As promised, the review is up at OTB. I wasn’t terribly impressed with the book, although I’d imagine that those less familiar with the case would think it was better.
As promised, the review is up at OTB. I wasn’t terribly impressed with the book, although I’d imagine that those less familiar with the case would think it was better.
Via The New York Times and QandO, I just learned that Mike Nifong has quit as Durham County’s DA, apparently in the hope that the state bar will be lenient with him at his ongoing ethics trial. Good riddance.
In quasi-related news, one of my projects for this weekend is to review the book about the case by Don Yaeger for Outside The Beltway.
Update: CNN and others report that Nifong's trial ended Saturday with him being disbarred.
That would be Ruth Sheehan, apologizing for her inflammatory columns at the beginning of the Duke lacrosse “fake but accurate” rape scandal in the Raleigh News & Observer, rather than anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan, who as of last report is still emulating a homeless woman in Crawford, Texas.
þ: Craig Newmark.
My former boss and NC gubernatorial candidate Mike Munger saves me the trouble of having to write a lengthy post summarizing my feelings about the Duke lacrosse debacle at this point.
To me, there are two different dimensions to the situation that Mike correctly points out. On the one hand, the known and proven conduct of the team at the party—putting aside the unproven allegations of sexual assault—represents a complete lapse in judgment by the players and their ostensible leaders (both among the students and the coaching staff). Those actions, along with the subsequent embarrassment of the university, could justifiably be punished by sanctions up to and including the disbanding of the Duke intercollegiate men’s lacrosse team.
On the other hand, the blatant race-baiting of district attorney Mike Nifong and his supporters, particularly in light of the absence of any credible evidence that a sexual assault took place (despite Nifong’s early assertions to the contrary), is also worthy of condemnation. His demonstrated, repeated inability to engage with the logical inconsistencies and facts surrounding the case make our current president look like a card-carrying member of the “reality-based community” by comparison. The man is a menace and a demagogue, not to mention an embarrassment to each and every citizen of Durham County, and my faith in democracy is shaken by the number of Durhamites of all races who keep voting for the idiot.
I’ve generally lost interest in the whole Duke lacrosse imbroglio, but KC Johnson notes some very interesting developments in the case that reinforce my prior belief that Durham DA Mike Nifong is, as the kids say, “completely full of shit.”
While I agree the institution didn’t take the easy way out—something of a surprise to me, especially given the charges given the various and sundry committees convened by President Brodhead—I am rather unconvinced of the central premise that Demon Rum (and its relatives) is the scourge at the root of the “campus culture” problems of the modern residential college or university, either at Duke or anywhere else.
I particularly wonder whether the university will detect the difference between promoting the responsible use of alcohol with the neoprohibitionist agenda. Given universities’ general willingness to be deputized by the MPAA and RIAA already, adding MADD (née the WCTU) to the alphabet soup would be another easy—but wrongheaded—step.
Mike Nifong dropped the Hammer of Righteous Townie Justice on former Duke lacrosse co-captain Dave Evans today, apparently based on finding Evans’ DNA in his own bathroom and an identification by the alleged victim that might have been a little bit more convincing to us non-DA types had Evans ever had a moustache in his life.
Meanwhile, if Nifong were a competitor in a poker tournament, people might be speculating about whether he was on tilt after his expletive-filled tirade against Evans’ attorney Joe Cheshire:
For more than six weeks, Cheshire and Nifong have criticized each other through newspapers and television cameras. They apparently have not spoken with each other about the case. On Monday, their acrimony seemed to have escalated into all-out war.
In a profanity-laced tirade Monday morning, Nifong told one of Evans’ attorneys that he was unhappy with the Friday news conference. In addition to discussing the test results, Cheshire accused someone in the District Attorney’s Office of leaking the test results to the media.
Nifong told lawyer Kerry Sutton that he would do no more favors for Cheshire. The comment and the swearing could be heard clearly across the sixth floor of the courthouse. A short time later, Cheshire tried to get a few minutes with Nifong but was told the prosecutor was not available.
Cheshire acknowledged the bitterness at the news conference.
“After Mr. Nifong made all his statements and we heard there were going to be indictments, we called over and tried to talk to him, and he refused to talk to us. He’s refused to look at the exculpatory evidence, and when there is someone who will simply not act professionally and discuss things with you in a professional way, how else do you do things?” Cheshire said.
“When you have someone’s life in your hands, anybody who would say it’s not war is not somebody I’d want representing me.”
I’ve been avoiding writing about the Duke lacrosse thing for a few days, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t link this post from KC Johnson commenting on Jason Whitlock’s latest Kansas City Star column on the situation.
Also, as the Bull City Booster pointed out in comments to an earlier post, today’s News & Observer Q section was all lacrosse, all the time—the section editor asked me to write something about the online coverage of the case for the section, but the deadline was right in the middle of finals week.
In a completely unrelated development, expect this blog to get a lot more hostile toward Townies in the near future.
I think I’ve spent more time discussing the Duke lacrosse scandal in St. Louis today than I had all of last week.
A couple of noteworthy links from the wrong time zone:
Here’s the statement of President Brodhead regarding the planned demonstration by the “New Black Panther Party” adjacent to the Duke campus on Monday—when I happily will be safely 800 miles away in Saint Louis.
Duke student Allison Clarke and I had some brief correspondence earlier this week (I think—time is starting to blur for me), an outgrowth of which is this post [link corrected -ed]. I don’t know that we disagree as much as she thinks we do—perhaps the reputation of my commenters is rubbing off on me—but either way it’s a thoughtful commentary that is worth your time.
Incidentally, congratulations to Allison and her fellow seniors on the happy event of their upcoming graduation; much to my disappointment (in part because I am missing out on my last chance to break out the regalia at Duke), I will be unable to attend the festivities for family reasons, so I suppose this is as close to a public demonstration of my felicitations as I will get.
Just when you thought things couldn’t get any weirder, it turns out that the alleged victim in the Duke lacrosse rape case previously reported a brutal gang-rape by three men in 1996:
The woman who says she was raped by three members of Duke’s lacrosse team also told police 10 years ago she was raped by three men, filing a 1996 complaint claiming she had been assaulted three years earlier when she was 14.
Authorities in nearby Creedmoor said Thursday that none of the men named in the decade-old report was ever charged but they didn’t have details why.
A phone number for the accuser has been disconnected and her family declined to comment to The Associated Press. But relatives told Essence magazine in an online story this week that the woman declined to pursue the case out of fear for her safety.
On the one hand, one has to believe that the odds of being the victim of two separate gang rapes, each involving three men, are pretty low. On the other hand, it is believable that a young woman who had been sexually assaulted as a teenager would be more likely to get involved in the adult entertainment industry as an adult, which would of course expose her to more opportunties to be gang-raped than a lot of other professions, so both charges could be credible. Like I said… weird.
