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Monday, July 9, 2007

Nifong/Mangum Hoax — July 9, 2007

Updated — today's items:

James Leonard, Contra Costa Times:
Pressler finds a better life after Duke -- Ex-Blue Devils coach survives the scandal that almost ruined his career -- For his team and his family -- wife Sue and daughters Janet and Maggie -- Pressler says, "things were at an all-time high."

"Our lives were all about Duke," he says. "Our children were born at Duke's hospital. I could hear the loudspeaker in the football stadium from my backyard. We bled blue and white.

"But things change."

Oh, how they changed for Pressler, who is in Danville this week as part of the coaching staff at the "Be the Best" lacrosse camp.

Thanks to suffocating media coverage, the details of the scandal that ripped apart the Duke community are now well known. And with the July 2 resignation of disgraced Durham district attorney Mike Nifong, the story has all but come to a close. (Pressler tells his version of the story in a recently released book, "It's Not About the Truth.")

But like the three Duke lacrosse players who were charged with raping and kidnapping an African-American stripper during a March 13, 2006, party, Pressler knows that his life has been forever altered...

Pressler is also starting to love his life again. His family, confronted with nonstop media scrutiny and threats of violence as the scandal played out, has settled in Rhode Island.

"We have a beautiful home three miles from Bryant," Pressler says. "Our children are very happy here. We're an hour from Boston and half an hour from the beach. We're in a better place."

So are his former players. Evans graduated from Duke in May, and Seligmann and Finnerty plan to continue their lacrosse careers at different schools next year.

Pressler, for his part, has reached a financial settlement with Duke. There's just one more thing he wants from the university, though he's not sure if he'll ever get it.

"I have a great affection for a lot of people at Duke," Pressler says. "Am I a fan? Absolutely not.

"I'm a fan of the players and of some of the coaches, but you can't do this to people and get away with it and not apologize for it. Nobody has gotten an apology from anybody. That to me is an amazing thing.
discussion:
LS forum: Pressler Asks For Apology From Duke, Former Coach Interviewed At LAX Camp
---------
LieStoppers:
Baker's No-Brainer -- In May, Durham City Manager Patrick Baker narrowed the search for Durham's next Police Chief to three final candidates: Ronald Hodge, Durham's current deputy police chief; William Donald "Don" Green, a deputy chief of the Knoxville (Tenn.) Police Department and Jose Lopez Sr., an assistant police chief of the Hartford (Conn.) Police Department. In announcing the finalists, Baker noted that, in his mind, all three were viable candidates for the position...

In our view, the choice of Jose Lopez Sr., given the unacceptable alternatives, is so clear that if, for any reason, Lopez is deemed unacceptable, or declines the position, the second option for Baker should be to renew the search process and develop new candidates.
----------
Yvonne Gale - Friend to Friend, a domestic violence and sexual assault agencyYvonne Gale, Fayetteville Observer:
(Yvonne Gale is with Friend to Friend, a domestic violence and sexual assault agency in Moore County)
Rape affects the whole community -- Rape is a crime that diminishes all humanity. The subject of rape gets a lot of attention with high-profile cases such as the Duke lacrosse case or celebrity cases such as the allegations against Kobe Bryant, but the fact is that one in four girls and one in seven boys is sexually molested in the United States.

For too long, rape has been a closet subject not talked about in polite social circles. When I was growing up, the commonly held opinion was that rape only happened to “bad” females or females who made poor decisions concerning whom they went out with or where they hung out or socialized. Most victims are not raped by strangers in dark, forbidden places.

The Department of Justice reports that seven out of 10 rape or sexual assault victims know their attacker. These attacks take place in homes, neighborhoods, schools and even churches.

Because rape is one of the most unreported crimes, too often women and children do not get the treatment they need. Not only are they violated physically, but they are mentally and emotionally scarred.

When someone’s well-being and sense of security are ripped away from him or her, the person must grapple with feelings of guilt, anger, shame, blame, helplessness and depression...
discussion:
Bill Anderson, LS fourm:
I wrote the following to Gale --

Ms. Gale,

After all we have seen in the Duke case, I still find it amazing that the "rape crisis" crowd still is insisting that those three young men raped Crystal Mangum. (And, yes, I know how to read between the lines of commentary, and yours was an insistence that this was a rape.)

