the collapse of the prosecution of the Duke lacrosse players. I haven't written about this case before, and I do know (but haven't recently seen or talked to) the parents of David Evans, one of the accused students. But I don't feel at all bashful about saying that it has long been apparent that the case against these students has been a travesty. If you want to read more about it, you can do no worse than consult the leading blog, Durham-in-Wonderland, by Brooklyn College Prof. KC Johnson...One thing I would be interested to know is what is going on in Nifong's mind. Is he a cynical and vicious man, or only a stupid and dangerous one?...

Michael Gaynor:
Susan Estrich, excruciatingly slow — Susan Estrich celebrated New Year's Day by posting "Duke Prosecutor's Fourth Victim." The best that can be said for Ms. Estrich is that she's getting better, but that's not much...Ms. Estrich still owes the members of the 2005-2006 Duke University Men's Lacrosse Team and the families and lawyers an apology...

Tom Bevan, RealClearPolitics blog:
The Nifong Nightmare Continues — It is hard to look back on 2006 without concluding that Durham DA Mike Nifong is one the least honorable characters of the year, so it's doubly ironic that we start 2007 with news of his swearing in for a new term...He [Nifong] is the central figure in this almost year-long tragedy and it's hard to see how he doesn't deserve all the skepticism and scorn that's continues to be heaped upon him.

Mike McCusker, Crystal Mess: Ham Sandwich Indicts Nifong

John Stevenson, Herald-Sun:
Nifong sworn in without fanfare Whatever the reason Nifong remained behind closed doors Tuesday, it was a distinct departure from the norm. That fueled conjecture that lacrosse-generated pressure might force him out of office before the end of a four-year term he won in November's general election. Unlike Nifong's, courthouse swearing-in events often are unabashedly ceremonial in nature, with family members, friends and supporters gathered in standing-room-only throngs to applaud the honoree. For example, state Supreme Court Chief Justice Sarah Parker administered the oath when Durham Clerk of Superior Court Archie Smith was sworn in last month, and Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue also put in an appearance...
LieStoppers: Media Roundup
KC Johnson: Compare and Contrast — Did Bob Ashley not consider the event newsworthy enough to send a correspondent?
former Durham police officers - Scott Tanner and Gary LeeABC11 TV/WTVD:
Charges Reinstated Against Former Durham Officers — Wake County superior court judge has reinstated criminal assault charges against two former Durham police officers. Prosecutors say former officers Scott Tanner and Gary Lee beat a restaurant cook outside a Raleigh restaurant on July 20, 2006. The officers were fired two months later after an internal investigation. The superior court judge ruled Tuesday afternoon that District Court Judge Deborah Sasser wrongly dismissed assault charges against the officers in October 2006.
New & Observer: Durham officers returned to court (1/3)

News & Observer: Judge dismisses Blinco fray cases (10/31) — Rene Dennis Thomas, a line cook at Blinco's sports bar in North Raleigh, testified that several men threatened him using racial slurs and pushed him in the bar's parking lot on the night of July 20. Thomas is black. Lee and Tanner are white...

News & Observer: Police conduct adds new turmoil to lacrosse case (7/25) — District Attorney Mike Nifong should be worried that the lead detective in the Duke lacrosse rape case is being investigated over a late-night brawl outside a Raleigh sports bar, former Durham prosecutors said Monday...

Calculated Risk

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Paul Krugman - NY Times

The Big Picture - Barry Ritholtz

naked capitalism - Yves Smith

Pragmatic Capitalism

Washington's Blog

Safe Haven

Paper Economy

The Daily Reckoning - Australia