After this bit of news, I think people will be wishing it was just the Al and Jesse Show headed to Durham:
An official with the New Black Panther Party for Self Defense said the black nationalist organization is providing security for the woman who has accused Duke lacrosse players of raping her.
And the organization is distributing recruitment brochures with information about a rally planned near the Duke campus for Monday. The brochures ask, “Had enough of disrespect and racism from Duke University?” The materials contain photographs of Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann, the two white lacrosse players indicted and charged with raping a black exotic dancer at 610 N. Buchanan Blvd. the night of March 13–14.
“We’ll do the escort and the security, going to court, whatever it takes” to protect the accuser from threats allegedly being made against her, said Minister Na’jee Shaka Muhammad, national field marshal with the New Black Panther Party who is based out of Atlanta but working in Durham with the dancer and her family. ...
Founded in 1989 in Dallas, the New Black Panther Party for Self Defense has chapters across the U.S. It preaches self-determination for a black nation through revolutionary changes. Among other tenets of the organization are calls to free all incarcerated black people, exempting blacks from military service, education that “exposes the true nature of this devilish and decadent American society,” and demands for trials by a jury of black peers.
The organization has been assailed by the Dr. Huey P. Newton Foundation in an open letter on the foundation’s Web site. Newton was the founder of the Black Panther Party that was active in the 1960s civil rights struggles. The organization Newton founded has no connection to the New Black Panther Party.
The Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Ala., which tracks hate groups across the country, lists the New Black Panther Party as a racist, black separatist organization.
Also, there may be some more problems with the identification of the (alleged) third attacker:
[A]ttorney sources said the accuser was only 90 percent sure about her identification of one of three men she said attacked her, and she tripped up over a mustache.
Looking at a photo lineup, the dancer told police the man in question “looks just like him without the mustache,” the lawyers said, citing a written investigative report.
But the alleged third rapist had no mustache on the relevant night, if he ever had one, according to attorneys. They said photographs and eyewitnesses would prove their point.
Elsewhere, ESPN’s George Smith has apparently gotten a few Duke lacrosse players to talk:
Several Duke lacrosse players who say they were at a team party the night of the alleged rape of a 27-year-old woman have told ESPN‘s George Smith that an argument over money and the amount of time two exotic dancers were expected to perform was at the center of a dispute that night.
The players, who agreed to speak with ESPN on the condition their names not be used, also admitted that slurs and bad language were used by some players and the dancers during the argument. ...
The players, who would not go on camera, also would not discuss many details about the case or answer more specific questions about exactly what happened.
But they told ESPN‘s Smith that not all 47 players were at the party at the time the woman said she was raped; some had already left. The players told Smith they admit it was foolish to have the party, but deny that any rape occurred. They also believe the two students charged so far will not be convicted.
One of two Duke University lacrosse players charged with raping a stripper faces new legal trouble in an unrelated assault case from November.
Collin Finnerty, 19, of Garden City, N.Y., appeared in D.C. Superior Court on Tuesday for a hearing in which a judge determined that he violated the conditions of a diversion program he entered after being charged in a Georgetown assault.
Finnerty and two other high school men are accused of punching Jeffrey O. Bloxgom in the face and body after he told them to “stop calling him gay and other derogatory names,” last November, according to court documents.
Under the terms of the diversion program, the charges would have been dismissed after Finnerty completed 25 hours of community service. But the agreement called for Finnerty to refrain from committing any criminal offense.
Finnerty remains free pending a July 10 trial date. He could face up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000 if convicted of simple assault.
“We look forward to presenting the facts,” attorney Steven J. McCool, who is representing Finnerty in the Georgetown case, said in a brief statement outside the courthouse. “This incident has been grossly mischaracterized.” ...
In addition to the new trial dates, the Washington D.C. judge also set new restrictions for Finnerty and the other suspects. Under some of those restrictions, they must follow a 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew, stay at least 50 feet from Bloxgom and refrain from going any place where alcohol is sold, served or consumed.
I guess this means Collin won’t be joining us for LDOC festivities tomorrow.
The number that cabbie Moez Mostafa received a call from at 12:29 a.m. is in the 856 area code (including the exchange, 856–296-xxxx), if you pause playback during Rita Crosby’s interview with him. What’s weird is that Tony McDevitt, a junior Duke lacrosse player who has a striking resemblance to the indicted Reade Seligmann, lives smack dab in that area code according to this site. McDevitt, along with four teammates, was on the season watchlist for the nation’s top collegiate player before the incident.
Also, the 12:14 a.m. call, attributed to Reade Seligmann by the defense, is from the 973 area code (973–953-xxxx). This would seem to correspond with the part of New Jersey he is from.
The big news today is that the attorney for accused player Reade Seligmann has filed a motion for discovery into the background of the alleged victim in the Duke lacrosse rape investigation.
That’s really it as far as the links go. I read on the CourtTV message board that Rita Cosby had another interview with Our Man Moez in which he cleared up the time of when he was called to the lacrosse house to pick the second group of players up—it sounds like he just got confused looking at the call log. Apparently more footage from the interview with Kim Roberts was released today as well, but I haven’t seen that either. What can I say?—I had lots of work to do today.
But, if you’re really bored, I’m sure you can find some amusement at the website of Moez Mostafa’s On Time Taxi, featuring all sorts of weird clipart of generic white people in a city that looks nothing like Durham (maybe Durham, Ontario instead) and flat rate service to 9th Street and Shooters, which I suppose is a way to build brand loyalty. Alas, no prominent endorsement from Reade Seligmann yet…
No, no Chronic-les of Narnia; just more lacrosse stuff…
Saturday’s News & Observer looks at the ethical questions surrounding the public comments of lawyers in the Duke lacrosse investigation:
Defense lawyers and legal experts say District Attorney Mike Nifong may have crossed ethical lines in public comments about rape allegations involving Duke University lacrosse players, potentially prejudicing jurors and setting off a media maelstrom.
For his part, Nifong says that he has done nothing wrong, though he has ceased talking with reporters about allegations made by an escort service dancer hired to perform at a March 13 team party. He would speak only about his handling of the case Friday.
“In terms of what I said, no, I wouldn’t say I regret anything I’ve said,” Nifong said. “I think what I have learned, basically, is that if you cooperate with the media out of a sense of duty to public truth, you make yourself a victim.”
Also, thanks to Sharon in the comments of a previous thread, NBC 17 reports a possible conflict between cab driver Moez Mostafa’s account of returning to the party and picking up four players and police accounts that show no people at the house around the same time; it’s possible that one or both accounts is off on the time in question, but it’s also possible that Mostafa is embellishing his story.
Defense attorneys are questioning the method used by Durham police to obtain a woman’s identification of two Duke University lacrosse players in an alleged rape last month….
