Today's items — updated:
Matt Dees / News & Observer:
Lawsuit threat revives lacrosse questions -- It has been a lively week on the lacrosse case front. Here's a recap.
Lawyers for the three former Duke lacrosse players once accused of rape have given the city until early next month to either pony up $30 million or face a federal civil lawsuit, according to sources with knowledge of the negotiations who requested anonymity.
Attorneys Barry Scheck and Brendan Sullivan Jr. told city leaders in a meeting last week that it was a take-it-or-leave-it offer, though many legal experts say few things in civil litigation aren't subject to negotiation.
The settlement also would require the city to create an independent commission to review complaints about police involvement in the case and push state leaders to enact other reforms, such as mandatory videotaping of identification procedures.
The settlement demands were widely reported last Friday, initially attributed to unnamed sources familiar with the negotiations between the city and the players' lawyers. City officials have refused to confirm the reports, but they have not disputed any of the details. [...]
John in Carolina:
N&O’s 9/15 Suit “recap:” My take -- What is indisputable and a key area of the city’s vulnerability are the actions of DPD Cpl. David Addison who, between March 24 and 28, repeatedly told the public about a “horrific crime,” “really, really strong evidence,” and “a wall of silence.” All lies. None were ever disputed by Addison’s DPD supervisors or city manager Patrick Baker. (Durham has a city council –city manager form of government. Therefore, Baker is the city’s highest executive officer.)
2) Attorneys tell me the city is also very vulnerable because of what they say the courts refer to as “the reasonable, trained officer” standard against which the actions and inactions of certain Durham police officers will be judged as well as what, if anything, their supervisors did when they learned of the officers’ actions and inactions.
As it's been explained to me, how a court and possibly a jury will look at what
“ reasonable, trained officers” should be expected to do ought to be a major area of concern for both the individual police involved and for city leaders. [...]
Durham Committee endorses, tomorrow's headlines
-- The Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People endorsed two candidates today in the race for City Council. They have not interviewed the candidates for Mayor yet. There are three seats up on the Council but they only endorsed two. ...
Farad Ali and Victoria Peterson ...discussion:
KC Johnson: Only in Durham
He knew, but not so much -- Durham Mayor Bill Bell, in a fight for a fourth term, is deflecting a charge from challenger Thomas Stith III that he was actively involved in the Duke lacrosse investigation that hurtled off the tracks.
Stith is pointing to a Herald-Sun article last year in which the mayor was paraphrased as saying he was monitoring the investigation closely.
The article ran three days before the April 4, 2006, photo identification procedure that led to the accuser identifying players as her attackers, Stith noted. That procedure violated the city's lineup policy."
If he was that involved in the process, does he not have some accountability for what happened in the investigation," Stith said.
But Bell contends he wasn't that involved.
He said he asked City Manager Patrick Baker for a timeline documenting what happened between the accusations in mid-March through April. Baker gave a report to the council shortly after that request."
But beyond that I didn't have any oversight," Bell said. [...]
Remembering the Good -- One argument of my talk last week at Duke was to remind people that while the Group of 88 might have betrayed the principles of the profession, there were many professors (and students) at Duke who did the right thing.
The Friends of Duke site has a listing of all whose performance was worthy of praise [...]
Opinions Differ About Duke Lacrosse Settlement [+ video] -- The sight of Mike Nifong going to jail won't be enough to call off civil lawyers in the Duke Lacrosse case. Lawyers for the accused players are reportedly demanding $30 million to settle their case against the city. So, is the demand over the top?
As the candidates debated live on ABC11.com, it became clear. The mayoral race could hinge on the aftermath of the Duke Lacrosse case, And even with the D.A. fresh off a stint in jail, the fallout is far from over.
A civil settlement demand is on the table and it's a big one -- $30 million. ten for each player. By comparison, the families of those killed in the 9/11 attacks received about $1.8 million.
