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Monday, April 16, 2007

Nifong/Mangum Hoax — Justice for the Evil-Doers?

Updated - today's items:

Tamara Gibbs, ABC TV11/WTVD:
Nifong Attorney: Resignation Not Discussed -- While some people are calling for the Durham County District Attorney to resign, his legal team says that's not something they've discussed.

Since the Duke Lacrosse case was dropped, Nifong has been publicly scolded by everyone from legal experts to the State Attorney General.

"Everyone is being heard from except Mr. Nifong," said David Freedman, Nifong's lead attorney. "Mr. Nifong cannot be heard from because he does have trial coming up. It would be extremely improper for him to come forth to make any public interviews until he's had the opportunity testify before the State Bar."

Nifong will get that opportunity on June 12th. His ethics trial is expected to last four days.


Reade Seligmann interviewed on Today Show, April 16, 2006Today Show, MSNBC:
Cleared Duke student has hope for future [with video] -- Reade Seligmann plans to become a lawyer, help those wrongly convicted -- One of the three other former Duke University students cleared of a stripper's rape and kidnapping allegations, says he plans to turn the experience into "something positive" and study law so that he might help others wrongly accused of crimes.

"I just think it is scary to think that in this day and age [that] in order to be innocent, you have to have pictures of you being completely in another area," Reade Seligmann, 21, said during an interview Monday on TODAY...

Seligmann turned down Duke University's invitation to return to his studies, hoping instead to enroll in another school and work toward possibly becoming a criminal defense attorney himself one day...

Joe Neff, News & Observer:
Nifong ignores clues from DNA tests [3rd in 5 part series]-- The SBI tests are no help, so Mike Nifong turns to a private lab. The results there? 'He was not happy with it,' says his former campaign manager -- A rape kit is a deceptively powerful tool, a cardboard box with envelopes, glass microscope slides, swabs, a comb and blank forms. As it journeys from hospital to police station to laboratory to court, the evidence within can lock up rapists, or free those arrested or convicted in error.

In the Duke Hospital emergency room on the morning of March 14, 2006, Dr. Julie Manly conducted a pelvic examination of Crystal Gail Mangum. Mangum said three men had gang-raped her for half an hour. The doctor also collected evidence: thong panties; swabs of the mouth, vagina and rectum; a cheek scraping; a blood sample; and hair from Mangum's head.

Manly made one physical finding: "diffuse edema of the vaginal walls," or generalized swelling. The doctor was assisted by Tara Levicy, a nurse in training to conduct rape exams.

The kit was passed from Levicy to Duke police to Durham police, who delivered it to the State Bureau of Investigation laboratory March 27.

The next day, agent Rachel Winn examined the swabs, slides and panties. She found no evidence of semen, blood or saliva. That ran against Mangum's accounts: She said that no condoms were used and that at least one man ejaculated, perhaps all three.

The following day, March 29, Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong started speculating publicly that the DNA test results might not match any of the lacrosse players. "I would not be surprised if condoms were used," he said...
LS forum: Neff Part Three, Nifong not happy
The Early Show, CBS News:
Cleared Duke Lacrosse Players Could Sue -- Defense Attorney Roy Black Says They Should Pursue All Legal Options -- Now that the charges have been dropped against the three Duke lacrosse players who were accused of raping a stripper, many wonder what recourse David Evans, Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty will have.

Florida defense attorney Roy Black says that suing Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong, who lead the charge against the players, remains an option and, if he was their lawyer, he would tell them to sue everybody, including the accuser, Crystal Magnum, and Nifong...
Michael Radutzky & Tanya Simon, News & Observer:
Beyond headlines, a different story -- Michael Radutzky is a senior producer of the CBS news magazine, “60 Minutes.” Tanya Simon is a producer for the program. -- as we conducted interviews and reviewed legal documents, we quickly came to question the fundamentals of the case against the three indicted players. The more we investigated, the more reason we found to question the widespread assumption that the players were guilty....

Exposing injustice and challenging authority is at the heart of what we do at "60 Minutes." We seek out storylines that are counter-intuitive, that challenge conventional wisdom while revealing hidden facts and truths. Our investigation culminated in a two-part story last fall that highlighted grave concerns about the case. It was among the most-watched programs of the television season and generated an enormous amount of viewer mail.