A written report of the April 4 identification was turned over to defense attorneys Friday, and sources told NBC17 that the attorneys are considering asking a judge to suppress the evidence, claiming it was improperly conducted.
To obtain the identification, Durham police showed the woman a photo array that included only photos of the 46 [white] lacrosse team members, sources said. The woman said she was 100 percent certain that Finnerty and Seligmann were involved and 90 percent certain that a third player was involved.
Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong said Tuesday that he is still collecting evidence in the case and hopes to indict a third player soon.
No other photos were shown to the woman, sources said, and the defense attorneys maintain that police should have included photos of other young, white men in the photo array to make the identifications legitimate.
The bad news for me is that it shoots my theory of why Seligmann got ID’d to hell. Oh well.
The identification was on April 4. Let’s review what had already happened by April 4:
This news puts some real meat on the bones of the theory that Finnerty was set up because of his previous arrest, particularly if the defense can produce credible witnesses who have him at Cosmic Cantina when the rape allegedly occurred.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that this ID is not good news for Mike Nifong’s case—not just against Seligmann or Finnerty, but against anyone else she subsequently IDs. He’d better start hoping that second round of DNA comes back with a match real soon…
The press has exposed more warrant follies from the Durham Police Department, this time from the list of items taken from Reade Seligmann’s dorm room. They took among other items his iPod and, presumably, a Beck EP—are they planning to sic the RIAA on him or something?
Here’s the full list of items taken; apparently they weren’t content just to take his iPod… they also made off with his iTrip FM adaptor, which I’m absolutely certain is just going to bust this thing wide open.
I am slightly curious what a “scouting report” relating to 1105 Urban Street on December 3, 2005 would be; you’ll note that this is the adjacent address to 1103 (a duplex?), where certain members of the lacrosse team were living at the time of the party. 1103/1105 is another of the properties acquired by Duke University in February. Perhaps this is an indication that the authorities did have some interest in the 1103 house too. No warrants have been served for a search of that address; at least, none that are known to the public—some enterprising reporter might want to see if this is another “double-secret” warrant that never got turned in to the clerk’s office by the presiding judge.
I have a busy day today, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t link this AP report on the second dancer in the case, now known to the public as Kim Roberts, 31, of Durham. Roberts was arrested on March 22nd on a parole violation, one week after the alleged rape at the Duke lacrosse party, although it’s unclear at this point what provision of her parole she violated.
At the very least, this part looks bad:
On Monday, the same day a grand jury indicted lacrosse players Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty, a judge agreed to a change so that Roberts would no longer have to pay a 15 percent fee to a bonding agent. District Attorney Mike Nifong signed a document saying he would not oppose the change.
What an amazing coincidence…
Our cabbie’s 15 minutes of fame continue in this WRAL report, which adds even more detail on the second taxi pickup as the Duke lacrosse party was breaking up:
After dropping off Seligmann, [Moez] Mostafa said, he returned to the house to pick up four more passengers. When he arrived, it looked like a party was breaking up, with people crowded on both sides of the street.
While waiting for the men whom he would later drive to a nearby gas station, the Sudan-born driver saw a woman walking through a crowd of men toward a car, and heard someone say, “She just a stripper. She’s going to call the police.”
Mostafa said the woman, wearing jeans and a sweater, appeared to exchange words with some people in the crowd before getting into the driver’s side of a car.
“She looked, like, mad,” he said. “In her face, the way she walked, the way she talked, she looked like mad.”
When asked by a reporter with CBS News if he had a feeling that something had gone wrong or someone had been hurt at the party that night, Mostafa said, “Yeah, I got the feeling something had gone wrong.”
ABC 11 explains what they think the envelope seizure was all about:
The envelope likely was taken to prove that Finnerty lived at the dorm.
Never mind that the envelope would have been addressed to Finnerty’s P.O. box in the Bryan Center, not his dorm room, but whatever…
Tom Maguire finds something in the storyline that doesn’t quite fit:
Weren’t both women missing for the 20–30 minutes? Per the prosecution version, where was the second dancer while the first was being assaulted?
And if she was performing, why no photos?
I think I have an answer to that, and it came to me when I realized this morning how close the second lacrosse house is to the first (less than a two minute walk). Since this is at best speculation I am putting it below the fold.
First a little bit of setup: the second dancer (who has been referred to in various accounts as “Kim,” so we’ll use that as her name) strikes me as a “pro” in the escort business, while the accuser, if we buy her account that she just recently returned to the exotic entertainment industry, isn’t.
The lacrosse team orders up two separate entertainers from two different services for 11:30. Kim shows up 15 minutes early and is ready to start at 11:30; the accuser is 15 minutes late, so nothing happens until midnight. The accuser’s inexperience makes for an appointment that turns real lame, real fast—my guess is she refuses to do a lesbian sex show with Kim. Words are exchanged. She goes into the bathroom around 12:05.
Now, here’s where I think both sides are lying. Kim doesn’t go in the bathroom too (as the lacrosse team claims). Nor does she search the tiny house for the alleged victim for half an hour like it has been claimed that she did. Instead, Kim—being a pro—takes one or two of the guys up on a request for “services,” and goes with them over to 1103 Urban, leaving before Seligmann and his buddy do (this part is important). She services the guy or guys, and comes back half-an-hour later to find the alleged victim passed out either from drugs or alcohol on the back porch, berates one of the guys into dragging the AV into her car, makes like she’s gonna call 911, and high-tails it out of there. Other guys at the party call the cabbie, he comes and picks them up.
Now, here’s the wacky part. I think Kim, not the alleged victim, identfied (or at least narrowed down the suspects to include) Seligmann, since he was still at the party when she went to 1103 Urban—maybe he saw him head to the bathroom or something on her way out the door with Mystery Player(s). Unbeknownst to her, Seligmann and his buddy also headed over to 1103 Urban a few minutes afterwards, but Seligmann doesn’t go inside, instead waiting outside for the cab.
What this doesn’t tell us is what happened to the alleged victim. If we assume that no sex took place, as asserted by the defense, it is still possible there was an altercation over the $400, one that a couple of lacrosse guys easily win over Drunk Girl, who is too out of it to identify any attackers as anything other than J. Random White Guy. If we don’t buy “no sex took place,” maybe she was up for one-on-one action with a guy, but that isn’t worth (to him, at least) $400. Perhaps the alleged victim is raped. No matter what happens, Kim isn’t there to support the alleged victim’s account; she’s elsewhere.
This does, however, explain a lot: it explains why nobody asked for their money back from Kim (someone got their money’s worth), it explains Kim’s changing story about what happened at the party, it explains why Seligmann was picked out, and it explains the comment by the as-yet unnamed player in the cab: they were expecting a sex show, but “she’s just a stripper.”
