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Friday, December 15, 2006

Duke Hoax: Day #241

Friday's court summary:

>> Lawyers agreed to schedule hearings during the week of Feb. 5. During those hearings, District Attorney Mike Nifong said he would put the accuser on the witness stand. The lawyers would have their own witnesses, and the judge will consider whether to throw out the accuser's identification of the three lacrosse players.

>> Superior Court Judge W. Osmond Smith III ordered a paternity test for the accuser's child, even though both sides agree there's no chance one of the three indicted players could be the father. Nifong said the accuser is due the first week of February. The events that led to charges occurred in March.

>> The judge entered an order allowing defense lawyers access to unspecified sealed records. The lawyers had previously requested access to military, social services and hospital records kept on the accuser.

>> Defense lawyers requested a change of venue. News&Observer
KC Johnson:
Atmosphere — The atmosphere for this hearing differed considerably from the October version. In light of the bombshell defense motions of the past couple of days—dealing with DNA and with suppression of the photo lineup—the room was filled to capacity by 8.35 for a 9.30 hearing...
Kevin Finnerty (r) and Duke lacrosse coach John Dankowskirelated: News14 Carolina - Standing room only at Duke lacrosse hearing (see video) — It was standing room only at the Duke lacrosse case hearing on Friday. The defense says the amount of support for the three accused players was a welcome sight. Friends, fellow players and family members stood behind them, beside them and among them. "We’ve just gotta show we're with them every step of the way,” said Duke senior and lacrosse player Casey Carroll. The courtroom overflowed as the three accused players saw more support than ever. Collin Finnerty's father, Kevin, says his son realizes how serious the charges are and that's why Collin was in court. "He's holding up OK, it's tough though,” Kevin Finnerty said.

Victoria Peterson, left, and Travis MangumFreeRepublic - first person account of court — I got there about 8:38. We were in the grand jury room on the 6th floor. Judges chambers on one side, Nifong's office on the other...

ABC11/WTVD - another person at courtroom — I got there at 8:40 am. I stood in line for the metal detector for 5 mins or so and was in the courtroom at 8:50 am...
KC Johnson:
Jones the Prophet — Congressman Walter Jones called for a federal intervention earlier this week. The repeated refrain from DNA Security head Brian Meehan: "we agreed." Over and over again, the embattled witness admitted that he and Nifong coordinated an effort to avoid turning over exculpatory information to the defense. In layman’s terms, this would seem to constitute an admission of conspiracy...

LieStoppers: More Meehan - Flashback: "The state is not aware of any additional material or information which may be exculpatory in nature with respect to the defendant [Seligmann]," Nifong wrote in a court filing [May 18]. Today: ...
related: John in Carolina - Liestoppers' simple devastation — It couldn’t have been easy for Meehan to admit he and Nifong agreed that he’d intentionally withhold exculpatory evidence from his report. Meehan’s ruined professionally and he very likely will face civil suits. But he must have realized that awful as those consequences are, they’re preferable to a perjury conviction....
News & Observer:
Accuser to give birth in February — The accuser in the Duke lacrosse case is pregnant, District Attorney Mike Nifong told a judge today, and is due to give birth in February.

At the request of defense lawyers today, Judge Osmond Smith III ordered a paternity test to be done after the birth of the child. Joseph B. Cheshire V, a lawyer representing one of three accused in Duke University lacrosse case, asked for the test “to prove that none of the defendants could possibly be the father.” Nifong said in court that he believed the woman had become pregnant weeks after the March lacrosse party where she said she was raped.

Today, UNC Hospitals batted back reports by several media outlets that the accuser had given birth to the child...
Allen G. Breed (AP), WRAL (4:40 pm): Judge Orders Paternity Test of Duke Lacrosse Rape Accuser's Baby — ...News of the pregnancy threatened to overshadowed a lab director's admission that, following an agreement with Nifong, he violated his own procedures and withheld results showing none of the players' DNA was found on or in her body...

Beau Dure, Sports blog, USA Today: Duke lacrosse hearings — The Duke lacrosse case has taken several twists in and out of the courtroom in the past 24 hours, with the news that the accuser has given or is about to give birth, a prosecution request for a paternity test, a defense request for a venue change and questions over DNA evidence....

Update, 4:30 p.m. ET: No major developments. The News & Observer has a brief story on the paternity test and confirms the WRAL and Fox News reports that the accuser isn't due until February.

TalkLeft: Accuser Gives Birth -- Not True, But She's Pregnant
KC Johnson, at Durham courthouse:
Meehan: DSI Doesn't Follow Its Own Policies - Under questioning from Brad Bannon, Brian Meehan was asked about the standards for reports at DNA Security. Item #4 states, "Reports shall include results for each DNA test." Bannon read his own lab's protocols to to Meehan. His response, "By the letter of the standard, it diverges from the letter of that standard."

