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Friday, August 25, 2006

Duke Case: The Gottlieb Script Finally Arrives

The New York Times uses Durham Police Sgt. Mark Gottlieb's late arriving 36 page report to say that Mike Nifong now has support for going to trial. They put their biased story on the top left of the front page.

But an examination of the entire 1,850 pages of evidence gathered by the prosecution in the four months after the accusation yields a more ambiguous picture. It shows that while there are big weaknesses in Mr. Nifong’s case, there is also a body of evidence to support his decision to take the matter to a jury.

Crucial to that portrait of the case are Sergeant Gottlieb’s 33 pages of typed notes and 3 pages of handwritten notes, which have not previously been revealed. His file was delivered to the defense on July 17, making it the last of three batches of investigators’ notes, medical reports, statements and other evidence shared with the defense under North Carolina’s pretrial discovery rules....

The sergeant’s notes are drawing intense scrutiny from defense lawyers both because they appear to strengthen Mr. Nifong’s case and because they were not turned over by the prosecution until after the defense had made much of the gaps in the earlier evidence.

Joseph B. Cheshire, a lawyer for David Evans, one of the defendants, called Sergeant Gottlieb’s report a "make-up document." He said Sergeant Gottlieb had told defense lawyers that he took few handwritten notes, relying instead on his memory and other officers’ notes to write entries in his chronological report of the investigation.

Mr. Cheshire said the sergeant’s report was "transparently written to try to make up for holes in the prosecution’s case." He added, "It smacks of almost desperation."

Sergeant Gottlieb did not return phone calls yesterday seeking comment.
On Wednesday, regarding the stagecraft Nifong and company would have to produce to carry this hoax to trial, The Johnsville News said:
...that is why Ms. Mangum was recently observed leaving the Durham Police Department's headquarters with her two children. She is probably already working with Nifong's assistant producer/chief choreographer DPD Sgt. Mark Gottlieb as they begin going over their scripts and planning the tricky footwork for the big show.
Yes, we are psychic. Gottlieb was working on his script changes. It took him until mid-July to do his major re-write. In Hollywood, writers don't usually get a billing on the marquee, but in this case Gottlieb has earned his way on to the show poster.

Gottlieb's got a lock on this one: The Academy Award for Writing Original Screenplay is the Academy Award for the best script not based upon previously published material.

Files From Duke Rape Case Give Details but No Answers [NYTimes.com, Aug. 25, 2006]

Robert Johnson over at Durham-In-Wonder land offers a quick first take on the NY Times article. Regarding the Gottlieb report he says:
2.) The Gottlieb notes. The framing of the Times story--which lead off with the notes and rely on them heavily--suggests that the authors of the piece treated these notes as reliable. Yet, as the piece itself repeatedly observes, these notes (produced three months after the first indictments and the very last items turned over in discovery) contradict significant contemporaneous items in the file--the SANE nurse in training's recollections of the accuser; his fellow officer's contemporaneous recollections of the accuser's initial descriptions.

Gottlieb's notes, according to the Times, were typed, with little or no hand-written material.

The Times' conclusion: should the notes be treated with suspicion? No: The notes show that there is a "more ambiguous picture" than the defense suggested; "it shows that while there are big weaknesses in Mr. Nifong’s case, there is also a body of evidence to support his decision to take the matter to a jury."

Goittlieb's notes, of course, didn't exist when Nifong took the case even to the grand jury....