Again, this is only speculation. But I think it’s a plausible theory… so, have at it.
WRAL has the search warrant for the room Collin Finnerty shared with a fellow Duke lacrosse player in Edens 2C up in all its glory. Police, who were still on their quixotic quest to find the missing white shoe lost by the alleged victim, came away with a New York Times article by Janet Macur from April 4th (presumably this one) and a letter (or at least the envelope the letter came in) from a female student at Boston College dated from last September. Nothing in the search warrant’s description of the events as alleged by the attacker actually connects Finnerty to the rape, leaving one to suspect that the only reason the police were able to secure the warrant was Finnerty’s indictment by the grand jury.
No word yet on the warrant for Seligmann’s room.
Update: NBC 17 reports police took “an iPod and a photo of friends from Seligmann's room.”
The AP reports (thanks to Sharon in the comments on the post below) that our cabbie also picked up another fare from the Duke lacrosse party later on:
A cab driver called to take a Duke University lacrosse player home from a team party says his passenger [Reade Seligmann], now charged with raping an exotic dancer, seemed calm and even jovial that night. But a second passenger he picked up later was talking about a stripper, he said.
Moez Mostafa said the second passenger spoke about a stripper in a tone that made it “look to me like somebody get hurt.” ...
In an interview on MSNBC, Mostafa said he returned to the house later to pick up another customer. He said he remembered that person “said in a loud voice, ‘She just a stripper.’”
Asked whether the second fare was complaining about the stripper or whether it appeared something bad had happened to her, Mostafa initially said he didn’t “have any information about what was going on in the house.”
“When I look back, he look like he mad at the stripper. Or the stripper, she going to call the police and she just a stripper. ... It look to me like somebody get hurt. But what kind of harm, ... I have no idea.”
This actually sort-of fits in with a theory of events that suddenly hit me after putting together the post on Finnerty and Seligmann’s alibis… which I’ll leave you hanging on until later this afternoon.
Buried in a boring story about how Duke can learn a lesson from Wake Forest (presumably not “move away from the craphole town your university is currently located in to find greener pastures elsewhere”) are some details of the alibis that Duke lacrosse players Collin Finnery and Reade Seligmann say place them elsewhere at the time the alleged victim may be saying she was raped:
Attorney sources said that Finnerty contends he has an alibi—that he was at a Mexican restaurant-bar near Ninth Street when the alleged rape occurred. On Tuesday, defense lawyers said Seligmann also has an alibi—that he and a friend left 610 N. Buchanan Blvd., walked to the nearby intersection of Urban Avenue and Watts Street and called a cab.
In an interview Wednesday afternoon, taxi driver Moez Mostafar said his phone records show he got a call from Seligmann’s cell phone at 12:14 a.m. March 14 and picked him and his friend up about five minutes later.
Mostafar said he didn’t know his customers had anything to do with the alleged rape until an attorney called him about it a week or so ago.
“I was surprised,” he said. “I’m involved now in something big.”
Mostafar, 37, said he was reluctant to talk at first, but that a visit from Seligmann’s father changed his mind.
“I didn’t want to get involved, but when his father came and said it was a really serious situation, I talked to them,” he said.
Defense attorneys have said the period between 12:10 and 12:30 a.m. was the only plausible time for a rape to have occurred. But authorities have never publicly pinpointed an exact time.
Mostafar, who works with On-Time Taxi and Shuttle Service, remembered ferrying his passengers back to Edens dormitory—via a bank and a fast-food restaurant. He said he doesn’t recall anything suspicious about his passengers or the circumstances of the fare.
“They are normal, I didn’t see anything wrong with them,” Mostafar said. “I didn’t pay attention because nothing looked suspicious at all. They just wanted to get some food and take a ride home.”
He said he dropped them off at the dorm between 12:40 and 1 a.m.
Mostafar said the main thing he remembered was his passengers’ generosity. He got $25 for an $18 fare.
Let’s deal with Finnerty first; he’s easier. He probably was at Cosmic Cantina on Perry Street, a popular late-night hangout for Duke students modulo the occasional mugging of students going to or from East a block to the, um, east. Cosmic doesn’t take meal plan points except on delivery, so Finnerty won’t have a DukeCard swipe proving he was there, but he probably paid with debit or credit like all the kids do these days. It’s plausible that he’d be there around midnight, perhaps getting some Mexican to counteract the effects of spending a bit of time at Charlie’s a couple of blocks away—then he could hail a cab home or mosey over to the East Campus bus stop and ride home to Edens. Since it was Spring Break and business was probably light, perhaps even the counter staff will remember him being there, although I doubt they can nail down times.
Seligmann’s wild ride, on the other hand, is a bit more complex. We are told Seligmann and a fellow player walked about a block and a half to hail a cab—specifically, to the intersection of Watts and Urban streets, one block east of Buchanan and one house to the north of 610. Why would you walk to a residential intersection (Watts and Urban) to hail a cab, when 610 is on a relative main drag (Buchanan) and you’re a block south of a real intersection with traffic lights and everything at Buchanan and Markham?
Here’s a possibility: remember our good neighborly pals who got out their pots and pans last month? They started out, as you remember, at 610 North Buchanan. Then, before deciding to go harass Peter Lange, they made another stop, at “a second house rented by members of the lacrosse team”—1103 Urban Street—at the intersection of (you guessed it) Watts and Urban. So logically, Seligmann’s buddy (we’ll call him Player Two) either (a) wasn’t at the party and joined him from 1103 Urban or (b) decided to drop some stuff off/pick some stuff up at the second house before the taxi arrived. (There are other theories to explain this too, such as the residents of 1103 leaving 610 to go home around the same time and Seligmann and Player Two walking back with them before hailing a cab.)
Where do they go next? Wachovia Bank, at the intersection of 9th Street and Main. Then it’s off further to the west, according to Rita Crosby’s MSNBC interview with the taxi driver, to The Cook-Out on Hillsborough Road—where in more recent times, two Duke students were allegedly assaulted by some NCCU students at the drive-thru. Good luck getting an eyewitness account from those folks, Reede.
Finally, they trek back over to Edens 2C, where Seligmann opens the door with his DukeCard and he and Player Two go inside after giving the driver a $7 tip on an $18 fare (generous lads).
Seligmann’s alibi seems pretty airtight—if the rape definitely happened around 12:15. They have a cab driver, they have phone records, and they probably have camera footage from the ATM (assuming it wasn’t busted). Finnerty seems to be on shakier ground, but it seems logical that a guy on virtual probation for the November 2005 incident would avoid the Spring Break party and a non-negligible chance of being arrested for underage drinking and screwing up his diversionary sentencing program.
