Susan Estrich, USC law professor, former campaign manager for Mike Dukakis, and one of the nation’s leading experts on rape law, is blunt:
The woman is a liar. That is the English translation of the latest round of maneuvers, in which the prosecution dismissed the rape charges because the woman could no longer say, as she once did, that she had intercourse with three men at the party. In other words, she lied when she said she did.
In some ways, Estrich contends, the accuser is a fourth victim of “Nifong’s twisted tactics”—not to the extent of the three lacrosse players, “who never would have been charged with anything had Nifong adhered to the standard practices in his own office,” but nonetheless a figure who “will be destroyed by this case,” since defense attorneys have no choice but to expose her as a liar. Indeed, “she will be an admitted liar of the worst sort the moment she opens her mouth. She lied about rape. Dropping the rape charge does not remove the statements she made claiming rape from the case. Rape shield laws do not protect her when other contemporaneous sexual acts might explain the physical evidence of sexual contact and of bruising.” So much for Irving Joyner’s analysis of the brilliance of Nifong’s latest tactic.
Nifong, Estrich notes, has failed at a fundamental job of a prosecutor, which, “especially because of the special stigma that comes simply with the charge of rape, is to screen out those cases that should not, or cannot, be won, and not bring them in the first place.”
What could Nifong have been thinking? Estrich concludes that maybe all he “ever cared about was getting elected, no matter how many victims he created.” There’s certainly little reason to believe he wanted to stand up for the accuser. His tactics, according to Estrich, have “given her the one-way ticket to hell which this prosecution is certain to be. With friends like Mike Nifong, who needs enemies?”