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Saturday, August 25, 2007

Duke Lacrosse Case Update — Durham in Legal Crosshairs

Barry Scheck was an O.J. Simpson lawyer, so you can say: "If the rape charges are not true, the city you must sue."

Barry Scheck (l), Brendan Sullivan (r)Ray Gronberg, Herald-Sun [registration required]:
Lacrosse Players Tap Legal Team -- Two of the country's best-known lawyers are representing three former Duke University lacrosse players falsely accused of rape and may file a federal civil-rights lawsuit against the city next month, multiple sources say.

The players have hired Washington, D.C., lawyer Brendan Sullivan and New York City litigator Barry Scheck to represent them in the pending civil case.

Sullivan -- who gained fame in the 1980s while representing former Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North -- is working for lacrosse players David Evans and Collin Finnerty.

Confirmation of that came Friday from Chris Manning, a law partner of Sullivan's in the Washington firm Williams & Connolly.

Manning said that Scheck -- a member of O.J. Simpson's legal "dream team" in the 1990s -- is representing the third falsely accused player, Reade Seligmann.

Sources say Sullivan and Scheck contacted the city's lawyers recently and told them Durham faces litigation over how police handled the Duke lacrosse case.

Their move prompted City Council members, senior administrators, City Attorney Henry Blinder and a private-practice attorney retained by the city, Joel Craig, to huddle behind closed doors twice this week for consultations.

Blinder and Craig are supposed to attend a face-to-face meeting with the players' attorneys sometime in the next few days to hear them describe the basis for a lawsuit and perhaps terms for an out-of-court settlement.

The council has scheduled a closed-door meeting on Sept. 6 to hear a report from Blinder and Craig on the results of that meeting.

Supporters of the three players have anticipated the filing of a lawsuit for months, even before state Attorney General Roy Cooper pronounced bogus the rape, kidnapping and sexual assault charges police and former District Attorney Mike Nifong tried to pin on the students last year.

The news that players had retained Sullivan and Scheck was not a surprise in those quarters.

"That was the whole point of why this case was so extraordinary," Duke Law School professor James Coleman said Friday. "These were not run-of-the-mill, poor, unconnected people. These are students who could command the very best lawyers in the country."

LieStoppers Forum: Lacrosse players tap legal team
LieStppers blog: Is the Day of Reckoning approaching for Durham? -- News of this development should be the final five-alarm fire bell warning to Durham’s City Leaders. Despite the many warnings that disgraced, disbarred, and former DA Nifong along with the Durham PD were attempting to imprison three innocent players for a crime which never happened, the Durham Leaders did little to stop the impending train wreck. Those heady days of indignation, protests, and false statements of March-April 2006 are coming home to roust.
Other items:

Nifong's Bar Tab: $8,897.71Anne Blythe, News & Observer:
Nifong must pay some costs of hearings -- Mike Nifong had to pay dearly for his misdeeds in the Duke University lacrosse case this month when he surrendered his law license.

Now the ousted former district attorney is going to have to pay more.

The State Bar sent Nifong an invoice Friday for $8,897.71.

The bill covers the the cost of having a court reporter at hearings Jan. 24, April 13 and June 12-16. It also covers costs for depositions of Linwood Wilson ($865.60), the former investigator for the Durham District Attorney's Office, police Sgt. Mark Gottlieb ($1105.05), Investigator Benjamin Himan ($1295.00) and Nifong himself ($2523.05)...

The ex-prosecutor, stripped of his law license, is to face Judge W. Osmond Smith III next week on a criminal contempt charge...

LieStoppers blog:
How's that Hoax working out for you Nifong?
KC Johnson:
Nifong's Bill from the Bar
The Smoking Gun:
Paying For Your Own Funeral
Anne Blythe, News & Observer:
Next Durham DA still up in air -- When Jim Hardin stepped in to run the District Attorney's Office after Mike Nifong's fall from power, he expected to fill in for a couple of months and go back to being a judge.

But Wednesday was the end of Hardin's second month as interim district attorney, and the governor's office has been mum about how much longer he might be there.

Gov. Mike Easley did not respond to requests for an interview. His staff said he would not comment on his search for a district attorney or say whether Hardin might stay in the job for a year, as some lawyers speculate.

Instead, Renee Hoffman of the governor's press office recycled responses that Easley gave a reporter Aug. 9...
John in Carolina:
Former DPD Sgt Says Top Cops Involved --
The Whichard committee is currently investigating the Police Department. Some leaders of the department may be held accountable. The trail leading to ineptness will most certainly reach the highest levels of the department. (emphasis added)

When the end of the trail is reached, it will be interesting to see if the new chief and the City Council really believe change is needed.

Jerry Grugin

The writer is a former Durham Police Department sergeant.
William L. Anderson, LewRockwell.com:
Narratives and Nonsense -- Duke's Bourbon Intellectuals - They learn nothing, and they forget nothing -- in statements made by many Duke faculty members and others following the very public exoneration, the True Believers have made it quite clear that Cooper’s words mean nothing. By emphasizing that since one cannot "prove" a negative, the three young men are guilty until proven guilty. Literally, with much of the Duke faculty, absolutely nothing has changed; in fact, the very dropping of the charges, should one follow the thinking of Dean Deutsch, is in itself a travesty of justice.

One asks how we ever got to this point where facts don’t matter and, to further the point, the insistence upon emphasizing the facts of the case is in itself "proof" of guilt. The answer lies in the modern application of academic Marxism, for while Marx and his Labor Theory of Value have long been discredited among economists, the Marxian "narrative" and the "polylogism" of which Ludwig von Mises writes in Human Action have become the polestar of higher education. One cannot understand what is happening in disciplines such as literature, English, history, sociology, and the gaggle of "identity studies" (such as African American Studies, Womens’ Studies, Queer Studies, and the like) that are dominating much of the academic curriculum, unless one understands the Marxist mindset, with its emphasis upon "narratives" and power...
John in Carolina:
Democracy & Journalists --
News & Observer reporter, Joe Neff: we did not use a single anonymous source or unnamed source in our – uh – I think as of now we’ve written 541 articles by – with at least 19 different bylines on it...
The N&O’s Duke lacrosse reporting relied on so many anonymous and/or unnamed sources ( Is there a difference?) that three weeks after the “Dancer … ordeal” story appeared, the N&O published a story, Mother, dancer, accuser , identifying its sources as “former classmates and neighbors, friends and family members.”

The N&O even published on April 2, 2006 a photo of a “Vigilante” poster which it obtained from an anonymous source...
Michael Gaynor:
Duke case: THE book is coming -- Read the book. Carefully. And try to read between the lines too. -- Until Proven Innocent is the only book that covers all five aspects of the case (personal, legal, academic, political, and media) in a comprehensive fashion. Based on interviews with key members of the defense team, many of the unindicted lacrosse players, and Duke officials, it is also the only book to include interviews with all three of the defendants, their families, and their legal teams...