Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Follow the Money

For a case that revolves around Mike Nifong’s desperate attempt to retain his position as elected district attorney, how Nifong funded his primary campaign has received surprisingly little attention.

The recently filed campaign finance report for the period ending June 30 provides some tantalizing clues about the relationship between the district attorney’s political needs and how he handled the lacrosse case. The most important finding: as of late February, donations to the Nifong campaign had all but dried up. His donors, it seemed, had concluded he couldn’t win. Nifong’s bid for a full term was kept alive only by nearly $30,000 in loans from the candidate himself.

It is hardly unusual in politics, of course, for candidates to loan personal funds to their campaigns—often (as in races for the U.S. Senate) in sums far greater than occurred in Durham last spring. But Nifong’s behavior departed from the political norm in three critical respects:

  • First, the personal loans coincided with his hitting a brick wall in fundraising. The loans thus identified a point when Nifong’s campaign, apparently having been written off by the city’s legal elite, hit the panic button.
  • Second, Nifong had no chance of recouping his money if he lost the primary. In sharp contrast to the fundraising tactics of most of his fellow district attorneys, Nifong’s donors were almost exclusively local lawyers, whose professional responsibilities required maintaining good relations with the D.A.’s office. These figures could hardly give money to a vanquished Nifong knowing that Freda Black was awaiting installation as Durham County’s next district attorney.
  • Third, from all accounts, Nifong is not peronally wealthy. He therefore could ill afford to lose the nearly $30,000 he loaned his campaign.

Among the few case-related items no one disputes: Mike Nifong harbored an intense personal and professional dislike for Freda Black. Between 2000 and 2005, he was showing signs of emotional instability as he spent his days negotiating traffic tickets: one traffic court attorney recalled, “Working with Mike, you never knew from one day or the other who you’d be dealing with. He would curse you, scream at you, call you names over nothing.” Black, though hardly a paragon of ethics herself, received national attention in the successful murder prosecution of novelist and former mayoral candidate Michael Peterson.

Governor Mike Easley rescued Nifong’s career by appointing him interim district attorney in 2005; within a week, the new D.A. demanded Black’s resignation. But Black was poised to overturn Easley’s action in the May 2006 primary, where she outdistanced Nifong in both name recognition and cash-on-hand. She also would be the sole woman running against two males in an electorate that’s 57% female.

At the turn of the year, Nifong launched a major fundraising drive. Between January 1 and February 19, he took in just over $20,000— $14,950 in itemized contributions (those over $100), and around $5,850 in donations of less than $100.* During the same time period, Black raised $14,748. Nifong had made himself competitive in the money race.

The source of Nifong’s donations, however, deviated from the norm for North Carolina district attorneys. Lacking significant financial support from the business or educational communities, or from grassroots organizations, his funds came almost exclusively from local lawyers who would interact with him in future cases.

Between January 1 and February 19, 83.6 percent of Nifong’s itemized contributions, or $12,500, came from local attorneys. This pattern differed markedly from that of D.A.’s in other contested races. In the first quarter of 2006, 19 incumbent North Carolina district attorneys raised more than $1,000. Of those 19, only 4 raised more than 36 percent of their funds from lawyers. Only two (Joel Brewer and Doug Henderson) of those four raised anything like Nifong’s percentage.

Such a fundraising strategy is risky: no private-practice lawyer wants to be remembered as a major donor to the candidate the current D.A. defeated to win her office. To continue to attract contributions, then, Nifong had to be perceived as having a chance to win.

But the campaign finance reports suggest that sometime in mid-February, Durham’s legal elite concluded that Nifong’s election bid was doomed. In March, with the primary between five and nine weeks away, the district attorney received only three donations of more than $100, for a paltry total of $1,150 raised for the month. Even more alarming for his cause, lawyers stopped giving to him: the March donations came from a bail bondsman, a jury consultant, and a self-employed Chapel Hill resident.

Between February 20 and April 1, Black outraised Nifong by a margin of greater than 4-to-1. As his fellow lawyers abandoned him, Nifong could have thrown in the towel. Instead, needing to keep pace, he loaned his campaign $6,601.

