Monday, July 31, 2006

Duke Case: Nifong's Screwing of the Judicial Pooch


Mike Nifong says he messed up. But, he thinks his royal screwing of the judicial pooch doesn't make him a bad DA. What? Earth to Mike, Earth to Mike you are a walking talking poster boy for prosecutorial misconduct and criminal malpractice. If you were in Japan you would be obligated to place your guts on the scale held by the Lady of Justice. In this country you get to stonewall for over four months and then on a get away Friday in the middle of summer offer up a half-assed mea culpa for a fraction of your offense. That really stinks and is par for the course, Mr. Mike "slime bucket" Nifong.

WRAL reported:

"My handling of the media coverage of this case has occasioned substantial criticism, some of which is undoubtedly justified," Nifong said during a half-hour press conference. "I both underestimated the level of media attention this case would draw and misjudged the effect that my words would have. That having been said, this case remains a Durham problem and it demands a Durham solution."

Nifong said the election should be based on his 28-year career, not just the Duke lacrosse rape case.

"I understand someone is calling this the 'Anybody but Nifong' election, and I guess that goes with the territory," he said.

La Shawn Barber's take on Nifong's Friday press conference:
In my lay opinion, he’s lying. While Nifong may be sorry now for not keeping his mouth shut then, I don’t believe for one second that he “underestimated” or “misjudged” anything. He manipulated left-leaning and jaded journalists to great effect...

It might be “mean-spirited” to say this, but I don’t like him.
La Shawn Barber is a polite lady.

2nd addendum:

John in Carolina follows up the Charlotte Observer's editorial saying it's time for a special prosecutor.

admin note: TJN will be a little slow and punchy while recovering from a bike versus car encounter this past weekend. The car won, TJN lost. The brain damage was minor and it will be hard flying for awhile with one wing. God bless bike helmets.

Nifong Admits Some Criticism Justified [wral, July 28, 2006]
Durham DA: Shoulda Kept My Mouth Shut [La Shawn Barber, July 31, 2006]
Charlotte Observer says "a special prosecutor" [John In Carolina, July 31, 2006]

Duke Lacrosse Case [TJN Archives]

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Duke Case: Puff Daddy - Mike Nifong

Puffery as a legal term refers to promotional statements and claims that express subjective rather than objective views, such that no reasonable person would take literally.


Robert KC Johnson reviews Puff Daddy, Mike Nifong's campaign web site where he tries to blow smoke up the deucehole of any Durham voter, who might be living under a rock:

The unusually chatty site contains, among other items, a "conversation with Mike," a statement of the DA’s legal philosophy, and a personal letter to Durham voters. Unintentionally revealing in some areas, outright inaccurate in at least one, the site is most notable for its tendency—which would be comical were Nifong’s misconduct not so grave—to position the district attorney as a bastion of integrity, determined to go above and beyond what state procedural regulations require of him.

In a "conversation with Mike," the district attorney opines, "The shortsighted prosecutor concerns himself only with victory in the courtroom and is willing to take whatever advantage he can, no matter the consequence." I wonder how Nifong would reconcile this statement with his decision to order the Durham Police Department to violate not only its own procedures but all statewide norms, and confine the accuser’s photo ID session to lacrosse players. This decision would seem the action of a "shortsighted prosecutor" concerned "only with victory in the courtroom" and "willing to take whatever advantage he can, no matter the consequence."

source: [Robert KC Johnson |, July 27, 2006]

Two Durham Cops Charged in Assault

The News & Observer reported:

Two Durham police officers were charged today with simple assault following an incident last week at a sports bar on Glenwood Avenue in Raleigh, according to a Durham police news release.

Raleigh police issued criminal summonses for officers Gary P. Lee, 38, and Scott Tanner, 33, the release said. The officers are two of five on Durham's force being questioned after Rene Dennis Thomas, a line cook at Blinco's sports bar, said that several men threatened him and pushed him in the parking lot of the bar the night of July 20.

The criminal summonses mean that neither Tanner nor Lee will be arrested but will be ordered to appear in court at a later date.
Police officers charged with assault [, July 27, 2006]

Duke Case: Lewis Cheek Won't Run

Lewis "Hamlet" Cheek decided not to run for district attorney. Durham voters have been stabbed.

Fox News reported:

Durham County Commissioner Lewis Cheek said Thursday he will not campaign for district attorney, even though his name will appear on the ballot as a challenger to Duke lacrosse prosecutor Mike Nifong.

"The people will be able to directly state whether they are satisfied with the status quo," Cheek said. "I will not run a campaign and I will not serve as district attorney."
The News & Observer added:
Cheek said he did not want to harm his three-year-old law practice and its other lawyers and employees by pulling out to serve as District Attorney...

Still, Cheek said he would vote for himself in the fall, and encouraged others who are dissatisfied with Nifong to do the same. If Cheek wins, he said he would decline the office, leaving it up to Gov. Mike Easley to appoint Durham's next District Attorney. It was Easley who appointed Nifong to the job last year after former District Attorney Jim Hardin became a judge.
So a vote for Cheek is not a wasted vote. It's a no-confidence vote against Mike Nifong. However, that is a small consolation for Durham voters, who wanted a real choice.
Oh, the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune...

North Carolina County Commissioner Won't Challenge Duke Lacrosse Prosecutor [, July 27, 2006]
Cheek will not run for Durham DA post [, July 27, 2006]
Cheek Won't Pursue Durham DA Job []

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Duke Case: Lazy Days of Summer

> John in Carolina and everyone is waiting for some sort of official report on this incident at Blinco's Sports Bar in Raleigh:

It’s now more than 100 hours since an alleged assault by Durham police officers just before midnight last Thursday in the parking lot of a Raleigh sports bar.

And guess what? I can’t find a single local news organization that’s publicly complaining about the Raleigh City Police delay in completing and making public the incident report. I also can't find a local news organization that's asking: "Why the delay?"

As I pointed out in a post Sunday, it’s standard practice for police to prepare an incident report on the scene or within a few hours of the incident, and then make the report available to media and other interested parties.
> News & Observer:
District Attorney Mike Nifong should be worried that the lead detective in the Duke lacrosse rape case is being investigated over a late-night brawl outside a Raleigh sports bar, former Durham prosecutors said Monday.
> AP reported yesterday:
Kim Roberts faced a hearing on a probation violation on May 30th, but it was postponed until today. Today's scheduled hearing is now set for September 25th.
> Michael Gaynor offers advice for leveling the playing field.

Duke lacrosse: Waiting for police "arrangements?" [John in Carolina, July 25, 2006]
Police conduct adds new turmoil to lacrosse case [, July 25, 2006]
Hearing Postponed for Duke Party Dancer [, July 24, 2006]
The Duke Three should learn from Justice Thomas, "Willie," and Racine [Michael Gaynor |, July 25, 2006]

Duke Lacrosse Case [TJN Archives]

Duke Case: Durham's Most Wanted


Durham Wanted Poster

Someone published a link to this satirical "wanted poster" on the message boards at this morning. It shows Mike Nifong and fifteen other individuals from the Duke lacrosse rape hoax story and is done in the style of the original Duke lacrosse "vigilante poster." A moderator quickly pulled the plug on it. TJN will also take a timeout on this one.

courtesy [original link now terminated]

The poster is from Liestoppers, they have started a blog that will be following the case: LieStoppers: Durham's Most Wanted

Duke Lacrosse Case [TJN Archives]

Monday, July 24, 2006

Durham Cops questioned about Raleigh Assault

First, pick out your favorite pair of kick ass buddy cops:

  1. Starsky and Hutch

  2. Crockett and Tubbs

  3. Gottlieb and Clayton

  4. Freebie and Bean

  5. Lowrey and Burnett

  6. Tango and Cash

  7. Riggs and Murtaugh
Now match all the "cops" to the actors who played them:

Alan Arkin
James Caan
Mel Gibson
Paul Michael Glaser
Danny Glover
Oliver Hardy
Don Johnson
Stan Laurel
Martin Lawrence
Kurt Russell
David Soul
Will Smith
Sylvester Stallone
Philip Michael Thomas

Next, identify which one is the "wild one."

