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Monday, May 14, 2007

Nifong/Mangum Hoax — May 14, 2007

Updated - today's items:

Durham Mayor Meets with AG Over Duke LAX Case -- Durham Mayor Bill Bell met with AG Roy Cooper Monday, in the wake of the report on the Durham Police Department's handling of the Duke lacrosse rape investigation.

Bell was not pleased with the findings in that report, so he asked Cooper if he could investigate the department.

Cooper told Bell he can not, because the Attorney General's Office deals with criminal investigations, and this review of whether procedures and protocols were followed is not criminal.

Durham Mayor Bill Bell says the city's report on what happened during the Duke lacrosse sexual assault probe lacked answers. . .

LS forum: Durham Mayor Meets with AG Over Duke LAX Case
KC Johnson: No AG Inquiry
TalkLeft: Durham Mayor Meets with AG
Duke, Ex-Lacrosse Player Settle Suit Over Grade -- A former Duke University lacrosse player has settled his lawsuit against the school and a former instructor over a failing grade he received.

Kyle Dowd graduated in May 2006, two months after a woman said she was sexually assaulted at a lacrosse team party. The allegations set off a tumultuous few weeks in Durham, with almost daily protests by people who criticized lacrosse team members for a pattern of rowdy behavior. . .

Dowd's lawsuit, which was filed in January, alleged that visiting assistant professor Kim Curtis gave him an F in a politics and literature class and that nearly prevented him from graduating, even though he had earned passing grades on his assignments to that point...

Duke released a statement Monday that the suit has been settled. Terms of the settlement weren't disclosed, but the university said neither side admitted any liability...
LS forum: Dowd Case Settlement
comment: Duke Whitewash, version x.x.

The following web page is the "current" official Duke University whitewashed version of the "Duke Lacrosse Case." It is a lame history of the Nifong/Mangum hoax.

It is full of pro-Brodhead spin. It does not mention the names of the three innocent men (Evans, Finnerty, & Seligmann). They are the "three young men," who shall remain nameless. It also, of course, does not use the term the "Group of 88," and go into any details regarding the vigilante Duke faculty. It does not mention the Dowd settlement, regarding grade retaliation by Prof. Kim Curtis (Did Duke.edu post any notice regarding that settlement?).

Brodhead has offered several explanations of what happened, so it is difficult to remember what version number this one is.

This is from the new Duke Office of News & Communication [ONC] site. The old site "Duke University|Duke Lacrosse: Information on March 13 Incident and related events" was discontinued in May 2007.
Duke Office of News & Communication:
Looking Back at the Duke Lacrosse Case -- From his first statement in March 2006, Duke President Richard H. Brodhead repeatedly emphasized both the seriousness of the charges and the need for the players to be presumed innocent until proven otherwise within the legal system. Simultaneously, he moved to address broader university issues highlighted by the case, forming a council of advisers and four committees to examine the lacrosse team, the administration's response to the incident, the student judicial process and Duke’s campus culture. In the weeks and months that followed, the committees issued their findings, all of which Duke made public immediately.

Independent of the legal case, given the standards expected of teams that represent Duke, the university forfeited two lacrosse games in the immediate aftermath of the incident as a response to admitted behaviors by team members, such as underage drinking. Later, with input from the athletics department and some of the players themselves, Brodhead suspended the remaining games – not as punishment, but as a necessary action until the legal situation became clearer, based on concerns including the safety of Duke’s players. At the time, the district attorney was saying emphatically that as many as 46 of the players were still under suspicion for the alleged crimes. After the district attorney indicted three of the players, Duke placed on interim suspension the two who had not yet graduated – part of a routine protocol most U.S. universities follow when students are charged with violent felony crimes. Duke later modified the status of the two players to "administrative leave" and, soon after it became clear in court that Nifong’s statements were not credible, invited them to return in good standing, months before Cooper’s decision. (The players said they would not consider coming back until the case was resolved and later said they would transfer elsewhere.) In addition, in an effort to create a fresh start for the program, Duke replaced Coach Mike Pressler with an interim coach and, subsequently, with John Danowski, who previously coached the lacrosse team at Hofstra University.