It was in this atmosphere—a campaign whose fundraising sources had evaporated, kept afloat by the candidate's limited personal wealth—that Nifong made three fateful decisions regarding the lacrosse case:

  • On March 24, when the court granted his DNA motion, he effectively made himself lead investigator on the case.
  • On March 27, when he started his barrage of interviews, he effectively made himself the Police Department’s press secretary in violation of state bar ethics guidelines.
  • On March 31, when he ordered the police to violate their own procedures for the photo lineup, he effectively made himself a legal pariah.

Nifong’s publicity barrage, accompanied by his decision to deliberately inflame racial tensions (as when, on March 29, he speciously denied knowing that the second dancer had made the 911 call), brought new life to his campaign. He especially increased his popular support in the African-American community, which was his only chance of defeating Black.

Demagogues rarely attract financial support from the elites, however, and Nifong was no exception. Furthermore, his mockery of North Carolina’s standard procedures did little to restore his fundraising appeal among lawyers. In April, he reversed the precipitous decline in his fundraising, and managed to garner contributions from 16 people outside his family. But he couldn't match Black’s collecting more than $16,000, much less make up for his late February and March shortcomings.

So, once again, Nifong went to his bank account. This time, he authorized a massive loan: $22,388, which would keep the campaign solvent until the primary.

All told, 79.5 percent of the campaign’s fundraising in the final 10 weeks before the May 2 primary came out of Nifong’s pocket. By contrast, campaign finance reports show that only two other North Carolina D.A.’s loaned their campaigns any amount during this time period; both loaned $3,000 or less.

Personal loans to a candidate’s campaign can be repaid at a later stage, provided the candidate can raise the funds from others. But, of course, in a race for D.A. where the candidate’s fundraising base is local lawyers, the loser has no chance of recouping loan moneys. And in this particular race, especially after the tumultuous April 11 forum at NCCU made clear that Nifong would receive the lion’s share of the black vote only if he sought indictments before the primary, the district attorney’s political, financial, and personal interests appeared to clash with his duty to serve as Durham County’s minister of justice.

We all know how the story ended: Nifong obtained indictments, including one against Reade Seligmann. Days later, Seligmann produced evidence, which the district attorney had violated state ethics guidelines by refusing even to consider, showing he was demonstrably innocent. Regardless, Nifong edged Black in the primary by just under 900 votes, scoring well among African-American voters. In the following weeks, he secured around $3,000 to begin repaying the $28,989 in campaign loans to himself. His campaign finance report for July through September has been filed but hasn't yet been posted by the Board of Elections.

A cynic could argue that, in mid-April, Mike Nifong had 28,989 reasons to seek indictments against Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty before the primary. The full story, of course, isn’t that simple. But the campaign finance report illuminates the severe financial and political pressures bearing down upon the district attorney at the very time he made a series of ethically and procedurally dubious decisions in the lacrosse investigation. Only the most na├»ve observer would fail to see some connection between these pressures and the choices that Nifong made.

*--Unlike Black’s campaign, Nifong’s did not record the date of incoming unitemized donations. The figure used in the post, therefore, is an estimate. The campaign finance report shows that between 1-1 and 3-31, Nifong raised 88.9% of his itemized contributions between 1-1 and 2-19. I reached the figure of $5850 by calculating 88.9% of Nifong’s total for unitemized donations for the three-month period. Again, I recognize this is an estimate.

50 comments:

Anonymous said...

This might be your best yet, KC on the explanation as to why Mr. Nifong did what he did. It's called DESPERATE!!!

Anonymous said...

"Look where a man puts his treasure and there you will find his heart."

Almost $30K from the Fong himself. I glanced through the contributors and didn't recognize any of the defense attorneys.

It would be interesting to see how much, if any, the attorneys who contriuted to Nifong contributed in the previous DA race.

KC Johnson said...

According to his 2002 reports, Jim Hardin, Nifong's predecessor, was also lawyer-"friendly": $9515 of $14,815 raised from lawyers in private practice. But his percentage was still around 20% lower than Nifong's, who basically had no fundraising base outside the lawyers who did business before his office.