A reader draws my attention back to the April 2 public editor column in the News & Observer, in which Ted Vaden wrote in regards to the rape allegations against (then unnamed) members of the Duke lacrosse team:
[N&O deputy managing editor Linda] Williams said editors and the reporter discussed the fairness issue at length before interviewing the woman and publishing the story. The governing decision, she said, was to print only information from the interview that conformed with the police reports. “We limited for publication the statements from the woman that were in line with what she said in the police report,” Williams said. Other information from the interview has not been published.
I noted before managing editor Melanie Sill’s rebuttal, which also alluded to the fact that the paper chose not to print additional statements made by the accuser.
One would hope that the N&O will soon make public any parts of the original interview they previously redacted that are consistent or inconsistent with the defense’s statements about the events of the evening of March 13–14.
Some bullet points around the web on the whole Duke lacrosse thing:
WRAL reports (apply your standard “potential defense attorney spin” detector accordingly) that the identifications made by the accuser
were not may not have been of the players’ faces:
An exotic dancer who says three Duke lacrosse players raped her may have identified two of them based on photographs that show scratches on their bodies, a defense attorney for one of the men said Wednesday.
Attorney Bill Cotter said that when 46 members of the lacrosse team submitted court-ordered DNA samples last month, they were also photographed without their shirts. ...
A search of Finnerty’s dorm room Tuesday, however, was a clear sign that the investigation is rapidly continuing. A resident assistant told WRAL that Durham police investigators searched Seligmann’s and Finnerty’s rooms at Edens 2C Residence Hall for two hours Tuesday night.
Sources tell WRAL that the officers were looking for Finnerty’s computer and that they seized several undisclosed items.
The News & Observer adds that “Cotter said Tuesday that police searched Finnerty’s dorm room Tuesday night and said he believed they also served a search warrant in Seligmann’s room in the Edens dormitory. Cotter said it is unusual for authorities to serve a search warrant on someone who has already been indicted.” They also have a handy graphic of the timelines produced by the prosecution and defense attorneys, although it does not include Seligmann’s ATM and munchies trek that is believed to start around 12:15 a.m.
ABC 11 has exclusive results from an opinion poll of Durham County voters, although the most important question—who respondents planned to vote for—seems to have been omitted from the poll. Nifong received a 35% favorable and 30% unfavorable rating from respondents; as this is within the margin of error of the poll, we can’t conclude that Nifong’s favorables outweigh his unfavorables in the underlying population. One of Nifong’s challengers, former assistant DA Freda Black, started taking shots at Nifong Tuesday in a recorded phone message for Durham voters.
Also of interest: photos from Don Ingle, one of WRAL’s news photographers, of the circus around the Durham County Courthouse, and ponderances on the media coverage by WRAL anchor/reporter David Crabtree.
The papers are having trouble verifying part of lacrosse player Reade Seligmann’s alibi for the time of the alleged rape:
Defense lawyers for the players told The Durham Herald-Sun that Seligmann called a cab at 12:14 a.m. and was driven away from N. Buchanan Boulevard five minutes later. In addition, they claimed that an ATM security camera filmed Seligmann while making a withdrawal at 12:24 a.m.
The Herald-Sun called 12 Durham-based taxi companies, all of which denied dispatching a cab to the house where the party occurred the night of the alleged incident.
A cousin of the accuser who has been acting as a spokeswoman for her family disputed that allegations in an interview on ABC‘s “Good Morning America” Wednesday. She identified herself only by her first name, Jackie, to protect the woman’s identity.
“Before she went to the party she was not intoxicated, she was not drinking,” Jackie said. “There’s a great possibility that when she went to the party, she was given a drink and it was drugged.”
Update: More on Seligmann’s cab ride:
Around midnight the night of March 13, Seligmann was already at the party when two women hired from a local escort agency arrived to dance for the boys — $400 each for a two-hour performance. A series of time-stamped photographs viewed by ABC News show the girls dancing at midnight and at 12:02 a.m.
By 12:24 a.m., a receipt reviewed by ABC indicates that Seligmann's ATM card was used at a nearby Wachovia bank. In a written statement to the defense also reviewed by ABC, a cabdriver confirms picking up Seligmann and a friend a block and a half from the party, and driving them to the bank. By 12:25 a.m., he was making a phone call to a girlfriend out of state.
What did Seligmann do after leaving the bank? The taxi driver remembers taking him to a drive-thru fast-food restaurant and then dropping him off at his dorm. Duke University records show that Seligmann's card was used to gain entry at 12:46 a.m.
In addition to bolstering Seligmann's alibi, the taxi driver's written testimony provided a rare glimpse of color in an otherwise darkened night.
"I remember those two guys starting enjoying their food inside my car, but I'm glad I end up with a nice tip and fare $25," the taxi driver said in his testimony.
I’m still not sure why the team captains told police that Seligmann wasn’t at the party, but maybe they can’t tell their fellow players apart either…
The latest from The New York Times adds to the confusion as to why Seligmann was one of the two players indicted:
At least one of the two players charged will be able to show an A.T.M. receipt and a record that he called a restaurant to order food and picked it up before the alleged assault, according to a defense lawyer involved in the case who spoke on condition of anonymity because the charged players were not clients.
Julian Mack, a lawyer for Mr. Seligmann until Monday, said in a telephone interview that Mr. Seligmann had an excellent alibi, which the district attorney had never asked about.
“The evidence will clearly show that there is no way he could have been at that place at that time,” Mr. Mack said. He declined to be more specific.
A court filing by the district attorney’s office on March 23 indicated that Mr. Seligmann was one of five players who investigators had been told were not at the party.
Has anyone seen this March 23 filing, presumably the one that Nifong used to get his order for the players to produce DNA?
VELSHI: Now campus reaction to the Duke University rape investigation has been mixed. Students, faculty, surrounding community, all of them divided over who is at fault and what should be done. Our Internet reporter Abbi Tatton has been digging into this topic online, and she says it’s been a busy one.
Abbi, what is it looking like?
ABBI TATTON, CNN INTERNET REPORTER: Ali, absolutely. It’s staggering how much discussion, commentary this story is producing on local blogs, on national sports blogs, on message boards all over the place.
One local blogger is actually a Duke professor who has been blogging about this, usually blogs about political science. But his blog has all but turned over to the Duke investigation. He’s been following it. His name is Chris Lawrence. He is joining us from his home in Durham, North Carolina, via Webcam.
Chris, thanks for joining us.
CHRIS LAWRENCE, BLOG.LORDSUTCH.COM: You’re welcome.
TATTON: You’ve been calling this “Duke under siege” when you’ve been blogging about it. And just turn to the campus reaction first of all. You’ve been talking about rows of satellite trucks. How are the students dealing with all of this media attention?