While saying it was the job of the legal system – not of Duke – to determine legal guilt or innocence, Brodhead told “60 Minutes” in August 2006 that "the DA's case will be on trial just as much as our students will be." After Nifong dropped the most serious of the charges – rape – in December 2006, Brodhead called on him to recuse himself from the case, saying, “Mr. Nifong has an obligation to explain to all of us his conduct in this matter." James Coleman, a professor at Duke Law School who chaired the committee that investigated the lacrosse team and emerged as a leading independent voice on the case, said While saying it was the job of the legal system – not of Duke – to determine legal guilt or innocence, Brodhead told “60 Minutes” in August 2006 that "the DA's case will be on trial just as much as our students will be." After Nifong dropped the most serious of the charges – rape – in December 2006, Brodhead called on him to recuse himself from the case, saying, “Mr. NifongBrodhead’s repeated insistence on the presumption of innocence while avoiding interference with the legal process ended up facilitating the eventual outcome. Calling actively for the students to be exonerated “would have been a mistake” Coleman told a gathering of judges and lawyers in April 2007. “In fact, I think it would have harmed their cause, not helped it. It would have made it more difficult for the State Bar to take the unprecedented step it did, because it would have looked like they were yielding to pressure from Duke, it would have made it more difficult for the attorney general to exonerate them – that is a very unprecedented thing – because it would have made it look like he was yielding to Duke. And it would have played into the politics – Nifong’s politics in this case – which was to make it a case about race.” ...
John in Carolina:
“Can Brodhead Survive?” -- We’ve just ended a Duke Commencement weekend during which, at various social events, I got to speak with a mix of people, including old friends and other folks I was meeting for the first time...

the question that, in one form or another, came up most often: “Can Brodhead survive?”

...in every case those answering the question indicated they didn’t see how Brodhead could “survive” as Duke’s President.

Some wondered why the trustees hadn’t already fired him outright...
Crime & Federalism blog:
Preventing Another Duke Lacrosse Case -- In light of the Duke lacrosse case, many are wondering: What can be done? How can we prevent another Duke lacrosse case? Because of the incredible power prosecutors wield, nothing in our legal system prevents a prosecutor like Mike Nifong from indicting anyone reading this post. Nothing. That needs to change. What can be done?

I can think of a two reforms that no one should have any objection to. First, reform grand juries. In those states that indict via grand juries, no defense lawyer is allowed to attend grand jury hearing. The prosecutor alone explains the relevant law and facts to the grand jury. Plus, the grand jury need only find that probable cause (less than a 25% chance) of criminal wrongdoing exists.

Grand juries should not be allowed to indict unless there is clear and convincing (about 75%) chance that the person indicted is guilty. Moreover, the lawyer for the person the prosecutor is seeking to indict must be present during the grand jury's proceedings.

Second, prosecutorial ethics reform...
Joshua N. Fenton, Providence Journal (reg. required):
Duke president caved and failed -- RECENTLY, the Duke Lacrosse episode came to some level of conclusion — the three student-athletes accused of rape were declared innocent by the North Carolina attorney general. There will be follow-up events such as determining the fate of the prosecutor, potential lawsuits by the three students and who knows what other bizarre twists and turns.

Certainly the reckless and politically motivated behavior of prosecutor Michael Nifong was abhorrent, but the behavior of Duke President Richard Brodhead was equally disgraceful. His throwing the accused and anyone standing near them “under the bus” worked wonders for him in the short-term, but it should serve as a warning to all students, parents, staff and faculty at colleges and universities around America.

For the students, Brodhead’s strategy was to leave the accused completely unprotected. The president’s written statement three weeks into the already much challenged allegations was more than 2,400 words. Only five, “If the allegations are verified,” even remotely implied that there was any doubt of the potential innocence of the accused.

The rest of Brodhead’s statement of outrage only fueled the fires. Consider this excerpt: “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.” There was no corresponding statement that false accusations are perverse and destructive and undermine the prosecution of real rapists.