Eyewitness News asked the taxpayers how they feel about shelling out on average $150 each. [...]
Durham Bull -- The phony Duke rape case, and who was really assaulted. -- Now that: (1) all rape and related felony charges stemming from the supposed white-on-black sexual assault said to have been committed by three Duke lacrosse players at a team party on March 13-14, 2006, have not only been dismissed but the three young men have been completely exonerated as "innocent" by the attorney general of North Carolina; (2) the prosecutor, Durham district attorney Mike Nifong, who brought the patently false charges in an effort to court the black vote in his election race, has been disbarred, obliged to resign from office in disgrace, and even sentenced to jail for a day for lying to the court; and (3) the supposed rape victim has been revealed to be, if not a pathological liar, certainly pathological, I'm waiting to see exactly how many members of the mainstream press assigned to review this meticulous and damning dissection of the case by Stuart Taylor Jr. of National Journal and Newsweek and Brooklyn College historian K.C. Johnson will finally name the name in print or on television of the hired -stripper/exotic dancer/soi-disant student who caused all the trouble.
Her name is Crystal Mangum.
Taylor and Johnson do so. And they also publish a photograph of the -bruise-, contusion-, and cut-free face of the then-27-year-old Mangum, taken by the Durham police on March 16, 2006, exactly three days after she said she had been beaten, [...]
Times Review -- From the Scottsboro Boys to Clarence Gideon, some of the most memorable legal narratives have been tales of the wrongly accused. Now “Until Proven Innocent,” a new book about the false allegations of rape against three Duke lacrosse players, can join these galvanizing cautionary tales [...]
NYT’s Until Proven Innocent review. -- The NY Times Sunday Book Review chose Jeffrey Rosen, law professor at George Washington University, to review Stuart Taylor and KC Johnson’s Until Proven Innocent.
Professor Rosen gives the book the equivalent of at least an “A,” maybe an “A+.”
Jeffrey Rosen reviews Until Proven Innocent for the New York Times
On Comments; AAS Letter -- a few people had asked me about the full text of the “open letter” to Peter Lange penned by 15 prominent professors from African-American Studies and related field. I mentioned the letter in a recent post; below is the full text.
AN OPEN LETTER ON DUKE’S “TEACHABLE MOMENT”
Dear Provost Lange:
We wish to register our concern over the recent debacle at Duke. Your public letter to Professor Houston Baker adds unfortunate weight to that concern. [...]
Authors Chronicle 'Shameful Injustices' -- Stuart Taylor Jr. and KC Johnson are the co-authors of the recently released book Until Proven Innocent ... They recently shared their thoughts on everyone from Michael Nifong to Michael Vick with LMO.
How did you come to be so interested in the Duke lacrosse case?
ST: It became a big story about a week before I paid attention to it. And then Larry Lamade (father of former Duke player Peter Lamade), who's been a friend since college, called and said, "This is a travesty. These boys are being lynched and the university's throwing them under the bus and you gotta look at it." He was right about that. I began looking into it and over the next few weeks I found it really hard to believe that the entire national media was in full cry that these were terrible young thugs and the DA was screaming they were guilty, openly violating professional protocol. The Duke administration came charging ahead with demonizing these young men. Given the disconnect between what seemed really obvious to me and what other people were saying, I thought "This is a book."
KCJ: What got me involved was when the Group of 88 (Duke professors) came out with its statement on April 6. I'm concerned with the broader issue of faculty groupthink, and that statement was so inappropriate in so many ways. That was my entry point into the case. [...]
LS forum: Not Naming Names in "Until Proven Innocent", Do You Agree With KC & Stuart Taylor?
Melanie Sill / The Editor's Blog / News & Observer:
Correcting "Until Proven Innocent" -- KC Johnson, co-author of the Duke lacrosse book "Until Proven Innocent," has posted a correction here on one of a few errors in the book regarding N&O reporting.