I have come to understand that there is an element in this country that refuses to believe evidence, and that once you have a story, no matter how the facts might contradict it, you are sticking with it. I see all those people railroaded on false charges, like the Edenton Seven and elsewhere, with people like you working feverishly to plant false stories and to have people thrown into prison for something that never happened. [...]
----------
amarillo.com:
Letters: Estrich and everyone else needs to exonerate Duke players --
I should have known better, but when I saw on June 27 that columnist Susan Estrich was writing another commentary about the Duke lacrosse team, I thought she was going to apologize for her deciding their guilt within the first 30 seconds after she heard about it and piling on with the rest of the liberal media.

But this column is even worse, since she is convicting them again: this time for being rich (which all were not), white, college-age men and because they could have been guilty. I thought people are considered innocent until proven guilty.

Writing nothing would have been better than this. Estrich justifies her action with the hypothetical that they were guilty when none of the suppositions she proposes had any evidence to support them.

Then she comes to the aid of Duke University and the faculty, who were worse than she and her crew. The difference is that Duke is going to pay for its part in this debacle and Estrich will not. Too bad!

J. Franklin Howell, M.D.
Amarillo

---------
Letters to Herald-Sun:
An obvious bias

Regarding W. Russell Robinson's letter of July 2 titled "Familiar Formula": He writes that money was lavishly spent to defend the accused in the Duke case. That it was old money, strategically spent. Does he know the families personally? Does he know where that money came from? Of course not, but it fits his vision, his bias.

He refers to the justice served on former district attorney Mike Nifong as a lynching. I believe the word lynching would be more appropriately used to describe the actions served by Nifong, not upon him. Odd choice of words, but it fits his vision, his bias.

The accused didn't surrender under the cover of darkness to avoid media scrutiny. Someone made sure the media was alerted and waiting when they turned themselves in and the scene was replayed too many times to count. The innocent lacrosse players were taken to jail with handcuffs. Again, it fits Robinson's vision, his bias.

The accuser painted herself as the "stereotypical black Jezebel," something Robinson blames on the defense counsel. She painted herself with her own choices, no one needed to say anything. But it's his vision, his bias.

Robinson also wonders if the defense counsel for the declared innocent in the Duke case plan on doing pro bono work for others in jail wrongly accused. Have you asked any of them? Or was that your final shot of your bias and agenda filled letter? So many times Robinson is wrong that his bias is as clear as the facts of this case.

It is a shame he chooses to be blinded by the former.

Nancy McCaffrey
Fuquay Varina
----------
Apology needed

The administration at Duke University followed procedures during the Duke lacrosse case, but didn't hold their employees -- professors -- to the same standard procedures. The professors should have waited until the legal system resolved this matter before passing judgement on the lacrosse players.

Now Duke has settled with the students and their families, but I'm still waiting to hear from the "Duke 88." Do they now regret their ad?

Have they issued an apology for falsely rushing to accuse and promoting false stereotypes. They have done great harm to these families, Duke University, Durham and the state of North Carolina by pushing their own agendas.

Just because Duke University settled does not mean that the "Duke 88" should not apologize to the students and their families.

Erin Holmquist
Cary
---------
In need of enlightenment

Help me understand a few things:

* Why continue demonizing Mike Nifong, who has admitted to his mistakes?

* Why did the dancers first leave the house and were later enticed to come back into the house to continue their dance routine?

* Why are so many individuals praising the justice system when the three Duke lacrosse players' distinguished lawyers got their charges dismissed?

* Why were so many individuals upset with the justice system when O. J. Simpson's distinguished lawyers got him exonerated?

* Why was President Bush given a free pass without admitting to his mistakes? Bush's mistakes have caused deaths and life-long injuries to some of our troops.

* Why did the news media give so much attention to Paris Hilton instead of telling the real story on the amount of civilian casualties and destruction in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Please America, as a Vietnam war veteran, help me understand.

Wilbert J. Hamilton Sr.
Durham
---------
Nifong has other victims

To achieve independence the United States had to battle the greatest superpower on the planet at that time. With the recent festivities commemorating this independence, I can't help but think about the plight of so many young men and women who have lost their independence after being subjected to prosecutorial misconduct in Durham.