Anonymous said...

Great job KC!

You're doing a superb job uncovering a trail left by one that's obviously trying to keep it concealed.

The way things are going, I him getting a big donation from his local pharmacy. They have to keep the regular customers happy.

Anonymous said...

Nice job KC. I wish this information would circulate far and wide because, essentially, what the campaign reports tell us is that a donation to the Nifong Campaign these days does little more than bring the Committee back to even. Goes right into Mike Nifong's pocket to repay his personal loans.

Newport said...

KC, this is one of your best posts. You almost wrote it like a news story, very impressive. Nifong's personal monetary stake in his campaign is very telling. You don't have to be a cynic to see what compelled him to seek indictments prematurely. He had a heavy personal monitary investment
in winning that campaign. This certainly adds to the understanding of Nifongs' actions.


Nifong started stating on March 27 that he was convinced a rape occurred. He was apparently convinced by the hearsay word of an accuser he hadn't even met according to recently published reports, and a police sergeant's second hand recounting of a conversation with the SANE nurse.

When he made up his mind, he had not yet obtained the medical report to review, a possible explanation for his public statements mischaracterizing the findings of the medical report and claiming condoms could have been used among other fallacies. He didn't have the statement of the accuser until April 6, well after he had made up his mind that a rape occurred.

As of March 27, Nifong had no identification, to the contrary he had an accuser who had been unable to identify her alleged attackers in two photo lineup sessions on March 16 and March 21. He had essentially no physical evidence of a crime.

He then went on to indict two players, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann, before second round DNA results were returned, and without conducting any semblance of a proper police investigation. The DPD and Nifong made no effort to interview the players, instead he claimed a wall of silence, as though it was up to lacrosse players under suspicion to show up at his door for interviews, preferably without lawyers. And when Reade Seligman's lawywer did show up, just prior to indictment, Nifong turned him away. Nifong had no interest in receiving exculpatory information despite his ethical obligations to the contrary.

Why did he do all these things? KC, you explain it so well, one does not need to be a cynic to understand Nifongs actions. He needed indictments before that primary to obtain much needed African American votes. He was in personal debt to his campaign and he needed these votes to defeat his bitter rival Ms. Black, whose first act as the new DA would surely have been to return the favor of a firing that Nifong had earlier bestowed upon her.

Anonymous said...

too bad you did not review freda black's campaign finances with the same fine tooth comb that you did to nifong's. if you did, you would see that most of her fundraising occured after the rape and came from local and non local duke alumni (who wanted to depose nifong and get the case dropped at all costs)and she raised the bulk of her money from them and she outspent nifong and still lost. You should also post about the na ano story yesterday about how the bulk of the vote cheeek campaign money is from nonlocal sources unlike nifong's.

Anonymous said...

What makes me mad is that the local papers could have done something like this. Instead, we got sloppy Nifong-as-the-voice-of-the-gods interviews with Liefong as a "source" of news.

I have written much about the press and its relationship to government officials, and this episode does not change my observations an iota. What you did was good, old-fashioned research, which I guess is not in style anymore.

It would be a wonderful irony if Nifong found himself financially ruined after having pursued a bogus case that surely will financially ruin the families of the defendants. Keep up the good work.

William L. Anderson

Anonymous said...

He was desperate! That's plain for all to see, and he acted it too.

The actions of a desperate man. The same reason why Nifong didn't refute the claims that the Black Panthers - a listed Hate group - had met with him and he had showed them evidence that wasn't revealed yet.

Nifong remained silent and never refuted these claims of a Hate Group getting displays of secret evidence, because he wanted to fan the racial flames and increase the black turnout. Nifong won every district with where Black registered voters outnumbered white registered voters.

He sold his soul - and was willing to throw some young mens lives away to satisfy his personal quest for power.

Keep it K.C. - you are Brilliant!

Anonymous said...

Once this case comes to its inevitable conclusion (dismissal of the charges, or acquittal) and the Section 1983 civil lawsuits are filed, Nifong is going to have much bigger financial problems to worry about than just recouping the $30k he loaned his campaign.

