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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Duke/Nifong Hoax: Day #316

Updated - today's items:

Nifong Attorneys: DA Didn't Intentionally Violate Ethics Rules (with video) Attorneys for Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong tell the North Carolina State Bar he did not intentionally violate ethics rules when prosecuting the Duke lacrosse case.

It was part of a 48-page written response filed Wednesday to ethics complaints levied by the State Bar against Nifong in the nearly yearlong high-profile case.

The embattled prosecutor had no comment Wednesday afternoon and referred all questions to his lawyers.

WRAL: Nifong Response to State Bar Complaint (48 pages)
Lara Setrakian, ABC News Law & Justice Unit:
Duke DA Answers Critics: Denies Unethical Conduct, Wants Some Charges Dropped Durham County DA Mike Nifong Files a Formal Response to Bar Association Charges of Misconduct Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong has filed his response to allegations by the North Carolina Bar Association that he acted unethically in his handling of the Duke lacrosse team case.

In the document, released Wednesday afternoon, Nifong systematically denied all the charges against him and struck back, calling for many of them to be dismissed...

When it comes to his interviews with local and national media outlets, Nifong's attorneys argued that if the prosecutor was guilty of anything, it was inexperience. Finding himself in the middle of the Duke lacrosse case while running a primary election campaign for district attorney, Nifong was a political novice with no experience handling high-profile national cases.

He didn't realize, lawyers argued, that the Duke lacrosse case would become a press spectacle. Once the media's intense interest in the case became clear, they said, he stopped giving interviews and restricted his comments to printed releases and a handful of candidate forums...

Nifong Says He Didn't Intentionally Break Rules
Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong did make many of the comments deemed by the state bar to be misleading and inflammatory, his attorneys admitted in a 50-page motion that responds to the bar's complaint point-by-point.

But they denied that Nifong intentionally withheld DNA evidence from defense attorneys -- the most serious of the ethics charges faced by the veteran prosecutor....
KC Johnson:
Cliff's Notes of Nifong Response Nifong has now provided the fourth different explanation of why he did not turn over the exculpatory DNA material to the defense. First, he stated in court that he had not heard of the issue until Dec. 13, when the defense filed a motion on the question. Second, he stated in a press conference on Dec. 15 that he had not turned the information over for privacy reasons. Third, he stated in a NYT article that he had not turned the information over because of his excessive workload. Now, he says he didn't turn the information over because he didn't have to...

LieStoppers forum: Nifong responds, Not intentional
Free Republic: Lawyers: Duke Lacrosse DA Heeded Ethics
TalkLeft: Nifong Response to State Bar Complaint

Anne Blythe & Benjamin Niolett, News & Observer:
Nifong says he's innocent — In the response, the lawyers said Nifong handed over 1,844 pages of evidence to the defense on Oct. 27. After a thorough review of those documents, defense lawyers argued that a report by a private DNA lab in Burlington did not include evidence favorable to the defendants.

Nifong's attorneys said that "at a reasonable time prior to trial, the Duke defendants knew of the existence of the 'potentially exculpatory evidence.'"

In response to the first Bar charges, Nifong's lawyers wrote that he made most of his early comments about the case before specific defendants had been charged with a crime and that he was only trying to reassure the public that the police were investigating the case and could benefit from help from the public....
Nifong's answer to Bar due today — Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong faces a deadline today with the North Carolina State Bar to respond to accusations of ethical violations.

The bar, which regulates and licenses lawyers, has charged Nifong with violating ethics rules in his handling of the Duke lacrosse case...

Follow the sperm!

New Motion Reveals Continued Misconduct and Defiance — As attorneys for Defendant Nifong finalized his formal written response to the charges filed against him by the State Bar, the Hoax defense team has filed a new motion demonstrating that the District Attorney and co-conspirator Dr. Brian Meehan, lab director of DNA Securtity Inc., continued to withhold evidence after both claimed in December that the defendants “have every word of" the private labs DNA “report AND the additional results of tests.” According to the latest discovery motion, evidence and information that Defendant Nifong is charged by the Bar with never providing remains, in part, withheld...
Lauren Pearle, ABC News:
Duke Lacrosse Defendants Claim More DNA Evidence Withheld — On the eve of Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong's response to ethics charges filed against him, the defendants in the Duke lacrosse sexual assault case are accusing the prosecution of continuing to withhold evidence that could exonerate their clients.

This accusation follows the stunning revelation late last year that DNA tests by a private lab found genetic material from several males on the accuser's body and clothes, but none from any of the defendants. This information was allegedly withheld by the prosecution, which was then headed by Nifong.

DNA Information Possibly Withheld

In papers filed today, attorneys for the three lacrosse players charged — Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and David Evans — say they are "still in the dark" about the DNA evidence, even after prosecutors provided them an "amended report" of DNA findings on Jan. 9. They say there is even more evidence of DNA from other men found on the accuser's body and clothes that was not previously shared with the defense. Specifically, defendants say that another rectal swab of the woman who filed the charges against them revealed the presence of DNA from at least two males that did not match the defendants. "If the information we had in December was explosive, then this is doubly explosive," defense attorney Wade Smith told ABC News...

John Stevenson, Herald-Sun:
Duke lacrosse lawyers still seek DNA evidence — Defense lawyers found out what they needed to know only through a laborious data analysis of their own, they contend.