We continued investigating and earlier this year aired another two-part segment that included exclusive interviews with Nifong's private DNA expert and the parents of the indicted players, who talked about their anguish and sense of helplessness. In these reports, we were guided by a desire to expose the essential truths of the case and see it through to a just conclusion -- whatever that is determined to be...
Jonna Spilbor, Findlaw.com:
Closing The Door On the Duke Lacrosse Rape Claims: Why the Accuser Should Be Prosecuted, and The State Should Revamp the Way It Handles False Crime Reports -- On April 11, nearly a year after three Duke lacrosse players were charged with rape, sexual assault, and kidnapping, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper announced that the charges were, in a word, a crock. After much harsh criticism of the prosecution and prosecutor - including a series of columns I wrote for this site -- the case was finally dismissed.

The decision, though late in coming, was exactly the right one. Moreover, not only did the Attorney General do the right thing, he also courageously refused to make excuses for what he admitted was a failure by Durham's District Attorney Mike Nifong to perform his duties properly.

However, Attorney General Cooper has not yet addressed the question that still hangs in the air: What is to become of the accuser, Crystal Gail Mangum?

In this column, I'll argue that not only should Mangum be prosecuted to the fullest extent, but this case should serve as the impetus for a revamping of the way prosecutors handle those who falsely report rape and related sex crimes...
LS forum: Why the Accuser Should Be Prosecuted, Jonna Spilbor...

Thomas Lifson, American Thinker:
Who gets charged when "crying wolf" kills? -- Merv at Prairie Pundit points to a coming trial in Texas of a woman on charges of mannslaughter for falsely crying rape.... I heartily approve of the Texas grand jury placing responsibility where it belongs. A false accusation of rape is an extremely serious crime...
Michael Barone, National Review:
Victims and Virtues -- Justice doesn't compare with the need to believe. -- The “Group of 88” Duke professors, journalists for the New York Times, and the Durham Herald-Sun, and heads of black and feminist organizations all seemed to have a powerful emotional need to believe. A need to believe that those they classify as victims must be virtuous and those they classify as oppressors must be villains. A need to believe that this is the way the world usually works.

Except it doesn’t. Cases that fit this template don’t come along very often. In this country, black-on-white crime is far more common than white-on-black crime (black-on-black crime is far more common still). You won’t see the characters exercised by the Duke case looking at the recent case of three University of Minnesota players accused (whether justly or not) of rape—they happen to be black.

This need to believe that the victim class is always virtuous and the oppressor class is guilty is widespread, and perhaps growing, in this country and abroad. It is particularly strong among those lucky enough to get paid to observe the way most people work and live—academics, journalists, apparatchiks of advocacy organizations...
FreeRepublic: Victims and Virtues
Forum topics of note:
LS: Was Tara Levicy a prerequisite for this to occcur? -- The issue that was raised involves reports that Tara Levicy [SANE nurse] may have been going around the hospital telling others not involved in Crystal Mangum's care that Crystal had been raped. It has also been reported that she is the one who told Duff at the New York Times that there had been "blunt force trauma" to the vaginal area. It has been reported in the police notes (We know how reliable they are) that the SANE nurse originally said that she couldn't provide information because of HIPAA but then told Himan that the exam was consistent with a rape. One poster has also suggested that maybe she could have been the source of the ESPN article.

LS: Blog and Media Roundup, Monday, 04/16/07
TalkLeft: Will Crystal Sue?
Duke Basketball Report: odds of the following --
1. Nifong disbarred
2. Nifong found guilty in a criminal trial
3. Nifong found liable in a civil trial
4. City/County of Durham found liable in a civil trial
5. Duke University found liable in a civil trial
6. Duke employee(s) found liable in a civil trial (members of the 88, Burness, Brodhead, etc.
La Shawn BarberLa Shawn Barber, TownHall.com:
Every One His Due -- Justice is the constant and perpetual wish to render to every one his due.” – Justinian I, Roman Emperor of Byzantium

It was like an episode of “Law & Order... It was a university’s rush to condemn the students in an attempt to prop up its Marxist, race-obsessed, radical feminist, and politically correct platform despite its obligation as a collective of administrators, teachers, and mentors to treat all students fairly.

It was national media’s frenzied, man-bites-dog, blood-in-the-water coverage of a story so laughably phony that even a blind man could see the farce 100 miles away...
La Shawn Barber: -- Did you catch the former players and the NC attorney general on “60 Minutes” yesterday? I was hoping the formerly indicted men wouldn’t be bitter and would continue to behave like gentlemen, and they didn’t disappoint. They talked about how emotionally draining it was to live under indictment for heinous crimes, facing prison and knowing they hadn’t done anything to that woman.

