Thursday, January 11, 2007

Early Dates

Around 10 different commenters suggested that, as the case appears to be moving toward its conclusion, it would be useful for a refresher, with some of the most significant dates of the case. Today's post examines the key dates from March 14 through June 30.


March 14: After forcibly removing her from Kim Roberts’ car, police transported the accuser to a mental health facility—where, after prompting from an intake nurse, she claims to have been raped. Over the next several hours, to various police and medical personnel, she said she was raped by (depending on the version) 20, 5, 3, 2, and zero people, for a 30-minute period. The SANE exam, however, discovered only “diffuse edema of the vaginal walls”—a non-existent injury.

March 16: Operating under the assumption that, as the accuser had claimed, her attackers were named Matt, Adam, and Bret, the Durham police constructed a photo lineup array, improperly using “filler” photos of other lacrosse players, not people uninvolved with the case, as the guidelines suggest. She identified no one as her attacker, claimed to be 100% certain of seeing four players someplace at the party, and 70% certain she saw Reade Seligmann. At least two of the descriptions given by the accuser resembled no member of the Duke lacrosse team.

March 16: Captains Dave Evans, Dan Flannery, and Matt Zash voluntarily gave statements, DNA samples, and their e-mail and IM passwords; their offer to take lie-detector tests was spurned, for reasons unknown, by the Durham Police.

March 21: When the accuser returned to the police station to pick up some of her other items, she was shown two more six-player arrays. She recognized no one, despite being shown Dave Evans’ photo twice.

March 22: After describing the accuser’s allegations as a “crock” two days before, Kim Roberts gave her statement to police, in which she contradicts every important aspect of the accuser’s March 14 and March 16 stories.

March 23: Nifong’s office obtained a court order for all 46 white players on the team to submit DNA samples. The motion neglected to inform the court that the accuser had failed in photo lineups to identify as her attackers at least 36 players on the team, falsely cited evidence of the players using first-name aliases, and promised, “The DNA evidence requested will immediately rule out any innocent persons, and show conclusive evidence as to who the suspect(s) are in the alleged violent attack upon this victim.”

March 24: Nifong assumed personal command of the police investigation, a flagrant violation of normal procedure. The captains met with various Duke administrators affirming their innocence; the administrators expressed full belief in the captains.

March 25, morning and afternoon: The N&O ran an above-the-fold interview with the “victim” that uncritically accepted her story—hook, line, and sinker—of a racially horrific gang rape. The potbangers began to organize; with public pressure increasing, Duke cancelled the lacrosse game against Georgetown with the visiting players on the field.

March 25, evening: The accuser was captured on videotape pole-dancing in an extremely limber fashion.

March 26: The most infamous of the potbangers’ protests occurred.

March 27-28: In his first public comments on the matter, Nifong repeatedly expressed confidence that a rape occurred and that the DNA evidence produced by the court order would solve the case.

March 28: Brodhead suspended the season indefinitely.

March 28: Police learned that two non-lacrosse players attended the party.

March 28: Political science professor Kim Curtis penned an email suggesting that two of the students in her class, including Kyle Dowd, were covering up a rape.

March 29: Apparently having learned that DNA tests came back negative, Nifong mused, “How does DNA exonerate you? It's either a match or there's not a match. If the only thing that we ever have in this case is DNA, then we wouldn't have a case.”

March 29: African-American Studies professor Houston Baker issued a public letter denouncing the “abhorrent sexual assault, verbal racial violence, and drunken white male privilege loosed amongst us” and demanding the “immediate dismissals” of “the team itself and its players.”

March 29: Nifong reasoned, “One would wonder why one needs an attorney if one was not charged and had not done anything wrong.”

March 31, morning: In a Chronicle op-ed, History professor and former dean of the faculty William Chafe suggested that the actions of the whites who lynched Emmett Till formed the appropriate historical context through which to interpret the behavior of the lacrosse players.

March 31, 12.23pm: In a meeting with the two chief police investigators on the case, Nifong ordered a second photo lineup. Only this time, he told the officers, they were to ignore Durham’s procedures, confine the lineup to known suspects, and tell the accuser this fact.

April 4, 11.29 am: The accuser’s procedurally flawed photo ID session began. Eventually, she identified four players, of whom Nifong charged three. (He couldn’t charge all four, since none of the accuser’s myriad stories had cited an attack by four players, though she had claimed at one point that five had attacked her.) The accuser said she was 100% certain that Reade Seligmann looked like a person who attacked her, while she commented, after seeing a photo of Dave Evans, to be 90% certain that the photo resembled someone with a mustache who attacked her. Evans has no mustache.

