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Monday, January 15, 2007

Duke/Nifong Hoax: Day #271 - '60 Minutes' Exposes Hoax

Updated - today's items:

CBS 60 Minutes:
The Duke Case — Lesley Stahl Talks To Parents Of Accused, Prosecution Forensics Expert

video of the lead-in trailer

FreeRepublic: LIVE THREAD: 60 Minutes Duke Lacrosse Case
LieStoppers: 60 minutes discussion only
KC Johnson: 60 Minutes Quick Hits (see comments)
Court TV: Meehan admits "big error"
TalkLeft: "60 Minutes" Open Thread
Anne Blythe and Jim Nesbitt, News & Observer:
Lacrosse case in state hands — First step: 'A fresh and thorough review' of evidence — Cooper said that Jim Coman, a former director of the State Bureau of Investigation and head of the attorney general's Special Prosecution Section, and Mary D. Winstead, a prosecutor in that section, will oversee the case.

"Agreeing to accept the prosecution of these cases doesn't guarantee a trial, nor does it guarantee a dismissal," Cooper said. "It simply promises a fresh and thorough review of the facts and a decision on the best way to handle these cases."

In the 10 months since an escort service dancer claimed she was gang-raped at a lacrosse team party, Cooper's office has been flooded with pleas that Nifong be removed from the case. Under state law, a request for a special prosecutor can come only from a district attorney. Those requests can be made when a case is particularly complex and when there are potential conflicts of interest, such as when a district attorney is being investigated for his handling of the case. Coman and Winstead face a daunting task...
LieStoppers: Coman & Winstead, Nifong's Replacements Corrupt?

Mike McCusker: We're Watching you (1/12/07) — Coman's appointment is most troubling...
Editorial - News & Observer:
Nifong's only choice — Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong has handled sexual assault charges against three Duke University lacrosse players in a strange fashion that's taken more than a few twists and turns. Friday evening, Nifong took his last turn and pulled off the road. He asked the state Attorney General's Office to name a special prosecutor, in effect recusing himself from the case. At this point, it was his only alternative...

Asking to be removed from the case was the proper course. Now it should fall to another prosecutor to decide whether to pursue the case or end it. That person, to be appointed by Attorney General Roy Cooper, should take a fresh but timely look at the evidence. If that evidence supports the accuser -- something that seems doubtful at this point -- then the prosecutor can press on. But if credible evidence is lacking, then the new prosecutor should not hesitate to drop the case.
comment: The News & Observer was a promoter of the hoax in March and early April when they took the side of the false accuser, Crystal Gail Mangum, and became her public advocate. The reporters assigned to the story never doubted or questioned the truthfulness of Ms. Mangum. The female reporters and editors felt sorry for her, because Ms. Mangum played them as marks in her con. The irony is the reporters were duped into believing they were the ones exploiting poor Ms. Mangum's alleged misfortune to sell newspapers.

Ms. Mangum talked effusively about her difficult economic and family situation, while grimacing and tearing up when asked about the gory details of her alleged gang rape. She used the presence of her children during the one interview to elicit sympathy. Mangum played the pity card to perfection and the News & Observer reporters lapped it up and passed almost every word of her lies off as "news." But, when Ms. Mangum's remarks regarding Ms. Roberts, the second stripper, didn't square with the concocted story of two women being victims of a racist gang of white male Duke lacrosse rapists; the N&O covered up the discrepancies.

Meanwhile, the editorial board at the N&O has ignored the reporting of Joe Neff (since mid-April) and decided to give Nifong a pass and pretend his illegal conduct is just bad judgement. They did it again today. The N&O editorial is now willing to concede that Nifong handled the case in a "strange fashion." Give us a break. It was handled in a criminal fashion. This token editorial states the obvious and is totally spurious at this point.This case will forever be a stain on the reputation of the News & Observer.
John in Carolina:
Sheehan's safe at the N&O — Raleigh News & Observer news columnist Ruth Sheehan helped lead the media attack on the Duke lacrosse players even before DA Mike Nifong spoke publicly about the case. Sheehan now tells readers: "It was all Nifong's fault."

I don't buy Sheehan's myth-making. I sent her the email below. I'll keep you posted if I hear anything from her...

Letters to the editor, Sunday forum, News & Observer:
John Chambers, Chapel Hill:
A false accusation — In her observations about the "social disaster" of the Duke lacrosse case, Professor Cathy N. Davidson (Point of View article, Jan. 5) shows the hypocrisy and tunnel vision which many would say "make(s) academics and liberals look ridiculous...

The true social disaster is that by the false accusation of rape, and the resulting national media frenzy, this person has now established a nationwide example undermining the claims of every female who will be raped and dares to come forward...