The errors occur in a long passage regarding the much-discussed March 25 N&O article that drew on the only interview ever done with the accuser, Crystal Mangum. (At that point and until the case was dropped, Mangum was not named by us or most other sources.)
First, Johnson and co-author Stuart Taylor Jr. write that the article "always described Mangum as the victim." This is incorrect: The first reference is "the woman who says she was raped," for the most part she is described as 'the accuser" or "the woman" and near the end of the story, twice, as "the victim." Read it yourself. I've thought all along this issue was a red herring, but if you're going to criticize us on it, be accurate.
More seriously, the authors write that Duke professor Paul Haagen believed reporter Samiha Khanna had taken his comments out of context and had "fished around" after a faculty meeting for negative comments regarding the lacrosse team; Khanna never interviewed Haagen. Reporters who have interviewed him numerous times on this and other issues have never heard any complaint to support this accusation.
A couple of pages later, the book states that Khanna barged into a Duke building and interrupted a private meeting; Khanna was in the building lobby with other reporters but did not interrupt any meeting or talk with the coach in question.
The problem with a book is this: It has the weight of "permanent record." The errors regarding Khanna unfairly smear her. Johnson and Taylor of course are free to criticize The N&O's reporting, the March 25 article and anything else if they get the facts right.
Johnson responded promptly and courteously and made changes in the book's source notes on a couple of points; the book's web site also includes a link to the source notes. However, he did not correct all the errors, and they remain in the printed book to be taken as gospel. [...]
comment: So, Melanie Sill wants "Until Proven Innocent" corrected. First, she complains the infamous March 25, 2006, "Victim" article does not always label Crystal Mangum as "the victim." The book unfairly characterizes the article.
The article used the words victim or victims four times. The article omitted the critical fact that Ms. Mangum claimed that the second dancer, Kim Roberts, had also been sexually assaulted, but didn't report it for fear she'd lose her job. The article also omitted that Mangum had said that Roberts would "do anything for money." Basic facts, that if the N&O had published back then would have changed the entire course of this sorry hoax history.
The March 25th article was dripping with sympathy for the victim in every paragraph. It smeared the Duke lacrosse team for "barking" racial slurs. And in tenor, tone and timing, it was the launching pad for the Duke lacrosse rape hoax. So here we are eighteen months later and N&O editor Melanie Sill is grousing about errors in the written word related to that article. Too funny.
Sill says errors regarding N&O reporter, Samiha Khanna, "unfairly smear her." KC Johnson corrected the one small error. Prof. Johnson wrote:The book stated that Samiha Khanna interviewed Haagen, and Haagen recalled her asking leading questions; in fact, another N&O reporter interviewed Haagen.That's it. That's the error. It was another N&O reporter, who was stalking Haagen looking for dirt on the lacrosse team, not Khanna. But, the N&O's motive was clear — let's dig up as much dirt on the lacrosse team as we can. Prof. Haagen remembers it that way. Ms. Sill and her people for good reason do not.
I apologize for the error.
The News & Observer and reporter Samiha Khanna were hoax enablers. Let the weight of the "permanent record" show that.
Walk down Memory Lane [LieStoppers]
The N&O's March 25 Dilemma [KC Johnson]
AJR & N&O's "No Anons" Hoax [John in Carolina]
N&O STILL CLAIMS "RACIAL SLURS" [John in Carolina]
Did the N&O withhold news? [John in Carolina]
The N&O's false report on Coleman [John in Carolina]
Dancer gives details of ordeal by Samiha Khanna and Anne Blythe, March 25, 2006
Team's silence is sickening by Ruth Sheehan, March 27, 2006
Mother, dancer, accuser by Samiha Khanna, April 16, 2006]
March 25 interview - opinion about the other woman, Editors' blog, Oct 5, 2006
Hush, little Mikey, don't you cry
Joanie's gonna sing you a lullaby.
That shadow on your window is just some Fed
Tomorrow they might look under Mikey's bed. [...]