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Thursday, May 3, 2007

Nifong/Mangum Hoax — May 3, 2007

Updated - today's items:

Jim Nesbitt, News & Observer:
Former lacrosse coach lashes out at Duke officials -- In an upcoming book about the Duke lacrosse rape scandal, former coach Mike Pressler accuses university officials of caving to pressure from intense media scrutiny and protesters both within and outside of the school.

Pressler says university officials initially promised to stand by his team following the party where Crystal Gail Mangum said she was gang raped in March 2006. Instead, Pressler said, he was forced to resign and university President Richard Brodhead suspended the season.

Those steps on April 5, 2006, helped harden public opinion that Mangum’s rape allegations were true almost a year before Attorney General Roy Cooper dismissed sex offense charges against three players, declared them innocent and described the escort service dancer as an unreliable witness...

n another passage, Pressler describes an early-morning meeting with Duke Athletic Director Joe Alleva, who tells the coach the team’s season will be canceled.

“ ‘...Joe, you told the players and the parents you believed their story, you believed in them, you believed that they were telling the truth.’ “Alleva look right at me and made the statement I’ll never forget as long as I live: ‘It’s not about the truth anymore,’ he said.”
discussion:
LS forum: Pressler Book: Duke Caved In To Pressure
FreeRepublic: Former lacrosse coach lashes out at Duke officials
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Duke Basketball Report:
An Alumni and Parent's Response to the Board of Trustees --
An Open Letter to the Board of Trustees

Gentlemen:

I read your recent E-Mail to the Duke community with some interest. Frankly, I would have thought that a cataclysm such as the lacrosse incident would have warranted more than a one page comment from the Board of Trustees. As the parents of two boys who were attending Duke at the time, my wife and I have frequently had the chilling thought that either of our sons could have been in the position of Dave Evans, Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty. The fact that it was the near national championship Duke lacrosse team was just a bonus for Nifong, The Group of 88 and Jesse Jackson. Any group of affluent white males at Duke who decided to pull the sophomoric stunt of hiring a stripper for a party would have fit the bill just fine as far as any of them were concerned.

We, just as the parents of the accused lacrosse players did, entrusted our sons to Duke with the expectation that their welfare and best interest would be looked after in the event of trouble. Instead, President Brodhead chose the politically correct course of action and threw these kids to the wolves. He promptly canceled the season, fired the coach, suspended the kids, and ran down to NCCU begging for “a time of healing” , all actions which encouraged a national media frenzy against Duke in general and the 3 accused kids in particular. Rather than trust the word of a group of nationally recognized athletes who, even as one faculty commission was forced to conclude, were largely above average students, Mr. Brodhead took the version of events propounded by a stripper with a criminal record and history of bizarre behavior and that of a cheesy local politician in a tight race for reelection as being the gospel truth. When the Nifong/Stripper story began to unravel and Mr. Brodhead had to face some tough questions put to him by Ed Bradley and other journalists, he managed to look like a deer caught in the headlights, babbling politically correct platitudes and bleating that the matter was best entrusted to the justice system. That worked out real well didn’t it! The high point in his performance came in the New Yorker interview where he started spouting quotes from Othello. One can only wonder what pithy literary allusions he would have come up with had he been one of those facing 30 years in a North Carolina penitentiary. Ironically, Mr. Brodhead’s statement when announcing the firing of lacrosse coach Mike Pressler that “There is no way that Coach Pressler can continue to be an effective leader of the team under these circumstances” now applies to him. His failure to give any support to the accused players until the dismissal of charges was virtually assured and his failure to take any action to discipline or discredit the Group of 88, announced to all interested that it was open season on Duke and its students, giving us weeks of endless stories about rich white punks run amuck and Lacrosstitutes – just what I wanted to hear having spent $360,000.00 in tuition payments for my two kids...

The response to this crisis by the Duke administration was an unmitigated disaster. The only bright spot in the entire affair was in the way that Evans, Seligmann, and Finnerty behaved throughout the ordeal. Their comments to the press were thoughtful and intelligent-just what Duke students are expected to be. They, of course, are gone and Duke is left with the inept Brodhead and the despicable Group of 88 - what a trade off! If these young men had, as you claim in your email, the total support of you, the Board of Trustees, all I can say is Shame on You.

Truly yours,
William J. Gaffey ‘73
P-‘06’ P-‘08
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KC Johnson:
Chafe's Conspiracy Theory -- In Monday’s Chronicle, Group of 88 stalwart William Chafe made a startling claim: “Bloggers who have targeted the ‘Group of 88’,” said he, were guilty of “sending us e-mails and making phone calls wishing our deaths and calling us ‘Jew b-’ and ‘n-b-’.” ...

Chafe replied, supplying the “evidence” for his assertion: “There were repeated phone calls and e-mail messages. I never claimed they were from you, but they were concerted.”

