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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Duke Case — Sleepy Hollow of Tobacco Road

Today's items- updated:

Durham maybe a Wonderland, but the city also gives off a gothic horror tale vibe. Over the last eighteen months of the Duke lacrosse saga the city has seemed in the grip of classic gothic elements like darkness, decay, madness, secrets and hereditary curses.

One hereditary curse is that many Durhamites are blind to basic things like facts, evidence, and the truth. Their curse is then wrapped in a veil of madness as these blind Durhamites act as if they are the one-eyed man in the world of the blind.

More evidence that Durham is a creepy, scary place popped up in today's Herald-Sun.

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Ray Gronberg / Herald-Sun [reg. req.]:
E-mails mostly nays on lacrosse settlement -- A scan of city e-mail shows that Mayor Bill Bell and other elected officials are indeed hearing from a lot of constituents who want them to reject a $30 million settlement demand from the men falsely accused in the Duke lacrosse case.

Opposition to a settlement is coming from a variety of sources, including Durham political heavyweights and people with ties to Duke University.

The most prominent person to weigh in publicly against the idea of settling with lacrosse-case figures David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann is former City Councilwoman Sandy Ogburn.

She wrote Bell and other officials on Sept. 9, soon after The Herald-Sun reported the $30 million figure, to say she was "unwilling to give those boys a single penny."

"While a court case would be costly, it would be worth the money to me as a taxpayer," Ogburn wrote. "At least then we will be able to hear the entire case -- and have the evidence in the public view. All we know right now is what the defense attorneys have parsed out -- oh, as well as their million-dollar PR campaign."

Ogburn -- a former director of community affairs for Duke and recent N.C. House candidate-- added that she believes "the last thing" the families of the three players want "is for the evidence to be heard."

Interviewed on Tuesday, Ogburn hadn't changed her mind.

"I don't want my tax dollars to pay off what I consider to be harassment and absolute extreme political maneuvering by the families," she said. "That's it. It's an exorbitant amount of money."

Most of the e-mail on the subject posted to the mayor's inbox voiced similar sentiments. [...]
discussion:
Jon Ham / JouhLocke.org / Right Angles blog:
City Council hears from not-reality-based crowd -- Maybe it should tell us something when the most “prominent” person The Herald-Sun could find opposed to settling with the Duke lacrosse players is Sandy Ogburn [...]

This puts Ogburn squarely in the “something happened that night” category. Now I’m wondering where she buys her headgear?

And then there’s Bob Healy, identified as a “former professor in Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment.” He falls into that category of professors at Duke who seem to hate the students they teach [...]
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John McCann / Herald-Sun:
Who foots the bills for mistakes? -- You know, Duke University presumably paid a lot of money to make the Duke lacrosse case go away.

But it didn't go away. We're still talking about it. And no matter how you slice it, this thing always will be associated with Duke every time it gets served up for discussion. I mean, nobody's going to refer to this as the N.C. Central University lacrosse case, even though the accusatory exotic dancer went to school there.

Of course, the talk now is about the former Duke lacrosse boys having their lawyers talk to our city's lawyers about a $30 million settlement for getting messed over by both Bull City cops and former District Attorney Mike Nifong.

Now, don't any of you start in on me about referring to those lacrosse boys as boys, because if I were arguing that those poor "boys" got done wrong -- and they did -- then everything would be cool. Except, I'd then have to take issue with myself, because those boys are anything but poor [...]

discussion:

Bill Anderson / LieStoppers forum:
I sent this email to McCann and Boob Ashley -
Mr. McCann,

Once again, I am reminded as to why it was so important for those young men not to go on trial in Durham, since a Durham jury -- if you are typical of people there -- would have ignored the evidence and voted them guilty for political reasons.

First, the party was no "drunken orgy," and I suspect that there are many parties down the road at NCCU that are much more wild. Second, was Darryl Hunt an "angel"? Are the Jena Six "angels"? In both cases, we can say no, but that is irrelevant to the facts of those cases. The issue is not the angelic nature of defendants, but rather the substance of the charges and the misconduct by prosecutors.

By the way, Reade Seligmann, one of the people you slandered, had a very good reputation in his school and in his hometown. Of course, I realize that a good reputation means nothing to you when you have a person to slander and to characterized with untruths.

What you and your newspaper have said for more than a year is that the evidence and Nifong's conduct were irrelevant. These young men are "bad actors," so they deserve whatever they get.

Egged on by people like you, the Durham police and Nifong framed three young men for something that never happened. They lied, manufactured "evidence," and engaged openly in criminal behavior. Why did they think they could get away with it? Because they knew that in the end, you and your cohorts at the Herald-Sun would be their cheerleaders.

By the way, do you really want a trial? Do you really want what happened in your city to be exposed? Do you want proof that the young men cooperated with police, only to have your newspaper condemn them in editorials for "not cooperating"?

Indeed, if there is a trial, we will see how you and your friends stood up for a band of criminals and cheered them on. But, then, seeing what has come from you and your paper over the past year, how can anyone be surprised?

comment:
This is the same John McCann who wrote a Hurled-Scum column in the spring of last year in which he said:
The lacrosse boys brought it on themselves, though -- even if the accuser's lying.
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John in Carolina:
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Stuart Taylor (guest blogging) / The Volokh Conspiracy:

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