LAWRENCE: I think for the first week it was kind of like [a novelty and people would] stand by and look at it. You know, it’s unusual, it’s disruptive. And I think by now, though, I think the students have really sort of almost tuned it out. I think they’ve gotten used to it. And, you know, they walk past reporters like there’s nothing much going on. So it’s kind of unusual.
But, you know, this past weekend, of course, we have had prospective students here and stuff. And they’re reacting for the first time as though they’re seeing for the first. So it’s kind of a weird mix between the regulars and the prospective students, I guess.
TATTON: And I was interested in how you’ve been dealing with it on your blog. You’ve actually posted a warning to people about people posting comments in the comments section to keep it to some standards. How has that come about?
LAWRENCE: Well, there was one person who I—you know, I don’t know who it was exactly, who posted the name of the accuser that he had found out from a news search based on the account of her 2002 arrest. And so I had to remove that comment and—or, remove the name from the comment, and post the notice that that was something I wasn’t willing to put up with [exposing the] accusers or the alleged attackers at this point to any sort of public ridicule.
TATTON: Ali, I know you have a lot of questions from the audience over there.
VELSHI: This is incredibly energetic, this conversation. The response is now part of that is because so many of our students are—so many of our audience members are students. Can I ask—you said you had a question. Stand up and tell us what is, where you are from and what your question is.
QUESTION: Hi, I’m Megan (ph) from Colorado. I was wondering if the case has hurt the amount of incoming freshmen to the school.
LAWRENCE: I know that [the university has sent out letters,] you know, letters of acceptance to people. I don’t know what the specific rate is of acceptance or anything like that. I mean, you know, the scuttlebutt is that it hasn’t had that much effect except perhaps on the lacrosse program.
I know that there has been some students who had promised to come to the lacrosse team that have since had been released from that obligation. But I don’t know how it’s been running as far as the general student body.
VELSHI: Chris, you know, we were just talking to Jason Carroll about how he covers this knowing all the passions that surround this case. You’re not a journalist. Do you come into it with some knowledge of all those passions around the case? And are you careful about how you represent it? Or do you have a position on this?
LAWRENCE: Well, you know, I guess, you know, yes, I guess I’m not formally a journalist or anything like that, you know, worked for my college paper. But that was a long time ago. But, I mean, I think that, you know, both the professional journalists and the bloggers that are interested in this case on both sides really want to find out the truth here and realize that—you know, I mean, as bloggers we’re probably a little bit less objective as perhaps journalists are trained to be or, you know, as…
VELSHI: Well, let’s bring Jason in. Let’s bring Jason in. Jason, talk to Chris about that. You know, one of the things about this case is you do a lot of complicated cases, but this one is really tricky because you’ve got to get your information from right there and the sources all have different things to say.
CARROLL: True. And basically, what you have to do with regards to that is just follow the facts and stick to the facts and just do the best you can to keep your personal opinions and thoughts out of the process.
I do want to bring up one point that Professor Lawrence made about some of the students and the students taking it in stride. And I wanted to ask him about this because I think some of the students at Duke have been very gracious, as well as at NCCU, North Carolina Central University, the university that the young woman attends.
But I’ve also run across a lot of anger, too, from both universities, especially at Duke, some riding by on their bikes saying, hey, go home, it’s time to go home now. It’s over. Get out of here. So I have run across some of that. And I’m just wondering what sort of frustration he’s experienced on the part of students there.
LAWRENCE: Well, I mean, certainly there’s that element. I think there’s a lot of students that at this time in the semester, they have final exams in a week-and-a-half or two weeks, and they’re senior, they’re trying to get their graduation arrangements in order, and all of these things that are really—and this is just one more thing that they don’t really need to worry about.
And so they kind of feel like it’s a distraction from what they’re trying to—what their [daily business] and so, you know, I think there’s kind of an undercurrent of that, particularly this week since the DNA evidence came out. There’s been a lot of [that like] you said.
As you were saying in the previous segment, you know, it’s like—you know, perhaps it should be over. And a lot of questions are, well, why isn’t it over…
VELSHI: Chris, we’ll leave it there. Abbi…
LAWRENCE: ... at least as far as the allegations?
VELSHI: Chris, thanks very much for that. Abbi, there’s just so much discussion about this. We didn’t get a chance to get to all of it, but I’m sure you’ll be covering a lot more of it in the days to come.
TATTON: Absolutely. And, Chris, thanks so much for joining us. Ali, back to you.
Apparently, Durham Police have a fetish for searching Edens Quad:
Hours after charging two Duke University lacrosse players with rape, Durham police searched a dormitory room on the Duke campus for more evidence in the case.
Investigators executed a search warrant and searched a room at the Edens 2C Residence Hall. There was no immediate word on what police hoped to recover in the search.
Since Finnerty and Seligmann both live(d) in Edens (although it’s not clear if they live in building 2C, which is where Ryan McFadyen lived), it is possible that one of their rooms was the one that was searched, and the search would require a separate warrant from their arrest. On the other hand, maybe the cops just can’t find any other dorms and keep going back to Edens…
Without federal regulations, what would we do? I hand over the mike to Duke’s own Larry Moneta:
Two Duke University students have been indicted by a grand jury investigating allegations of sexual assault against a Durham woman.
The university is prohibited under federal privacy regulations from releasing information regarding student disciplinary matters. (For more information about the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act—FERPA—see http://www.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/index.html.)
Historically, it has been the university’s practice to issue an interim suspension when a student is charged with a felony or when the student’s presence on the campus may create an unsafe situation.
Translation from Moneta-ese: Finnerty and Seligmann are suspended. But I didn’t tell you that, because if I had, I’d have violated FERPA, so I didn’t. Hopefully your head now hurts enough that you won’t sue me. Thank you; I now have to go back to my sole reason for living: honking off the residents of Trinity Park.
I didn’t read Jack Bauer’s Bidet yesterday, but it’s looking eerily prescient today:
Q: How do you tell the difference between one New England Establishment Pretty-Boy and another New England Establishment Pretty-Boy three weeks after you meet them?
A: You can’t.
JBB also takes a few other shots that are worth a laugh or two, although I doubt anyone over 30 or so will get the Oregon Trail references.
From the Duke Chronicle: the two players who were indicted are now identified:
Durham law enforcement officers arrested two lacrosse teammates early Tuesday morning in connection with allegations members of the team raped a woman at a March 13 party.
The two students, sophomores Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty, each are charged with first degree forcible rape, first degree sexual offense and kidnapping, said Colonel George Naylor, director of the sheriff department’s detention facility.
Finnerty and Seligmann each have a bond of $400,000. If they do not make bond, their first appearance in court could be Tuesday. “There is a process going on,” Naylor said. ...
Finnerty is currently facing charges in Washington D.C. of simple assault. According to court records, Finnerty allegedly assaulted a Georgetown player after he called Finnerty gay in the early morning of Nov. 5, 2005. [this account is inaccurate; see below - ed]
Sucks to be them, I suppose…
I have some work I need to be doing the next few hours before teaching at 1:15, so don’t expect a lot of updates until this afternoon.
