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Monday, April 30, 2007

Nifong/Mangum Hoax — April 30, 2007

Updated - today's items:

Lara Setrakian, ABC News Law & Justice Unit:
Duke Prosecutor Nifong Preps for His Own Trial -- Duke Lacrosse Prosecutor Could Face Suspended Law License or Permanent Disbarment -- The three Duke lacrosse players once charged with rape are off the hook. But the man who brought the case against them, Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong, faces a trial of his own in June.

The North Carolina Bar Association has charged Nifong with mishandling the Duke case, violating rules of ethical conduct by withholding evidence, lying to a judge and making inappropriate comments about the case to the press.

Even Nifong's friends expect the punishment to be severe -- anything from suspended his law license to permanent disbarment. Either way, Nifong would lose his seat as district attorney.

"Given the climate, the way the AG came out… I can't envision a scenario where he doesn't end up losing his license or having it suspended," said Bob Nauseef, a criminal defense lawyer in Durham. ...

Durham ADA Stormy Ellis: "I'm shocked that he has been tainted as a 'rogue prosecutor.' It scares me to think that one case can mar you for the rest of your life." ...

For now Nifong has no intention of leaving office, his lawyer told ABC News. But if he is found guilty at the June 12 hearing Nifong could be left with no choice other than to leave his seat. The entire trial including the sentencing phase is expected to last four days.

Until then, Nifong can only wait as the drumbeat for his removal keeps pounding...

ABC comment: Lee Harvery Oswald hadn't shot any presidents before that day in Dallas. And yet, we judge so much about him based on that one incident. How unfair. Mike Nifong's character assasination of the three falsely accused men, and by implication the whole team as aiders and abetters, is no better.
Durham City Manager to Provide Report Next Week Regarding Duke Lacrosse Investigation Durham, N.C. –- Following the release of the North Carolina Attorney General's report regarding the Duke Lacrosse Case "Summary of Conclusions," Durham City Manager Patrick Baker has asked the Police Department to review the steps it took to investigate the case. Baker plans to release a report based upon the review next week.

# # #
Good Things Are Happening In Durham
KC Johnson: Baker: No Outside Inquiry
LS forum: (Patrick) Baker: No Outside Inquiry, Durham PD is gonna grade themselves...

News & Observer: City delays report on lacrosse case
Ken Ward, ABC11-TV/WTVD:
Durham Police Address Duke LAX Case -- Did police violate policy? -- The Durham Police Department is ready to defend its actions in the Duke Lacrosse case. ...

Millions were spent on the case, but in the end the lost credibility of the accuser, and questions about the way evidence was gathered led the attorney general to drop all charges. Now as DA Mike Nifong fights for his career, some are wondering about the role police played in the early days of the investigation...

Some of the issues that should be addressed in the report include the line-up. Some Duke students were concerned all along. Duke student, Jesse Silverman was one of those concerned students. "It doesn't seem like there was any possibility of them not choosing someone they thought they would want to press charges against. Because the only choices that were there were Duke Lacrosse players." ...
Durham police conduct a photo lineup with Duke lacrosse accuser Crystal Mangum on April 4, 2006WRAL:
Durham Police to Release Report on Duke Lacrosse Investigation -- City leaders have asked the Durham Police Department to put together a report detailing how it conducted its investigation in the Duke lacrosse case...

City Manager Patrick Baker ordered the Police Chief Steven W. Chalmers to compile a report laying out how the department went about the investigation. The report is also expected to outline Nifong's role in the investigation and what impact that had on the case.

Durham City Council member Eugene Brown cautioned that the police department must be candid and honest about reporting on its own actions.

“I just think we have to be very careful and not have this report end up a word game or semantics, like was this really a lineup, a witness lineup, or what,” Brown said.

The report is expected to be released sometime next week. WRAL has made numerous requests for interviews with Chalmers concerning the lineup, Cooper’s report and the upcoming report from the department. Each request has been denied.
Joan Foster, LieStoppers:
Sleeping with Snakes -- In Durham, although violent crime was up a stunning 32% in 2006, enormous resources were used to engage in a false prosecution of three Duke students. In Durham, gang violence is escalating out of control, but Durham police have been told to target Duke student partygoers. To add to the local atmosphere, Duke students can breathe in the pollution from the frequent waste dump fires (two in the last two years), drink the lead infused Durham tap water, and dodge the life threatening rock-droppers on the freeway.

Yes, all this, Duke parents, can be yours for around $45,000 a year!...

