Monday, 17 April 2006

D-Day Morning

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.