Anonymous said...

I just hope that '60 Minutes' is aware of all this new information regarding...the non-interview of the 'accuser' and loans Nifong gave to himself. Certainly brings a new light to his desperation for those bogus indictments. KC, did the CBS staff ever interview you for the upcoming show? You surely are one of the most informed about this HOAX.
Is the show definately on for this Sunday?
Everyday a new revelation is exposed. Those of us very close to the case love it. Keep up the good work KC. You have kept our hopes alive. Pray for Reade, Collin and Dave!! DAILY!

Anonymous said...

KC:

Do you send articles such as this one, and your other pieces of work, to MSM outlets? specifically, to a Sean McManus at CBS News, Mr. Neff at the Raleigh N&O.

While I learn a great deal from your research and writings, the "tipping point" in broad swing in public opinion will not occur, unfortunately, until MSM runs with the story.

Thanks for all you do.

Todd Glosson
Duke - Class of 1984

Dan Irving said...

"too bad you did not review freda black's campaign finances with the same fine tooth comb that you did to nifong's. if you did, you would see that most of her fundraising occured after the rape and came from local and non local duke alumni (who wanted to depose nifong and get the case dropped at all costs)and she raised the bulk of her money from them and she outspent nifong and still lost. You should also post about the na ano story yesterday about how the bulk of the vote cheeek campaign money is from nonlocal sources unlike nifong's."

What's your point anon? The it's only the nonlocals that see the real Nifong? Good thing you posted Anon with these insipid arguments.

KC Johnson said...

To the 6.55:

"too bad you did not review freda black's campaign finances with the same fine tooth comb that you did to nifong's. if you did, you would see that most of her fundraising occured after the rape and came from local and non local duke alumni (who wanted to depose nifong and get the case dropped at all costs)and she raised the bulk of her money from them and she outspent nifong and still lost."

Virtually every item in this statement is untrue, except for the fact that Black outspent Nifong, and that Black lost.

1.) If you read the post, you'll notice that I did trace the Black $$.

2.) Your statement that "most of her fundraising occured after the [alleged] rape" is untrue. Her fundraising was consistent throughout the campaign--she experienced no spike after March 13.

3.) You also state, re Black's fundraising: "came from local and non local duke alumni (who wanted to depose nifong and get the case dropped at all costs)."

That statement also appears to be untrue. Almost all of Black's contributions were local. The campaign contribution forms don't require donors to list their alma mater, but there's no indication that Black attracted new Duke donors after March 13.

Finally, as to why I didn't apply the same "fine toothed comb" to Black: Black wasn't the DA. She had no power in March and April.

Anonymous said...

Two observations about the previous comments in this thread --

First, the excellent investigative reporting done by KC here underscores the lie in Nifong's representations to the media about how he had never wanted to be DA and was not a professional politician. If that were the case, he would have accepted the writing on the wall in Feb/Mar that his campaign was all but kaput and gotten on with his life. I submit that his personal ambition, as well as his personal animus toward Freda Black, made him decide to go forward with the campaign by bankrolling it himself when he clearly couldn't have had that much disposable income to throw in this direction. Having made this commitment, he had to pursue this fiasco to the bitter end to recoup his otherwise certain financial losses.

Second, w/re the alleged meeting with the NBPP to discuss the case, I find it very interesting that he has never confirmed or denied that such a meeting took place. If it did, it would constitute an outrageous case of official misconduct. If it didn't, it would undermine the credibility of this hate group and perhaps throw some cold water on that group's attempts to fan the flames of racist hatred in the community.

The fact that he has allowed the stench of this rumor to linger in the air speaks volumes about how Nifong is perfectly willing to manipulate the story for his own advantage. By leaving it unclear whether such a meeting took place, he doesn't have to disappoint the radical fringe who want to see these three guys destroyed, and yet he doesn't have to be accountable to anyone later on if it turns out that such a meeting never took place. Nifong continues to try to have it both ways and play fast and loose with something he evidently knows nothing about -- the truth.

Anonymous said...