You win if you get them all right.

Wikipedia on Buddy Cops:
The "Buddy Cop" genre of films are action films with plots involving two men of very different and conflicting personalities who are forced to work together to solve a crime and/or defeat criminals, sometimes learning from each other in the process. Frequently, although not always, the two heroes are of different ethnicities or cultures. Even if the two men have a similar ethnic background, one of them is often "wilder" than the other, a hot-tempered iconoclast paired with a more even-tempered partner. Often the "wilder" partner is also the younger of the two, with the even-tempered partner having more patience and experience. These films sometimes also contain a variation on the old good cop/bad cop motif, in which one partner tends to be "kinder" and more understanding but the other partner is a streetwise, "old school" policeman who tends to break (or at least bend) the rules.
WRAL reported today on Durham's buddy cops:
Police on Monday interviewed two Durham police officers involved in the Duke lacrosse case in connection to an alleged assault outside of a Raleigh sports bar.

Durham police Deputy Chief R.H. Hodge said officers from Raleigh spoke with Sgt. Mark Gottlieb, the supervisor of the lacrosse investigation, and Officer Richard Clayton, who reports to Gottlieb and has assisted on the Duke case, at Durham police headquarters. Raleigh officers were also interviewing several other Durham officers, but Hodge would not say how many.

Durham police Chief Steve Chalmers, however, has said six officers are being investigated.
Raleigh Police Interview Durham Officers In Assault Investigation [, July 24, 2006]
Investigators questioned about assault [, July 24, 2006]

Duke Case: Monday Linkfest

> So what's the scoop on this fracas in Raleigh involving a couple of Durham investigators who worked the Duke case? John in Carolina wonders what's up:

Durham City Police officers are accused of involvement in an alleged assault outside a Raleigh sports bar just before midnight Thursday....

So why, more than 60 hours after the alleged assault, are we being told there’s no police report? Why aren’t news organizations telling readers how unusual that is? Why aren’t news organizations demanding to know why there's no police report?

> John also continues to wonder what's up with N&O’s exec editor for news, Melanie Sill? She remains in ghost mode regarding the Duke story.

> Michael Gaynor goes over some of the reasons Collin Finnerty was screwed over by Judge John Bayly Jr. in Washington, D.C. and the latest hijinks and goings on in Durham.

> Mr. Gaynor also goes over legal reviews of Nifong's ethical and professional handling of the Duke case. Needless to say, it's not a pretty picture.

> USA Today takes another look at new Duke lacrosse coach, John Danowski.

> Kim Roberts, the second dancer at the Duke lacrosse party will be in court on Monday regarding a parole violation.

> Robert KC Johnson looks at a disturbing column, penned by Bob Ashley, the editor of the Durham Herald-Sun and reviews some other bizarre journalistic short circuits.

Where did that good old school journalism mentality of being cynical watchdogs of the establishment go? Where do we find new Ben Bradlee's, Bob Woodward's, and Carl Bernstein's. Why are today's journalists so willing to be passive media lapdogs?

Duke lacrosse: Media ignores police assault questions [John In Carolina, July 23, 2006]
Duke lacrosse: Lampooning a now reluctant Raleigh N&O [John In Carolina, July 22, 2006]
Paging Susan Lucci: Please guest star in "the Duke rape hoax" [Michael Gaynor |, July 23, 2006]
The Case Against Duke Hoax Prosecutor Mike Nifong [Michael Gaynor |, July 23, 2006]
New Duke coach sees job as 'more than lacrosse' [USA Today, July 23, 2006]
Roberts Expected in Court [, July 23, 2006]
Court TV Will Have the Answer [Robert KC Johnson |, July 23, 2006]
Has the lacrosse case induced insanity? [Bob Asley |, July 23, 2006]

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Duke Investigators Now Subjects of Assault Probe

Durham police officers Sgt. Mark Gottlieb and Richard Clayton might be in hot water. Police spokeswoman Kammie Michael said both men had been assigned to administrative duty with pay Friday.

The News & Observer reported:

At least two Durham police officers are being investigated in connection with an assault late Thursday outside a Raleigh sports bar.

Hours after the alleged incident, two investigators involved in the Duke University rape investigation were assigned to administrative duty.

No charges have been filed, but Raleigh and Durham police confirmed Saturday that some Durham officers are suspects in the alleged beating of a restaurant cook at Blinco’s sports bar, 6711 Glenwood Ave., apparently after an angry verbal exchange...

But when asked specifically about the status of Sgt. Mark Gottlieb, the supervisor in the Duke investigation, police spokeswoman Kammie Michael said Gottlieb had been assigned to administrative duty with pay Friday.

Also on Friday, Investigator Richard Clayton was placed on administrative duty with pay, Michael said. Clayton has assisted in the Duke investigation and works under Gottlieb.

Michael could not comment on the reason for the change in Gottlieb’s and Clayton’s status...

Add this story to the recent salacious revelations about a Durham Assistant District Attorney that have been circulating on the message boards and you have a carnival of the absurd going on in Durham.

Durham officers investigated for possible assault [, July 22, 2006]

Duke Case: A Speedy Trial Please

WRAL reported:

A defense attorney in the Duke lacrosse rape case wants his client's trial to move faster.

Defense attorney Kirk Osborn filed a motion asking the judge to set court dates for various motions hearings.

In the motion, he argues his client, Reade Seligmann, deserves a speedy trial.

Hear! Hear!

Defense Attorneys For Duke Players Request Speedy Trial, Gag Order Changes [, July 21, 2006]
Motion for setting Discovery Deadlines, Hearing Dates on Defendant's Motions, and A Speedy Trial (3 pages) []

Duke Lacrosse Case [TJN Archives]

Duke Case: Cash "in the bag" Michaels

Cash 'in the bag' Michaels works fictional conspiracy in Duke lacrosse caseOn one hand, you might think Cash Michaels is a hard working professional bag man and shakedown artist. Because, every time he writes a column for the The Wilmington Journal he sounds like Cuba Gooding Jr. in the movie Jerry Maguire yelling, "show me the money."

Cash can not write about the Duke lacrosse case without using the word money: hush money, bribery money, conspiracy money, secret evil money, and mo' money. It reminds us of how Ms. Mangum's dance partner the convicted embezzler, Kim Roberts, could only focus on talking about money in her police statement. Some recent Cash talk'n trash about the cash:

...that "alums of Duke” attempted, through her family, to offer her $2 million in hush money early in the case, if she would just "make the case go away."

...her cousin wants her day in court to testify truthfully as to how she was beaten and sodomized. Even the hint of her accepting any money beyond her family and close friends, even from well-meaning supporters, was something she couldn’t allow, concerned that the appearance of such would undermine her case.

"It’s not about the money to her," Jakki said...

