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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Duke Case: Poof...the Grubby Thievery Disappears


So it's forcible rape - yes, first degree sexual offense - yes, kidnapping - yes, robbery - no, in the Duke lacrosse rape hoax.

The alleged victim, Crystal Gail Mangum, was brutally gang-raped after being kidnapped, but her claims of being robbed can not be believed or can not be proved.

This is very ironic, because Ms. Mangum's allegations of being robbed have far more concrete evidence to back them up unlike her rape allegations, which are a total figment of her imagination.

So why has Durham district attorney Mike Nifong completely ignored Ms. Mangum regarding her allegation of being robbed? It must be for one of these reasons:

(1) he does not believe her
(2) he believes her, but does not think he can prove the charge in court
(3) he believes her, but adding the charges of robbery would overly complicate and weaken his rape case.
(4) he doesn't believe a word she said, the rape case is the real "money" crime he was looking for and needed to further his political agenda. Charges of robbery are superfluous to the main mission - getting re-elected.

Mike Nifong has never used the word, robbery, nor was any charge of robbery included in the indictments against the three Duke men. The crime of robbery has mysteriously disappeared from the Duke lacrosse case.

But, robbery was a major element of the crime when the story first broke in March.

The Durham police said robbery was part of this serious criminal accusation:

Durham police Cpl. David Addison said. "We will be relentless in finding out who committed this crime."

He emphasized the seriousness of the accusations -- first-degree rape, kidnapping, assault by strangulation and robbery.
The very first story the News & Observer ran about this case on March 22nd mentioned the robbery in its title: "Assault victim says she was robbed, too"
A woman who told police she was raped by as many as three men at a house party near Duke University also said she was robbed, according to a police report.

According to the report, the victim, who told police she was raped March 13 at a party at 610 N. Buchanan Blvd., was also robbed of a $300 cell phone and a large amount of cash.
This story from The News & Observer, on March 24th said:
Police think at least three of the men could be responsible for the sexual assault, beating, robbery and near-strangulation of one of two women who had an appointment to dance at the party March 13...
When the Durham police returned with a search warrant for 610 N. Buchanan Blvd. robbery was one of the list of crimes they were investigating. They were looking for the following property belonging to Ms. Mangum:
Property belonging to Crystal Gale Mangum to include but not limited to a purse, wallet, make-up and make-up bag, cellular camera telephone, and a shoe.

United States Currency totaling $400.00 or portions of said currency (all twenty dollar bills).

Description of Crimes

First Degree Forcible Rape (N.C.G.S. 14-27.3), First Degree Kidnapping (N.C.G.S.14-39), First Degree Forcible Sexual Offense (N.C.G.S 14-27.4), Common Law Robbery (N.C.G.S. 14-87.1), Felonious Strangulation (N.C.G.S. 14-32 4(b))
Crystal Gail Mangum told numerous people that she was both robbed and raped. Her money and property had been stolen during her rape. She was a double victim. Best of all, she knows exactly who stole her money and property.

Here are some of Ms. Mangum's robbery reports:
  • She told a robbery story to Officer Willie Barfield who transported Ms. Mangum from Durham Access to Duke Hospital:
    The woman told Barfield that "Nikki" had taken all her belongings, including $2,000 in cash obtained by dancing at the party, her cell phone and her identification.

  • Durham police officer Gwendolyn Sutton mentions the robbery in her official report:
    She also said that Nikki had stolen her money and cell phone.

  • Ms. Mangum told the sexual assault nurse at Duke hospital, Tara Levicy, that she had been robbed. From defense motion:
    she told the S.A.N.E nurse in training that Kim Pittman assisted the players in her alleged sexual assault and that Kim Pittman stole all her "money and everything."
Believe it or not, Ms. Mangum did not give police a handwritten version of her statement until April 6th. The News & Observer interview, on March 24th, is the only media interview that Ms. Mangum has ever given. It most certainly is yet another different version of events on the night of the Duke lacrosse party compared to all her other fictional accounts.

A snippet of Ms. Mangum's March 24th interview with the News & Observer said:
Just moments after she and another exotic dancer started to perform, she said, men in the house started barking racial slurs. The two women, both black, stopped dancing.

"We started to cry," she said. "We were so scared."

(Notice the comment, "she said, men in the house started barking racial slurs." That comment does not match any other account of what happened in the house. The racial comment(s) by all other reports were made outside of the house.)