April 4, 3.59pm: The Durham Police made their first, and ultimately fateful, contact with DNA Securities and Dr. Brian Meehan.

April 5: After the release of Ryan McFadyen’s American Psycho email, Brodhead demanded Pressler’s resignation, canceled the lacrosse season, and issued a statement opening with a lament on the evils of rape—at a time when the players were firmly denying any sexual contact, much less rape.

April 5: Brodhead announced creation of the Campus Culture Initiative, with three of the four subgroups chaired by three of the most extreme campus critics of the lacrosse team—Karla Holloway, Peter Wood, and Anne Allison.

April 6: Eighty-eight members of Duke’s arts and sciences faculty signed a public statement saying “thank you” to campus demonstrators who had distributed a “wanted” poster of the lacrosse players and publicly branded the players “rapists.”

April 6: The accuser gave a written statement contradicting both her earlier version of events and the second dancer’s statement. (Police never re-interviewed the second dancer to resolve the discrepancies.) That same day, the accuser’s “driver” told police that before the party, she was behaving erratically and had fulfilled a variety of one-on-one “appointments.”

April 10: Nifong traveled to Burlington for the first of at least three meetings with Dr. Meehan, who informed him that while no DNA matches to the lacrosse players exist, there are matches to an unidentified number of unidentified males. Nifong and Meehan entered into an agreement to intentionally withhold the evidence, in violation of North Carolina’s Open Discover Law.

April 10: Nifong supplied DNA test results from the State lab to defense attorneys, who publicly announced that all 46 were negative.

April 11: Nifong attended a forum at NCCU, where participants make clear t him that he would get the black vote he needed to win the primary only by securing indictments. In a chilling remark that captured sentiment in the auditorium, NCCU junior Chan Hall said that the Duke students should be prosecuted “whether it happened or not. It would be justice for things that happened in the past.”

April 11: Nifong met with the accuser for the only time before seeking indictments. They didn’t talk about the case; Nifong later describes her as sullen and withdrawn.

Mid-April: Nifong loaned his campaign more than $22,000.

April 14: Police, acting under Nifong’s orders, arrived at Duke dorms to question lacrosse players outside the presence of their counsel, a violation of the state bar’s ethics code. Brodhead never publicly protested the act.

April 17: The grand jury indicted Seligmann and Collin Finnerty; no notes remain of their session.

18 April: Nifong ordered the arrest of Seligmann and Finnerty.

April 18: Nifong refused to meet with Kirk Osborn, Seligmann’s attorney, to discuss evidence Osborn claimed would prove his client’s innocence.

April 20: Responding to the arrests, Brodhead told the Durham Chamber of Commerce, “If our students did what is alleged, it is appalling to the worst degree. If they didn’t do it, whatever they did is bad enough.”

April 22: In a article that essentially previewed the first round of state bar ethics filings against Nifong, the N&O explored the D.A.'s procedurally improper statements.

May 1: Osborn filed a motion detailing unimpeachable electronic evidence—culminating in an ATM video of him a mile away at the time of the alleged attack—proving his innocence.

May 2: Nifong captured the Democratic nomination for a full term as D.A. by 883 votes.

May 11: Acting upon a nearly three-year-old unserved warrant, the D.A.’s office ordered the arrest of the cab driver who picked up Seligmann on the night of the party, Moezeldin Elmostafa. At the trial, which resulted in a quick acquittal, Himan’s notes indicated that “Mr. Nifong wanted to know when we picked [Elmostafa] up.”

May 12: An article in the N&O featured an "I-am-not-a-crook" comment from Nifong, with the D.A. asserting that the arrest of Elmostafa was "no ploy."

May 15: Nifong brought an indictment against a third player, Dave Evans, refusing offers from Evans’ attorneys to show that he didn’t have a mustache the night of the party, as the accuser claimed.

May 15: Nifong engaged in a profanity-laced public tirade against one of the unidncited lacrosse players’ attorneys, Kerry Sutton.

June 13: Nifong e-mailed Newsweek’s Susannah Meadows that “None of the ‘facts’ that I know at this time, indeed none of the evidence that I have seen from any source, has changed the opinion that I expressed initially.”

June 13: Duke law professor James Coleman called for special prosecutor.

June 15: In perhaps the single most important article of the case, N&O investigative reporter Joseph Neff demonstrated how Nifong’s words were at odds with his files. The article's importance: it was the first of more than a dozen major pieces by Neff that gradually have exposed the full dimensions of Nifong’s procedural improprieties.