Do you personally know any of the Families of the Duke Lacrosse Players(whole team) or any of the Lawyers for the Duke Lacrosse Players?

joan foster. said...

Anon poster: post your name and tell us if you personally know or work for Mr. Nifong and/or his campaign.

Then, after showing some integrity..the Achilles heel of the Nifong crowd...you may ask your questions here without looking like a toady.

Otherwise, your cowardice only reflects further on the appalling character of the man you dishonestly and inaccurately attempt to defend.

Anonymous said...

It feels slightly churlish to mention this, but Nifong has another, quite serious, sort of financial issue: Health insurance. He has had treatment for cancer. If he continues his employment with the city that is no problem. However, if he had lost to Ms. Black and she returned the favor of firing him, he would be limited to looking for a job with a large type law firm with a good health insurance plan that could afford to cover him. Such would be very difficult or impossible to arrange as a solo-practitioner.
I have no idea about his employment prospects locally but this issue seems likely to have been a factor in his obvious desperation.

Anonymous said...

Best yet, keep swinging!! 60 Minutes might like to see this too.

Anonymous said...

1.how can KC be the most informed on the case when he does not know anyone in north carolina? he is wrong about duke alumni not supporting freda black's campaign. he just does not know the names of the members of the iron duke club so he cannot recognize that many of the names that freda were indeed from that group because he really does not know anything about durham. he thinks he knows things but reading blogs and online papers is not the same as having actual knowledge of a place and the people in a place. the majority of you posters on here are not local either so you also do not really know a lot of the history of what has happened before or what is currently happening. you just know what people are posting on blogs. if you really were down here, you would know that nifong has more community support than you think and it goes back years. people down here do not base their decisions only on recent events. if you go to the neighborhoods near east campus, you will see the signs for nifong right there in the very face of duke. this is the local people showing their defiance to duke and the duke supporters who are basically apologists for bad behavior or like KC, yankees who should mind their own damn business. there is plenty of crime in ny so KC needs to tend to his own backyard. the majority of people down here are not paying him or new york magazine any attention. the 60 minute story may convince people but you guys need to ask yourselves, if it was totally about nifong's so called misdeeds, why did it not air as planned in sept? what has changed since then? the story of how this case should be dropped, etc was well documented at that time so there was really no new info to air except an article by a a small unknown news paper called the New York Times(sarcasm intended). if it is only a pro duke piece, ask yourself why the hell they are interviewing kim? this piece may destroy nifong as you all hope but it may be a little different than you expect.

Anonymous said...

I did not say the most informed...but ONE of the well informed. He has taken the time to investigate the inconsistencies of this 'HOAX'. It would seem to me that anyone with any intelligence what so ever can see that.
Ask Nifong who has been instructed to remove the Recall Nifong-Vote Cheek signs.
What track record...how long has he even been a DA that he has this 'great' record. Read you local papers to see the behavior of the real Nifong.
What has changed for '60 Minutes'? The judge lifted the bogus "gag" order so that more people can now be interviewed.
Believe me, us Yankees, would love to leave this entire thing alone but we cannot continue to see such an ABUSE of power toward the students of Duke.It is called fairness.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Trolls Abound today!
Texas Mom
(who's voting for Kinky)

NDLax84 said...

Ah, I see the Hoax equivalent of message board stock bashers are pulling overtime and hazardous duty pay this week. This is a sure sign Nifong is done.

"History of what has happened before" [sic] is irrelevant to geographically unattached citizens' admirable quest for justice in the instant matter.

"local people showing their defiance to duke and the duke supporters who are basically apologists for bad behavior or like KC, yankees who should mind their own damn business."

LMMFAO! Yeeee Haaaaaw, Jethro. Any Nifong "supporter," in light of recent "history of what has happened before," is an apologist for bad behavior. Any supporter of the accuser's lies, borne of the self-preservation instinct, is also an apologist for bad behavior.

We realize that you'd prefer it if we meddlesome "Yankees" (too funny!) would entrust coverage of the "Duke Rape Case" to the stewardship of Bob Ashley, Melanie Sill, Linda Williams, Victoria Peterson, Kim Brummell, John Stevenson and Tom Eagen.