Surely those falsely accused and prosecuted by former district attorney Mike Nifong and his colleagues are indeed battling a superpower for their freedom. Who speaks for the falsely accused who are not rich and attend prestigious schools?

Let those who value what this country stands for speak out for other victims who are not rich, white and enrolled in prestigious schools. Let us rally and help those accused who have already been in jail and who get targeted because they already have a record.

Ellenois Watkins
Raleigh
----------
Linwood WilsonKC Johnson:
The Linwood Wilson Deposition -- The idea that Linwood Wilson—a figure who, the N&O noted, faced “repeated complaints and at least seven formal inquiries into his conduct” as a private investigator—ever could have been the chief investigator for a district attorney would seem possible only in the Wonderland that is Durham.

The Wilson deposition to the Bar suggested that the (now-fired) investigator didn’t suddenly develop an ethical core when he went under oath. He alternated between scarcely credible and wholly non-credible assertions as he explained his involvement in the lacrosse case—which began with the arrest of Seligmann alibi witness Moezeldin Elmostafa and ended with SANE nurse Tara Levicy “remembering” that Crystal Mangum was uncertain about whether her “attackers” used condoms...

For those who argue that Nifong has been punished enough, the Wilson deposition is Exhibit A on the necessity for a criminal investigation. The descriptions above came from a man who did everything he could, for nearly a year, to use the power of the state to send to jail three demonstrably innocent people, for a crime that they not only didn’t commit but never occurred.
discussion:
LS forum: Don't nobody Move, The Gay/Lesbian connection?
----------
Letter to Herald-Sun:
The race factor

Rodney Turner, in his letter of July 5, stated that the "Duke LAX 3", were railroaded because of their "wealth, race and sex, by Durham's black leaders, Durham police, Mike Nifong, Duke professors, (and I love this one) feminists gone wild," and that if the LAX players were not "white and rich" we would never have heard of the Duke LAX case.

That, in a way, makes the point that so many have made about the case. If this had been three young men of color from N.C. Central University, you wouldn't have had any of this mess. The chances are that with no hotshot lawyers in their corners, they would still be in jail waiting for a trial date.

So my question to Turner is this: Using the same amount of evidence, which was shaky, which is more racist, the fact that the young men accused were rich, white and from Duke and got all this attention, or three young men who are not white and from lower income families and no influence, getting no attention at all under similar circumstances?

Odessa Shaw Jr.
Durham
July 8, 2007
discussion:
John in Carolina:
INNOCENT: About Race & Opportunity -- Dear Mr. Shaw:
...Surely whatever you, I or anyone else might think of our newspapers, Duke’s leaders and the rest, we don’t think they’d ever let the same thing happen to black students at Duke or Central.

And remember the threats, including death threats, that racists shouted at Reade Seligmann outside the Durham County Courthouse and within the courtroom on May 18?

That kind of terrible thing used to happen to blacks and no one did anything about it. Now it's happened to Seligmann and nobody's done anything about it.

So there’s bias at work against whites just as there’s bias at work against blacks and Hispanics. It just rears itself in different circumstances...
---------
FITZGERALD A ROGUE PROSECUTOR LIKE NIFONG?
Victor Davis Hanson, RealClearPolitics/FoxNews:
The Real Threat to Civil Liberties -- Second, every bit as dangerous as wiretaps are prosecutors who manipulate the law, either for personal, ideological or political reasons. And here too reappears a pattern in which perceived political liberalism seems to trump adherence to the spirit of the law.

In the so-called Duke rape case, now disbarred District Attorney Michael Nifong withheld evidence in his holy crusade to convict three innocent Duke Lacrosse players — in hopes of appeasing the lynch mob of local black activists and self-righteous university professors. But even before evidence was adduced — all exculpatory to the defendants — liberal forces had tried and convicted the falsely accused in the media in furtherance of their own leftwing race, class, and gender agendas.

In the case of Valerie Plame, a special prosecutor was selected to find out who outed supposedly covert status at the CIA. The common liberal allegation was that administration lackies had stooped to hound a CIA employee for the anti-war politicking of her husband Joe Wilson.