The allegation became more intriguing when sources close to certain moderate Black leaders, who asked not to be revealed, confirmed too that they were approached by people "with connections to Duke” with a offer of money, not only for their organizations, but for North Carolina Central University (the alleged victim’s school), and for her, if they could influence her to recant the charges.
Actually, Cash is a smart bag man. He's using a formula fiction writers have known for years. People love conspiracies. They want to believe in conspiracies, especially evil, dark, secret society type conspiracies. Does the name Da Vinci ring a bell?

Cash if you want to refine your fictional conspiracy hunt for the "Great White Defendant," read the Sailer article.

Also, Cash here are a couple of other angles you can use. Is the smile on the Duke Blue Devil really an evil leer? What is that Blue Devil symbol really hiding? People should be afraid, be very afraid of "Les Diables Bleus."

So Cash, great job working the fictional conspiracy side of the Duke rape hoax story. Heck, if you can have a fictional rape you can certainly have a diabolical fictional conspiracy. They go together like pie ala mode.

Cash, here's a word of advice. And you probably have done this already. But just make sure get your retainer up front. Don't count on a slice of the fictional pie ala cash.

Judge Blasts Duke Defense Attorneys [Cash Michaels | WilmingtonJournal, July 21, 2006]

Duke Lacrosse Case
[TJN Archive]

Duke Case: Wearing the shoes of the Liefong

Mike Nifong will practice the art of deception at trialThe Duke lacrosse players have put on the shoes of truth. Now, William L. Anderson puts on the shoes of the lying Durham District Attorney, Mike Nifong, and breaks down how Nifong might try to pull off his hoax at a trial:

I believe that Nifong has no intention of arguing the evidence, at least the evidence that most of us have seen. Instead, he will use the magic of the law to make the exculpatory evidence literally disappear – all with the help of a judge who also faces re-election in Durham County this year. Here is how it will work:
He proposes "rape shield" laws to dismiss any exculpatory evidence that might explain why Mangum had vaginal "redness" or that she had sex with multiple partners shortly before that particular night, and the judge accedes to his demands.
...the second problem, and that is attempting to convince a jury that Seligmann, Finnerty and Evans are guilty of rape. Seligmann’s alibi is best known, and consists of solid evidence that demonstrates he was not even in the building when Nifong claims the "rape" was committed. Thus:
Nifong uses dishonest methods to undercut the strong alibis given by the accused...

It's hard to say if this recent shoe fetish will go away.

Criminal Prosecution: How Michael Nifong Intends To Frame the Duke Defendants [William L. Anderson |, July 22, 2006]

Duke Lacrosse Case [TJN Archive]

Friday, July 21, 2006

Duke Case: Clippings

Recent message board posts that caught our eye:

MomToThree writes:

... Did you ever hear of a case in which the accused played such a limited role in the story. Other than her less than fifty words during the April 4 lineup, Collin, Reade and Dave don’t really appear in any of the material that relates to the accuser. As we’ve discussed many times, it’s all about Bret, Adam and Matt, and, of course Nikki.

Even the AV’s supporters don’t really pay much attention to the three accused as people, or spend any time on the thought that these three people actually did this crime. It’s all about timelines and time stamps on photos and medical reports.

It’s like having the Scott Peterson case without Scott Peterson, or the OJ case without OJ.

Of course, the reason for this is the total lack of evidence linking the accused to the accuser. But I guess it’s also a function of this thing being a hoax. Since there is no there there, and no crime, there’s really no role for the accused.
Sunami writes:
Isn't it amazing how the rules change?

Just because she is a stripper who does one on ones (and we know what the implication of that is) who told some untruths to Law Enforcement during the course of their criminal investigation, (no one could possibly construe her varying stories as being co operative with Law Enforcement) and just because she was mixing Flexeril and copious amounts of alcohol (anywhere from one 22 oz to 2 22 oz according to her)

She deserves to be protected, petted and praised when she makes an allegation of rape that all forensic and scientific evidence shows is absolutely false,

But because the young men hired strippers and had underage drinking they are learning a very painful lesson by having their names on a "Wanted " poster, paying thousands upon thousands to Attorneys, and having their lives disrupted for literally a year or more, and of course they deserve it because they should never have put themselves in a position to allow her to falsely claim rape.

Yet many would scream bloody murder if you even suggested that doing one on ones, lap dances, and stripping and doing a live sex show with another woman for a lot of guys without any security could lead to a very painful lesson about rape.

She wouldn't deserve a painful lesson for her behavior.

And they do not deserve a painful lesson for theirs.

What is deserved is the truth, and the truth is that there is no possible way that a rape by the three indicted occurred in the manner Nifong is claiming and left what we are aware of as evidence.....

What she may need is a painful lesson about lying and making false police reports.

Mr. X writes:
Captain Broadhead, late of the S.S. Yale, upon learning that his latest charge, the S.S. Duke has encountered an iceberg, instead of sounding general quarters and receiving damage reports from his crew, the 88 of shame, directs the 88 to throw overboard the passengers closest to the iceberg, the lacrosse team and coach. While on the way to the lifeboats, the 88 trample the remaining passengers, the other students of Duke and set the boat upon fire in an attempt to scuttle her to destroy any evidence of dereliction of duty.

Duke Case: Judge Titus Issues Split Decision

Judge Kenneth C. 'Solomon' TitusJudge Kenneth C. 'Solomon' Titus today made a split decision regarding evidence the prosecution can have access to in the Duke lacrosse rape case.

The News & Observer reported:

A judge ruled today that District Attorney Mike Nifong could not have access to Duke University electronic card information that could help track the movement of the lacrosse players not charged in the rape case before and after a team party that resulted in an escort service dancer's accusations. However, Superior Court Judge Kenneth Titus said prosecutors should have access to the home addresses of those students.

Also today, lawyers for Reade Seligmann, 20, of Essex Fells, N.J., one of three players charged, filed a motion asking th judge to move the case along faster. It's a request Titus denied when Seligmann attorney Kirk Osborn asked in a court hearing Monday. In the filing, Osborn and Ernest Conner of Greenville, requested a date to hear two motions to suppress evidence. Titus had previously told Osborn that such motions would not be heard until all the state's evidence had been turned over to the defense.

Judge denies Nifong access to electronic info [, July 21, 2006]
Judge Issues Split Decision In Duke Lacrosse Case [, July 21, 2006]
Judge Kenneth C. Titus's ruling (2 pages) [, July 21, 2006]

Duke Names John Danowski As New Lacrosse Coach

John Danowski named new lacrosse coach at DukeDuke University announced today:

John Danowski, a national lacrosse coach of the year winner whose teams won eight conference championships at Hofstra University, will become the new head coach of the Duke University men’s lacrosse team, Director of Athletics Joe Alleva announced Friday.

Danowski will take over the program from Kevin Cassesse, who was named interim head coach following the resignation of former head coach Mike Pressler. Danowski’s appointment was unanimously recommended by an eight-member committee following a national search. Alleva made his decision Thursday after a meeting he and Danowski held with Duke President Richard H. Brodhead.

Entering his 25th season as a collegiate head coach, Danowski was honored in 1993 as the NCAA Division I National Coach of the Year. He spent the last 21 seasons at Hofstra, compiling a record of 192-123 (.609) with eight conference championships and NCAA Tournament bids...

As the father of a rising senior, Matt, on the Duke team, Danowski already knows many of the players and their families. "I know how difficult these past few months have been for everyone associated with the team, as well as for the university and the Durham community," he said. "As we look to the future, we know that our performance will not be measured solely in terms of wins and losses. Yes, we will compete for championships, and I hope to win one next year. But I also will insist that our players act consistently in a manner that brings honor to themselves and the university."

