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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Duke Case: The Horsemen of the Hoax

When Durham Police Sgt. Mark Gottlieb turned in his 33 pages of typed notes and 3 pages of handwritten notes regarding the Duke lacrosse rape investigation he crossed a line. He apparently began a cover-up that will end badly for himself and everyone else who is involved in perpetuating the fraudulent rape prosecution of three Duke lacrosse players.

Has Gottlieb now begun riding with the horsemen of the hoax? The horsemen of the hoax are:

: is an agreement between two or more natural persons to break the law at some time in the future.

Perjury: is the act of lying or making verifiably false statements on a material matter under oath or affirmation in a court of law or in any of various sworn statements in writing.

Obstruction of justice: refers to the crime of offering interference of any sort to the work of police, investigators, regulatory agencies, prosecutors, or other (usually government) officials....Obstruction charges can also be laid if a person alters or destroys physical evidence, even if they were under no compulsion at any time to produce such evidence.

Witness tampering: harming or otherwise threatening a witness, hoping to influence their testimony or with evidence production.

Martha Stewart, Bill Clinton, and Lewis Libby all know about the horsemen. The horsemen are what brought each one of them down.

Martha Stewart was convicted on four counts of lying to investigators and obstruction of justice. Her initial crime of insider trading to avoid a loss of $45,673 fell by the wayside.

Bill Clinton was impeached on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice, arising from the Lewinsky scandal. He was also cited in April 1996 for contempt of court by federal district judge Susan Webber Wright for giving "intentionally false statements" in sworn testimony during his deposition in the Paula Jones sexual harassment civil lawsuit. Clinton was fined $90,000 and the matter was referred to the Arkansas Supreme Court and, ultimately, to the U.S. Supreme Court. Later, in January, 2001, Clinton agreed to surrender his law license and to give up his bar membership allowing him to argue before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Lewis Libby, former advisor to Dick Cheney, resigned from his position in the White House, immediately after he was indicted on criminal felony charges by a grand jury. He was charged with: one count of obstruction of justice; two counts of perjury; and two counts of making false statements.

There is also the mother of all criminal cover ups - the Watergate scandal. That one brought down the Nixon administration. Let's just say there was an army of horsemen loose in Washington in the early '70's. That is when the phrase, "it's not the crime, it's the cover up," got started.

Clinton and Stewart are two extremely intelligent people who were lured into criminal behaviour because they wanted to cover up some relatively minor transgression. Libby's case is still pending.

Mike Nifong is currently on the fast track for joining the convicted liars club. Who else will decide to risk everything and join him?

Any Sgt. Gottlieb transgression up to the point of turning in his report would probably be difficult to prove. In fact, it might simply be considered a case of conducting a slipshod investigation and being unduly influenced by DA Mike Nifong. Or it could constitute police misconduct, still nothing criminal so far.

Yesterday's, Stuart Taylor Jr. article for Slate.com shed some more light on Sgt. Mark Gottlieb and his possible motives:

This memo was concocted from memory, nearly four months after the underlying witness interviews, by Durham police Sgt. Mark Gottlieb, the lead investigator. Gottlieb says he took no contemporaneous notes, an inexplicable and indefensible police practice. Gottlieb had drawn fire before the alleged Duke rape—perhaps unbeknownst to the Times—as a Dukie-basher who reveled in throwing kids into jail for petty drinking infractions, noise violations, and the like, sometimes with violent criminals as cellmates.
More thoughts about Sgt. Gottlieb's report or memo (the term script seems more appropriate):

Mr. Taylor again:
Gottlieb's memo is contradicted on critical points by the contemporaneous notes of other police officers, as well as by hospital records seeming to show that the accuser did not have the injuries Gottlieb claims to have observed. The Times blandly mentions these contradictions while avoiding the obvious inference that the Gottlieb memo is thus unworthy of belief.

...contrary evidence of dubious credibility, such as the Gottlieb memo.
For all the tales Sergeant Gottlieb spins in his recently drafted notes, none of them appear to alter the fundamental time and space problem...the most disturbing portion of Gottlieb’s notes is the descriptions of the suspects.
KC Johnson:
...we have Gottlieb's notes saying one thing, and notes of another police officer saying something quite different.
The problem with this Duke hoax is that it's only as strong as its weakest link. Everyone involved including Gottlieb, Nifong, other investigators, and any prosecution witnesses that plan on propping up the fraudulent prosecution are at the mercy of the alleged victim, Crystal Gail Mangum.

There's a saying attorneys have, it's basically, "let your client perpetrate their own fraud," don't aid them. When you aid the fraud you become part of it. Cop's probably have their own saying regarding letting liars hang themselves.

Likewise, the New York Times reporters Duff Wilson and Johnathan D. Glater should have let the cumulative evidence sink the Gottlieb script, but they used it as a life raft for Nifong's prosecution. Journalists like CSI types should just gather and weigh the evidence and not vote for it.

If Ms. Mangum finally comes clean and tells the truth that there was no gang rape, then everyone involved in the perpetrating the hoax will suffer. Who would want to bet their name, career, or freedom on that not happening? After days of extensive cross examination on the witness stand Ms. Mangum will be poked and prodded by the media for years after this injustice is finally ended. How many different stories will she tell on the witness stand and for the rest of her life?

Ms. Mangum's lies, contradictions, and credibility problems did not give Mike Nifong and the Durham PD pause before. If they didn't pause then maybe everyone working with Mike Nifong should take a long pause now to consider what they might be getting themselves into.

Don't ride with the horsemen.

Witness for the Prosecution? [Slate.com, Aug. 29, 2006]

Duke Lacrosse Case [TJN Archives]