Godspeed to the next student at Duke who finds him or herself in a complex situation accused of a crime or other improper behavior. Please don’t look for President Brodhead to more than wet his proverbial finger, point it in the air and check the prevailing winds of politics and self-protection.

For parents who have worked to instill values, worked endlessly to educate and inspire their children to attend a university such as Duke, beware that the Brodheads of the world are not protectors of your children. They are something opposite — political animals searching for occupational self-perpetuation and lacking anything close to a profile in courage. . .
AP/Wilmington Star:
Durham mayor says lacrosse case report lacks focus -- Durham Mayor Bill Bell says the city's report on what happened during the Duke lacrosse sexual assault probe lacked answers and that he wants the state to review the matter.

Bell said the report by Police Chief Steve Chalmers didn't say whether police or the prosecutor Mike Nifong was in charge of the investigation. In the report, Chalmers admitted botching the photo lineup of suspects for the woman who said she was assaulted at a March 2006 lacrosse team party.

Bell and three members of the City Council said an outside review is needed. The mayor left a message with Attorney General Roy Cooper after the report was delivered Friday...
Michael Gaynor:
Duke case: Whitewash or blackwash, the dirt's covered -- The Durham Police Department found no wrongdoing by investigators in the Duke lacrosse case.

Are you surprised?

The report did NOT condemn the photo lineup used to help false accuser Crystal Gail Mangum come up with SPECIFIC victims of false accusation.

The report did note that Durham police worked with Ms. Mangum on six prior lineups according to police procedure -- and she did not identify anyone on any of those occasions. But it excused the notorious April 4, 2006 lineup as an attempt to improve Ms. Mangum's memory, not an attempt to identify. The goal supposedly was to help Ms. Mangum remember who was at the party and, magically, she suddenly identified Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty. Mr. Nifong, ever helpful, had merely suggested showing her the photographs of all the members of the 2005-2006 Duke University Men's Lacrosse Team (and anyone who thinks that he was not fair and objective, but insteaded was doing anything he could to get Ms. Mangum to identify some whites to indict and thereby satisfy those black voters complaining that blacks already would have been indicted if the female who cried gang rape was white and the men in her vicinity were black, are too suspicious). . .
Forum topic(s) of note:
LS forum: Bell's call to Cooper is huge

TalkLeft: The legacy of the hoax -- will our communities learn from the lacrosse hoax, or are we doomed to repeat history and scar future innocent lives through ideological fanaticism and a rush to judgement?

LS forum: Another Nail in the COFFIN
LS forum: Bill Anderson -- Another investigation avenue for the Feds, mail fraud, wire fraud
LieStoppers blog:
Video: Bannon Responds to Chalmer's Report
KC Johnson:
More Questions Than Answers -- In an interview Saturday, Durham City Councilman Eugene Brown astutely noted that the Baker/Chalmers report “raises more questions than answers.”

Mayor Bill Bell has, appropriately, called for the Attorney General to investigate the DPD. In the meantime, however, the City Council should exercise its oversight power and summon Police Chief Chalmers to answer the questions that the report has raised. . .

Duke law professor Jim Coleman correctly identified the basic problem of the report: “They admit the procedure was inappropriate, and they didn’t do anything to fix the problem . . . It seems designed to respond to the most criticized aspects of the case. It was a useless exercise, not worth whatever effort they put into it.” The City Council should hold Baker and Chalmers accountable. . .
interesting comment on KC's blog:
In their April 5,2006 article with Colin Finnerty's front page picture, did the NYT deliberately violate his civil rights by acting on illegally obtained infomation from the April 4,2006 "lineup" days before he was charged formally. Is that a crime in NC and would it impact on the statue of limitations?