But very early on in Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald's investigation, two inconvenient truths emerged. Ms. Plame was not a covert agent as envisioned by the original mandate of the special prosecutor. And second, the culprit who disseminated knowledge of her employment in with the CIA was almost immediately revealed — former State Department official Richard Armitage.

But no matter. Armitage was out of office and had voiced misgivings about the Iraq war. Thus his early conviction would have earned little public attention, but might instead have ended the investigation before it could snowball in the daily press.

So Fitzgerald barreled ahead anyway on a new mission to satisfy the partisan lust for high-value scalps — hoping to find some top administration official guilty of something else in the growing labyrinth of competing testimonies...
----------
opinion, Pittsburg Tribune-Review:
Scooter's fair shake

Imagine if District Attorney Mike Nifong kept investigating the Duke lacrosse team "rape" case long after he knew that there was no crime (which he did), but in the process charged the defendants with perjury because of inconsistent statements.

Now imagine that it happened more than three years after the original event. I can only imagine the outrage.

The Duke case and the case of Dick Cheney aide "Scooter" Libby are essentially the same except that the Libby case is worse. Much more time has passed in the Libby case and charges were filed fraudulently.

George W. Bush did exactly the right thing in this case, for the moment. By commuting Libby's prison sentence, he came up with a solution that would allow Libby to remain free while the appeal was going forward, correcting the error of the appeals court yet allowing Libby to opportunity to have this verdict overturned in the courts.

If I were Libby I certainly would not have wanted a pardon. I would want an appeals court ruling that would re-establish the integrity of the court by overturning the case and dismissing it. I would want vindication.

Furthermore, both the judge in the Libby case and Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald need to be censured and possibly disbarred.

Had Libby been allowed to remain free pending appeal, George Bush would have had to do nothing. All that would have remained is for someone in a black robe to prove that the system has integrity.

The hand-wringing over how awful President Bush was for doing this in this case is simple proof that some people love their hatred far more than they love honesty and fairness.

Hamilton Gray
Butler
----------
Ben Stein, American Spectator:
Bush Amazes -- This George Bush fellow has major league cojones. It really amazes me.

Start with the obvious:

The case against "Scooter" Libby was a total fraud. Completely bogus. The publicity-mad demoness Valerie Plame was not a covert overseas agent at the time the whole megillah about her erupted. So there was no, none, nada, law breaking by reporting that she was a CIA employee...

(And isn't he a lot like a certain prosecutor in North Carolina who pilloried totally innocent Duke University La Crosse players in a totally trumped up, absolutely bogus case when there was no solid evidence against them at all? Is it not frightening what an out of control prosecutor can do in a free country? The wicked man in North Carolina faces prosecution and has already had other sanctions. Is this being considered for Mr. Fitzgerald?)

Third, while prosecutors can do almost anything they damned well please, it is not considered de rigueur to prosecute for perjury in an investigation in which there is no underlying crime. But that's precisely what happened in the Libby case. Mr. Fitzgerald prosecuted for perjury even though there was no crime he was investigating. It was just a mammoth unnecessary, phony fishing expedition to snare Bush operatives that caught Libby...
discussion:
bobsikes, gettingpaidtowatch blog:
POLITICS: Ben Stein Give Dubya and “attaboy” and Smacks Down the Libby Prosection -- What a lonely man Ben Stein must feel like in Hollywood...

2Slick's Forum:
Bush Got It Right... Unlike Mr. Clinton -- I'm suspicious of verdicts handed down by DC juries, and I think Mr. Fitzgerald is the federal equivalent of disgraced Duke rape prosecutor Michael Nifong.

But I think the president got it right. There was no underlying crime, but Mr. Libby might have lied to the grand jury. If so, he should pay...
----------
Forum topics of note:
LS forum: Comparison of Crystal's 3/16 vs 4/06 stories --
[...]

4/6 Handwritten, Strangulation:
No strangulation mentioned. No fingernail(s) mentioned.

3/16 DPD Interview, Strangulation:
He attempted to "put it in my ass" but it was so sore he started to choke me from behind "because I was screaming so loud." She stated she could not breathe and remembered trying to get his arm off from around her throat. She stated she broke her fingernails off in the process.