More from Meehan
- At DNA Security, the motto apparently is that DNA evidence doesn't really have that much importance. The fact that no DNA evidence was found implicating Reade Seligmann or Collin Finnerty? Meehan offered the following analogy: "A person can rob a bank and never leave a fingerprint; it doesn’t mean they didn’t rob a bank."

More Meehan - Brian Meehan admitted that he and Nifong had several (he didn't disclose how many) phone calls about the case. Previously, we only had known that Nifong did the personal journey to Burlington on two different occasions to talk with Meehan about the case. Meehan admitted under questioning today that he took no notes about this meeting. In a peculiar slip, Meehan repeatedly called Nifong his client—where, of course, the state of North Carolina was his client...

The Perry Mason Moment - Seligmann attorney Jim Cooney: "Was the exclusion of material the result of a specific agreement between you and representatives of the state of North Carolina?" DNA Security director Brian Meehan: Yes.

DSI - DNA Security seems like quite the professional outfit. Brian Meehan was, among other things, remarkably unprepared...

Brian Meehanrelated:
Brian Meehan profile BizJournals.com: DNA Security founder had to decide what he wanted to focus on - When Brian Meehan started DNA Security in 1998 with three other partners, the goal was pretty simple: Run a business that would allow him to spend his time doing what he loved -- science... In 2003, Meehan decided he wanted to expand the company and get into forensic DNA testing, which is used in criminal investigations and court cases.

Doing so meant Meehan's small lab had to be certified by the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/ Laboratory Accreditation Board so that results of any tests he did would be admissible in court. While Meehan had the technical expertise -- he had worked in forensic DNA at National Legal Labs -- there were still plenty of hoops for his small company to jump through...

comment: the hoops have now become a noose around Meehan's neck

LieStoppers discussion: Hoax hearing
Neff, Niolet, Blythe; News & Observer:
Head of DNA lab says he and Nifong agreed not to report results (modified 2:07 pm) — ...Meehan struggled to say why he didn�t include the favorable evidence in a report dated May 12, almost a month after Seligmann and Finnerty had been indicted. He cited concerns about the privacy of the lacrosse players, his discussions at several meetings with Nifong, and the fact that he didn�t know whose DNA it was...
KC Johnson: Meehan, Nifong, and Exculpatory (posted at 2:18 pm) — DNA security director Brian Meehan, under vigorous examination, admitted in today's hearing that Mike Nifong knew that the report the company produced failed to exclude critical exculpatory evidence--namely, that multiple DNA samples from men were found in the rape kit....More to come
KC Johnson:
Change of Venue Motion (posted at 2:15 pm) — The defense has filed a powerful motion on the change-of-venue issue, laying out in chilling detail the poisoning of the jury pool in Durham. "There exists," the motion states, "within this County among a significant percentage of residents so great a prejudice against the Defendants that they cannot obtain a fair and impartial trial and that a Jury selected from this County will be unable to deliberate on the evidence presented in the courtroom, free from outside influence." ...
related: N&O documentation - Motion to Change Venue, (.pdf, 31 pages, filed Dec. 15, 2006)
Joe Cheshire press conferenceFox News:
Duke case coverage (1:14 pm) — live broadcast of Joe Cheshire press conference in Durham. Cheshire said the accuser was given a pregnancy test on March 14th, that was negative. She was also given a "morning after" pill and then reported bleeding a couple of days later during a hospital visit. Cheshire implied that the accuser was not pregnant at the time of the incident. He also said the fact that DA Nifong and Meehan concealed exculpatory DNA evidence was very disturbing. Cheshire also used the accuser's name, "Crystal Mangum," during the live broadcast.

In response to a question, Mr. Cheshire said the thought of questioning the accuser in person at the February 5th hearing made him feel "maybe like a 5-year-old at Christmas."

Greta Van Susteren, who was on the phone, said Nifong's withholding the exculpatory DNA evidence from the defense begs the question of whether he may have also withheld the evidence from the grand jury. If he did, that becomes a very serious problem for him.

It was reported that Nifong also said in court that the baby was due in February. This confused Greta Van Susteren, who said she was just reporting what the DA said in open court. Van Susteren reported the birth last evening based on what she was told by five members of the accuser's family. Does Greta have egg on her face? Yes, Greta has some serious egg on her face and so does local TV station WRAL.

Van Susteren also said members of the accuser's family were concerned, because they were not able to see the accuser and find out about the baby. Greta wondered how was Nifong acutally sequestering the accuser?
FoxNews: Duke Lacrosse Defense to Seek Paternity Test for Rape Accuser's Baby — Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong said Friday that the stripper accusing three Duke lacrosse players of raping her is in fact pregnant, but that she become pregnant at least two weeks after the party where she says she was raped. Nifong, who said the baby is not due until the first week of February, bluntly contradicted family members of the accuser who earlier said she had already given birth...

