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Monday, October 29, 2007

Duke Case — Driving a Stake Thru the Heart of the 'Something Happened' LBJers

Mr. Pointy - Duke lacrosse civil lawsuitToday's items - updated:

KC Johnson points out today that a group of "Something Happened" lazy bones journalists (LBJers) is still circulating the bogus rumor that something very unsavory may have happened during the Duke lacrosse party.

The LBJers, as is their ilk, are still amazingly getting the Duke story wrong despite the Johnson/Taylor book about the rape hoax (Until Proven Innocent) and the North Carolina Attorney General's minute-by-minute report of the incident. Maybe a HBO docu-drama based on the book might straighten out this truth-challenged minority, maybe not. Any how, that's a ways down the road.

Also sending all these "something happened" folk a copy of the book Until Proven Innocent and asking them to read it (a remedy tried here at Johnsville) is not a valid option, given the fact that many of them apparently don't read very much. Asking them to read a book, would be like asking them to climb Mount Everest. They only ingest sound bites.

The only remaining remedy is that the City of Durham has to set the record straight. The lacrosse players civil suit against Durham needs to be settled in their favor so that they can completely clear their reputations. Durham must substantially pay up and publicly kill the 'Something Happened' hoax. Because, until this done, the LBJ'ers will keep feeding their garbage to a public that includes a gullible group, who are willing to believe this junk.

KC Johnson:
Why the Civil Suit Matters -- Rooney's comments serve as only the latest example of the “something happened” crusade. Recall, for instance, the stunning immediate post-exoneration assertion of another figure of considerable national prestige, sports columnist John Feinstein [...]

Since “everything but rape” included the other false charges (sexual assault and kidnapping), Feinstein, like Rooney, was asserting that the Attorney General and the State Bar had engaged in some sort of cover-up to prevent the “truth” from coming out.

In the end, nothing can prevent figures such as Feinstein or Rooney from allowing personal biases, prejudices, or simple journalistic sloppiness to override the facts. But the continued willingness of prominent media personalities to engage in the “something happened” charade has direct bearing on the three players’ civil suit against Durham, Nifong, and DSI. The comments of figures such as Rooney and Feinstein show the continuing harm to the three players that Durham’s improper actions caused. [...]

Only a small fraction of the public accepting the Rooney/Feinstein version of events would mean that millions of people would occupy the “something happened” contingent. The responsibility for that outcome is Durham’s and Durham’s alone.

LBJ Alert

Michael AraceMichael Arace / The Columbus Dispatch:
Recognition helps former Duke coach move on -- If Mike Pressler's name is only vaguely familiar, it is because he is more commonly known as the coach in the Duke lacrosse case. He is an unreal figure, which is a shame.

Saturday night, Pressler and his wife, Sue Collins Pressler, were among 11 former athletes and coaches inducted into the athletic hall of fame at Ohio Wesleyan. Each was deserving. Collins Pressler coached the men's and women's swimming teams in the 1980s, building the programs in a notoriously tough league. Four times, she was conference coach of the year. [...]

Pressler couldn't even get an interview for another job until Bryant University hired him in August 2006. The Presslers can almost breathe now. Smithfield, R.I., isn't unlike Delaware, Ohio, and Delaware is where they began together. Saturday night, former Ohio Wesleyan lacrosse players and swimmers came to the campus center in force to cheer their former coaches. It was a good day. They're starting to have more good days. [...]

Is Pressler the purest of saints in all of this? That is a much-debated question in Durham, where he has vehement detractors beside his legions of supporters. Personally, I'm withholding judgment until the case is heard.
comment: Until the case is heard? The above critique about lazy bones journalists was written before we got to read the last paragraph of Mr. Arace's article. Talk about a falling off your chair example of a lazy ass journalist. Exhibit one is Michael Arace.