Will the 88 distinguished and anguished professors of the Duke Chronicle ad now provide a second one, denouncing the real disaster for all women? Any bets?

Mark Espositom, Raleigh:
Signings of support — In her Jan. 5 Point of View article "In the aftermath of a social disaster" Duke Professor Cathy N. Davidson wrote that "Last April I added my name to an ad published in the Duke Chronicle. The ad said that we faculty were listening to the anguish of students who felt demeaned by racist and sexist remarks...in the aftermath of what happened..." She also wrote, "As it turned out, 87 other faculty members were alarmed at this distressing side-effect of the lacrosse incident and signed the ad."

It's comforting to know the faculty at Duke are concerned enough with the side effects of the controversy to write about it some 10 months later. One can't help wonder why there was no such concern for the accused three players, given that she went on to write, "I am positive I am not the only professor who was and continues to be adamant about the necessity for fair and impartial legal proceedings for [the accused players]."

Perhaps these same 87 can now ink their pens as Davidson initiates a similar ad about their delayed support for the three players.

Norman G. Owen, Durham
Reading the ad
— A Jan. 6 People's Forum letter-writer's angry rant against the "Gang of 88" at Duke suggests that, in spite of Cathy Davidson's advice (Point of View article, Jan. 5), he actually hasn't read the Duke Chronicle ad in question ("We are listening"). If he had, he would know that it does not, as he said, "assume the athletes were guilty," but talks about the experience of racism on the Duke campus. The lacrosse case is referred to only as an ongoing investigation, the outcome of which will not resolve this concern one way or the other.

Perhaps the letter-writer has the intimate knowledge of Duke today to be able to refute this general assertion about racism on campus. (I don't myself claim to know the university that well, and I was actually teaching there at the time.) But to criticize the signers once again for something they did not in fact say is simply missing the point.

comment: read the "listening statement" advertisement from the Group of 88 and see what you think.
The Johnsville News: The 'listening statement"
Diane Goldstein Block, Chapel Hill:
How Duke failed students and parents — Regarding Cathy Davidson's view of what constitutes a "social disaster," I have been deeply disturbed by the response of both Duke President Richard Broadhead and the 88 faculty members who put their names to an ad in the Chronicle which in essence depicted Duke as a place of prejudice and intolerance...

The social disaster is the one in which a university and a community allow three young men to be branded as rapists and have their lives torn apart before the facts are heard. The social disaster is that Davidson and other faculty members who signed that ad still do not understand the harm they have done to the university itself and to society at large.

David Kelsey, Raleigh:
Waiting for the facts — Duke professor Cathy N. Davidson says she signed the "social disaster" ad because it is an educator's job to bring the lessons of history to bear...The 88 Duke faculty members who signed this ad are entitled to their views, but I question their timing and their means of disseminating these views. An educator's job is to help students learn how to think critically. This requires looking at many differing ways of analyzing issues and necessarily includes a thorough review and understanding of the facts.

While characterizing the lacrosse incident as a social disaster is debatable, it is most certainly a disaster for the individuals involved. Sacrificing individuals for the sake of a debatable social good is its own history lesson.

Prof. Michael GustafsonMichael Gustafson, Assistant Professor of the Practice,
Pratt School of Engineering, Duke University:
All too quiet — One problem with Duke professor Cathy N. Davidson's Jan. 5 Point of View article was her statement that "I am positive I am not the only professor who was and continues to be adamant about the necessity for fair and impartial legal proceedings for David, Collin and Reade while also being dismayed by the glaring social disparities implicit in what we know happened on March 13." Such adamance would require some form of public expression. To my knowledge, none has taken place.

When Durham police entered a dorm to "interview" lacrosse players without their legal representation present? Silence. When our students were threatened with taunts of "You'll get yours, rapist" and "Dead man walking!" Silence. When the committee tasked to examine the lacrosse team's behavior concluded that "The committee has not heard evidence that the cohesiveness of this group is either racist or sexist" and "The current as well as former African American members of the team have been extremely positive about the support the team provided them"? Silence.

When Professor James Coleman stated "the line-up ordered by the D.A. for the Duke lacrosse case violated local, state and federal guidelines"? Silence. When Moezeldin Elmostafa was arrested in connection with a crime he helped police to solve, shortly after coming forward with evidence of innocence for one of the students? Silence. When Mike Nifong refused to hear evidence from David, Collin, or Reade? Silence. When DNA evidence demonstrated just how fictional the district attorney's story was? Silence. Adamant silence.