WRAL: Paternity Test OK'd (updated 2:13 pm) — WRAL confirmed Thursday that the accuser is pregnant and was admitted to a University of North Carolina hospital. WRAL also reported that she had delivered the baby last night based on information from sources who have been reliable in the past. This time they were incorrect. WRAL has since learned that the accuser is not due to deliver until February....

LieStoppers discussion: Baby Due 1st Week in Feb
TalkLeft: ...Accuser Not Due Until February
Paternity Test Sought in Duke Lacrosse Rape Case (updated at 12:25 pm and again at 2:13 pm with correction, see above) — Prosecutors in the Duke University lacrosse rape case on Friday said they would request the three indicted players and the accuser to submit to a paternity test. WRAL confirmed Thursday that the accuser is pregnant and was admitted to University of North Carolina Hospitals. As of Friday morning, there were conflicting reports as to whether the baby had been delivered or not. Her pregnancy had not been public knowledge until Thursday evening...

Brian Meehan, director of DNA Security, said his lab didn't try to withhold information. He said he and Nifong chose not to release the full report to protect the privacy of lacrosse players who weren't implicated in the case.
Allan Breed (AP), N&O: Defense to ask for paternity testing — ...Defense attorney Joseph Cheshire said Friday the defense has known for some time about the pregnancy. Fox News and WRAL-TV in Raleigh reported the woman gave birth Thursday night. "We've also heard that she didn't," Cheshire said...

John in Carolina: Kim’s needed now — Like “Old Man River,” Nifong and his enablers lies just keep rolling along. Two of Nifong & Cos. latest lies appear at the end of this excerpt from WRAL TV’s report of this morning’s court hearing...
Meehan Testifies (see comments) — Judge Smith has granted the defense DNA motion and ordered Dr. Brian Meehan to testify under oath. Dr. Meehan admitted in court today that he and District Attorney Mike Nifong intentionally decided to not disclose to the defense the results from DNA testing that showed eighteen semen and epithelial fragments did not match any of the indicted players nor their teammates but rather belonged to several other men. Incredibly, Dr. Meehan, whose own DNA appears to have been discovered in the testing, contends the conspiracy to hide the full results was intented was to protect the lacrosse team...

News & Observer:
Report didn't include all DNA evidence (modified at 12:01 pm and again at 2:07 with headline change, see above) — District Attorney Mike Nifong told a judge during today's Duke lacrosse case hearing that he was unaware of DNA that did not match the accused lacrosse players until this week, when defense lawyers included the information in a motion....
LieStoppers discussion: Nifong lie exposed
Fox News: Meet the Duke Lacrosse Rape Accuser — Foxnews.com, where the "WAR ON TERROR" is just a click away, has posted the most recent defense filing in the case this afternoon, which reveals that the accuser had DNA from several men on her body and in her underwear. It also reveals the accuser's name, unredacted...Ken LaCorte, the vice president and senior executive producer of Foxnews.com, said the disclosure "was unintentional and is being corrected."
NewsHounds.us: Fox Website Exposes Duke Lacrosse Accuser's Name

comment: Crystal Gail Mangum's name should be revealed, because this is a hoax and she is perpetrating a crime! The definitive internet reference, Wikipedia, revealed her identity in June, after some prompting. It was the correct policy then, and it still is. Why does the main stream media still have to play this silly game of not identifying her? This is clearly one of those case-by-case situations, and an obvious criminal can't be given the same protection afforded real rape victims. This case demonstrates that there needs to be more balance between the rights of the accuser and the defendant(s). The pendulum has swung too far.
MSNBC Live (10-11 am) — Nora O’Donnell discussed the case with NC defense attorney, Ed West, who is in Durham, and former prosecutor, Norm Early, who is in space.
Norman S. Earlycomment: Norman S. Early Jr., is a former Denver district attorney, and he is on the board of NOVA, National Organization of Victim Assistance. Mr. Early downplayed the problem of the accuser identifying a fourth attacker during the April 4th lineup. The lineup video was played of the accuser identifying the 4th suspect - "Bret."
IMAGE 4 (Matthew Wilson)
Sergeant: Did you recognize that person?
Accuser: He looked like Bret but I'm not sure.
Sergeant: Who is Bret?
Accuser: One of the guys that assaulted me.
Sergeant: One of the guys that assaulted you? OK.
Accuser: Um hum.
This is not a serious issue according to Early, because the questions being asked were not the best for a traumatized rape victim. Huh? This ignores the facts that the lineup was conducted three weeks after the attack and after the accuser had returned to work pole dancing, etc. Early's argument on why the case should continue has now evolved, to paraphrase him: "why would the accuser continue forward with this case, given all the negative publicity she has received, unless something happened to her?" Yes Norm, why do people commit stupid crimes?
Duke Lacrosse Attorneys Seek Change of Venue — Defense attorneys in the Duke University lacrosse rape case on Friday asked a judge to move the trial out of Durham. Attorneys for lacrosse players Reade Seligmann, 20, Collin Finnerty, 20, and David Evans, 23, said Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong has polarized the local community with comments he made during the initial stages of the investigation...