LieStoppers blog:
Sue & Mike Pressler inducted into the Ohio Wesleyan Athletic Hall of Fame --
Mike and Sue Pressler were both individually inducted into the Ohio Wesleyan Athletic Hall of Fame on October 27th. [...]
David Davis / interview / SportsLetter:
Stuart Taylor, Jr. discusses "Until Proven Innocent: Political Correctness and the Shameful Injustices of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case," his recent book co-authored by KC Johnson.

SL: When you first wrote about the case, did you think that a rape — or something — had happened?

ST: In my initial story, I think I wrote that I was 85 percent convinced that it was a fraud. I wrote something to that effect in late April of '06 [for the National Journal], which I think was the first such article that anybody in the national print media wrote. It seemed to me that the case was falling apart at such warp speed at the time I was writing it, I was afraid that the whole world would figure out it was a fraud during the 36 hours between when we went to press and when it was published. It turned out, of course, that the whole world just rushed past all the evidence that seemed so compelling to me. Most of the media and many on the Duke faculty continued to trash these kids as guilty. It was after watching that spectacle for a while that I began to think, "Man, something interesting and sick is going on here, and maybe it's worth a book." [...]
Michael Gaynor:
Duke case: Dukeblues44 and Impersonator -- "Dukeblues44" is the person who anonymously forwarded Ryan McFadyen's infamous e-mail to the Durham police, thereby permitting the prosecution to release it and pretend that members of the 2005-2006 Duke University Men's Lacrosse Team were monsters, even though the e-mail was, in the words of Stuart Taylor, Jr. and KC Johnson in Until Proven Innocent, "a play on revolting course material assigned by Duke professors" and that was readily ascertainable by the police, the prosecution and, of course, the Duke administration.

"Impersonator" is the person who sent an email to team members in the name of one of them that was designed to induce recipients to go to the Durham police and give evidence against teammates.

Are "Dukeblues 44" and "Impersonator" the same person?

Will anyone in the know say so? [...]
Duke Announces Lacrosse Schedule; Will Face Finnerty -- Nine home regular-season games and a trip to play Loyola, where former Duke player Collin Finnerty transfered, highlight Duke's 2008 men's lacrosse schedule released on Thursday by head coach John Danowski.

The Blue Devils open the 2008 campaign with a four game home stand and will face Maryland in their ACC opener on March 1 and remain at home to welcome former Blue Devil All-America and assistant coach Kevin Cassese and his Lehigh squad on March 4.

Duke travels to Baltimore to take on Loyola [Kevin Finnerty's team] on March 8. [...]
Forum topic(s) of note:
Bill Anderson / LieStoppers:
Satanic Nancy Grace, Saw her on video again -- I have watched this video again, and I can say that I am glad that I don't have TV reception, so I don't have to watch Nancy Grace.


This woman truly is evil, and I mean absolutely without any redeeming qualities at all. Of course, after seeing this video, I am not surprised that she was dishonest when she was a prosecutor.

As we look back at what happened, it is a wonder that these families survived at all. What an enormous hatefest that they faced, and that people in Durham and at Duke University and elsewhere gleefully threw at them.

Presidential Review Committee, Post your letters here

Locomotive Breath, The Video
Other items:

Ray Gronberg / Herald-Sun [reg. req.]:
Lacrosse case questioned as root of racial violence -- Local leaders asked whether the Duke lacrosse case could have triggered racial violence in the spring of 2006 talk more of undercurrents than actual threats, but insist it was something they had to guard against.

Mayor Bill Bell has acknowledged that he urged police to complete quickly what turned out to be their ill-fated investigation of a stripper's false rape allegations, partly because he was worried about the possibility of unrest.

But he hasn't pointed to a specific threat, save for the possibility that the media firestorm that began soon after police gathered DNA samples from 46 of the Duke team's 47 players might have touched something off.

"It could have gone entirely different from what it did," Bell said late last month. "And I'm convinced the reason it didn't was because key community leaders didn't let it."