June 30: Lewis Cheek obtained nearly 10,000 signatures to run as an unaffiliated challenger to Nifong. After a few weeks of considering his options, Cheek decided not to make the race, though his name remains on the ballot.


Anonymous said...

To all,

It is late, Bar buddy is wearing me out.

Here is the bottom line, we need to contact all the NC Bar counselors

Friend said basically, the committee knows how bad this is and they will take action.

He made it VERY clear that the national pressure is making a big difference.

We need to blow these sucker out with calls, emails and letter.

The squeaky wheel gets oiled


I be up late, Duke lost .



OH, on a positive note he did say, he won't want to be Nifungu, he won't say that the dickhe*d would be disbarred, but, DA, HUH
good night

On lie stopper board they have listed all bar members to contact. I will try to re post the link
good night

Anonymous said...

Here is the link:

Anonymous said...

"March 31, 12.23pm: In a meeting with the two chief police investigators on the case, Nifong ordered a second photo lineup. "

Wasn't the 4/4 line up the 3rd lineup? 1st on 3/16, 2nd on 3/21?

GPrestonian said...

12:16: Good catch, I was just going to post that myself.

Anonymous said...

DPD refused the lie detector offer as it is inadmissible in court.

KC Johnson said...

quickie responses:

Technically, the 3-21 showings were a continuation of the first lineup--they operated under the same procedures, and she was shown two new prime suspects (Flannery and Evans) and 10 fillers (inappropriately, other lacrosse players).

Indeed, lie detector tests are inadmissable. If a suspect volunteers to take one, however, police almost never refuse, since the session can expose areas to question the suspect in court.

GPrestonian said...

May 1: Osborn filed a motion detailing unimpeachable electronic evidence—culminating in an ATM video of him a mile away at the time of the alleged attack—proving his innocence.

'Him' being Seligmann, of course...

Anonymous said...

Actually, iirc, DPD told the captains that a lie detector test wasn't necessary (i.e. they had enough info, didn't need a ld)... not that they wouldn't do one because it was inadmissable. PD frequently use lie detector tests to guage honesty even tho it cannot be used in court.

Anonymous said...

Nonsense. That has nothing to do with whether police administer lie detector tests. It is standard police practice throughout the United States, regardless of admissibility, it is an important metric the police use in assessing credibility during the investigative stage.

I'm sick and tired of seeing that tripe posted. Read some of the N&O stories on the Alan Gell investigation and you will see that the police are all to willing to use lie detector tests.


Anonymous said...

And still no one at the N & O apologizes for their horrid, inflammatory and completely false article that encouraged all of this.

Perhaps they think Joseph Neff makes up for it. As great as he has been they still owe all of those boys an apology. They owe the entire city of Durham as well as this nation an apology. I hope all of the lacrosse players sue them. We would not be doing any of this had they written an honest piece, where the words such as alleged victim or accuser were used instead of victim over and over again. All they needed was a bit of common sense and healthy journalistic skepticism. God, instead they created a disaster!
How can they sleep at night??

GPrestonian said...

12:34am Newport:

Hiya Newport! To whom are you responding so snarkily?

KC @ 12:30? Anon @ 12:32?

They both said the same thing you did.

Anonymous said...

we were all probably typing at the same time, Newport is just slower tonight.

I think we were all responding to 12:28

Anonymous said...

KC and his 2-finger typing is amazingly quick.

Anonymous said...

KC - I sure hope you are right about the case. Nifong is scary. He is double talking clown, but keeps bouncing back somehow. Will continue to pray for a successful conclusion for the guys.

Anonymous said...

March 28: At the press conference (no transcription that I know of)
Brodhead answered a question about the silence of the lacrosse team by saying the team members had retained lawyers who presumably advised them to remain silent, and that he strongly supported their right to do so, although he "questioned their judgement" in exercising that right. The next day, Nifong made his "One would wonder" statement.

May 15: should be "unindicted"

Anonymous said...

Please re-post my request for calls to the Bar counselor's. My friend made it very clear that national pressure is making a difference.

This is VERY serious. The meeting is next week. I posted earlier the link to all the counselors addresses and phone numbers.



Anonymous said...

12:13 AM,

Your link is to a good website, but the website has no e-mail addresses. A few people may call or write letters to these lawyers, but not many. If any one has e-mail addresses, I suspect those addresses would lead to many more contacts.

Anonymous said...

JLS says...

re April 11

Professor Johnson why should you or I believe Nifong when he says he did not discuss the case with Mangum on their 11 April meeting? Further why should we believe this was their only meeting based on what Nifong said?