There is a Snake in the Prosecutor's Office in Durham. His name is Michael B. Nifong. Nifong, the 27 yr. assistant DA, "shed his skin" as soon as he was given the reins of power. Like all snakes, Nifong depended on his sense of smell, and he immediately smelled the race-pandering opportunity in the Hoax. He cannot shed his scales at this late date and ask a nation to forget or these families to forgive. City Manager Baker could have been Saint Patrick and acted to rid Durham of this poisonous snake. Instead, Baker currently seems to have chosen to play Cleopatra and clutch the venomous asp to his city's bosom. This is unacceptable to decent people everywhere. We need, Mr. Brodhead, to "await" NOTHING. We demand some leadership.

Indeed, the Durham power structure is stalling, hoping to keep Nifong coiled at their collective feet, ready to rise to their music and strike at their will. We understand now, that's how the game works. In the days ahead, we will see who is most invested in retaining Durham's Snake in the Prosecutor's Office. We must watch and listen carefully. The official cover-up is about to begin. The leadership of Durham and Duke must again be judged by what they DO and do Not do in the weeks ahead. It will be a road map pointing to who is guilty... and who is fork-tongued, and who is exceedingly, institutionally gutless.
John in Carolina: INNOCENT: Three “Musts” at Liestoppers
Phillip Woods, LieStoppers:
The Jilted Cheerleader -- For the duration of the Nifong/Mangum Hoax, Reverend John Fitzpatrick, president of the Durham Criminal Defense Lawyers Association and pastor of One Love Ministries, has been a loyal and vocal supporter of Durham County’s rogue District Attorney, Mike Nifong. The Attorney General’s Nifong/Mangum Hoax Summary of Conclusions appears to have finally brought some clarity to the once ardent Hoax apologist.

After standing by Defendant Nifong for a year while the rogue prosecutor tried to imprison innocent men, Fitzpatrick, the jilted cheerleader, expressed his disillusionment to the Herald Sun:
"It's kind of deflating to think he could prosecute someone when the evidence was so insurmountably lacking," lawyer John Fitzpatrick said of Nifong, who has declined comment…"I would love to hear why [Nifong] chose to proceed on this case," he said.
To understand the totality of Rev. Fitzpatrick’s turnaround, we’ve prepared a chronology of his encouragement, support, and apologies for Defendant Nifong and his hijacked Hoax.

Reade Seligmann: volunteers & coachesKC Johnson:
Reade Seligmann Letter -- Dear Everyone,

I have been meaning to write to all of you for quite some time. I want to thank you for your relentless dedication to uncovering the truth and your unwavering commitment to defending the innocent. I also want you all to know how appreciative I am for your concern for our well being and for your diligent dissection of this case.

I have closely followed all of your commentary over the past year and I think that you are extraordinary individuals, not to mention incredibly clever. Tuning into the case-related blogs became a daily ritual for my family and me, especially my mother. Your posts, poems, and videos (thanks Tony S.) were so important to her that she had to learn how to operate the computer all by herself.

The encouragement and compassion we received from the blogs helped us get through some of our darkest times. We were able to seek comfort in the fact that there were people out there interested in hearing the truth—people who were not going to prejudge us because of where we lived, the schools we attended, and the sports that we played. Thankfully, there were people like you who knew better than to view this case through a racial and political lens and chose to focus on the facts, rather than engage in unfounded speculation, to arrive at a decision. You have all done a great thing not only for Collin, David and me, but for the integrity of our legal system.

While you have all worked so hard to help the three of us clear our names, I ask that you continue your pursuit of justice in other cases. Our case, while certainly an outrageous instance of an injustice, is just one small link on an entire chain of injustices that take place in our country everyday. You have all done a wonderful thing by drawing attention to the situation we have faced, but please don’t stop here. I know that with the support of my family and a great deal of hard work I will be able to restore my reputation and achieve the goals I have set for myself. However, I now know that it is my responsibility to use this experience to help those who will not have the chance to see the other side of their prison walls. . .

You have all done so much for our families and we can never truly express to you how thankful we are. Now is the time for you to put to use all of the same passion, thoughtfulness, and resolve you have demonstrated on our behalf and help others who are in much more helpless situations.
LS forum: Letter from Reade Seligmann
Irving JoynerCash Michaels, Wilmington Journal:
Professor Joyner Says Lesson Learned About Duke Case... -- Despite the disappointment of some that charges have been dropped in the Duke lacrosse case, there are lessons to be learned for the African-American community, says North Carolina Central University School of Law Professor Irving Joyner.

