The enormity of the attempted frame was exceeded only by its blatant nature. Less than a day after defense attorneys revealed the full story on which Nifong has now based his case, it’s worth considering some of the loose ends that the frame either failed to fit or ignored entirely.
1.) “No Name” Finnerty
One of the most bizarre aspects of the new story is the assertion that Collin Finnerty did not match any of the pseudonyms the accuser alleged that her attackers used. In the myriad, mutually contradictory tales she thus far has told, she’s never made such a claim.
In fact, however, a discrepancy exists between Investigator Linwood Wilson’s written “notes” and the typed report that he presented. As page 6 of the defense motion reveals,
Why this inherently absurd claim? It’s not hard to discern. Here’s the accuser’s sole description of “Matt,” from her March 16 interview with Himan: “heavyset, short hair cut, 260-270.”
Many descriptions could be made of Finnerty—tall, lanky, quiet, a New Yorker, freckled, etc. But even Nifong couldn’t sell a description of Finnerty as “heavyset” and between 260 and 270 pounds. Better, it seems Nifong and
Of course, if Finnerty is neither Brett, nor Adam, nor Matt—the three people the accuser alleges did things to her—how can he still be indicted?
2.) What happened between 12.00 and around 12.50?
In the new, Nifongian, version of events, the “attack” had concluded by midnight. Yet every piece of evidence in this case suggests that the two dancers departed the house sometime between 12.45 and 12.50am. What occurred during this 45-to-50 minute period?
Nifong doesn’t say. Apparently, his argument is that we all should just forget about this inconvenient fact.
3.) What of the Photos and the Cell-phone Records?
There’s still no way of determining how the accuser, 265 days after the fact, suddenly and for the first time remembered specific times from the evening in question—i.e, that the “rape” occurred at 11.40pm.
The implicit assertion by Nifong—since he considered the accuser’s new version of events as credible enough to sustain sexual assault and kidnapping charges—is that the time on the time-stamped photos was altered.
Leave aside, for a moment, the absurdity of this argument: that the player who took the photos (and at least one player whose watch was photographed) altered the time of the photos before anyone knew what the case timeline would be; and that some of the state’s leading defense attorneys have asserted to the court that the photos are accurate.
Let’s take Nifong’s version of the “truth” at face value. As the defense motion points out, to do so, you’d have to believe that the accuser was chatting on the phone as she performed her dance and as she “fled” to the car. Yet we have photos of the dance and its immediate aftermath—and the accuser isn’t on the phone.
How does the “minister of justice” interpret the discrepancy between the accuser’s latest version of events and the cellphone records/photos? Nifong doesn’t say. Apparently, his argument is that we all should just forget about this inconvenient fact.
4.) What of Jason Bissey?
In the new, Nifongian version of events, Jason Bissey, the next-door neighbor who by his own account bitterly disliked the lacrosse players, gave false testimony on their behalf. Before anyone knew what specific times would be important to establish the alibis of those Nifong targeted, Bissey gave a statement to police. His statement corresponded almost exactly with the timeline offered by Kim Roberts, the lacrosse players, and all available electronic evidence. Bissey stated:
At approximately 11:50 p.m., I saw from porch that a car had been stopped directly in front of 610, and noted that two young women, both appearing to be African-American, were walking from the direction of the car and proceeding to the back-yard entrance of 610. One of the two [the accuser] was dressed in an extremely short tan skirt and was wearing high heels. Her hair was pinned up above her ears. The other women was more conservatively dressed in pants and a sweater or blouse of some sort, and her hair was shoulder-length and curly. The two women briefly spoke with one of the men who was in the back yard . . . At this point no one was outside of 610 besides the two young women . . .
I saw the women enter 610 together. After a moment, I remember quite specifically noting that it was Midnight. The reason I know it was Midnight is because I looked at my cell phone and noted the time. At approximately 12:05 a.m. on Tuesday, I re-entered by house and took a shower . . . [Later,] I noted that the skimpily dressed women had exited the car, saying something to the effect that she would go back into 610 to retrieve her shoe. She seemed agitated, but not hysterical. I left the front door open so that I could hear if the situation flared up again. I would estimate that the young women left the car at around 12:30am.