It would be very interesting to learn what Ms. Mangum said, to the News & Observer on Friday, March 24th, regarding the robbery. They must have asked her about it because that is one of the crimes they had been reporting about several times that week.

In fact, the robbery was the only real crime committed against Ms. Mangum, so of course it was very important to her. More important than the fictional rape she was making up.

For example, notice which crime has Ms. Mangum's attention. Investigator Benjamin Himan in his statement on March 21st says that Ms. Mangum was inquiring about getting her stolen property back:
3/21/06 1810 hrs - Victim arrives with driver Jarriel Johnson, Raleigh, NC

Victim was inquiring about getting her property back. I asked her questions trying to follow up on a better description of the suspects. She was unable to remember anything further about the suspects.
Did the News & Observer exercise poor editorial judgement and not mention a robbery accusation that Ms. Mangum made against Ms. Roberts? The N&O interview actually revealed very little of what Ms. Mangum must have said.

Do you think there is any chance the N&O would let us see the full transcript of what Ms. Mangum said to their reporter(s) on March 24th? Probably not, it's possible the N&O would look even more complicit than they do now.

Did Kim Roberts/Pittman, aka Nikki, rob Ms. Mangum? The Johnsville News posted a story on April 25th, entitled: "Who Robbed Crystal Gail Mangum?" It is easy to show that Ms. Roberts certainly had plenty of motive and opportunity to victimize Ms. Mangum, and steal her money and lose her property.

A recent discussion thread at forums.talkLeft.com about the Duke lacrosse case explores the robbery question again.

Did Kim steal the AV's money and why did she make the 911 call?
There has been much speculation about what actually happened to the AV’s money. No one seems to think she actually went home with it. Throughout her various statements to police and hospital personnel, she appears to be at least as concerned about the loss of her money as she was about having been raped. And she’s talking about $2,000 not $400.

The N&O article describes her telling Officer Barfield on the way from Durham Access to Duke Hospital that “‘Nikki’ had taken all her belongings, including $2,000 in cash obtained by dancing at the party, her cell phone and her identification.”

Kim’s March 22 statement to the police contains numerous references to the AV’s money. Indeed, the AV’s money is something of a continuing theme. After the AV arrives, meets Kim and then goes inside to get her payment, Kim says in her statement, that the AV "showed me her payment ($400)." So we know that both women were paid the full amount, and that Kim either saw the AV clutching $400 in her hands, or, more likely, saw her put $400 in her purse or saw her open purse with $400 in it. If the AV’s purse contained other money from the AV’s earlier activities, would Kim have become aware of it at this time? It’s certainly possible.

The picture of the AV on the back steps at 12:30 am is the last evidence we have of the AV in possession of both a purse and a make up bag. A second later, at 12:31, she has fallen on the steps. The descriptions of the photos don’t say whether the purse and makeup bag are visible in subsequent pictures. One tends to assume she dropped them in her fall, but no way to tell without seeing the pictures.

Kim makes a big point in her March 22 statement about her efforts to ensure that the AV came away from the party with "the most important thing her money."
The robbery question is a large unreported issue Mike Nifong has had to deal with. Is it possible that he could believe Ms. Mangum about the rape and not believe her about the robbery?

What of the other possibilities listed above regarding Nifong's handling of the robbery?

If Ms. Roberts did rip-off Ms. Mangum, then it completely sabotages any possibility of Nifong prosecuting a rape case. Two sex workers stealing money from each other isn't exactly a case you want to hang a political career on.

Nifong seems to believe Ms. Roberts is a key part of his prosecution case, hence the favorable treatment she has received regarding her parole violation, bail, etc.

So here again, Mike Nifong in his blind pursuit of personal gain and getting re-elected has chosen to ignore the evidence and crimes that do not match his vision of the "perfect" crime.

The robbery is just a dirty little part of the Duke case that is best forgotten in Nifong's focus on the big picture.

So the grubby thievery has disappeared from the Duke case....Poof.

Assault victim says she was robbed, too [NewsObserver,com, Mar. 22, 2006]
DNA tests ordered for Duke athletes [NewsObserver,com, Mar. 24, 2006]
Dancer gives details of ordeal [NewsObserver.com, Mar. 25, 2006]

Who Robbed Crystal Gail Mangum? [TJN]
Kim Roberts/Pittman Police Statement [TJN]
Benjamin Himan & Jarriel Johnson Statements [TJN]

Duke Lacrosse Case [TJN Archives]