The mayor -- who's running for re-election and on the campaign trail has claimed credit for helping "defuse what could have been an explosive event" -- is among those who say there were hints that violence was a possibility.

"You heard some rather off-handed remarks about what should be done -- 'taking justice into our own hands' -- but they were muted to a certain extent and you didn't hear a lot of that said publicly," he said.

Other sources close to the situation say officials took the possibility of violence seriously from the outset, and that it figured in the meetings Bell and school President Richard Brodhead had with leaders of the black community twice in the early stages of the Durham Police Department's investigation.

At the time, Bell publicly downplayed the possibility of violence. [...]
John Stevenson / Herald-Sun
Lawyers express interest in DA job -- Three lawyers with extensive prosecutorial experience already say they will run for district attorney in Durham next year, all claiming to have learned insightful lessons from the Duke lacrosse scandal that destroyed the career of their former boss -- Mike Nifong.

They are Chief Assistant District Attorney Tracey Cline, Assistant District Attorney Mitchell Garrell and former assistant prosecutor Freda Black, who was dismissed by Nifong two years ago and now is in private practice.

A fourth person, lawyer Steve Monks, said he might run for the top prosecutorial job if not elected to City Council in the interim. He was an unsuccessful write-in candidate for district attorney in 2006.

The district attorney's chair has been warmed by three people in the past four months.

Nifong occupied it from April 2005 until June of this year, then resigned and lost his law license for mishandling the Duke lacrosse case, in which three athletes were falsely accused of raping an exotic dancer during an off-campus party.

Former District Attorney Jim Hardin Jr., now a judge, came next.

He returned to his old job on an interim basis until September, when longtime assistant prosecutor David Saacks received a gubernatorial appointment to hold down the legal fort until next year's election.

But Saacks has made it clear he will not seek to become Durham's permanent district attorney. He isn't eligible because he lives in Wake County. [...]
John in Carolina:
Mike McCusker / Crystal Mess:
What A Disgrace --
"I have known Mike Nifong for 16 years. When I began my career in the District Attorney's office in 198, Mike was my mentor. He was the most experienced, knowledgeable, ethical Assistant District Attorney in the office. For 27 years, Mike has devoted his professional life to the justice and safety of Durham. As the interim DA, Mike has surrounded himself with a remarkable staff of 37 lawyers and professional who work tirelessly in our traffic, district and superior courtrooms. Now as election day approaches, the stakes for Durham's District Attorney race are too high to remain silent. The Code of Judicial Conduct permits me to endorse a candidate in this race. Without hesitation, I urge the voters to keep Mike Nifong as Durham's District Attorney." -- Marcia H. Morey, District Court Judge
Morley Swingle / STLtoday:
Until Proven Innocent -- Professional boxers were aghast when Mike Tyson bit off a chunk of Evander Holyfield's ear in one of the most unprofessional acts ever committed in a boxing ring. Reputable prosecutors and other true crime aficionados will feel similar disgust as they read the behind-the-headlines details of former prosecutor Mike Nifong's shameful performance in his unsuccessful effort to convict three members of the Duke University lacrosse team of rape.

There are many villains and cowards in "Until Proven Innocent" by Stuart Taylor Jr. and KC Johnson. Unfortunately for the prosecutor, he tops the list. [...]

At the time the book went to press, Nifong had resigned and had been disbarred. The authors predicted the three falsely accused teammates would sue Nifong for violating their constitutional rights. The prediction came true this month. But even the authors did not foresee that Nifong would be jailed for contempt of court for hiding the DNA evidence, as he was last month. Indeed, in this sordid episode of crime and punishment, the only miscreant who went to jail was the ear-biting prosecutor.

Morley Swingle is the prosecuting attorney of Cape Girardeau County and the author of "Scoundrels to the Hoosegow: Perry Mason Moments and Entertaining Cases From the Files of a Prosecuting Attorney."
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