John Danowski Named Men's Lacrosse Coach at Duke [, July 21, 2006]
Duke Names John Danowski As New Lacrosse Coach
[, July 21, 2006]

Duke Case: Blasting the Nifong Bunker with Ballots

How can Durham DA Mike Nifong be blasted out of his fabricated legal bunker where he's holding three Duke lacrosse players hostage? Where is the legal or ethical SWAT team that will take down this "petty tyrant?"

Certainly the defense lawyers have done everything they can in hitting Nifong with a barrage of pertinent legal motions. But, they don't look like they will dislodge him from his stronghold position.

Calls for a special prosecutor have gone nowhere. Petitions don't look like they will work.

A massive volume of harsh media criticism doesn't mean anything. It just hardens Mr. Nifong's bunker mentality.

Is waiting for a trial next year, possibly in the spring, the best course of action?

The lacrosse players themselves are divided on how they would like the hoax to end. Half would like the cleansing effect of a trial by jury to forever remove all doubt that this was a pure hoax. The other half hate to watch their three teammates twisting in the wind until next year, and would like the case dropped.

"I think half of us want it to get dropped tonight or today," Bo Carrington said. "But at the same time, we want everything to be right out on the table and we want people to know what really happened. Half of you wants it to go to trial so that all of the facts do get shown, but at the same time, those guys are having such a hard time right now that you want it to get dropped as soon as possible."
Grinding out a legal victory at trial, while morally satisfying, is an emotional and financial burden that should not be inflicted on the three innocent players and their families.

Ballots in the November election are the best weapon to end the injustice and stop the reign of the rogue DA, Mike Nifong.

Hopefully, Durham lawyer Lewis Cheek, will give Durham voters that option. Cheek's reluctance to declare his candidacy is due to his ethical obligations to his clients. Cheek's said:
"I recognize people are anxious for me to make up my mind," Cheek, a registered Democrat and Durham County commissioner, said. "It's not as easy as saying, 'Yes, I'll do it,' or 'No, I won't.' The question is what happens to my law practice if I walk out the door. I've got clients I need to take care of."
Mr. Cheek, if he runs, will let Durham voters right two wrongs with one vote for him: end the hoax, banish the hoaxster.

Sadly, a Nifong loss in the November election would still leave the case hanging until 2007. Nifong would certainly keep this case active until they pry the key to the DA's office out of his cold defeated fingers.

Also Cheek, if he won, would probably want to turn the case over to a special prosecutor in order to protect the integrity of the legal system.

Removing Mr. Nifong from office is now crucial in preserving the integrity of the legal system. The master perpetrator of this legal hoax should not be allowed to remain in office and inflict further injuries to the justice system. He should be held accountable for his misdeeds both by the Durham voters and the legal system that he has tried to pervert.

Hopefully there has been a tipping point in Durham and the majority of voters feel like Ed Thomas:
In May I cast my vote for Mike Nifong to provide some continuity at a critical time for the district attorney's office. May God and my fellow citizens of Durham County forgive me for this mistake.

"Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote" - George Jean Nathan.

Durham DA challenge still in doubt [, July 19, 2006]
Nifong Does Reek; So Vote Lewis Cheek [, July 20, 2006]
Will the Durham Establishment Protect "Petty-Tyrant" Prosecutor Michael Nifong? [, July 19, 2006]

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Duke Case: Truth is putting on its shoes

Tony McDevitt Mark Twain said: "A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes."

If you are a Duke lacrosse player rebuilding your life and reputation is like starting a long journey. All you can do is put on your shoes of truth and take the first step. Step-by-step, the Duke players are talking more about the hoax that ran them over and left them as media road kill.

The DukeChronicle reports on how the Duke "Lax" players are trying to get the truth out:

Faced with dozens of individuals a week looking for first-hand insight into what exactly the deal is down in Durham, Tony McDevitt said he has never hesitated to answer questions relating to the situation. When a curious intern pokes in and asks about the newest developments in the case, McDevitt takes a deep breath, gathers his thoughts and dives right in.

"I don't want to be quiet about the issue," McDevitt said. "I feel that leads them to be more inclined to think that something suspicious is going on."


Many have wondered why Nifong continues to pursue a trial as mounting exculpatory evidence, released by defense attorneys, continues to suggest that a rape did not occur at 610 N. Buchanan Blvd. on the night of March 13.

"That is the $64,000 question," McDevitt said. "I have a sister two years younger than me, and I know that if I heard something like this supposedly had happened to her, I would want someone to pursue the case as far as they could. Now I'm also level-headed in that if I see all this evidence that goes against what one person is saying has happened, as a district attorney-not as a brother, not as a dad, as a district attorney, someone who has to seek out the truth--I would have to take a step back and say, 'What am I doing?'

"I can only hope that he is still playing that role, seeking out the truth."

Not every player was as reserved as McDevitt, and John Walsh alleged Nifong could have other motivations.

"He started something to get re-elected, and now he's got it, but he's made the biggest mistake in the world," Walsh said. "He buried himself in a hole, you know. What's he going to turn on it now when he publicly stated that 'I know there was a rape in this house?' What can he do? He's got nothing, absolutely nothing."

The Friends of Duke University published an open letter to President Richard Brodhead and the Duke University Board of Trustees.

Main points:

  • Speak up for your students

  • Be fair to the lacrosse team and encourage others to do so as well

  • Speak up for Duke

  • Accept the challenges presented by this crisis

  • Show some backbone. Don't be cowardly wimps.

Living A Nightmare: Lax players speak out [, July 19, 2006]
Open Letter to President Richard Brodhead and the Duke University Board of Trustees [, July 19, 2006]

Duke Case: Nifonging the Court

Mike Nifong is now on vacation. He's enjoying a pleasant summer in his bunker. He needs to give his 'tude a rest. It's hard working pissing off every attorney you meet in court.

The Herald-Sun:

Several lawyers expressed outrage Tuesday at what they described as a preposterous, unprofessional and insulting comment District Attorney Mike Nifong made in a Monday court session on the Duke lacrosse case.

During a preliminary hearing, Nifong suggested that lawyers for some unindicted lacrosse players might wish they could share in the "spectacle" of the nationally publicized case.

These were his words: "It looked sometimes over the course of the last few months that some of these attorneys were almost disappointed that their clients didn't get indicted so they could be a part of this spectacle here in Durham."

One of those attorneys is Bill Thomas, who said Tuesday Nifong owes an apology to the lawyers, the court and the public.

Attorneys infuriated by DA's remarks [, July 18, 2006]

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Duke Case: Judge Titus now presiding

Judge Kenneth C. Titus is now handling the Duke case. He presided over the hearings on Monday. Judge Titus is in an election year. Durham County Superior Court judges serve eight year terms.

He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment-seat:
Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him! be jubilant, my feet!
Our Judge is marching on.
CBS News reported:
Durham County DA Mike Nifong wants access to the student ID card records for Duke's lacrosse team, saying all team members could be witnesses in the rape case against three team members....

The subpoenas also sought a list of the uncharged players' home addresses, which Nifong said he needed to ensure he could call the players to testify at a trial unlikely to begin before spring 2007.

"We're not trying to investigate them," Nifong said. "We are not trying to say there are crimes that we want to prove they are guilty of. We want to be put in a position to call them to tell the jury in Durham what they observed go on that night when this took place."

Judge Kenneth C. Titus said he would likely decide the issue on Friday. reported:
Also Monday, the judge declined to issue a deadline for the completion of the discovery process during a brief pretrial hearing in the case against three players charged with raping an exotic dancer at a March party. The players -- Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and David Evans -- did not attend their hearing...