“This case has been very instructive and groundbreaking in many respects,” he told The Wilmington Journal exclusively, shortly after NC State Attorney General Roy Cooper’s April 11 announcement that all remaining first-degree sexual assault and kidnapping charges were being dismissed against three white former Duke lacrosse players, accused of assaulting Crystal Gail Mangum, who was hired to dance during a drunken lacrosse team party last year.

“Over the years, I have come to realize that the people always get used and this is just another example. As this case progressed, I expected the defense to use the media to influence the public. They did a great job of using what they had to promote an outcry,” Joyner said, referring to how attorneys for defendants Collin Finnerty, Reade Seligmann and David Evans meticulously exploited discovery evidence turned over by the prosecution to prove in the press that there was no proof, not even DNA evidence, that the alleged crimes took place.

“What I did not anticipate was that they totally exposed the State’s case,” Prof. Joyner continued. “This total exposure was made possible because the State did not have a really strong case, and made its weaknesses more damning by its many missteps along the way.” . . .
LS forum: Joyner and Cash rehash LAX lessons, Guess what? They were the victims..
TalkLeft: Professor Joyner Says Lessons Learned About Duke Case

comment: Prof. Joyner would choke on the truth if it came out of his mouth. The State had "NO" case.
Forum topics of note:
TalkLeft: New Rules for Posters Here -- Two new rules and two old rules reaffirmed:

1. No poster (other than me) may begin more than one new thread a day.
2. Threads that are started to suggest the players have committed misconduct or the accuser was somehow believable will be removed.

The criminal case is over. The players are innocent. A great miscarriage of justice was done. There is no more to discuss on that point.

What remains to be discussed is the aftermath of the case, current news about the case, Nifong, etc...

LS forum: Tara Levicy II - Confirms Blunt Force Trauma, KC Has Major Post Planned for Wednesday -- On the issue of "blunt force trauma": in her conversations with defense attorneys, Levicy confirmed that the Gottlieb memo accurately reflected her 3-21 conversation with him.

Bring on the malicious prosecution suit against Levicy and DUMC.

DUMC, ground zero of the Hoax.
Chelsea Allison & Nate Freeman, Duke Chronicle:
Profs stand by 'social disaster' ad -- One year and three innocent lacrosse players after 88 Duke faculty members endorsed an advertisement about a perceived "social disaster" on campus, some signatories now express relief that all charges against David Evans, Trinity '06, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann were dropped April 11.

Still, the ad's signers-dubbed the "Group of 88" by some media and bloggers-said they stand behind the general sentiment of the full-page ad, which was originally printed in The Chronicle April 6, 2006.

"I feel... a tremendous sense of relief," Jocelyn Olcott, assistant professor of history and women's studies and a signatory of the ad, wrote in an e-mail. "We have a lot of work to do to close the wounds that have opened up, but I hope that the healing can start now."

Several ad signatories said they were not surprised by North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper's decision.

"To me, it seemed like an anticlimax because the real turnaround came just before Christmas, because the whole trail of misconduct of [Durham District Attorney Mike] Nifong came to light," said Claudia Koonz, professor of history, who also signed the ad. "I don't know why it took six months."

The ad framed anonymous quotes from students responding to a perceived campus culture following the lacrosse party around the question, "What Does a Social Disaster Sound Like?"

"These students are shouting and whispering about what happened to this young woman and to themselves," the ad's introduction read.

Individual signers acknowledged that the ad's position could have been misconstrued, but added that they would still support its overall message. . .
comment: It figures.

LS forum: "Group of 88" Stands by "Social Disaster" -- 88 liars Lying. Just who were the people loudest proclaiming guilt? Who was at 610 banging pots? It was the Grad Students & activists with ties to the 88.

Go read Houston Baker's letter to Lange. Bakers was the Leader of the 88.

KC Johnson: Chafe: Some in Group of 88 Presumed Guilt
Durham City Manager Baker Approves of Corrupt Police Procedures, Again -- Following the exoneration of the Nifong/Mangum Hoax victims by North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper on April 11, Durham City Manager Patrick Baker expressed concern over Cooper's assertion that the identification procedures employed by the Durham Police Department were "faulty and unreliable." Stating that he looked forward to the Attorney General's anticipated report to help determine whether the procedures were inappropriate for use before the Grand Jury, Baker offered a review and promised accountability.