Update: The New York Times gives a different account of Finnerty’s 2005 arrest; Seligmann has been released on $400,000 bond, while Finnerty’s release is pending.
Update 2: Another high-quality witness identification, if this is to be believed:
Sources close to the investigation told CNN Tuesday that the defense will present evidence—including ATM receipts and a cab driver—that neither Seligmann, 20, nor Finnerty, 19, were at the team party at the time the alleged rape took place.
In her defense, I’m told all white people look alike…
Update 3: Via email from a reader, the officer’s statement from Finnerty’s November 5 arrest; the Chronicle excerpt above managed to butcher the whole account.
Here’s my post from when the Finnerty arrest first surfaced in the papers; for those of you keeping track of the time the IDs were made, the story surfaced on the 4th or 5th, around the time the alleged victim is said to have identified her attackers.
Duke AD Joe Alleva and VP Tallman Trask already had the performance of ex-lacrosse coach Mike Pressler on their collective radar screens, according to Tuesday’s Herald-Sun:
A high-level review of the men’s lacrosse team’s disciplinary records last year prompted Duke’s athletics director to warn the coach his team was “under the microscope” and that players needed to improve their conduct, the director said Monday.
At the time, the team’s reputation nationally was for winning games. Today, the team stands disgraced, with two players indicted on still-undisclosed charges stemming from an alleged gang rape at a team party, the season terminated and the coach forced out of his job.
Although the team’s reputation for drinking and debauchery has drawn attention since the rape allegation last month, an explicit warning to Coach Mike Pressler about the team’s behavior has not been previously revealed.
Will Alleva be the next to go? Only the Magic 8 Ball (and Dick Brodhead) knows…
One of the Nifong quotes from this afternoon is so priceless it’s worth sharing:
“I no longer get to go anywhere in my community without people knowing who I am,” Nifong said. “I wish you could find me a way to give me my anonymity back.”
First, having blue and white campaign signs with your name on them all around town hardly qualifies as “anonymity.” Second, I’ll give you three guesses as to who is actually responsible for Nifong losing his “anonymity.”
Of course, what’s really going to up the Nifong annoyance quotient is his beaming face at tomorrow’s perp walk/Dillinger moment. Few people like a smartass, but nobody likes a smartass who might actually be right…
We can start whittling the list of potential indictees down: the New York Times reports that our two lucky winners of a free perp walk do not include the most infamous figure in the case thus far:
Glen Bachman, the lawyer for Ryan McFadyen, a lacrosse player who was suspended from the university after sending a vicious email related to the party, confirmed that two players had been indicted but said McFadyen was not one of them.
For the other 45 or 46 players (depending on whether or not the alleged victim is still sure her attackers were all white), here’s the list of countries the U.S. doesn’t have extradition treaties with. Of course, I suspect anyone who actually did commit a rape in this case already knew that and is probably on his way to Andorra as we speak, whether or not he has actually been indicted.
Update: Scratch another player from the list; down to 44/45:
Butch Williams, who represents team captain Dan Flannery [who ordered the strippers and was one of the three leaseholders on the party house], also said prosecutors told him that his client was not among those charged.
Nothing from Joe Cheshire regarding his client, Dave Evans (another of the co-captains), yet; the implication is that Robert Eckstrand, who represents most of the team members, is counsel for at least one, and probably both, of the indictees.
NBC 17 reported the following timeline beginning with the second 911 call on the 7 pm edition of its local news:
NBC 17 also reported that the sealed indictments were requested by both Nifong and defense attorneys, albeit for different reasons. It is implied that there will be a prosecution press conference sometime tomorrow.
The News & Observer has an AP report on the results of today’s grand jury:
No members of Duke University’s lacrosse team were among the defendants publicly indicted Monday by a grand jury, which defense attorneys had expected to consider allegations that a stripper was raped at a team party.
However, it was not immediately clear if the grand jury returned any indictments under seal, or if any of the players were among the 24 cases “carried forward” to be heard at a later date.
The version at ABC 11’s website doesn’t add much, although perhaps it gives a bit of insight into the size of Mike Nifong’s ego:
Nifong emerged from his office around 3:20 p.m., weaving through a large crowd of cameras and reporters to a water fountain. As he has for the past two weeks, he refused to answer any questions about the case.
“I’m just happy to see all of you here,” he said.
Update: CNN.com currently has a banner saying “Two sealed indictments are handed up in the Duke University lacrosse rape investigation, a source tells CNN.” I’m watching Abrams live on MSNBC, and he hasn’t confirmed this information (in fact, he’s been yakking about Natalee Holloway for the last 20 minutes).
Prosecutors have informed defense attorneys that the alleged victim has identified two players with 100 percent certainty and is 90 percent certain on a third player, ABC News reports.
Make of that what you will…
Monday’s Herald-Sun, which seems to have more of a pulse on the defense than its Raleigh-based competitor, gives us the players’ attorneys’ perspective heading into Grand Jury Monday:
In what the defense team believes was another effort to get ready for the grand jury, police detectives went to a Duke dorm Thursday night to question lacrosse players. According to the defense lawyers, the officers wanted to know who was and wasn’t at the North Buchanan Boulevard party the night of March 13–14.
The effort to question the players, the lawyers say, proved authorities lack confidence in the dancer’s visual identification of her alleged attackers, which reportedly was made from photographs.
One of the lawyers, Kerry Sutton of Durham, described the interrogation over the weekend as a “hail Mary pass at the last moment.” ...
Jason Alexander Bissey, a neighbor to the house where the woman allegedly was raped, provided a written statement to defense attorneys that they shared with The Herald-Sun over the weekend.
Bissey said he saw the “skimpily dressed” accuser leave the house between 12:20 and 12:30 a.m., but then heard her say she was going back inside to retrieve a missing shoe.
According to defense lawyers, Bissey’s observation had to be after the time the woman allegedly was raped in the house, since she never actually re-entered it.
But if she had been raped and sodomized for 30 minutes, as she claimed, would she really have been so worried about a lost shoe that she would dare to face her attackers again, attorneys Ekstrand, Thomas and others are asking.
Meanwhile, NBC17 has an exclusive interview with the second dancer, who it (unusally, as she is not believed to be a victim of a sex crime) declines to name, although it is believed her first name is “Kim” and she is either black or Hispanic:
[The second dancer] refuted claims made in recent days by defense attorneys that the accuser was intoxicated and injured when she arrived at the party.
“She looked absolutely fine,” the second dancer said, noting that the accuser’s demeanor changed dramatically after they left the party.
“She was definitely a totally different woman than when I first met her. She definitely was under some sort of substance,” the woman said.
