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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Duke/Nifong/Cooper+67 Hoax

Updated - today's items:

Lara Setrakian, ABC News Law & Justice Unit
Duke Lacrosse Case: America's Top Sex Crimes Expert Cites Serious Problems — With the Duke lacrosse investigation in its final weeks, Linda Fairstein, the former head of the Manhattan District Attorney's Sex Crimes Unit and one of the nation's leading experts on sex crimes, told ABC News that she would be shocked if the case went forward...

Given her 30 years as a prosecutor, Fairstein finds it unusual for an accuser's story to change as much as far into the process as it did in this case. Some changes in a victim's story are not uncommon "within a day or two of the attack," said Fairstein. "Six to eight months later is not when the story begins to shake out. It's in the days that follow."

As of March 16, she had not yet told that story to special prosecutors investigating the case. Law enforcement sources told ABC News that in at least two initial meetings with those officials, the accuser was not forthcoming and hesitated to answer investigators' questions...

Multiple sources close to the investigation confirmed that she was reluctant to answer questions in those interviews, though further meetings were scheduled in which she might become more forthcoming. The attorney general's office said in a statement that she had in fact been "cooperative" in their discussions.

Fairstein believes her reticence was another sign of a weak case. "Her reluctance at this stage isn't a sign that she's not sure what happened — it's a red flag that there are things wrong with the story...
comment: The "red flag" on this farce has been flying since April 2006. What is Cooper waiting for?
ABC News:
Top Lawyers Say Duke Case Is Weak — ABC News spoke to some of the nation's leading criminal defense attorneys and former prosecutors about the Duke Lacrosse rape case. They all say it is a weak case and will almost certainly never go to trial. They point to the lack of evidence, the accuser's changing story, and her credibility. The experts are:
  • Kent Alexander, former U.S. Attorney
  • Gerald Beaver, North Carolina trial lawyer and former member of the North Carolina State Bar Counsel
  • Kendall Coffee, former U.S. Attorney
  • Mark Edwards, North Carolina defense attorney
  • Tom Loflin, North Carolina defense attorney
  • Andrew McBride, former federal prosecutor
> Absence of DNA Evidence Implicating the Players
> Accuser's Changing Story
> Accuser's Credibility
> What Will Happen to This Case? - "I predict the AG will not proceed with the case. It was really a non-starter from the beginning." (Tom Loflin)
LieStoppers forum: New ABC Story Shreds Case, Top Lawyers: Case Weak
TalkLeft: ABC panel says case too weak to proceed

Trial Date Set for Nifong on State Bar Charges — The North Carolina State Bar on Tuesday set a June 12 trial date to hear complaints against Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong for his handling of the Duke lacrosse sexual assault case.

If found guilty, Nifong could be disbarred.

In a complaint filed in December, the State Bar cited more than 100 examples of public statements Nifong made to the media, including WRAL, since the case broke in March 2006. In part, the Bar said those comments "have a substantial likelihood of heightening public condemnation of the accused."
Herald-Sun: Nifong faces June 12 trial date on ethics chargesThe scheduling order from the bar also orders both sides to complete discovery by May 25 and file pretrial motions before June 4.

News & Observer: Nifong hearing date set
— The Bar must submit its expert witness list by April 15. Nifong must list who he is going to call as expert witnesses by May 1. By May 30, according to the schedule, the lawyers are to meet for a pre-hearing conference.

LieStoppers forum: Trial Date Set for Ex-Duke Lacrosse Prosecutor
TalkLeft: Trial Date Set for Nifong
FreeRepublic: Nifong faces June 12 trial date....
John in Carolina:
DUPD Director Responds to CS poster questions — I recently sent Duke Univeristy Police Director Robert Dean a set of questions concerning Durham Police Corporal David Addison's production and distribution to DPD substations, media and others of the text of the Durham CrimeStoppers Duke lacrosse "Wanted" poster...

I'm posting Dean's reply without comment for a day so it can be read by you free of my commentary...
John in Carolina:
Duke and Selena Roberts' column: 1, 2, 3 — 1) information concerning an event at Duke open to the public at which New York Times columnist Selena Roberts will be a panelist;

2) a copy of Roberts’ Mar. 31, 2006 column in which she savaged the Duke Men’s lacrosse players in a manner befitting Mike Nifong and many of Duke’s faculty Group of 88;

and 3) commentary on Roberts’ March 31 column by historian KC Johnson, pundit Stuart Taylor and myself as well as a link to Roberts’ NYT profile...

KC Johnson:
March Madness, IV: Soundbites — The first three editions of DIW’s “March Madness” looked at the 10 worst op-eds, the 10 worst “news” articles, and the 10 most outrageous faculty publications of the case. Today’s bracket features the 10 worst case-related soundbites. As with yesterday’s bracket, the worst of the worst ranked is #1. Reader nominations are welcome in the comment thread. . .
2) If our students did what is alleged, it is appalling to the worst degree. If they didn’t do it, whatever they did is bad enough.” (Duke president Richard Brodhead, to the Durham Chamber of Commerce, two days after the indictments of Reade Seligmann and Colin Finnerty.) ...
comment: Richard Brodhead also had some soundbites that were indicative of his efforts to throw the lacrosse team under the potbanging bus when the hoax was in full bloom in early April. Before letting the Coleman Commission do a full investigation Brodhead wanted to get his shots in on the lacrosse team and put himself out in front of the hoax.