Titus also formally reaffirmed the state's rules governing trial publicity and disclosure of information to the public and the media. The order does not prevent attorneys in the case from talking publicly, but does prohibit statements that have a "substantial likelihood of materially prejudicing" the case.

The Herald-Sun added:
Nifong surrendered 36 additional pages of information about the case to defense attorneys, on top of some 1,800 previous pages. The prosecutor said he would have more at an unspecified future date.

The rape cases remain in the second stage of Durham's three-pronged "case-management system," pending another court hearing during the week of Aug. 21.

One review in for Judge Titus:
What a pathetic judge. A national case and he didn't even bother to read all the motions before the hearing "because there are so many" - pathetic.

Mike Nifong is still looking for his case. When will his absurd bluff and this bogus game of chance end.

As one observer on the CourtTV message boards pointed out; Mike Nifong has established his own unique timeline for the Duke case:
Inflame, incite, insult, indict, investigate.

DA Wants Duke Players' ID Card Records [, July 17, 2006]
Nifong: Every LAX Member a Possible Witness [, July 17, 2006]
Judge orders publicity restraints in lacrosse case [, July 17, 2006]

Duke Lacrosse Case [TJN Archive]

The Artist Known as Bill

A pause to refresh...



Bill - Bat Man []

Duke Case: The News & Observer and Pablum Pukers

The winners get to write history. But, if you are a newspaper you can try to rewrite history to pretend your slanted reporting and witch hunting was someone else's idea. No, no... it wasn't The News & Observer (N&O) that was breaking and hyping the story about that gang-raping bunch of Duke lacrosse thugs. It was them other pablum pukers.

John in Carolina reports now the The News & Observer is rewriting their first drafts of the Duke lacrosse story.

Beginning Mar. 24 when it "broke" the Duke lacrosse story with a report repeatedly saying the accuser was "the victim" without ever using the conditional "alleged," the Raleigh News & Observer produced in a few days a series of stories that effectively framed the Duke lacrosse players as a lawless group that included the three brutal rapists of a young mother, whom they also beat and strangled, and their forty or so teammates, privileged white males all, who looked on while the crimes occurred and afterwards refused to help police identify their rapists pals....

And now today, July 16, in a story under the byline of one of the N&O's lead Duke lacrosse reporters, Jane Stancill, we catch the N&O “air brushing” its March Duke lacrosse stories. Stancill and her editors tell trusting N&O readers the Duke lacrosse story really didn’t begin until April, when journalists "rushed to Durham." What’s more, if anything went wrong, it’s all DA Mike Nifong’s fault.

Stancill’s story begins:
Journalists rushed to Durham in April to tell the world about a sordid evening at 610 N. Buchanan Blvd., where a black exotic dancer reported that she was raped by white lacrosse players from Duke.

An avalanche of media coverage followed, as the confident prosecutor gave dozens of interviews and reporters ferreted out a pattern of drunken misbehavior by jocks at an elite university. […]

Early on, Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong gave scores of interviews, calling Duke lacrosse players "hooligans" who were hiding behind a wall of silence. His emphatic statements fueled a national media story.

The N&O’s cover up of its role in the Duke lacrosse hoax has begun

Duke lacrosse: The Raleigh N&O's cover up has started [John in Carolina, July 16, 2006]
Lacrosse defense sways media [N&O, July 16, 2006]

Duke lacrosse: New questions for the Raleigh N&O [John in Carolina, July 15, 2006]

Monday, July 17, 2006

Duke Case: Reade Seligmann - "The Truth Will Win"

Reade Seligmann: I believe in the system and the truth will win.Peter Applebome writes about Reade Seligmann for The NY Times: As Accusation at Duke Festers, Disbelief Gnaws at Suspect’s Supporters.

Supporters of Reade Seligmann, one of three Duke lacrosse players accused of raping a woman, say the story began to lose credibility as soon as he was identified as a suspect.

Patricia Crapo has been teaching religion and writing college recommendations for a quarter century, but only once did she allow herself to put so much of her heart on the page.

"If I had a son, I would hope he could be like Reade,” Mrs. Crapo wrote three years ago on behalf of a student applying to Duke . “I have been teaching at the high school level for 24 years, and I have never said or written that about another student."

Robert KC Johnson summarized some other testimonials about Mr. Seligmann:
In high school, Seligmann participated in a community service project in Kentucky’s Appalachia region; he also worked in a program sponsored by his high school that brought food and clothing to the homeless in New York City. (A high school classmate wrote that Seligmann "has stuck out in my mind as the most caring and honorable individual I have ever met.") At Duke, Seligmann made the dean’s list, and had a clean personal record. One fellow student noted, "He's the most amazing person I have ever met, with the biggest heart. He is full of love and considers everyone before himself"; a second commented, "Reade is one of the most amazing guys at Duke, and I would bet my life" on his character; a third described herself as "blessed to call him a friend."

CBS News correspondent Trish Regan spoke with Reade Seligmann and his family last month:
Reade Seligmann is home for the summer. On the night I met him, he was finishing some papers for Duke University. One was a paper he had started before this case broke. It's title: "The Role of the Media Plays in the Justice System."

He will not get credit for any of his spring semester classes unless the charges are dropped or he is declared not guilty. His plan for the fall is to take classes at a nearby university and continue working out because, his parents say, he's hopeful he'll have the opportunity to play lacrosse again soon. He told me he wants to be a lawyer and that this experience has convinced him that law is a field where he can make a difference.

"People keep saying, 'these kids' lives are over, their reputations are ruined,' " his mother said. "I tell Reade, 'There's only one person that can take your reputation from you, and that's you.' "

Reade is optimistic about the future. His mother says he tells her: "You can't change the truth. This didn't happen. I believe in the system and the truth will win."

As Accusation at Duke Festers, Disbelief Gnaws at Suspect’s Supporters [Peter Applebome | NY Times, July 16, 2006]
Shameless [Robert KC Johnson |, July 5, 2006]
Support for Reade Seligmann []
Duke Player's Family Speaks Out [, June 22, 2006]

Duke Case: Reade Seligmann's Alibi in Detail [TJN, July 2, 2006]
Duke Lacrosse [TJN Archive]

Duke Case: The Vultures

The Vulures: Judge John Bayly Jr., Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Duke Faculty, Feminists...

artwork courtesy Delonas - NY Post

Friday, July 14, 2006

Duke Case: Cleaning House

Durham Police Chief Steve ChalmersDurham Police Chief Steve Chalmers says he will retire from his post next year.

Chalmers says he plans to leave the police department in December 2007. He has served as police chief since his appointment in 2002.

Chief Chalmers actually retired about a year ago. He sent the paperwork in and headed off to his bass boat. Unfortunately, there was a bureaucratic snafu and the paperwork was lost. Hard to believe that could happen in Durham, right. He's been told to resubmit his paperwork and everything should be processed and finalized by December 2007. No need to come in from the bass boat.