Chafe’s “evidence,” then, that any of these calls or e-mail messages came from “bloggers who have targeted the ‘Group of 88’”? None. Instead, it appears, he’s embraced a conspiracy theory that various e-mails and phone calls Group members received were “concerted” by a party or parties unknown...
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Peter Friedman, Conservative Corner/SouthCoastToday:
Media should respect presumption of innocence -- While the media have decided (with good reason) that the identity of an alleged victim of a sexual crime should remain private to protect his or her privacy, they continue to publicize the identity of the accused. The logic of this inconsistency escapes me. Arguably it should be even more important to protect the identity of the accused. After all, the victim is not alleged to have done anything wrong.

You would think that we should have learned a valuable lesson in the aftermath of the so-called "Duke rape case." The ink is barely dry on the papers that detailed the living hell to which three innocent young men were subjected after being falsely accused.

In the aftermath of the Duke case, the media now pile on District Attorney Mike Nifong, forgetting that they were nearly as culpable as the rogue DA himself. As opposed to providing a responsible perspective of the allegations and the evidence, they fueled a modern-day lynch mob that demanded action without knowing the facts.

Now that the facts are in, we know that there was no basis for the allegations. We also know that a community was divided, educations were placed on hold, lives were shattered, a premier coach lost his job and millions of dollars were spent on legal defense bills. For thousands of Duke students and alumni everywhere, their alma mater has become a politically charged punch line.

In one way, the accused Duke students are actually lucky because they have finally been declared completely innocent by the North Carolina attorney general.

In many other cases, the media, after publishing allegations in a sensationalized public display, quietly forget them, leaving the accused to live under a cloud of suspicion. Some are guilty, but we should remember that many are completely innocent as well, but never enjoy the benefit of public vindication.
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Hate Mongers Quarterly blog:
88 Beacons of Enlightenment -- From our vantage point, dear reader, we are having a hard time determining who looks worse in the Duke non-rape scandal aftermath. The witless and mean-spirited Nancy Grace; the unhinged Mau-Mau artist Houston Baker Jr.; the pusillanimous and devious Dick Brodhead; the slimy and incoherent Grant Farred; the obnoxious and smarmy William Chafe—my God, when was the last time you saw such an impressive lineup of exquisitely guilty folks? Nuremberg?

And we haven’t even mentioned Mike Nifong yet. Nor, we might add, the false accuser, whose name we won’t mention in order to protect her identity, but which rhymes with “Dystal Gail Mangum.”

To make matters even more delicious, The Chronicle, Duke University’s student newspaper, has offered sundry opportunities to the Gang of 88 to engage in self-satisfying hand-wringing. Accordingly, our tenured professors have presented the general reading public with an impressive congeries of completely unsatisfying arguments.

Our advertisement didn’t presume guilt, they say. Oh, sure: These are folks almost pathologically attuned to perceived grievances against various minority groups, and yet they can’t tell when they’ve blatantly wronged Rich White Males. If we weren’t so sure that this was a bald-faced lie that the Group of 88 obviously doesn’t believe, we’d be upset. But, frankly, dear reader, we can only laugh at such fatuity.

And now, as The Chronicle recently reported, the 88 Delightful Pedants can’t stop waxing horrific about the horrible treatment they received at the hands of Al Gore’s minions—i.e., the “webloggers.” Oh, dear Lord: It’s getting to the point where one can no longer unfairly malign defendants in court cases by presuming their guilt and not catch a little flak...
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Michael Gaynor:
Duke Case: The Sore Losers -- the end of the Duke case did not end the racial problems in Durham and Durham County, North Carolina District Attorney Michael B. Nifong played the race card because he correctly calculated that it would win him a Democrat primary (tantamount to election in Durham County)...

Then and still, hatred blinded people to the need to be fair to individuals...

It is disappointing and distressing, but not surprising that (1) Ms. Mangum still claims she was gang-raped, (2) there are those who either really believe or pretend to believe it and (3) many of those who obviously were wrong about the charges have just fallen back to the position that the charges could have been true...
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Lawrence Auster, FrontPageMagazine.com:
The Truth of Interracial Rape in the United States -- Like Ahab's search for the Great White Whale, liberals' search for the Great White Defendant is relentless and never-ending. When, in 1988, Tawana Brawley's and Al Sharpton's then year-old spectacular charge that several white men including prosecutor Steven Pagones (whose name Brawley had picked out of a newspaper article) had abducted and raped the 15 year old was shown to be completely false, the Nation said it didn't matter, since the charges expressed the essential nature of white men's treatment of black women in this country. When the Duke University lacrosse players were accused of raping a black stripper last year, liberals everywhere treated the accusation as fact, because, just as with the Nation and Tawana Brawley, the rape charge seemed to the minds of liberals to reflect the true nature of oppressive racial and sexual relations in America.

To see the real truth of the matter, let us take a look at the Department of Justice document Criminal Victimization in the United States, 2005...
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Daniel Henninger, Wall Street Journal (subscription req.)
WONDER LAND -- Don Imus, Bernard McGuirk, Trent Lott, Larry Summers, the Duke lacrosse team, Jimmy the Greek, the kid who yelled "water buffalo" at Penn, Howard Cosell, Jon Stewart, Chief Illiniwek, Jackie Mason and "South Park" all have in common only one thing: They have not been Politically Correct.