"Nuts."

60 didn't air in September because the lifting of butt-buddy Titus' gag order enabled interviews of, among others, the defendants and Kim Roberts. You don't seriously contend that Ed Bradley cross-examining the lovely Kimmie is a good thing for Nithug, now, do you?

The nuclear fallout from Sunday's coming piece is going to spread and hover like a bad fart over Durham County during the following three weeks.

It's over for your ilk.

In my humble opinion.

Anonymous said...

I wish people who support Nifong would start their own blogs and discussion boards. I am not aware of any. Their input if often off subject or criticizes the blogger or other commenters. They often say we don't know what we're talking about, we're not in Durham and should stay out of their business. It really doesn't help their case. I appreciate factual information and intelligent analysis. I would like to read a blog that supports Nifong and try to understand why his supporters support him.
KC - Excellent job presenting facts and providing the supporting material. No one can argue that Nifong had to loan his campaign almost $30,000.

Do you know of any blogs that support Nifong or present a different view of the Duke case?
Thanks!!!!!

Anonymous said...

To 11:17
All that Nifongs supporters have ever said, or been able to say, is "You do not know what he knows."
Are you un-aware of the Disclosure Law in NC? A DA must disclose the facts of a case before the trial.
Let us be specific here: Do you think any evidence has been submitted that seriously threatens the defense? If so, now is a good time and place to make your case. You may be sure that any response of yours would be answered in a respectful fashion.
If you think that Nifong has cards he is not showing, then please explain why your DA should be allowed to violate the laws he has sworn to uphold.

NDLax84 said...

The players' laptops will PROVE that, prior to 13 March, they've surfed...poooooooooorn!!!!

Coming this Sunday morning to a Bob Ashley publication near you.

Anonymous said...

As the DA told Newsweek, he reads the Blogs. Can you imagine the language that must be wafting through the 6th floor upon reading/hearing about Professor Johnson's latest research paper?

Todd Glosson
Duke - Class of 1984

Anonymous said...

Why do you want the Yankees to mind their own business. I would think you would welcome anyone with open arms that would or could come and assist you with your corrupt police department and DA. Do you want to be remembered as the only community in America that doesn't understand that DNA is an exact science? Don't you know that people all over the country let convicted felons out of prison bc DNA exenorates them? If you are sooooo sure a rape took place I would suggest matching up with the DNA, that is how the rest of the country goes after a rape/ murder case. Wake up, buddy study the facts. You should be begging somebody anybody to come down to your community and clean house so you don't continue to be the laughing stock of the country!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Well done, sir. And on the heels of Niolet's article about campaign funding no less.

Anonymous said...

I take it from this report that the NBPP didn't cross Liefong's palm with any cash, in spite of his showing them restricted evidence and information. Odd how they basically bowed out of the scene shortly after that as well.

Loser.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Liefong thought blacks would contribute handsomely to his campaign after the indictments? LOL! Wrong!

Anonymous said...

Judging from the flak coming in today on this post, I suspect KC landed a haymaker bang on target...

Walter Abbott

LearnedHand said...

Anonymous said...
I just hope that '60 Minutes' is aware of all this new information regarding...the non-interview of the 'accuser' and loans Nifong gave to himself. Certainly brings a new light to his desperation for those bogus indictments. KC, did the CBS staff ever interview you for the upcoming show? You surely are one of the most informed about this HOAX.
Is the show definately on for this Sunday?


Oh IT IS COMING!! Check it out!

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/10/11/60minutes/main2082140.shtml

J said...

I wish people who support Nifong would start their own blogs and discussion boards. I am not aware of any.
_________________________________

They have one now. Go to Court TV and read the Duke Thread and watch out for "C"s

Anonymous said...

October 15 will be a day we will remember for a long time –all of us, KC, Nifong, Brodhead and America. It will be a day when truths will outshine the lies. The truths of Duke 3 will outshine the filthy Nifong lies! A cold shiver will run through the spines of all the cowards who made up these false accusations. It will be the day of reckoning. What a perfect day to look forward to.