Michael J. Gaynor says Collin Finnerty's D.C. assault conviction is a disgrace:

The trial itself and the conviction are travesties of justice for at least three reasons:

(1) Mr. Finnerty's plea deal (25 hours of community service to put an end to the very expensive nuisance) should not have been voided under the circumstances (the accuser's identifications having been the result of an unconstitutionally suggestive identification procedure and the accuser and her story being dubious and unsupported by physical evidence, another person or a polygraph test),

(2) the judge (Judge John H. Bayly, Jr.) who decided the case behaved oddly (one example: he seemed obsessed with the possibility (NOT reality) that Mr. Finnerty may have violated the curfew he imposed on Mr. Finnerty, to the point that he stated in open court that he would check out a lead he had gotten from an unchecked item posted on the Wonkette website); and

(3) the judge was blind to the ample reasonable doubt established by multiple defense witnesses who were present, the chief complainant's personal history, and Mr. Finnerty's unrebutted character witnesse (Father James Williams, the head of Chaminade, and Michael Hannan, the father of Mr. Finnerty’s girlfriend Jessica, praised Mr. Finnerty as peaceful and nonviolent and a gentleman) and his very impressive and unblemished record at the time of the incident.
Wonkette's - An Open Letter to the Judge Who Quoted Us in Court:
Anyway, it’s come to our attention that a li’l post of ours was, well, quoted (misquoted, but we’re not angry) in court. By you. And you, via us, kinda made it seem like Mr. Finnerty violated his court-ordered curfew. That post was part of a regular feature we do called Wonk’d, in which readers like you send in real-life sightings of famous and famous-for-DC people. Then we print them. With very, very little editing, and absolutely no fact-checking.

Kimberly GuilfoyleKimberly Guilfoyle at Fox News answers the mail bag regarding the Duke case:
It's been a busy week for 'The Lineup' mailbag! The Duke case still has people scratching their heads in wonder at the ongoing investigation. Will DNA evidence solve this case?

E-mail No. 1

What I would like to know is how can these young men still have a case against them when people are being released from prison everyday because DNA evidence shows they didn't commit the rape...


...I am disheartened that this case has not come to a just resolution in the face of such obvious inconsistencies, credibility problems, timeline conflicts and what appears to be a lack of forensic and eyewitness evidence to support the accusers story....

Wendy McElroy of Fox News was asking a few days ago if the talk of a civil suit against Mike Nifong had a chance:
If all charges are dropped or if the accused are acquitted, can the accused young men sue Nifong for malicious prosecution?

The answer appears to be, 'perhaps.'

How things have changed. Two months ago the talk was that perhaps the accuser, Crystal Gail Mangum, or her family was planning on filing a civil suit.

Back in May Wendy McElroy wrote:
A man stands in the background of the Duke Lacrosse 'rape' case…watching. While the alleged rape of a black woman by three wealthy, white male students remains in criminal court, he is not likely to step forward.

He specializes in civil cases, and a 'victim' who seeks monetary damages in civil court usually waits for criminal proceedings to conclude.

Even at this early stage, however, the accuser's mother is "very much interested" in "getting [him] involved."

Nicknamed "the Giant Killer," attorney Willie E. Gary is a litigator...

Ms. Mangum needs to worry about her own legal position regarding making false statements, false charges, and trying to profit from a fraud. Her parents saying they were "very much interested" in pursuing a civil suit scam is brazen.

Many are starting to wonder: How Much is this Farce Costing Taxpayers?

It would serve justice if Mr. Nifong and Ms. Mangum were both slapped with civil judgements following their criminal prosecution when this fraud is finally unraveled.

Chalmers to Step Down in '07 [, July 14, 2006]
Collin Finnerty's D.C. Assault Conviction Is The Disgrace [Michael J. Gaynor |, July 14, 2006]
DNA and Duke... [, July 14, 2006]
Whither the Duke [, July 11, 2006]
Is 'Duke' Case Headed to Civil Court? [, May 16, 2006]

Duke Lacrosse
[TJN Archive]

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Duke Case: No Stinkin Lineup Procedures in Durham!

updated: July 14, 2006

Mike Nifong: Lineup procedures? We don't need no stinkin lineup procedures
Robert KC Johnson surveyed North Carolina DA's and police departments regarding lineup procedures in their jurisdictions.

He finds that North Carolina really isn't a 3rd world country where law enforcement needs no "stinkin rules" or makes them up as they go along in order to railroad the innocent in rigged lineups. In fact, most of the state normally follows the lineup guidelines laid down by either the Actual Innocence Commission (AIC) or the Criminal Justice Commission (CJ).

It turns out that DA Mike Nifong and the Durham police department are so far from normal North Carolina lineup procedures as to be on another planet. Mr. Johnson concludes:

For the lacrosse case: The manner in which Nifong orchestrated the photo ID deviates wildly from common North Carolina practice, in at least four ways:
  1. The basic debate in the state seems to revolve around following the AIC or CJ guidelines, or developing a hybrid (D.A. David). As far as I could determine, in no North Carolina jurisdiction is it the policy to confine eyewitness ID sessions to suspects in the case.

  2. Every police department that communicated with me has a standard policy—either formal or informal—of telling witnesses that the photo array might or might not include the suspect. As far as I could determine, in no North Carolina jurisdiction is it the practice, as was followed in this case, for the witness to be informed that the photo array would consist only of possible suspects.

  3. As far as I could determine, no North Carolina jurisdiction possesses a third identification procedure, one that can be used, to quote Gottlieb’s description of Nifong’s words, "instead of doing a line up or a photographic array."

  4. Some district attorneys who communicated with me seemed to like the AIC guidelines; others weren’t particularly enthusiastic about them; others (like David) developed their own systems. But of those who said that they made recommendations to local law enforcement, all did so in favor of departments using fillers in photo ID sessions, not the reverse. And a district attorney setting policy for an eyewitness ID session seems to be unusual in and of itself.
The lacrosse session also departed from the statewide norm (although here no unanimity exists) in having someone intimately involved with the investigation oversee the photo ID session.

update July 14th:
Betsy Newmark says:
Historian Robert K. C. Johnson has done a great bit of research to answer a question that I've been wondering about. We know that there have been a lot of questions about the procedure used in the lineup that led the woman in the Duke lacrosse story to identify three of the players....

Kudos to K.C. Johnson on doing this sort of research. This is exactly the type of context that the media should be doing, but for some reason they aren't. It takes a historian/blogger to show them how to do their job. At my local paper, dozens of people have been posting on the public editor's blog lots of suggestions for questions that journalists at the News and Observer could follow up on to get more in depth coverage of the story. You can see more questions over at the Court TV message board. Here are so many questions, many of them just what everyone is wondering about this case and some which are based on information that even those of us following the case pretty carefully are unaware of.

[hat tip to John in Carolina]

North Carolina Norms [Robert KC Johnson |, July 13, 2006]


Duke Case: The Faulty Lineup [TJN]
Duke Lacrosse [TJN Archive]

Duke Case: The Raleigh News & Observer's Biased Reporting

updated: July 14, 2006

John in Carolina reviews how The Raleigh News & Observer (N&O) went after the Duke lacrosse players and failed to provide a balanced reporting of the alleged crime:

The N&O's Mar. 24 and 25 (front page) stories captured the nation's attention. People bought into its portrayal of the accuser as a hard working student and mother who was brutally gang-raped, beaten and strangled as she sought to earn money to support her two small children. They also bought into the N&O’s portrayal of the Duke students as her victimizers who were even then refusing to cooperate with police.

The N&O’s reporting in those and similarly biased and inflammatory stories it published the next few days so poisoned the public’s mind that when Ruth Sheehan's Mar. 27 N&O column ("Teams' silence is sickening") appeared, it was seen by many people as a righteous expression of "community outrage," instead of what we now know it to have been: a McCarthyite screed attacking the students for doing nothing more than following the advice of their counsels.

Samiha Khanna and Anne Blythe are the reporters who did the March 24th and 25th stories for The N&O. The March 25th story based on the interview with Crystal Gail Mangum has to go down as one of the poorest jobs of professional journalism you will ever come across. Ms. Mangum spun a story that the News & Observer reporters and editors swallowed hook, line, and sinker.