I would at least change that date to Nifong claimed. He has lied to the press. He has lied in open court. Unless you have another source for what happened on that date other than what Nifong said, I think it needs a disclaimer.

That said, very nice work and I hope it will be included in a permanent link on the right of the front page.

Joe T. said...

Thank you for the re-summation of this case (the early part). Very important. Also for the re-reminder of those involved who (as far as I'm concerned) belong in the Wax Museum Chamber of Horrors.

AMac said...

KC Johnson --
This timeline is fantastic. It's simple, and underlines the seriousness of the improprieties documented in many other places by placing them in an overall context. It will garner many, many links... many thanks,

The Dude said...

Great round up KC.

I want to point out the previously discussed info. The phone call on DIQ was from Roberts. It was a call from the scene. No rape mentioned or alleged. I don't know if DPD ever ac5tually responded.

Second call was from Roberts at the shopping center. she claimed she didn't even know the other woman(AV) in her car. Still no sign or mention of rape.

Was Roberts ever asked any questions at all by DPD? Was she handed a paper and told to write down what happened? The keystone cops could have figured this out. Nifong and Co. made no effort whatsoever to have roberts confirm or dispute the allegations of the AV. WHY? This is standard police work. She was the only witness to everything that happened that night until the AV was in Police custody. What moron would neglect to talk to her? Is it the same one who claimed the Lax players refused to comment without lawyers?
Why would they comment at all. The AV, to this day, hasn't made a specific allegation for them to respond.

It seems all the Lax players were significantly more intelligent than the Police, Duke Admin, Duke Profs and Nigong.

GPrestonian said...

7:20 The Dude:

The DPD did respond to Kim's 1st call, and fairly quickly. The DPD found the house dark, & empty.

Anonymous said...

Re: Lie Detectors

he practice here is that a defendant can volunteer for a lie detector in a case with doubtful evidence. The deal is usually that the prosecutor will drop the charges if the results show that the defendant is truthful and no crime., but the defendant will plead to the crime if it comes out otherwise.

Anonymous said...

JLS said: Professor Johnson why should you or I believe Nifong when he says he did not discuss the case with Mangum on their 11 April meeting?

It is worse for Nifong if he is telling the truth about the April 11 meeting with the accuser.

If he questioned her about the case, then arguably he was still proceeding in good faith, trying to find the truth.

If he didn't bother, then he knew it was a hoax but proceeded with the indictments anyway.

Anonymous said...

I would add one small item to your timeline:

"April 5: Brodhead appointed a committee to review the Duke administration's handling of the lacrosse case. One of the chairs he appointed to head the committee was William Bowen, former President of Princeton, who is notorious for his hatred of college athletics at elite schools and who is as race-obsessed as any academic in America."

It hasn't gotten much attention, but I've always thought the Bowen appointment spoke volumes about Brodhead and Duke's mindset in approaching the lacrosse case.

Josh said...

This whole case is an obvious disaster. Like all disasters it is not the result of a single event, but a cascade of related events. Any one of these small related events, if it could have been averted, can result in averting the entire disaster (the difference between a plane crashing in a field or landing at an airport for instance).

Does anyone have an opinion as to which aspect of this case, if averted, would have changed it from a national spectacle careening out of control to a small blip on page 12 of a local newspaper.

My vote is for the release of Ryan McFadyen’s American Psycho email. It seems that was the wind that blew this small flame into a raging inferno.

Jerri Lynn Ward, J.D. said...

From Anon 1 AM:

"Brodhead answered a question about the silence of the lacrosse team by saying the team members had retained lawyers who presumably advised them to remain silent, and that he strongly supported their right to do so, although he "questioned their judgement" in exercising that right."


I didn't realize (or remember) that! To me that's one of the worst things that the man has done. It shows a total lack of concern his students! To suggest that 20 year old men should pit themselves against a host of seasoned investigators and a prosecutor. That's appalling. I can't believe it!

To put the weight of the university behind the idea that the players shouldn't have legal representation to ensure that their rights are protected. I can't get over this.

For that one public statement alone, he should be fired.

roper said...

I would like to suggest that you add to the time-line the date of the release of the Coleman Committee Report.

This date is significant in that it represented the first indication that the Duke "gulag" was not monolithic in its intent to defame the lacrosse players.

For those of us who were living this case then on a minute-by-minute basis, Prof. Coleman's report was also the first shining light of truth in a sea of distortion.

Prof. Coleman will always be among the foremost heros in this case.

Anonymous said...

Weeks ago I queried Duke about a transcript, no reply. They must be swamped.