Court TV:
Bloom & Politan: Open Court (9-11 am) with Lisa Bloom and Vinnie Politan — discussed Duke case with Freda Black and Asunción Hostin.
Asunción Hostincomment: Ms. Asunción Hostin was brought on the Duke segment to represent the prosecution's point of view. She was unfamiliar with the details of the case, and it was obvious that she has never looked at any of the discovery information, or even scanned the recent defense motions.

Her bio says: "Hostin focuses her practice on labor and employment and white collar crime. She has represented management in employment-related disputes, and has made appearances before the National Labor Relations Board, as well as participated in arbitrations and mediations." Her qualifications to speak about the Duke case are from her past work -- "Hostin is a former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. At the U.S. Attorney’s Office, she was responsible for all phases of investigation and prosecution of federal and local crimes in the District of Columbia."

Is ignorance of the facts a prerequisite for being employed as an apologist for Mike Nifong and his prosecutorial misconduct? Instead of a pretty face, can't Court TV find someone who knows something about the Duke case to discuss it?
Charles Montaldo, About.com:
Duke Rape Accuser Gives Birth (corrected Friday afternoon - baby due in Feb.) — The woman who accused members of the Duke University lacrosse team of raping her at a team party March 13, has given birth to a baby exactly nine months and one day after the off-campus party, according to her family members. The birth came one day after DNA test results revealed that none of the genetic material collected from the accuser belonged to any of the Duke team members nor the woman's boyfriend....
LieStoppers forum: A New Mother
LieStoppers forum: Confirmation of pregnancy/birth?
FreeRepublic: Accuser Gives Birth
TalkLeft: Duke Lacrosse Accuser Gives Birth
News & Observer:
Fewer apply early at Duke — Applications for early admission to Duke University dropped by nearly 20 percent this year in the aftermath of the lacrosse scandal.

News & Oberserver, Bull's Eye blog:
See You in Court — Nifong has not publicly responded to the motions, but might have something to say about them in Friday’s hearing. For updates throughout the day on Friday, check www.newsobserver.com.

Eventful Week — An eventful week in the Hoax blogosphere concludes today with Hoax hearing number seven. The week began under a dark cloud of rumors initiated by local activist, and media personality, Cash Michael’s ominous, “The Earth Will Shake” taunt. The unfounded rumors were quickly put to rest as the week offered hit after hit to the Hoax.

The Johnsville News:
Statement Analysis 3 - latest information — The new defense motion highlighted additional problems with the accuser's written statement...

Michael Gaynor:
Time for judicial initiative: dismissal, not just suppression — The Duke case is a contest between those who would frame and conceal (false accuser Crystal Gail Mangum, the ex-convict stripper opportunist, and Mr. Nifong, petty tyrant/political opportunist) and those who want people to distinguish what is false or imaginary from what is true and real...

KC Johnson:
What To Watch For — Given the bombshell motions of the past two days, I suppose anything is possible in today's hearing, although the ostensible subject matter is actually quite limited... I'll be posting on any significant new motions, or other hearing-related material, throughout the day.

Yesteday (12/14):

Moez ElmostafaKC Johnson:
Coincidences — This evening, I was running late, and had to take a cab from Durham to Chapel Hill. By chance, the cab driver who picked me up? Moez Elmostafa. We chatted for the ride: he's an incredibly nice man. I asked him if he had things to do over again, whether he would come forward: he said yes. He was pleased to hear about the possibility of a federal investigation of Mike Nifong. He reminded me--which I had forgotten--that after his arrest, he wasn't released on his own recognizance (he was charged, again, with a 2.5-year-old misdemeanor warrant), but instead was made to post bond of $700. No doubt Nifong's office hoped he wouldn't have the money...

Mike McCusker, Crystal Mess:
Dear Crystal, — Go to jail...

News & Observer:
Duke lacrosse lineup video — IMAGE 5 (David Evans)...IMAGE 7 (Reade Seligmann)...IMAGE 40 (Collin Finnerty)...IMAGE 4 (Matthew Wilson)

Kathleen Eckelt RN, FNE; Forensics Talk:
DNA, Semen Analysis, and Y-Chromosome Testing
— I'd like to explain a bit about DNA, semen analysis and Y-Chromosome testing...

Forum topics of note:
Liestoppers: Greta live from Durham tonight 12/14 - Disappointed Greta is allowing Jakki to tell such lies...