Some were brought down by it, and some have made a living from it. Today, there are people who even say that the satire on shows such as "South Park" or the "Daily Show" have made political correctness a harmless amusement. We have become so cool that we can simultaneously abide PC's merciless strictures against saying the wrong things about the right people even as we laugh at our subjugation to PC.

Despite the ironic mockery, political correctness still packs a punch. Say the wrong thing today and you can be gone tomorrow, your status as a top broadcaster, university president or politician obliterated. It happens in the small space of a sentence -- defrocked, banished, gonzo. Outside a courtroom, I'm not aware of many other forces in American life that can do that.

Don Imus thought he had banked enough social capital to call black women "hos" for a laugh. Weirdly unplugged from the two-second tape delay in the back of his brain ("Don't do it"), he blurted something only black hip-hop singers get to say about black women...
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KC Johnson:
Levicy and Law Enforcement -- While Durham law enforcement officials ignored Dr. Julie Manly, the doctor who performed the March 14 medical exam of Crystal Mangum, Tara Levicy was on their speed dial. Over the course of the case, Levicy had no fewer than four meetings and three telephone calls with Durham police officers or representatives of the district attorney’s office.

For Mike Nifong, Levicy was a dream witness. Though endowed with forensic credentials, she proved willing—as the Attorney General’s report noted—to base her diagnoses solely on subjective criteria. These criteria, coincidentally, conformed to her experience that women never lie about being raped.

As has been widely noted, the first Durham police officers who came into contact with Mangum (chiefly Sgt. Shelton) did not perceive her as a rape victim. Did Levicy’s initial contact with law enforcement help change this perception? ...

discussion:
LS forum: Levicy and the DPD, From KC Johnson

related:
KC Johnson (part 1): The Levicy Exam
LS forum: Tara Levicy III - "The Levicy Exam", KC Johnson's First of a Two Parter
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Ray Gronberg, Herald-Sun
Lacrosse case puts focus on N.C. law -- State legislators have introduced no less than five bills that would narrow or expand North Carolina's three-year-old discovery law that forces prosecutors to open their files to defendants in criminal cases.

Two of the bills -- identical measures in the state House and Senate -- would make it easier for prosecutors to claim that documents and other materials are exempt from disclosure under a provision designed to protect attorney work product.

They would strike from the existing discovery law language intended to make it clear "the prosecution must turn over factual information it obtains," said John Rubin, a professor in UNC Chapel Hill's School of Government.

The other bills -- separate measures, one in the House and two in the Senate -- would tighten disclosure rules. The House bill would make it clear that police have to turn over their files on a case to the defense.

On the Senate side, Sen. Dan Clodfelter, D-Mecklenburg, has filed one bill that in some cases would allow a judge to throw out testimony from police officers that lacks support from "contemporaneous notes" taken by the officers, and another specifying that discovery requirements apply to any public or private entity that obtains information on the prosecution's behalf.

All the bills appear to be inspired by two events, one the Duke lacrosse case, the other a recent N.C. Court of Appeals ruling that held the existing discovery law requires prosecutors to turn over notes or recordings of any conversation they have with a witness.
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Malcolm Goff (Durham resident), letter to Herald-Sun:
Column helped to move racial dialogue forward --
Solomon Burnette's opinion piece in the Campus Echo, the student newspaper at N.C. Central University, may seem strong, but it reflects the contempt of many people toward Duke and a system that perpetuates rape in all its forms.

Much like the lacrosse case, rape is always an issue of power. It silences its victims and makes them feel like rape was their fault.

Because male privilege is written in our laws, actual rape is hard to prove in court. That does not mean a sexual assault did not happen March 13, 2006 at the Duke lacrosse house. Historically, the justice system ignored the rape of women of color by white men, so Burnette is justified in venting the frustrations of the community.

Burnette seems to be the target of a smear campaign by right-wing bloggers and reporter Ray Gronberg of The Herald-Sun. Gronberg quotes a blogger who said Burnette gives NCCU the image of "Thug U." This is a racist comment.

Unexamined is the image of Duke, which allows underage drinking and encourages male students to be violent with the excuse that "boys will be boys."

If there is to be any healing in Durham in regards to racism, double standards, sexual assault and power, then Burnette's underlying message must be understood. There is a culture of rape and racism throughout our country, and Duke is no exception. Burnette should be credited for advancing the dialogue.
comment: Durham is indeed a dangerous and twisted "Wonderland." You would be wise to never go near the place.
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Craig Henry, Lead & Gold blog:
Reason #438,517 that the MSM is becoming a joke -- What can you expect when the media watchdogs lie? I ran across this at CJR Daily:
Duke v. Iraq, an Exercise in News Judgment
I thought the writer had a fair point about the attention paid to the exoneration of the lax players compared to the extension of the tours of duty in Iraq. I might have quibbled on some points, but it is an honest argument. (One I made here about Iraq versus the Natalie Holloway story.)

Sadly, the writer did not present his case in an honest manner. Far from it. He blatantly distorted quotes and changed their meaning...

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