LS forum: 21 Questions About the Durham PD and Prosecutor, Why A Special Prosecutor Is Needed Now
John in Carolina:
INNOCENT: Chafe responded; I’m holding -- This post is to let those of you who’ve been following Duke Professor William Chafe and my letter exchanges know that Chafe’s responded to my most recent letter/post. . .
Editiorial, NorthCountryGazette (NY):
Commentary: The Right Against Government Retaliation -- Across the nation, judges, prosecutors and the police are running amok, engaging in a rape and pillage of the U.S. Constitution, abusing the laws, their briefcases, gavels, badges and their black robes to terrorize, retaliate and intimidate members of the citizenry who have the courage to stand up to their arbitrary and wrongful arrests, malicious prosecutions and rulings, who seek to expose the cover-ups of abuse and corruption in the justice system and challenge their abuse of parties whom appear before them seeking justice and redress of grievances. The outing of the firing of federal prosecutors based on politics and the egregious prosecutorial misconduct by North Carolina prosecutor Mike Nifong in the Duke rape case are clear indications that our Republic is on a slippery slope to destroying democracy. . .
KC Johnson:
Times Readers Speak Out -- Several Times readers sent in letters published today taking to task the milquetoast performance of Public Editor Byron Calame on the lacrosse case. . .
Joan Foster, LieStoppers:
The Chain of Love -- I might ask where's the "Listening Ad" that shows Brodhead, Burness, and the 88 were "listening" to the AG's report? ...

I might ask where's the Brodhead response to the obvious corruption in surrounding Durham that affects the Duke campus this very day? Where's the call to have Nifong resign? Where's the demand to have the SBI investigate the framing of Duke students? Where's the outrage at the acknowledged targeting of Duke students by police? Where's the courage and concern for the students in your care? Where's the forceful presence of the largest employer in the area DEMANDING Durham remove its corrupt and possibly criminal agents...and reform those who are left?

I might ask, "Where's the outrage?"

I might ask, "Where's the leadership?"

I might ask, "Dickie, won't Wahneema let you?"

I might ask if the Mothers (and Fathers) of Duke students don't deserve much, much better for their children and their tuition money than what the Brodhead administration chooses to provide ?

I might ask all this, but it's Mothers Day and I'd rather think about the Moms...
J.P. Giglio, News & Observer:
Danowski, Greer bedevil Friars -- The last time Duke won 10 straight games in men's lacrosse, the Blue Devils ended up in the NCAA title game. That was 2005, Duke's previous appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

The Blue Devils won their 10th straight game on Saturday and took their first step back toward the championship game with a 18-3 win over Providence in the first round of the tournament.

The only thing that could slow the Blue Devils was the weather.

Lightning and rain delayed the game for 2 hours and 2 minutes, the Friars (7-10) could offer no such resistance. The top-seeded Blue Devils (15-2) controlled every aspect of the game, taking a 10-1 lead before the delay and re-emerging from the locker room to score 40 seconds later.

Matt Danowski became Duke's career leader in assists with seven, including two of Zack Greer's game-high five goals. Danowski, a senior attackman, has 118 career assists with -- what he hopes will be -- three more games to play. . .
Herald-Sun (reg. required):
The Duke lacrosse Class of '07 has been on quite a ride -- "John Danowski still remembers his initial reaction when he saw Duke’s 2003 recruiting class. Unfortunately, it needs some sanitizing before it can be related here. Let’s just say it was something along the lines of “Oh, shoot” and leave it at that. " ...
KC Johnson:
Sunday Roundup -- Monday’s Roll Call [subscription only] reported that North Carolina Democrats are wooing AG Roy Cooper, who they see as a “particularly strong” challenger to one-term incumbent Elizabeth Dole. The article noted that Cooper had profited from the national coverage surrounding the dismissal of the charges.

A Cooper candidacy would, in many ways, be a fitting conclusion to the case: unlike Nifong, who exploited the case for political reasons, Cooper withstood pressure from some of his political advisors, who feared the effects of an unequivocal declaration of innocence. Ironically, by serving the truth, it seems that Cooper strengthened his political position.
Robert Raitz
Killing the sacred cows -- Recently, there was an article written about the Duke lacrosse "rape" case. The article, to say the least, was controversial. To put it a little more succinctly, it really pissed off a lot of people! While the tone of the article itself may have been a bit heavy-handed, and the title was more than a bit heavy handed, to my mind, the points made in the article were at least worthy of intelligent discussion and debate...

