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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Duke Case: Shooting the Messenger

Moezeldin Elmostafaupdated/corrected Aug. 17th:

Going after a man, who steps forward as a defense witness, like this smacks of pure witness intimidation. Scary to see this play out in Durham. Injustice keeps getting piled on top of injustice under the rule of Mike Nifong.

ABC11tv.com reported:

A cab driver who has supported an alibi offered by one of the three Duke lacrosse players charged with rape had his own court appearance Tuesday for a larceny charge.

Moezeldin Elmostafa, 37, appeared briefly before a Durham County District Court judge who set a trial date of Aug. 29. Prosecutors also changed the charge against Elmostafa to aiding and abetting misdemeanor larcency.

Elmostafa was arrested in May after he surfaced as a potential alibi witness for Reade Seligmann, one of three players charged with raping a woman at an off-campus party the night of March 13.

The 2003 warrant accused Elmostafa of stealing five purses worth about $250 from a Durham department store. Elmostafa denies the charge, and has said he helped store security locate a woman after he picked her up from the store and drove her home. The woman later pleaded guilty to larceny.
The Herald-Sun added:
A three-year-old shoplifting charge was downgraded Tuesday for Moezeldin Ahmed Elmostafa, a cab driver who is an alibi witness in the controversial Duke University lacrosse rape case.

Assistant District Attorney Ashley Cannon said she reduced the charge to aiding and abetting a misdemeanor larceny after new evidence, a videotape made at the alleged crime scene, came to light.

Cannon declined to elaborate.

A trial of the case had been scheduled for Tuesday, but was postponed until Aug. 29 for reasons unrelated to the altered charge...

Lawyer Thomas Loflin, representing Elmostafa, implied recently that his client was being hounded by the District Attorney's Office because of his anti-prosecution stance in the lacrosse case.

In a May interview, Lolfin said "reasonable people can draw an inference" from the fact that Elmostafa signed an affidavit for Seligmann one month and was arrested the next. Loflin blasted the arrest warrant as "entirely frivolous."
Crystal Mess does a parody of the Nifong-Abrams conversation, this time between Mike Nifong and Joe Neff of the News & Observer :
In a testy exchange with News and Observer reporter, Joe Neff, Der NiFuhrer was evasive on the issue of whether or not a previously unknown videotape of the Great 2003 Pocketbook Heist has suddenly been found:

Q: Have you seen a videotape of the theft itself tending to implicate Mr. Elmostafa in the perpetration of the crime?
A: Have I personally seen...
Q: Yes.
A: Do I know if the...
Q: Do you know where it is?
A: ... to my knowledge that—I do not.
Q: OK. So you do not possess a previously undisclosed videotape of Mr. Elmostafa's alleged "aiding and abetting" the theft of $250 dollars worth of clutch bags that you will seek to introduce as evidence against him in the upcoming trial of this matter?
A: To my knowledge, I have not done that yet.
New Charges against LAX Taxi Driver [abc11tv.com, Aug. 15, 2006]
Charge against cabbie reduced [Herald-Sun, Aug. 15, 2006]
D.A. Mike Nifong Reacts [Crystal Mess, Aug. 15, 2006]