Opinion - Cathy N. Davidson (Duke Prof,/Group of 88 member) News & Observer (Jan 5, 2007): In the aftermath of a social disaster

KC Johnson - The N&O's Verdict on Davidson — It appears as if few of the N&O’s readership were persuaded by Cathy Davidson’s recent apologia for the Group of 88’s rush to judgment...
Mike McCusker:
Brad Bannon: Great Lawyer. Great PersonThis says it all. About the sham that is NC State Bar Grievance "trials." And about Brad, a young man courageous enough to decry it. Now, if he'd only return my phone calls. As North Carolina State Bar Member 24106, as an officer of the various North Carolina courts in which I have appeared, as an attorney for Alan Gell, and as a deeply concerned citizen of this State, I am writing to you about what I can only describe, at best, as frustration regarding the prosecution of the above-referenced case by the Office of the Staff Liaison to the Grievance Committee of the State Bar...
LieStoppers forum: Everything Gell
Court TV - GELL CASE - Precedent Set?
Nicholas Stix, vdare.com:
Absolutely Definitive Account Of The Incredible Disappearing Duke Rape Hoax (1/13/07) — Ten months into one of the most dramatic racial rape hoaxes in American history, the suspects still can’t get their lies straight.

By suspects, I do not mean defendants Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty, or Dave Evans. They’re the crime victims. The suspects are Durham, NC DA Mike Nifong who finally backed off on Friday asked North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper to appoint a special prosecutor in the case; Durham Police Sgt. Mark Gottlieb; Duke University President Richard Brodhead, various Duke administrators; the almost 100 professors (including the “Duke 88”;) who sought to have the victims railroaded, and who incited hatred against them; the socialist MSM; hoaxer Crystal Gail Mangum; and assorted John and Jane Does...

Paula ZahnKC Johnson:
Paula Zahn Cracks the Case — Friday night... I watched “analysis” of Mike Nifong’s recusal from CNN’s Paula Zahn Now....To discuss the event, Zahn invited Joe Madison, an African-American radio talk show host from Washington, D.C.; syndicated columnist Miguel Perez, whose website archive suggests that he specializes in immigration policy; and Michael Gross, whom the CNN transcript described as a “constitutional attorney.” As far as I could determine, none of the three had previously commented in public on the case, nor was there anything in their background to suggest particular expertise on the matter....

In a case where we’ve seen copious irresponsible media speculation, Zahn’s Friday program stood out. The CNN personality gave a forum to guests who clearly knew next to nothing about the case, and then allowed them to make misstatements of fact and outrageous comparisons while ignoring the unprecedented event of a DA’s forced recusal because of ethics allegations...

This is the person [Zahn] who’s going to moderate a forum on race in Durham? Tuesday [Jan 16th] night, perhaps Duke students should make clear to Zahn that they expect higher journalistic standards when their classmates’ lives are at stake...

older items:

Martin S. PinalesPress Release, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers:
NACDL President Martin S. Pinales Blasts Durham District Attorney Michael Nifong — Martin S. (Marty) Pinales blasted the prosecutor in the “Duke lacrosse 'rape' case” for abusing the criminal justice system for political purposes, at great expense to the reputations of the players, the university, the witnesses and the city and people of Durham, N.C. Mr. Pinales is President of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the nation’s largest criminal defense bar association, with over 12,000 members in the United States, U.S. territories and 27 foreign countries. Mr. Pinales’ statement:
“A prosecutor has a duty to represent the public in an honorable and fair fashion. Michael Nifong’s inflammatory statements to the media prior to the May elections, for the sole benefit of Mr. Nifong, turned the complaint of a confused young woman into a vicious political game which has brought the office of the district attorney into disrepute. He has ruined lives and reputations for a paycheck and personal political gain.

“This so-called investigation has been a reprehensible sham from the very beginning. The grand jury has a right to facts rather than lies and innuendo, and the public has a right to a fair indictment. Further, Nifong concealed the actual DNA test results from the defense and failed to investigate the complaint and failed to interview the complainant until last week, when he dropped the rape charges. But the damage was done long ago – this scandal will always be known as the ‘Duke lacrosse rape case.’

“As the Supreme Court said over 70 years ago, the prosecutor does not represent an ordinary party, he represents the people, and his job isn’t to win convictions, but to see justice is done. It is as much his duty to refrain from antics calculated to produce a wrongful conviction as it is to use every legitimate means to bring about a just one. Shame on Mr. Nifong.”

Rick Edwards, Power Pundit:
NACDL Hits Nifong — Michael Nifong's case has fallen so flat on its face because of both his incompetence, and his apparent motivation to pursue the Duke "rape" case for political gain, that the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers issued this statement today...

FreeRepublic: Natl. Assoc. of Criminal Defense Lawyers Blasts Nifong

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