Talking points aren't the exclusive property of the right:

The "discussion" of Mr. Usher's article brought up numerous talking points. By that, I mean ideas, words and phrases that are at best unfounded, ambiguous, or without any meaning at all. Here are a few: The fact that this article is written by an author involved in an association of fathers should also incite the editor to caution. Why is that? Aren't fathers a part of the nuclear family equation? Why shouldn't someone who contributed half the genetic material have some interest in the child in question? ...

Feminism is fighting for a freedom and equality between the genders -- not for supreme power for women.

Sacred cows are bad things when they are ideologies ...
Gary Lambrecht, Baltimore-Sun:
Loyola pursuing Finnerty -- Collin Finnerty, one of three former Duke lacrosse players falsely accused last year of raping an exotic dancer at a team party, could end up in a Loyola College uniform.

Sources at Loyola confirmed that the school is pursuing Finnerty and could receive a commitment soon from the 6-feet-3, 175-pound attackman out of Chaminade High School in Garden City, N.Y. . .

Finnerty, who has two years of eligibility remaining, appeared in five games last year and had two goals and one assist. He played in four games and did not score as a freshman in 2005, when Duke lost to Johns Hopkins in the NCAA title game.
Chris Reed, SignOnSanDiego.com:
Like Mikes: The many Aguirre-Nifong parallels -- How is our city attorney's handling of the Sunroad prosecution similar to Durham, N.C., District Attorney Mike Nifong's handling of the Duke lacrosse case? Beyond the obvious fact that both cases were more persecutions than prosecutions, there are a lot of specific parallels. Here we go, in descending order of importance:

  1. There was no crime. . .
  2. There was witness intimidation. . .
  3. There was a target who was perfect in a political sense. . .
  4. There was a contempt for basic procedures meant to ensure a fair process...
  5. There was a grossly improper attempt to try the targets/victims via the media.
  6. Finally, a positive parallel: In the end, neither Mike got away with it...
Isaac Chotiner, The New Republic:
An interview with Charles Barkley. Beyond Basketball: Race, Class, and Politics -- Charles Barkley's round face and massive body may be ubiquitous on television, but, in person, the former All-Star power forward is even more physically imposing. At the Atlanta studio that anchors TNT's NBA playoff coverage, Barkley greets me warmly with a strong handshake. . .And, yet, those who have followed Barkley's path from NBA great to commercial pitchman to star of the best sports show on television know that he is also outspoken on issues of race, class, and politics. In a wide-ranging interview with TNR, he made noises about running for governor of Alabama and weighed in on a range of issues, including Obama v. Hillary, his problem with Al Sharpton and Don Imus, and the Duke lacrosse case. Here are some excerpts:

About the Duke case--
It was racism. Racism works both ways. The black people are racist. The guy was an idiot--Nifong. But those people assume the white guys were guilty and the black girl was telling the truth. That is reverse racism. Those people were full of crap down there. You have got to be really fair when you talk about race. You can't allow black people to be racist.

Obviously everyone feels badly for these kids. But you hear people say, look, there are black people in America who are wrongly accused every day.

But two wrongs don't make a right. That don't justify it. You have to look at things individually.

But does it say something about society--

That we are a racist society.

--That we were so concerned about this case, upper-middle-class white kids?

That is because of the economic thing. That is economics. Those kids were upper-echelon kids. But this is what I was saying about class. ... It is interesting to me, being a black guy married to a white woman, how she comes home and black women who know she is married to me give her a hard time. Or my daughter has gotten crap. And some of the sisters give me crap.

A BARKLEY AIDE: Aren't you worried about whether you will be accused of class warfare--

That is what rich people want you to think. If you are rich, you are always going to be rich. It is the poor people I have to bring together. Look, I have nothing against rich people. I am rich--blessed, fortunate, lucky. I want to bring my fame and notoriety to bring attention to these problems.

You mentioned Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson earlier. What are your opinions of them?

I know them both, but they are race-baiters who have double standards for white racism and black racism. . .
LS forum: The Outspoken Mr. Barkley

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