Her story was totally believed and Ms. Mangum must have left the N&O reporter(s) in tears.

The News & Observer
story of April 16th by Samiha Khanna - Mother, dancer, accuser, still does not ask or answer the hard questions regarding Ms. Mangum:
The woman has given just one interview, speaking to a News & Observer reporter March 24. Since then, The N&O has spoken to former classmates and neighbors, friends and family members, and has examined several official documents where her name appears.
However, Kristiana Bennett a reporter at the Campus Echo student newspaper at North Carolina Central University (NCCU) quickly uncovered the truth about Crystal Gail Mangum in March:
The story wouldn't let Kristiana Bennett sleep. Later she would say that she kept stepping out on the landing and staring up at the night sky, past the rain, as if she had lost something.

In her first semester at the Campus Echo, the student newspaper at North Carolina Central University, she lucked into covering a blockbuster story. A black female student at Central, a historically black school, accused white Duke lacrosse players of raping her at a party in mid March where she and another woman were hired as exotic dancers. The players denied it...

"I have empathized with her the whole time," Bennett said.

Then, in the course of her reporting, Bennett found people who said unflattering things about the accuser. They offered the kinds of details that defense attorneys hired private investigators to find, and Bennett wished she had never heard them. Now she and her editors at the Campus Echo had to decide what to do with them....

Bennett agonized. "How do you support her and then turn around and give ammunition to the defense of the Duke players?" she asked, after learning the things she wished she hadn't learned...

There was also the fact that even though the Echo would not print the details Bennett had learned, she couldn't get them out of her head.

"I have this sense of disaster," Bennett said. "I won't lie. If it does turn out that this is false. . . ." Tears hung in her dark eyes.

So The Raleigh News & Observer and NCCU's Campus Echo both hew to the same high journalistic standard. When in doubt, refrained from publishing anything unflattering about an alleged victim if it might in some way damage her credibility. After all, alleged victims have rights and the perpetrators have attorneys.

It is interesting to note that the reporters Joseph Neff and Benjamin Niolet from The News & Observer have now been providing the majority of the coverage of the Duke rape hoax.

update July 14th:

John in Carolina responds:
I agree the stories appearing below Khanna and Blythe’s bylines were, at best, lousy journalism. But was that because they don’t know how to do a good job or was their bias, inflammatory language and "endearing" presentation of the accuser deliberate?

Did the woman Khanna and Blythe repeatedly told readers was "the victim" actually fool them or were they going along?

Or did Khanna and Blythe have some doubts about her story but embraced and hyped it anyway because it fit with their preexisting attitudes toward white male athletes from "elite" schools playing "helmet sports?"

Are Khanna and Blythe practitioners of what we hear the J schools are increasingly turning out: Agenda journalists...

Did the Raleigh N&O withhold news of the Duke captains’ cooperation? [John In Carolina, July 12, 2006]
Separating Truth, Consequences [Vanessa Gezari | St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, April 4, 2006]

Rape Case Is Seen as Symbol at Black College in N.C. [, May 7, 2006]

Duke Lacrosse [TJN Archive]

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Duke Case: Mangum's bogus descriptions

Missed this Sean Hannity report from June 30th about Crystal Gail Mangum's bogus initial descriptions of her assailants:

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: This is a FOX News alert.

"Hannity & Colmes" has learned about explosive new details in the Duke investigation tonight. Earlier today, Sean spoke with the family of Collin Finnerty. He's one of the three Duke University lacrosse players who's been indicted for allegedly raping a stripper back in March.

Sean, what are the details you learned today?

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Well, I've been speaking with these families from the very beginning. But tonight, I have exclusive new details from the Finnerty family that cast new shades of doubt on the prosecution's case.

Now, we know that Collin had spent hours alone with a top polygraph expert who says Finnerty passed all of the tests given to him with flying colors. We've also been told that, in fact, there are multiple eyewitnesses that will, in fact, corroborate Finnerty's every movement that night and, indeed, say that he was never alone.

And the Finnertys have also shared with me just this morning that, like Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty has a paper trail, including receipts and phone records, that will show he is, in fact, innocent.

Now, as we have seen from the very beginning, it's not just the evidence from the defense attorneys that have raised questions about the prosecution's case, but also the accuser's own statements to police.

First, in one of the many, many different versions of the accuser's story, she told police shortly after the alleged incident that she was, in fact, raped and sexually assaulted by three boys. We now have learned that she identified them by name, Brett, Matt and Adam.

Now, she described Brett as a white male and chubby. The accuser said Matt was a white male, heavy-set, with short hair. And finally, she described an individual named Adam as a short, white man with rosy cheeks and fluffy, brown hair.

But take a look at the three boys who the accuser supposedly picked out of the police lineup almost three weeks later. These are their photos, and those are their vital statistics. So do these look like the same boys?

And joining us now to hash out the details with this new information and what this all means, we're joined tonight, FOX News' Megyn Kendall, former prosecutor Anne Bremner, and defense attorney, FOX News legal analyst Mercedes Colwin.

I've got to tell you something, Megyn, if we can start with you tonight, first of all, I think these identifications immediately -- this was within 48 hours, Megyn, of this alleged incident. Again, part of multiple versions that came out, but very specific, and none of the descriptions describe these three boys. I think this is a huge development in the case.

Collin FinnertyMEGYN KENDALL, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: I think it is. In particular, though, Sean, for Finnerty, because arguably -- you could make a case that Seligmann and/or Evans arguably match a couple of those descriptions.

Neither of them is chubby, but they're stocky. I mean, they're built guys.

But Collin Finnerty is like a giant. I mean, he's 6'3". He's skinny- looking. He's lanky. And he's got like strawberry-blonde hair. I don't know how on Earth that even arguably matches up to any of those three descriptions.
Mangum's Statement:

Additionally, here is a small portion of Crystal Gail Mangum's statement that MSNBC has released:
Matt grabbed me and looked at me. He said, 'Sweetheart, you can't leave.' He grabbed the back of my neck and said, 'I'm going to kill you, n----- b---- if you don't shut up"...They started kicking me in my behind and my back...Matt hit me in the face while Brett kicked me.

Courtesy the the new TalkLeft Duke Discussion Boards.

Duke Lacrosse

Duke Case: Mangum's cell phone calls

Crystal Gail Mangum's cell phone records have always been considered important evidence in debunking her allegations of a gang-rape. The defense requested this information back in May.

The idiot prosecutor, Mike Nifong, said they were "not interested in the contents of the phone." reported on May 18th:

Nifong said prosecutors are not interested in the contents of the phone, such as the last 10 numbers called, but Osborn said that's information the defense should be allowed to see.
Finally, some information about Ms. Mangum's cell phone use during the Duke lacrosse party is released. Not surprisingly, it offers further evidence of her fraud.

The News & Observer reported:
In the middle of a Duke lacrosse party where a dancer said she was gang-raped for 30 minutes, a call was placed from her cell phone to a Durham escort service.

The 12:26 a.m. call to the service, Centerfold, lasted one minute, according to a copy of her cell phone bill reviewed by The News & Observer. It is unclear whether the call was a request for another job, a cry for help or something else, or even whether the accuser made the call herself.

But the accuser's phone records add some details to the chronology of the March 13 party, a drunken spring break bash that spawned a national controversy.

Three minutes after this 12:26 a.m. cell phone call is completed Crystal Gail Mangum is on the back steps of the Duke lacrosse house at 610 N. Buchanan Blvd.