As for her, sister needs serious help. If she doesn’t care enough to get it for herself, perhaps she’ll do it for her three children. I’ll keep them in my prayers..
Howard Kurtz, Washington Post:
A Sorry Story, With Apology Yet to Come -- Everyone, including Don Imus, agrees that the remarkable women of the Rutgers basketball team were unfairly maligned by his racial slur.

But what about the living hell visited on three young men from the Duke lacrosse team? In all the coverage of the sexual assault charges that were finally dropped last week, very few have talked about how the media slimed them.

That miscarriage of justice was aided, abetted and amplified by media that unfairly turned the men into a national symbol of pampered, out-of-control student-athletes...
The News Journal (Del.):
Where's examination of role the press played in Duke rape scandal - Howard Kurtz, the media writer of The Washington Post, was one of the few national commentators to bring up the press' role in the Duke University rape ...
Rocktown Weekly (VA):
Media Mea Culpa? - Washington Post columnist Howard Kurtz, in reflecting on the media coverage of the Duke Lacrosse case, admits it was woeful...
Duke Basketball Report:
Latest On Lacrosse -- The three exonerated lacrosse players appeared on 60 Minutes Sunday lnight - the third piece the show has done on the case - and had their say about the case and about Mike Nifong. All things considered, they were pretty restrained, but as David Evans said, when he dies, no matter what he does between now and then, he’ll be remembered as one of the accused players...
Cathy Young, Boston Globe:
A rush to injustice in the Duke 'rape' case -- IN MAY 2006, the women's lacrosse team at Duke University announced their intention to wear sweatbands with the word "innocent" for a Final Four game at Boston University's Nickerson Field. This gesture was a clear statement of support for the three Duke lacrosse players accused of sexually assaulting an exotic dancer at a team party. In response, New York Times sports columnist Harvey Araton suggested that "cross-team friendship" had overridden the women's common sense. In the online magazine Salon , writer Kevin Sweeney chided them for lack of solidarity with rape victims.

Now, it looks like the women's lacrosse team had it right. Last week, North Carolina attorney general Roy Cooper dismissed all charges against the Duke Three. He also explicitly stated that the men were innocent and that no attack had occurred. It's as full a vindication as the justice system can give...

As writer Charlotte Allen has documented in The Weekly Standard, academics were quick to tailor the still-unfolding case to a narrative of sexual abuse of a downtrodden black woman at the hands of privileged white males -- males who, in the words of Duke literature professor Wahneema Lubiano, represented "the politically dominant race and ethnicity [and] the dominant gender." Much of the media echoed this narrative, albeit in more readable form...
FreeRepublic: A rush to injustice in the Duke 'rape' case
Eric Breunner, NYU News:
Duke lax players, like Britney, are not that innocent [see comments] -- The tragedy is this: that poor woman (who happens to be a single mother putting herself through college) was almost certainly humiliated with racial and sexual taunts by many of the players. I say this because I know people who were at that party. A girl in one of my classes even described meeting a Duke player in the Bahamas, whose pickup line involved boasting that he had been the one who sent death threats to the stripper via e-mail...

Frankly, the harassment of a poor black woman by rich white kids is just not as profitable a headline as the gang rape of an exploited stripper by rich white kids. In turn, the partial innocence of players who may or may not have acted despicably toward this woman is much less exciting than the idea of the falsely accused finally finding justice after a long and tumultuous journey. In short, we have gone from complete vilification of these kids to total exoneration...

Long story short, it's ok for the Duke lacrosse team to be racist misogynists as long as no one gets raped.
comment: Eric Breunner uses hearsay information and his imagination to make up his own slanderous version of the Duke lacrosse story. This will look good on his resume to the NY Times.
KC Johnson:
Redeeming the Times -- Among all publications, the New York Times stood out for its faulty coverage of the case. From the outrageous writings of sports columnists Selena (“lily-white”) Roberts and Harvey Araton to the transparently pro-Nifong slant of Duff Wilson, the paper of record went out of its way to keep the hoax alive....
Editorial, Herald-Sun The Organ:
Racial strain factor in Cooper declaration -- State Attorney General Roy Cooper says the strains the Duke lacrosse case inflicted on Durham's racial climate played a role in his decision last week to declare the three defendants innocent of sexually assaulting an exotic dancer.