[...]
comment: There were some twenty-one plus people who spoke to Crystal Gail Mangum before the 3/16 DPD interview and not one of them heard a word about the strangulation/choking. Mangum never said another word about the choking after March 16th. Not at the April 4th lineup. Not on her April 6th handwritten statement. Not during the Linwood Wilson interview on Dec. 21st. And apparently not at her other meetings with investigators and Nifong. Investigators completely ignored her recanting of a major element of the crime.
-----------
Cash Michaels & George CostanzaCash Michaels, TalkLeft:
OK reporter, how would you have covered the Duke case? --

cpamba: I would just do the opposite of everything you did...

comment: Good advice for chronic losers - apply the George Costanza rule...

Seinfeld: 'The Opposite' -- George upon visiting the beach, (where many of the characters are seen having a major revelation), decides that every decision that he has ever made has been wrong and resolves to do the complete opposite of what he would normally. He suddenly begins to experience good luck, getting a girlfriend, moving out of his parents' house, and even landing a job with the New York Yankees...
----------
LS forum: C's reflection in a pool of Bat Guano
----------
LieStoppers blog:
Inv. Ben Himan’s Typed Notes, Part 3 (May 15, 2006 - January 12, 2007) --

5/22/06 1215hrs - Spoke to Angela at National Medical Center. Stated that her company could not do the test. She stated that it would be slim to none chance of finding a one time use drug. She stated that their testing was more for chronic usage.

[...]

6/14/06 0923hrs - Had interview with Mariecia Smith and her lawyer Beth Fleishman. Ms. Smith stated that the victim came in Officer Barfields car she stated that she met her out in the parking lot and Officer Barfield did not know who he had in his back seat he stated to her because she was non-responsive. S he stated that she introduced herself to the victim and asked her to get out of the car. She stated that she appeared nervous and was shaking. She stated to the Ms. Smith that she called herself “honey”. She stated that she did not want to go jail, Ms. Smith stated that this was the Durham Crisis Center. She stated she was wearing red dress/ something white over that and one white high heel. She grabbed her and started crying. She stated that they sat her down inside in the assessment room. Once inside the assessment room the door was shut and she stated to the nurse that she was raped. She stated that she was not speaking but she started to write the names of her children down on a piece of paper. Ms. Smith stated that she stated she found out that the children were 5 or 6 years old and it appeared as though they were home alone. Ms. Smith stated that she told Officer Barfield who called on his radio to check on the children. Ms. Smith stated the nurses name was Alycia Wright and the security guard from Waken but was Gerry Wilkes. Ms. Smith stated once she stated she was raped that the proper place for her to go was Duke Hospital. She stated that no paper work was done on her and the only record they would have would be the log book which she stated she put the name down and what time she came in at. She stated that she thought it was a 2:01 am on 3/14/06. She stated that the name she put down was the name than an officer gave her. She stated that Crystal Mangum she thought was the name, but she was not for sure. She stated that at that time, they decided the best for her was to go to Duke. She stated that to her that "she dis not any men touching her", she state that Officer Sutton and Officer Barfield were present and Officer Stewart asked that we not ask any more probing questions. Ms. Smith asked the victim if Officer Barfield had touched her and she stated no, she stated would she be comfortable if Officer Barfield transported her. Ms. Smith stated she remembered the victim stating "asking not to hurt her" and asked Officer Barfield if he would stay with her' She stated this when it was agreed that she got to the hospital. Ms. Smith stated at first she did not want to go and she stated "no, no, no," that she was talking about her children and that was a big concern of her. Ms. Smith stated they escorted her back to the police car and put her in Officer Barfield's patrol car in the back seat.

[...]
discussion:
LS forum: Durham Access Ctr, Mariecie Smith speaks, from Himan's typed notes
--------
LieStoppers blog:
Himan and the Fourth Amendment -- As if additional demonstration of the Durham police department's disregard for the law and constitutional rights was required to magnify the need for a Department of Justice investigation into the Nifong/Mangum Hoax, a review of DPD Investigator Benjamin Himan's case notes reveals that the Durham Police Department's illegal acts were not limited to the assault on the Duke lacrosse team.

