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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Duke Case — Feds May Probe

Feds May Probe NifongToday's items - updated:

Anne Blythe / News & Observer:
AG asks for federal investigation of lacrosse case -- The state attorney general has asked federal prosecutors to help conduct a criminal probe into former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong and other government officials involved with the Duke lacrosse case, according to a lawyer representing one of the three exonerated players.

Charlotte lawyer Jim Cooney outlined the request in a three-page letter sent to three high-ranking U.S. Justice Department administrators.

The letter was copied to Jim Coman, a special prosecutor for the state who led the criminal investigation that led to the exoneration of the three lacrosse players, Dave Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann."

On behalf of Reade Seligmann and his family, I respectfully request that the government of the United States grant the request of the North Carolina Attorney General and participate in a joint investigation into the events of this prosecution," Cooney wrote in his Oct. 9 letter.

The letter was addressed to Craig S. Morford, acting U.S. deputy attorney general in Washington; Christopher J. Christie, U.S. attorney for the district of New Jersey, and Anna Mills Waggoner, U.S. attorney for the middle district of North Carolina.

In January, Seligmann and his father filed a complaint with Christie, according to Cooney's letter. [...]

KC Johnson:
Cooper: Joint Federal-State Investigation Needed

LieStoppers blog:

AG asks for federal investigation of lacrosse case
-- Liestoppers has stopped the clock. Time it has taken Roy Cooper to start a criminal investigation:
131 Days, 11 Hours, 45 Minutes, 28 Seconds.

John in Carolina:

LieStoppers forum:
AG asks for federal investigation of, lacrosse case

Federal help sought in Duke case

Tamara Gibbs / ABC11-TV:
Federal probe considered in Duke LAX case -- There could be new trouble for former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong. There's word state Attorney General Roy Cooper wants federal prosecutors to launch an investigation into the Duke Lacrosse case. [...]
Clarence Page / book review/ Daily-Journal [IL]:
Nifong's misconduct in Duke lacrosse case -- When Mike Nifong reported to jail last month to serve a 24-hour sentence in Durham, N.C., a small band of die-hard supporters carried signs that said, "We believe in your integrity and goodness." I wonder if they believe in the tooth fairy, too.

Every wicked man is right in his own eyes, the Book of Proverbs says. But that doesn't mean that the rest of us should cheer him on.

Nifong is the former Durham County district attorney who brought the notoriously bogus rape case against three Duke University lacrosse team members, a rape case that turned out to have no rape.

So far, the only person to be convicted of anything is the prosecutor. A breathtaking list of procedural abuses led to his disbarment, resignation and prosecution. The abuses included the withholding by his office of DNA evidence for more than nine months that proved the three athletes' innocence. [...]
Tony Soprano/ LieStoppers Forum:
** Nifong thanks his supporters! **
Firstzenmaster / YouTube:
Nifong thanks his supporters; Wind Beneath his Wings [3:43]

Queen Bee Melanie Sill: no royal hoaxHoax Queen Bee lands in Sacramento. Workers start making royal jelly.

Dale Kasler / Sacramento Bee:
Melanie Sill is named The Bee's new top editor -- The Raleigh, N.C., journalist stresses the need for change. -- Hailed as a risk taker who will push the newspaper further into the Internet age, North Carolina newspaper editor Melanie Sill was named editor and senior vice president of The Bee on Tuesday. [...]

Sill was in the thick of one of the most explosive stories to hit North Carolina in recent years, the accusations of rape against a group of Duke University lacrosse players.

After the players were eventually exonerated, the national media were roundly criticized for taking the rape allegations at face value. The News & Observer's public editor said the paper did a far better job than most of digging beneath the surface but committed some "serious missteps" in the first few weeks, including making references to the accuser as "a victim."