It was an almost-offhand remark that I doubt he has repeated, made under such pressure that e.g. his pleas for due process ("innocent until proven guilty") sound like defiant proclamations.

What I found most surprising was Joe Alleva's strong support for Presler and the team. He repeatedly debunked the theme of hooligan racists. Brodhead was neutral on that.

A transcript would be nice.

Anonymous said...


Great timeline. Please add it to your permanant links if you haven't done so already.


Anonymous said...

Ok here is what Sam Hummel posted a few days ago.

Looking at the timeline he can see contrary to his assumptions at the time that the Durham police were actively investigating this case.

So how can he not apologies when when can now see that his assumptions were wrong and that in hindsight very unhelpful?

"I don't have any apologies for how I participated in the weeks and months
following the first news about this case. And I don't have any apologies
for how I'm continuing to participate in the effort to end sexual violence.

Here's how I recall my participation...

I found out about the case on Friday morning when the first news article
came out about it, nearly two weeks after the woman made a report to the
police. As someone who works with a rape-prevention group here in Durham, I
know that reports of rapes rarely go more than 24 hours without being
reported in the local newspaper. This is particularly true when the
reported assailant is still at-large and/or unidentified, as was the case
here. So, immediately, I felt that special treatment was being given.

AMac said...

Kemp 1:04am --

Sent off with this morning's mail.


Public Councilors of the NC State Bar:

Isaac Heard Jr.
Heard Systems
6728 Constitution Lane
Charlotte, NC 28210

Dr. Vinni Goel
NFE Technologies, Inc.
Goels Plaza
117 International Drive
Morrisville, NC 27560

William F. Dowdy
8021-103 Allyn's Landing Way
Raleigh, NC 27615

Dear Mr. Heard, Dr. Goel, and Mr. Dowdy,

I am writing to you about Michael Nifong, the District Attorney for the 14th Prosecutorial District, concerning the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case.

Revelations of Mr. Nifong’s behavior since March have sparked widespread outrage. However, people outside North Carolina find fault not only with this “rogue prosecutor,” but with the absence of state oversight into the actions of its agent. To this point, both elected officials and regulatory organizations have not addressed the accumulated evidence of serious misconduct. Even today, the felony case against the three indicted Duke University students lurches forward.

Granted, Mr. Nifong was not the sole instigator of this injustice. Certain local newspapers and some of Duke’s own faculty created the poisonous rush-to-judgment atmosphere that led to the initial presumption of guilt. However, North Carolina lawyers should keep in mind that it was a member of their community who employed the power of the State to transform this “social disaster” into a legal disaster.

One summary timeline that clarifies the early series of events may be accessed here:

Even at this late date, many hope that the North Carolina State Bar will rein in a State’s Attorney who has inflamed prejudicial public opinion, tainted police investigations, and engaged in conspiracies to withhold evidence.

I believe that you volunteer to serve as Public Councilors because of your concerns for public policy matters such as the protection of Due Process rights. If so, I hope that you impress upon your peers that prompt action is urgently required. In the face of the temptation to delay further, the Bar should choose the aphorism “justice delayed is justice denied” to guide its imposition of remedies in the wake of its investigators’ findings.

Anonymous said...

This is just another case of a black person, who has lived off the public dole her whole life, and who ruins our society by having children with multiple men, who as a result gets a sense of entitlement and a belief that she is entitled to some kind of justice because of how the NAACP and others in leadership positions within the black community cry racism, who makes up a total farce of a lie thinking it will be believed because she is black.

Nifong is bad, but people like this girl are what ruins society and she needs to go to jail. You cant ruin peoples lives because you know the black community will stand behind you no matter what you say and you have nothing to lose. She isnt worried about being sued, but I bet she would be worried if she faced serious jail time or the loss of her kids.

Newyorkstateofmind said...

11:01 Great letter to the Bar committee; particularly the following lines are useful to set the stage for follow-up letters from attorneys such as myself who do not practice in NC.

"However, people outside North Carolina find fault not only with this “rogue prosecutor,” but with the absence of state oversight into the actions of its agent. To this point, both elected officials and regulatory organizations have not addressed the accumulated evidence of serious misconduct. Even today, the felony case against the three indicted Duke University students lurches forward."

momofbuddy said...

I'm sure it's old news by now, but I found this link while digging around to fill myself in on things that I hadn't seen for myself in the news:

Anonymous said...

If these faculty are so damn unhappy with the students at Duke, why don't they simply leave?

They could go form a commune somewhere...and attempt to institute their own version of a Utopian society. Of course, that would mean at least some of them would have to do honest work to support that society........