Noelle Talley, spokeswoman for the state Department of Justice, which encompasses the Attorney General's Office, noted only that the new motion was aimed at Nifong rather than her agency. She said a "full and fair review" of the lacrosse case was continuing at the Attorney General's Office...
LieStoppers forum: Defense Files Motion in Duke Lax Case
TalkLeft: Duke lacrosse lawyers still seek DNA evidence

Linwood Wilson Zak Kazzaz, Duke Chronicle:
Defense questions lax investigator — Lawyers challenge Wilson's tactics, interview findings...Defense attorneys are now calling into question the tactics and experience of a lead investigator in the Duke lacrosse case.

Linwood Wilson, the only current full-time investigator for Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong, has drawn criticism from lawyers who challenge Wilson's investigative methods and his pivotal interview with the alleged victim.

Joe Cheshire-defense attorney for indicted men's lacrosse player David Evans, Trinity '06-said the information Wilson retrieved from interviews with witnesses has a pattern of contradicting the information provided in previous statements. Several defense lawyers said new information obtained by Wilson in interviews often paralleled the direction sought by Nifong in the case...

Scapegoatology 101, Part 1 of 4 — Scapegoatology 101: Introduction to the Art and Science of Scapegoating - our goal with respect to the scapegoating process itself is to have everyone giving horror-filled looks at your chosen scapegoat – not at you. You want everyone condemning the scapegoat – not you. You are placing all offenses on the scapegoat – nowhere else, and above all else, not upon yourself. After all, if everyone’s looking at the scapegoat’s transgressions, they certainly won’t be paying any attention at all to what you are doing, let alone worrying about your ultimate goals as a scapegoater or the hidden agenda you are trying to further. And, for you as the scapegoater, that’s a good thing!

Eric Ferreri and Jane Stancill, News & Observer:
Duke grapples with 'culture of excess' — After months of turmoil surrounding the lacrosse case, Duke University will now struggle with the question of how, and whether, it can change its social climate. A campus committee Tuesday made 28 recommendations to encourage diversity, strike a proper balance in athletics and change what some at Duke have called a "culture of excess."

The panel took a critical view of many aspects of Duke's social life. Housing policies allow fraternities and other groups to live together and occupy large chunks of space, resulting in cliquish, racially segregated dorms that unfairly favor male students. Students too often drink to get drunk, the report said, leading to bad behavior, impaired health and lost weekends.

The committee suggested ways to shift the atmosphere away from drinking and toward a more inclusive academic community...
KC Johnson:
More on the CCI — Having gone through the full report of the Campus Culture Initiative, it’s easy to see why it received such a tepid reception from President Brodhead...

Over the past 10 months, most Group of 88 members have made clear their belief that the Faculty Handbook provisions requiring Duke professors to treat all students with respect do not apply to them. The idea that all Duke students should be forced to take a class from a Group of 88 professor or a handful of the Group’s ideological allies in the name of “improving campus culture” is Orwellian.

Duke Chronicle:
The CCI Report
Amid buzz, Duke unveils bold report

LieStoppers forum: N&O Front Page, Like Flies to Sh*t

John in Carolina:
Prof. Wood, Attention Seeker — A Duke Professor has come forward into the media glare surrounding an exotic dancer’s charge she was raped at a party hosted by 3 members of the university’s lacrosse team...

It’s sad that a professor would take common student behaviors evidenced two years ago, and package and label them in a way he must have known would get him media attention...
Duke history professor Peter Wood, in front of the Duke lacrosse practice field
IndyWeek (6/28/06):
Sympathy for the Devils? —Who are these would-be warriors who carry big sticks?

An ominous assessment came from Peter Wood of Duke's history department, a former lacrosse player and coach whose opinions have been much sought by the national press.

"A few years ago, a new kind of student began to show up at Duke," recalls Wood, who's had two of the three rape defendants in his classes. "Cynical, arrogant, callous, dismissive--you could almost say openly hostile. They weren't all athletes, by any means. But some of the first ones I noticed were lacrosse players." In 2004, Wood sent a letter to his dean, warning of an ugly minority that had grown "beyond the 'few bad apples' stage" and complaining that coaches were ignoring classroom schedules and fostering disrespect for academics.

The graybeard soliloquy--"What's wrong with the young people today?"--was a comic cliche in the age of Aristophanes. Careless explorers of the generation gap tend to stumble and wound themselves. But Wood's testimony supports grave misgivings about the demographic group that includes both the Durham dancer and the athletes she accuses...

comment: Prof. Peter Wood never one to pass on a nice photo opportunity for himself and a chance to spew his venom. Damn those young "cynical, arrogant, callous, dismissive" lacrosse players. They will have hell to pay. Thank you, Prof. Wood for all your kind support for the three falsely accussed Duke lacrosse players, two of whom took classes with you.

retired NC journalist Bob Wilson, John in Carolina:
Nifong must go! Now! — For a hoax with more distortion than a house of mirrors, the Duke lacrosse case probably stands without equal in modern legal history.

Not since the Scottsboro Boys frame-up in the early 1930s has prosecutorial misconduct been so brazenly evident as it is in District Attorney Mike Nifong's attempt to convict three Duke University students, first of rape, and when those charges evaporated, of sexual assault and kidnapping.

Now the case is in the hands of the North Carolina attorney general's office, and if justice lives in this state, there it will die.

But Nifong's record of malfeasance will not die. On Tuesday, more evidence pointing to his misconduct surfaced in a defense motion stating that the players' lawyers still hadn't received results of 11 of 22 DNA samples taken almost a year ago from the false accuser, Crystal Gail Mangum...

Duke Lacrosse Redeems Itself, College Sports In General — As we may have mentioned, this weekend we journeyed to No'th Cackalack as guests of the illustrious, happily moneyed Duke University. Between Skoal, sweet tea, and other firsts (hotel staff calling us "mister"), we took in the first Duke lacrosse game since The Business...

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