Sill said Tuesday the Duke case was "one of the hardest stories I've ever worked with," but her paper's coverage stands up well. "Our news reporting was pretty straight," she said. [...]
Duke Chronicle:
  • Angie Rhoads / Letter:
    Duke needs change, better leadership -- Dear Presidential Review Committee: As a member of a Duke family (father, Erwin Baumer, '57; sister, Adrienne Baumer Port, '90; brother-in-law, Chris Port, '90; husband, Thomas Rhoads, '92) and a recent returnee to the Triangle, it goes without saying that the events of Spring 2006 were quite distressing.

    I was saddened by the allegations, but horrified by the University's response. Duke's administration was so utterly concerned with being "politically correct" that they were an embarrassment to the entire Duke community. The whole situation was a mess, exacerbated by President Richard Brodhead and the faculty. My husband and brother-in-law were student athletes at Duke and could not fathom how the University could abandon those boys in their hour of need. How isolated they must have felt (and probably still do)!

    In my humble opinion, the president and the 88 faculty members are no less accountable than former Durham district attorney Mike Nifong himself. It is time for a change! The inadequacy of President Brodhead's leadership has been on display to the world, must Duke University continue to be cast in the shadow of this underwhelming person?

    Angie Rhoads
    Trinity '92

  • Anna Lieth:
    4 express interest in DA position -- Several candidates will seek Mike Nifong's old job in the 2008 election for Durham County district attorney-all of whom served on his staff.

    Three candidates-Mitchell Garrell, Freda Black and Tracey Cline-declared their intention to run Monday. A fourth possible candidate, Steve Monks, said he will consider running if he is not elected to the Durham City Council next week.

    David Saacks currently holds the position after taking over for interim district attorney Jim Hardin in September. After the 2008 election, Saacks will step down and has said he does not intend to stand for the post. [...]

  • Bringing athletics to Allen
  • Profs speak on enhancement plan
Forum topics of note:
Steel Gets Free Ride -- So little is written about Steel's role. Even the substantial energy of KC exposing wrong doing rarely mentions him, yet Steel probably developed Duke's strategy to give the students up. Indeed, in his 10/4 post on FODU, Jason Trumpboux said STEEL TOLD HIM THE ADMINISTRATION WANTED THE CASE TO GO TO TRIAL [...]

Jon Ham / LieStoppers forum:
Proof lacrosse saves lives, Poignant story from the Great North -- As anyone know who has been around the game, lacrosse has the ability to grab hold of kids and not let go. In the case of the little town in northern Canada, it is actually saving lives.
Another Wrongly Convicted Story

Ann Zimmerman / front page Oct. 30th / Wall St. Journal [subscription req.]:
A Convict Freed By DNA Evidence Tries to Find a Life -- After 24 Years in Prison, Mr. Williams Needs Help; A Stranger to His Family -- Michael Anthony Williams took a road trip through the Southeast recently, looking for a place that felt like home.

For more than half his 43 years, Mr. Williams had lived in the infamously tough Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola. He had been convicted of raping and beating his school tutor when he was 16 years old. Only his family believed him when he said he was innocent.

DNA testing finally exonerated him, and he was released in March 2005. But since then, Mr. Williams has lived in a different kind of prison. After 24 years of estrangement, he says his six brothers and sisters want nothing to do with him. He has little education, no job skills and few friends.

"It's been lonely," he says. "Very lonely."

Mr. Williams is one of a growing number of convicts - more than 200 so far - who have been freed from prison after DNA testing proved them innocent. [...]

"Exonerees are like torture victims or political prisoners, given the psychological trauma they've suffered," says Vanessa Potkin, as staff attorney with the Innocence Project [...]
Michael Anthony Williams exonerated by DNA evidencerelated:
Why do eyewitnesses identify the wrong person? -- After being misidentified by a rape victim who saw him in the moonlight, 16-year-old Michael Williams (right) was convicted by a Louisiana jury and sentenced to life in prison without parole. He served 24 years before DNA testing proved his innocence. Learn how misidentification has led to 77% of wrongful convictions overturned by DNA. [...]
Every time a story like that of Michael Williams comes up, it is a shameful reminder of the of NAACP's hypocrisy in the Duke lacrosse rape hoax.

Run over by the NAACP - The Johnsville News

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