In obtaining consent for DNA testing from two witnesses, Blake Boehmler and Brent Saeli, Inv. Himan repeatedly threatened to obtain an illegal non-testimonial identification order and hinted that the media would publicize the names of the witnesses seemingly as suspects in the alleged gang rape of false accuser Crystal Mangum. Himan's unconstitutional threats followed the admission by at least one of the witnesses that they feared the consequences of such public exposure the investigator held over his head...
----------
LieStoppers:
Inv. Ben Himan’s Typed Notes, Part 2 (April 18 - May 15, 2006) --

4/18/06 0500hrs - Myself and Sgt. Gottlieb, and Inv. Clayton arrested Collin H. Finnerty and Reade W. Seligman at the Durham County Jail they were processed at the jail and were given a 400,000 dollar bond.

4/18/06 1300hrs - Athletic Director Joe Alleva arrived with lawyers representing Mr. Alleva. He stated he was notified by Sue Woselak in reference to a party that the Duke lacrosse team had. She told him there was under age drinking and alleged sexual assault that took place at 610 N. Buchanan. He stated that Chris Kennedy and Sue Wasiolek met with the four captains Dan Flannery, Bret Thompson, Matt Zash and David Evans on March 17th. He stated that Sue also gave them the suggestion that Wes Covington be contacted reference this matter. He stated he did not meet with the players until March 24th. He stated that sometime the players had stated that woman was impaired when she showed up, that she was so impaired that they just wanted her out of the house. That she had to be helped to the car by “Dan Flannery”. A question was asked whether any player or family had contacted him about players not being there. He stated Michael Catalino’s family called and stated that he was not even at the party that night. He stated that he had talked with the coach about the situation and the coach had believed that this allegation was false and emphatically denied that his players could have done this. He stated he had heard about the meeting and but some parents had got involved by then and did not want them going to meet the police. He stated that he does not deal with disciplinary system that it goes through the university judicial system (Sue Wasiolek’s office) he stated that they were planning on suspending the team for a couple of games and then the whole season. He met with some of the parents on 3/24/06 because there was a game that day and he had canceled the game.

[...]
----------
KC Johnson:
Sunday Review -- Fifteen members of the 2007 Duke men’s lacrosse team were named to the ACC All-Academic team..

North Carolina NAACP head William Barber has weighed in with his latest commentary on the case...

The Duke Basketball Report discussion board has a fascinating thread on William Griffith...

John in Carolina has an important post on Sgt. John Shelton and his role in the case...

More bad news for the Durham Police Department, after a North Carolina appeals court set aside the conviction of Gregory Wright...

The first meeting of the Whichard Committee...

lengthy letter in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, Charles Falk noted that even as the falsely accused players were pronounced innocent and Mike Nifong disbarred, the case “won't come to a finale unless and until Duke deals with the so-called ‘Group of 88.’” ...
--------
John in Carolina:
INNOCENT: Durham & America -- Today’s Durham Herald Sun contains a letter from Steve Bumgardner, a Durhamite who for many years has been a regular contributor to the H-S’s letters section. Or maybe I should say he’s been a chronic contributor.

Anyway, what I want to do is take one of Bumgardner’s emotings (Bumgardner no doubt would call it a “thought”) and use it to say things I’ve wanted to say for some time.

Bumgardner begins:
I find it very interesting how all of these people that don't live here are telling Durhamites how they should feel and react to the lacrosse case.
To paraphrase an old expression: “your not from Durham” is the last refuge of those who still wish Nifong had been right...
----------
BITTER SLIME MONGER
Opinion page, Winston-Salem Journal:
Nothing Good

I’m really tired of hearing about the terrible wrongs done to the Duke lacrosse players.

Yes, it appears that no rapes or sexual assaults happened at the party house, but let’s remember what else did not happen there: Rich, privileged students did not treat less fortunate people well. Athletes with a world of available women ready to please them did not consort with them, but instead with poor women who sold their availability.

The players did not choose to honor women, but instead to degrade them. Spoiled young men did not curb their demeaning, inebriated voyeurism. In fact, nothing good went on there at all and what did go on would never have happened had the lacrosse players not behaved like pubescent louts.

It is too bad that these grown men, who should be grown-up gentlemen and scholar-athletes, were unjustly accused of criminal wrongdoing, but they certainly shouldn’t be anyone’s role models for civil behavior either. I sincerely hope their 15 minutes are over.

MIRIAM E. FELSENBURG
Winston-Salem

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