From the Duke lacrosse party timeline:

12:30:12 a.m., (photo time stamp) The accuser is on the back porch, carrying what appears to be her purse and a makeup bag. Her clothes are intact. She is missing one white shoe.

accuser on the back porch

12:30:34 a.m., (photo time stamp) The accuser is still on the back steps of the house.

12:30:47 a.m., (photo time stamp) Photo of accuser on back porch apparently smiling. [also described as "demurely smiling" or as "having her mouth open with her teeth showing"]

altered photo of Crystal Gail Mangum leaving 610 N. Buchanan Blvd.
12:31:26 a.m., (photo time stamp) But 30 seconds after the last photo, next photo shows the alleged victim stumbling down the back steps of the house.

back steps of Duke Lacrosse house

12:37:58 a.m., A series of photos beginning at this time shows the woman lying on her left side on the back porch, seemingly passed out or asleep. Pink splotches are on a wrought-iron railing beside her. She had visible cuts on her legs and buttocks that did not appear in the previous photos.

The calls Ms. Mangum made before midnight further firm up the Duke lacrosse party timeline and show her exact arrival at the party was sometime after 11:39 p.m.
She received two more calls, at 11:33 and 11:36. This last call lasted three minutes, indicating she did not arrive at the party until 11:39 p.m. at the earliest.

Brian Taylor, a friend who drove her to the party, told The N&O in May she was late and he had difficulty finding the house.

"On our way there, she got two calls on her cell phone saying if you don't come soon, it's going to get canceled," Taylor said in an interview in May.

Call adds mystery to lacrosse case [, July 12, 2006]
Accuser seemed OK early on, driver says [, May 27, 2006]

Duke Lacrosse

DNA exonerates man wrongly convicted of rape after 18 years in prison

James Calvin Tillman wrongly convicted of rape 18 years agoAnother day, another mistaken identification base on a police lineup, and another wrongly prosecuted and convicted man set free after years in prison.

When will the "system" start fairly evaluating the value of a lineup identification? Isn't it better for ten guilty men to go free than for one innocent man to be convicted?

Mistaken identity:

Although scientific studies have shown that mistaken identity is a common phenomenon, jurors give very strong credence to eyewitness testimony, particularly where the eyewitness is resolute in believing that their identification of the defendant was correct.

AP/CBS News reported:
A man who spent 18 years in prison on a rape charge walked out of court Tuesday a free man, exonerated by DNA evidence.

James Calvin Tillman, 44, had been imprisoned since his arrest in 1988. He was sentenced a year later to 45 years in prison.

Hartford Superior Court Judge Thomas Miano granted Tillman's request last month for a new trial and released him on his own recognizance. On Tuesday, Miano dropped all charges and wished him "health and happiness into the future."


Tillman was 26 when he was charged with abducting a woman as she got into her car near a Hartford restaurant, then beating and raping her at a housing project.

The woman picked out Tillman from a series of photos, and friends contradicted his alibi.

DNA Evidence Clears Wrongly Convicted Man [, July 11, 2006]

Man free 21 years after wrongful rape conviction [TJN, July 7, 2006]
Study Suspects Thousands of False Convictions [, April 19, 2004]

Duke Lacrosse

Duke Case: Finnerty Convicted in Georgetown assault

This Georgetown case against Collin Finnerty would have been dropped under normal circumstances, based on a first-time offender program. However, Mr. Finnerty's random selection out of a farce Durham police lineup wiped out that option.

A Washington, D.C. judge ruled in May that Finnerty's arrest in the North Carolina rape case violated the terms of that program. So here is Mr. Finnerty in July.

It's called the justice "system" for a reason. All systems are flawed.

Fox News reported:

One of the three Duke University lacrosse players accused of rape in North Carolina has been convicted in an unrelated assault last year in Georgetown.

Collin Finnerty of Garden City, New York, was convicted of misdemeanor assault and sentenced to six months of probation. Judge John Baily also ordered Finnerty to undergo drug and alcohol counseling if required by probation officers. He must also stay out of Georgetown while he's on probation.

Judge John H. Bayly Jr. concluded that Mr. Finnerty did not specifically strike Jeffrey Bloxsom, but "menaced him" over a 15-to-30 minute period with fake punches that came within inches of Bloxsom' face and various verbal taunts.

USA Today reported:
Outside court, Finnerty's attorney, Steven McCool, said he will appeal the conviction.

"Judge Bayly found Collin Finnerty guilty of simple assault because he threw fake punches ... and because he scared one of the complaining witnesses in the case. That's it," McCool said.

He called the sentence "fair and lenient."

Finnerty Convicted in Georgetown Assault Case [, July 11, 2006]
Duke lacrosse player convicted in D.C. assault [, July 11, 2006]

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Duke Case: Finnerty Trial in D.C.

Collin Finnerty was in Washington, D.C. on Monday. USA Today reported:

Collin Finnerty, 19, of Garden City, N.Y., went on trial in District of Columbia Superior Court for a misdemeanor assault charge from a Nov. 5 fight that left the two alleged victims with minor injuries.

One of the alleged victims, Jeffrey Bloxsom, testified that Finnerty was an instigator who hurled a variety of vulgar, homophobic comments at Bloxsom as they walked up the Georgetown neighborhood's main drag.

"He was the one who wanted to fight the most," Bloxsom said of Finnerty. "He would say to me, 'Say you're a (blank). Say you're a (blank). ... I acquiesced."

Bloxsom said he was not struck by Finnerty but by one of his associates. The second alleged victim, Scott Herndon, said Finnerty punched him after he restrained Finnerty from punching Bloxsom.
Two other former Chaminade High School (Long Island, NY) students arrested in the assault, Daniel Dagnes and Patrick Bonanno, were allowed to submit guilty pleas in exchange for a six-month restitution program that includes community service.

Judge John H. Bayly Jr. also asked Finnerty's attorney, Steven J. McCool about a report on the Wonkette blog that Finnerty had been seen at a party with other lacrosse players in Washington on Saturday. That would violate Finnerty's court agreement.

"Wonkette doesn't know what it's talking about," McCool told the judge. Finnerty "wasn't in Washington, D.C., on Saturday."

Specifically, Judge Bayly was reacting to what the Wonkette blog said on July 7th:
Saturday evening [7/1], at a party in Glover Park, I saw the infamous Colin Finnerty of Duke Lacrosse. There were other Duke “laxers” there but he was the only convicted one.
The Wonkette blog is currently written by David Lat, the author of Underneath Their Robes, a blog about the federal judiciary, and Alex Pareene, a 20-year-old dropout from New York University.

These judges and prosecutors need to stop reading blogs. They seem to get all worked up over them.

Marc Fisher of the Washington Post points out Judge Bayly needs to get a grip. You can't believe everything you read on blogs.
But Bayly had misquoted the Wonkette item, which claimed on the basis of an unnamed tipster's email that Finnerty had been seen at a party back on July 1, not this past Saturday night, as the judge relayed it to the lawyers.

Bayly was not satisfied with the defense response: "I want to let you know I'm going to look into it," he said.

Why was the judge making a fuss over a blind item in a blog that specializes in uncorroborated, unsourced gossip? It sounded like Bayly didn't even have a clear handle on exactly what a blog was. Would he have brought this up in open court if his clerk had simply heard a rumor repeated while riding in on the Metro this morning?
The trial resumes Tuesday.

Duke lacrosse player labeled 'instigator' in D.C. assault trial [USA Today, July 10, 2006]
D.C. jury hears Duke lacrosse player's assault case. [, July 10, 2006]
Collin Finnerty Trial Judge: Blog Gossip Fan?
[Marc Fisher Blog |, July 10, 2006]

Duke Lacrosse

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