Anonymous said...

http://www.newsobserver.com/1185/story/497356.html....KC new motion filed today. Appreciate your take.

Anonymous said...

11:17 is such an obvious shill, he must be Nifong kin or one of his assistant d.a's. Or maybe President Broadhead. Nevertheless, be it known that belief in certain inaleinable rights enshrined in the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights is a belief which transcends geographical boundaries. As in liberty and justice for all. Just thought anon 11:17 would want to know from this good old boy (former resident of Durham) living now in the southern Appalachians. Indict Nifong. Fire Broadhead. Free the Duke Three!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
TombZ said...

Last!

Oh, yeah, outstanding post in an outstanding series.

Means, opportunity & motive = Dufong is completely outed.

Anonymous said...

I find this site to be very interesting and a valuable source of information about the LAX case. While I do not agree with everything Professor Johnson has to say, I give him high marks for being courteous and professional both in his articles and in the comments he posts in response to questions from his audience. Just what you would expect from a professor. However, I have to say that I get turned off when someone with a different point of view posts a comment on this site and other members of the audience respond by calling that person names, or telling them to go start their own blog, or responding to them with comments which are excessively sarcastic and condescending, as if to suggest that if the person with the opposing viewpoint does not see things exactly the way they do, then they must be some kind of moron. Most of the people posting on this site do not do this, but there are some who do, and my comments are directed toward them. Maybe the other person has a different life experience which causes them to see the issues in a different light. Maybe the other person just has not studied the issues as carefully as other members of the audience have and so needs to be educated. To me, these sites have their greatest value when they serve as forums for the free exchange of ideas where everyone is allowed to say what they think and where there is a vigorous debate back and forth as a way of finding the truth. But you cannot have a vigorous debate unless you show a certain amount of tolerance toward those with opposing viewpoints. If you fail to show that tolerance, the site just degenerates into a bunch of like-minded people indulging themselves with a lot of overheated rhetoric and high-fiving each other every time they think they have scored a shot against whoever is the agreed upon target. I do not want to sound like I am preaching to everyone, but I do want to make a plug for greater tolerance of those with opposing viewpoints.

Anonymous said...

Marvelous work KC. As a Durham resident, I appreciate your work in keeping the spotlight on finding a plausible explanation for why Nifong is doing what he is doing. His war chest was/is a paltry one indeed.

And as far as the earlier poster who said that the neighborhood around East Campus abounds with Nifong signs is concerned, I would recommend they travel beyond the boudaries of the potbangers into other parts of Durham. (Not to besmirch all TP residents--friends in Trinity Park were not potbangers and are at a loss for how some of their neighbors could have forgotten the simple "innocent until proven guilty" basis of our CJ system.) Try Duke Forest, for example. Nary a Nifong sign and plenty of RNVC signs. And yes, many lawns in this neighborhood sported Freda Black signs pre-March 2006.

I want to say how impressed I am with Durham residents who are out there publically for Cheek (not Monks, who is Nadering away the Cheek votes.) I signed the Cheek petition and soldiered my petition to many others to sign. Once I found Mikey was so spiteful as to have reviewed the petition and then take it out on his fellow members of the Animal Control Board, I decided it was best for me and my family to work in the shadows against that megalomaniac lest we become targets of his insanity.

Keep up the good work. I am truly grateful.

Durham Mommy

Anonymous said...

Durham mommy,

at least you are a local person and can confrim for the rest of these people that there are indeed nifong signs up near east campus. you also are confirming what i said earlier in some other posts about monks hurting the vote cheek effort. monks unlike the liar cheek, at least has the honor of a true southern gentleman and is planning to serve if elected. cheek's actions were disgraceful especially when so many people were working on his behalf. similarly, the people in his campaign have been exposed as working behind the scenes to try to manipulate the race. they have contacted monks to try to get him to withdraw and they have contacted an assistant da and a retired judge to be the "names" they were trying to use to convince people to vote for cheek as was reported in the herald sun last week. I would be interested in your take on those actions of the vote cheek campaign. to me, they lack honor and integrity but that imo.

Anonymous said...