First in his April 5th letter to the Durham/Duke community Brodhead put the entire lacrosse program in the crosshairs. He wrote:
Allegations against members of the Duke lacrosse team stemming from the party on the evening of March 13 have deeply troubled me and everyone else at this university and our surrounding city. We can’t be surprised at the outpouring of outrage. Rape is the substitution of raw power for love, brutality for tenderness, and dehumanization for intimacy. It is also the crudest assertion of inequality, a way to show that the strong are superior to the weak and can rightfully use them as the objects of their pleasure. When reports of racial abuse are added to the mix, the evil is compounded, reviving memories of the systematic racial oppression we had hoped to have left behind us. . .

whether they intend to or not, universities like Duke participate in this inequality and supply a home for a culture of privilege.

Quite separate from the criminal allegations, there have been reports of persistent problems involving the men’s lacrosse team, including racist language and a pattern of alcohol abuse and disorderly behavior...
There was no persistent problem involving the team and "racist languarge."

Following the letter Brodhead gave several media interviews. Brodhead told ABC's John Berman on April 5th, 2006, that he had formed a faculty group to look into a long-standing "culture of bad behavior" involving the men's lacrosse team, including a "history of boorish behavior and underage drinking."

The Brodhead soundbite(s) were picked up and echoed by several media outlets and commentators, including:
Kevin BlackstoneKevin B. Blackstone, Dallas Morning News:
Duke's blind eye illuminates problem - For no matter the outcome of this case, the reason it came into existence at all is because Duke – just like other colleges, be they big or small or private or public – nurtured through eyes wide shut that sense of entitlement that is so dangerously rampant in locker rooms and clubhouses everywhere.

This is yet another installment of Athletes Gone Wild.

To be sure, last month wasn't the first time that members of Duke's lacrosse team found themselves in the crosshairs of local police. North Carolina newspapers discovered that almost one-third of the program's players since 1999 – which would be 41 players, including about 15 on this year's team – had been charged with myriad misdemeanors for rowdy behavior. Drunk driving. Urinating in public. Using an adult's ID to buy beer while underage. Damaging property after arguing with a girlfriend.

Who didn't do some of that in college, you ask? Isn't that just boys being boys?

Diminish it however you want, but don't overlook the fact that Duke enabled the escalation to where the Durham community now finds itself. Duke president Richard Brodhead allowed as much on ABC's Nightline this month, although only the lacrosse coach has tendered a resignation.

"I think that many people knew about, knew in general about, a history of boorish behavior and underage drinking [with the lacrosse team]," he told ABC's John Berman. "And the question is, did it or didn't it rise to the level where it should've been dealt with more effectively in advance?

"That's the very thing we've asked the faculty group to look into and to give us their verdict on. We really shouldn't prejudge it. It's a very bad habit. But at the same time, we don't want to ignore it. We really want people to tell us their answer to that question."

The answer is yes.

The school all but condoned the lacrosse team's actions by not having attempted to stamp them out earlier....

Anthony B. BradleyAnthony B. Bradley, research fellow, Acton Institute:
Wanted: A Duke Lacrosse Team Hero - We should mourn as a nation because we continue to encourage men to become consumers of female dehumanization. The sensational Duke lacrosse case is a display of all-too-common failure on this score. There is outrage aplenty, but the sources of the problem are deeper than alleged acts of sexual assault. Why is there no national outrage about the fact that two adult women subjected themselves to voyeuristic, live pornography? What kind of men do we raise in America that they would even want to hire a stripper?

As Duke University President Richard Brodhead puts it, the school’s lacrosse team has a “history of boorish behavior and underage drinking.” Why is there no social pressure on Duke’s campus, among other students, for these athletes to be known as men of honorable character? Where is the social pressure to promote the good? . .

CNN: Duke launching investigations, initiatives in wake of lacrosse allegations — Duke University President Richard Brodhead said Wednesday he has formed a faculty group to look into a "culture of bad behavior" involving the men's lacrosse team, including a "history of boorish behavior and underage drinking."

Anderson Cooper 360, CNN: April 5, 2006 Transcript
Adam Hochberg, NPR: Duke President Takes Fire over Lacrosse Case
ibiblio.org: Rape Crisis Research current events
John Taddei, cstv.com:
Cornell Downs Duke...Again — No. 1-ranked Big Red hands No. 5 Duke its second loss in three games - Trailing by a goal with 50 seconds remaining, attackman Matt Danowski had a clean shot to tie the game.

The senior took aim from 10 yards out, but his shot glanced off the left pipe and sailed harmlessly out of bounds as No. 1 Cornell held on for a 7-6 victory over No. 5 Duke, the Big Red's second straight win in Koskinen Stadium.

"We knew it was going to be a one goal game coming in, and they got the best of us," Duke midfielder Sam Payton said. "Seeing them celebrate on our field last year was pretty horrible; it sucks to have them do it again."

Duke's loss to the Big Red comes a year after Cornell defeated the Blue Devils in what would be the last game of Duke's shortened 2006 season...

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