A source close to the official investigation of the case has told NBC17 that the accuser might have been drugged at the party.
The second dancer declined to discuss specifics of what happened at the party.
“If I could see the future and would have known what that night would’ve brought, I would have paid more attention. I wish I had paid more attention to everything that happened around me,” she said.
The woman admitted calling 911 to report racial epithets yelled at her and the accuser as they left the party. But she said the details of the incident became jumbled in her call because she was trying to hide the fact that she had been performing at the party.
The woman said her parents don’t know she makes a living as an exotic dancer, and she was afraid the information would be made public if she had been upfront with the 911 dispatcher.
Nothing much (yet?) from the somewhat more accuser-friendly confines of the News & Observer, although there is a FAQ on how grand juries work and a report on how the controversy is affecting recruitment of prospective students.
On Grand Jury Eve, TalkLeft’s Jeralynn Merritt reports:
One of the defense attorneys was on the same tv segment I was on earlier today and said the defense team has been told by the prosecutor that two players’ names will be submitted to the grand jury. Despite offers of all team members to surrender if they are charged, the DA refuses to identify the two players. This sounds to me like the DA is anxious to do an on-camera perp walk.
WRAL says Mike Nifong doesn’t need any steenking excuplatory evidence:
Defense attorneys said they had offered to show the pictures to District Attorney Mike Nifong, but he declined to see them.
“As I understand the exchange, as it was reported to me, the DA is not interested in a discussion about our evidence,” said defense attorney Bob Ekstrand. ...
Just as defense attorneys have said Nifong has not seen their evidence, they don’t know what happened after police drove the accuser away.
“Something happened in the interim to cause her to be admitted into the hospital later that morning,” Ekstrand said. “And we should be very interested to know what it was.”
Finally, NYU education prof Jonathan Zimmerman writes a Newsday op-ed in which he opines that athletic scholarships are a form of affirmative action for whitey. He obviously hasn’t seen most college football and basketball teams…
This week’s Newsweek has an account of the defense version of the timeline with a few different details that what’s been previously discussed; clearing up one question, the alleged victim arrived around 11:45 and was dropped off by someone else. There is also some debate over the second dancer’s story and how helpful it will be to the defense:
The second woman supports the partygoers’ story, says Thomas, who says he has seen a summary of an interview with her conducted by a member of the defense team. “Their versions are basically identical,” he says. But Mark Simeon, an attorney for the second dancer, tells NEWSWEEK that Thomas’s claim is not accurate. “She rejects the notion that she agrees with their timeline. I’ve shown their story line to my client, and she says there’s a lot that’s wrong with it. From the beginning, she has been cooperating fully with [Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong] and the police, and she looks forward to testifying truthfully at the trial.” Thomas replies, “She has given us several statements, so I don’t see any room for her to change her story now simply because she has a lawyer speaking for her.” Nifong could not be reached for comment.
Two vaguely interesting pieces in Sunday’s News & Observer: a lengthy article on the background of the accuser that is perhaps more intriguing for what it doesn’t tell us than what it does, and the second is another public editor column. Like I said—vaguely interesting.
Monday may be a bit more exciting; the rumor mill over-under on the number of people Nifong can get the grand jury to indict is around 2. I already have Ryan McFadyen down for getting one—sending an obscene email has got to violate at least one law in North Carolina, and Nifong’s got to walk away with at least one conviction out of this whole thing just to keep some self-respect.
Who else does he go after? Maybe he goes for some penny-ante stuff to tide everyone over; he’s probably got photos that will let him go to bat on some underage alcohol consumption charges against the under-21s and illegal distribution of alcohol to minors for the rest. Maybe he figures he can use that stuff as leverage to find out more, since even though this stuff normally gets pled out to a fine, in this environment he can go to a Townie jury and get max sentencing on these charges. Maybe the pressure of potentially spending a year in the Durham County Jail gets someone to flip, although unless they have beer bottles (and not just Dixie cups) in their hands in the photos it’s going to be a tough conviction.
Beyond that, who knows? He probably can get a rape indictment if the grand jury doesn’t ask any tough questions. We have no clue what he’s got, and he doesn’t have to tell anyone what the grand jury sees—although out of 18 people on that grand jury, I think it’s a safe bet we will get a leak or six. So, we shall see. I expect a good preview leak out of the prosecution camp (or maybe some expectations management by defense attorneys) to surface in one of the papers for Monday’s editions, so clarity may be here sooner than you’d think.
From NBC 17:
An unnamed source close to the investigation of a reported rape near the Duke University campus has told NBC 17 News that someone might have drugged the accuser the night she claims three lacrosse members raped her.
“She may have been slipped a date-rape drug in a mixed drink she was given by one of the lacrosse players shortly after she arrived,” the source told NBC 17 late Friday.
“Her condition is said to have changed dramatically in a short period of time, from being completely sober on arrival to passing out on the floor in a short period of time.”
Elsewhere, the News & Observer looks at the backgrounds of the three co-captains who held the lease on the party house, who “are the only players known to have talked to police” in the case, while WRAL reports on Jesse Jackson’s attempt to inject himself into the case.
Saturday’s Herald-Sun has a detailed account of the party photos that players’ attorneys have asserted are exculpatory; their reporting also fits it into the timeline of the case. Perhaps the most interesting stuff is at the end of the article:
A police dispatch log then indicates that the dancer showed up at the Duke emergency room at 2:31 a.m. and entered Duke Hospital at 2:45 a.m.
[Defense attorney Bill] Thomas said the second dancer described her as being highly intoxicated. In addition, the woman never complained about being raped as the two dancers drove away from North Buchanan Boulevard, Thomas quoted the co-dancer as saying.
It remains unclear where the accuser was between being taken away by police to the “drunk tank” from Kroger at approximately 1:30 until her appearance at the Duke Hospital ER an hour later. However, with this new information it may be opportune to come up with a new integrated timeline.
The account also indicates that, in the first photo of the dancers at the party, taken at midnight, ”[b]ruises are clearly visible on the legs and thighs of the alleged victim.”
Also of interest is this snippet of a report at the NBC 17 website; the most interesting part is bolded:
Defense attorneys said two police investigators got into Edens Residence Hall at about 7 p.m. Thursday by grabbing a door as it closed behind a student that had just entered. The dormitory doors are usually secured and require a swipe card to open.
The attorneys said the investigators acted friendly toward the players and inquired who was at the party. The defense contends that police are trying to nail down a suspect after District Attorney Mike Nifong said this week that the woman positively identified one of her attackers from a photo lineup last week.
But attorneys also noted that three people at the party aren’t on the lacrosse team, and none of them have submitted DNA samples to authorities for testing.
Make of that what you will… but this is the first clear statement by anyone that non-players were at the party.