Cooper made the comments on Sunday night's CBS "60 Minutes" news program in response to a question from interviewer Leslie Stahl, who described Durham as a "racially roiled" city because the dancer was black and the players white.

Cooper also said it was his duty to "call out" Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong for actions in pursuing the case that Cooper considered "offensive."
KC Johnson: Herald-Sun: Biased to the End -- Author credit for the H-S complete misrepresentation of the 60 Minutes broadcast: "staff reports." How fitting.

LieStoppers blog: Dear Bob -- As only a humble contributor to an online blog, I'm a bit intimidated at writing to a big-time, professional Editor like yourself. But your headline and article today, misrepresenting Sunday's 60 Minutes segment about the end of the Nifong/Mangum Hoax, just spurred my compassionate nature to reach out to you with some sympathy and advice.

LS blog: Snooze Room Strikes Again -- Its difficult to understand why the Snooze Room would so egregiously misrepresent the words of AG Cooper. Anyone who viewed the airing of '60 Minutes' will know that Cooper did not state that racial strain was a factor in the exoneration...
Editorial, News & Observer:
DA's judgment -- There was no lack of red flags in the troubled past of the Duke lacrosse accuser. Durham's DA missed or disregarded them -- Deeply troubled and unreliable. That's the overwhelming impression left by the life story of Crystal Gail Mangum, the woman who accused three Duke University lacrosse players of raping her a year ago. You don't have to be a psychiatrist to reach that conclusion, or even a district attorney, who, after all, needs to be able to assess the reliability of a complaining witness well enough to judge the weight of the accusation.

Mike Nifong, Durham's district attorney, found himself having to make that judgment about Mangum, and the public has a right to be disappointed in how badly he apparently failed the test.

As reported yesterday by The News & Observer's Craig Jarvis, Mangum, 28, showed signs of social and mental troubles as far back as her early teens...

Nifong might have shed valuable light on this sorry episode had he addressed in his apology why he believed Mangum. Or if he had explored whether he had been too caught up in the community feeling against Duke students' off-campus parties and athletes' alcohol-related arrests. Too late, though. Now, his future as a lawyer lies with the State Bar, which has accused him of ethics violations that could cost him his law license.

That could turn into a long, grueling fight. Nifong will be preoccupied, and the DA's office could be in turmoil for the duration. Regardless of the outcome, his credibility as Durham's top justice official will have been undermined.

Under the circumstances, Nifong ought to consider whether to remain in the office to which he was elected last fall for a four-year term. If the State Bar relieves him of his license, that obviously will become a moot point. But even if any disciplinary steps fall well short of that penalty, it's hard to see how the district attorney can continue to function effectively. His resignation now would serve the public interest.
News & Observer Calls for Nifong To Resign -- The News & Observer has joined the Herald Sun in calling for Durham County District Attorney to resign immediately. Citing rogue prosecutor Nifong's excuse-studded "apology" to the victim's of his Hoax, his failure to assess the credibility of Crystal Mangum, and the turmoil that undermines the effectiveness of an office that has fallen into extreme disrepute, the N&O meekly suggests that Nifong's resignation would serve the public interest. Earlier this week, the Herald Sun cited State Attorney General Roy Cooper's assessment of the rouge prosecutors misconduct in support of their far more forceful call for his resignation...

LieStoppers forum: The N&O's Original Lie Repeated, You can't break a story already broke -- And so Melanie Sills repeats yet again the original lie of this story, that the N&O "broke" it. I have said it before, I have posted the mail, I will say it again: this story BROKE on the listserv of Trinity Park. As was her custom, a reporter for the N&O was trolling the listserv for potential stories when Sgt Gottlieb "broke" the story with this e-mail on March 17, 2006, more than a week before the N&O re-reported the story...
ABC's Moran Suggests Duke Lacrosse Team Had It Easier Than Rutgers B-ball Team -- The April 13 edition of Fox News Channel's "Red Eye" briefly addressed Moran's blog entry. I've added a screen capture from the program.

Leave it to a liberal journalist to bring racial tension and class warfare into a story about three men exonerated of rape allegations after a year of prosecutorial misconduct.

ABC's Terry Moran found the outpouring of sympathy for the exonerated Duke lacrosse players is a bit much because, in a nutshell, they're white guys from wealthy families who attended a private university. In fact, in an April 12 "Pushback" blog post at ABCNews.com, he suggested that in a way, they were victimized less than the Rutgers women's basketball team by Imus....

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