Now that the Attorney General has released his report which strongly condemned the identification procedures, it appears that City Manager Baker has decided against accountability. Holding true to form, the self declared "CEO of Durham" has backed away from responsibility and opted instead to defend the corrupt procedures used to mislead the Grand Jury into indicting innocent men in order to satisfy the demands of Defendant Nifong...
Duke Claims 2007 ACC Men’s Lacrosse Title With 12-9 Win Over Virginia -- Junior Zack Greer had three goals and three assists and senior Matt Danowski added three goals and an assist to lead Duke to a 12-9 win over Virginia on Sunday afternoon to claim the 2007 Atlantic Coast Conference Men’s Lacrosse Championship at Koskinen Stadium in Durham, N.C. The ACC title is the fourth overall (1995, 2001, 2002, 2007) for the Blue Devils and their first since 2002.

Duke, ranked No. 2 in the latest USILA poll, improves to 13-2 on the year with the win, while Virginia slips to 12-3 overall...
Edward Robinson, News & Observer:
Devils return to greatness -- Duke lacrosse works on building a new legacy by winning ACC title -- Solid on defense, the second-ranked Devils (13-2) erupted on offense, scoring seven goals in the third quarter, including five straight over a seven-minute period that secured a 10-7 lead that they would ride to the team's first conference championship since edging the Cavaliers (12-3) in the 2002 ACC title game.

Afterward, Duke lacrosse players hugged and hollered excitedly, although this victory, captured in front of 6,517 appreciative fans on a picture-perfect afternoon, lacked the emotional undertones others have had this season.
John in Carolina:
N&O’s Hoax Rowback Editorial -- The Raleigh News & Observer was the first newspaper to frame the Duke lacrosse players in the public’s mind as a group made up of three white gang-rapists and their white teammates who were covering up for them.

The N&O also withheld for thirteen months excupatory news that would have stopped the frame-up. The N&O only released the critical information it had withheld after the NC Attorney General had declared David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann innocent.

The N&O has so far refused to explain why it withheld such critially important information as the false accuser's claim during an interview on March 24, 2006 that the second dancer was also raped at the party but didn’t report it for fear of losing her job.

Last Friday the N&O gave readers a big-time rowback editorial. ...
KC Johnson:
Sunday Roundup -- The incomparable Kristin Butler penned her final column of the year by noting, with sadness, that Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann won’t be returning to Duke—and by asking some hard questions: “Why should our wrongly accused classmates come back after everything they’ve been through? Can we say we have learned anything from their (and our) ordeal?” ...
Craig Henry, Lead & Gold blog:
Duke lacrosse: Ten days in March -- Off the top of my head, I can think of a bunch of questions that need answers.

1. Why did the police lie about the Kroger's call? Why did they tell a judge in their applications for warrants that the accuser called 911 to report the rape?

2. Why did the police pretend that they did not know who made the first 911 call? (The one that claimed that a crowd was hurling racial slurs at passing motorists). Very early on DPD knew that the call was made by Kim. Yet they released it to the public and pretended that they did not know who made it.

3, Why did the police use list-servs and CrimeStoppers to solicit information from the public while they neglected to interview the neighbor, Bissey, until he contacted them? What kind of investigation were they running?

4. Why did the DPD tell Baker that the accuser never changed her story?

5. Why does the DPD permit investigators to dispense with notes and rely on their memory alone?

6. Why was the DPD so uninterested in Precious's cell phone?

7. Why did the DPD disregard Sgt. Shelton's assessment of Precious? He was on the scene and events have shown that he was correct. Yet, the DPD ignored him and bought into the hoax.
Jon Ham, JohnLocke.org/Right Angles blog:
Truthtelling” about Duke lacrosse -- In its story about the so-called National Day of Truthtelling march in Durham on Saturday The News & Observer’s reporter lapses into the language of the demonstrators. These two sentences might just as well come from the event’s organizers trying to spin their event as not at all about the Duke lacrosse case:

Though the Duke lacrosse case was on the minds of many throughout the day, participants tried to avoid defining the protest by that one case.

Oh, really? Then how does one explain this? (Emphasis added):

Durham resident and Duke doctoral student Alexis Pauline Gumbs read an open letter called “Wishful Thinking” addressed to the university’s black women. In it, Gumbs spoke of the pain shared by sexual violence victims, along with some specifics of the Duke case. “No camera waits to amplify your pain,” she said. “There is no law anywhere that depends on your silence.”

LS forum: Next weekend's march through Durham, What is their plan?

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