I was the Poster that Asked the question whether You personally know any of the Players or Lawyers or Families of The Duke Lacrosse Team. While the question was not meant to offend, I will say that , I am not associated with the DA in anyway nor Do I agree with this Case. The question was not suppose to take away from what was posted, I was new to this Blog and wanted understand who was KC.(more than profile)

KC Johnson said...

In response to the question above:

At the start of this case, I had no connection to Duke (I had been to campus, I believe, twice in my life), nor did I know any of the lacrosse players or their families.

I initially became involved not because of Nifong's conduct (about which I knew little, at the start) but because of my outrage, as a professor, at the actions of the Group of 88.

It's obvious from my posts that over the course of the last several months, I have been in touch with many of the lacrosse families (as well as many other people associated with Duke). But all of that contact post-dated my taking a position on the case.

Anonymous said...

KC of course you have only had knowledge of the situation after the fact and it shows because you have fallen for the duke party line hook line and sinker. a real local person can read your columns and tell you have zero knowledge of duke, durham or the legal situation down here. you need to read the herald sun letter column as a lot of local people are writing in in support of nifong. as a professor, you should know that a lot of the 88 had these players in their classes and knew about their arrogant behavior from first hand experience. a lot of these supporters on the blogs are like you in that they did not know these young men before the incident and have no idea what they are capable of. the whole party in which they drank 9 hours straight and then ordered up a live sex show speaks voulmes to me and to others here

Anonymous said...

Anon wrote:

"a lot of these supporters on the blogs are like you in that they did not know these young men before the incident and have no idea what they are capable of. the whole party in which they drank 9 hours straight and then ordered up a live sex show speaks voulmes to me and to others here"

Speaks 'voulmes' about what? That they're party animals? Fine. Or that they're guilty of rape? Well, there's that pesky thing about Due Process in the Constitution, so wait a bit w/ the public stoning...

Anonymous said...

Professor Johnson,

In your last post, you try to minimize the importance of your connections to the LAX families by saying that those connections arose only after you took a position on the case. However, it is obvious from the one-sided nature of your comments on this website that you have become a mouthpiece for the LAX team parents and that you have, among other things, decided to assist them in their efforts to get revenge on Brodhead for canceling the LAX season and for not functioning as a member of the legal defense team and leading the charge on behalf of their kids.

esme said...

The Sixty Minutes program on the lacrosse players accused of rape was beautifully staged. A camera zooming in on clear eyed handsome young men proclaiming their innocence and protesting the injustices they are now facing. It was great theatre and for millions of watchers it were very convincing.
There were were a few details about the case CBS failed to mention The star witness Kim Roberts is now on probation for embezzlement and has changed her account of that evenings events several times. It was very clear that that her latest story was designed to protect the players. She also needs money and was no doubt paid for her stellar appearance. Since CBS have done a through investigation into the case they should have been aware of the criminal assault in Washington committed by one of the lacrosse players interviewed and the alcohol and noise charges brought against another lacrosse player. They were also aware of the fact that in recent years at least fifteen members of this team have been cited for drunken behavior. These facts were overlooked Certainly Sixty Minutes interviewed neighbors of the lacrosse team in Trinity Park and learned that most of them were frequently drunk and rowdy not exactly ideal neighbors.

CBS has done television watchers a great disservice in not revealing the close ties CBS has to the lobbyist Rae Forker Evans, the former Director of Goverment Relations for CBS and her husband David Evans whose law firm has many links to CBS. Of course as parents of an accused player they want to see their son vindicated as any parent would and will use any means they can to do this. How fortunate they were to find a willing accomplice in Sixty Minutes. It was a superb stage performance even through the actors were all amateurs.

Anonymous said...

KC - why hasn't the judge in this case brought sanctions against Nifong for intentionally withholding exculpable DNA evidence, failing to interview the accuser, performing flawed 'lineups' and all the other violations of his oath of office?

Finance Report said...

Once this case comes to its inevitable conclusion (dismissal of the charges, or acquittal) and the Section 1983 civil lawsuits are filed, Nifong is going to have much bigger financial problems to worry about than just recouping the $30k he loaned his campaign.