In an interview with the New York Times that first appeared last night, Bissey reiterated his position, asserting, “I’m absolutely certain. I had looked at my cellphone, and I was sure they had gone into the house at 12. I had assumed that’s when they first got there. But I can’t say for sure that was the first time they showed up. It seemed to me that it was. They had been talking calmly, and it seemed to me they were just fine.” Bissey gave no indication that anyone from the Nifong office had spoken to him to double-check regarding the veracity of the accuser's latest new version of events.
How does the “minister of justice” interpret Bissey’s statement? Nifong doesn’t say. Apparently, his argument is that we all should just forget about this inconvenient fact.
5.) What Happened to the Shoe?
Liestoppers perceptively noticed another bizarre element of the new version of events. Shown a photo of herself at the door, the accuser now claims that this photo took place at the time of her arrival (which, in the new version and contrary to all available evidence, she states came at around 11.10).
Before constructing this story, Linwood Wilson appears not to have looked closely enough at the photo, since the accuser was shoeless. So, in the new version of events, the accuser traveled to the party wearing only one shoe.
Why, then, did she seek later on in the evening to return to the house to find her shoe--an event noticed by both Bissey and Kim Roberts? Nifong doesn’t say. Apparently, his argument is that we all should just forget about this inconvenient fact.
6.) Best of the Fray
The response yesterday to the motion triggered some superb comments—some funny, some serious, all fully cognizant of the extent of the farce the Linwood Wilson-orchestrated statement reveals. Among the best of the comments from DIW readers:
You would think after all of the lies that have come out of
during the last 10 months, that nothing would surprise me. Yet, I read this and still find myself astounded by the gall of this DA. Does he think we are all idiots? This "new" statement is simply absurd!! Honestly, has he lost his mind? It would be laughable if it didn't involve these three men's lives and make a mockery out of the entire American justice system. Durham
I think the damages owed to the players just went up by a few million.
And, my personal favorite:
The Accuser was witnessed entering
Sesame Streetat approximately 11:40 where (according to her testimony) she was immediately raped by Mr. Cookie Monster, Mr. Snuffleupagus and Mr. The Grouch.
In later statements the Accuser changed her statements and named Mr. von Count, Mr. Elmo and Mr. Bert (no last name given) to reflect the fact that no one can see Mr. Snuffleupagus, the lack of cookie evidence on the scene and the obvious preference of rectal intrusion by one of the defendants.
7.) Nifong's Attorney
Nifong’s trial before the Disciplinary Hearing Committee is currently scheduled for May 11. According to WRAL, he has hired an attorney named David Freedman of Winston-Salem.
As Friends of Duke's Jason Trumpbour has pointed out, Nifong's own attorney described him as behaving in an unethical fashion, on April 19. Appearing on the Abrams Report, Freedman asserted,
Everything has been mishandled from the start. You had a district attorney coming out and making potentially unethical statements, saying he believed a crime occurred, which he should not do. He should not be commenting on the evidence. He took an adversarial position from the start.
We had a situation recently in Winston-Salem that could have been racially divisive represented, Wake Forest, black football player, white female student. If the D.A. who was actually a former Duke lacrosse player himself, Jim O'Neill (ph), had taken the position and come out strong like Mr. Nifong had that something definitely occurred and sort of played the race card, it would have been very racially divisive.
Instead, he listened to the evidence. He let everyone be interviewed. We were all able to meet in a more congenial fashion and after a careful determination they determined that there was no charges that needed to be brought. Nobody was hurt. Nobody's face was plastered all over the front of “USA Today”...
It's not the D.A.'s job to get a conviction. It's the D.A.'s job to make sure justice is done, to make the truth is found out and rather than rushing and doing indictments two weeks before the primary is held, he should carefully—and because once you charge someone with offenses like this—I do a number of sex offenses—once the charge is brought, that's something that will tar these two students the rest of their lives, whether the charges are dismissed, whether they're acquitted, there will always be questions about that and it's just a D.A. should take his time and make a careful determination and look at all of the evidence and if he hadn't taken such a strong stand, he would have been able to view this evidence and the timeline beforehand before making this—going to the grand jury.
Durham is Wonderland.