Sunday, March 25, 2007

Kirk Osborn

The N&O has just reported the very sad news that Kirk Osborn, one of Reade Seligmann's attorneys, died this morning in Chapel Hill, after suffering a massive heart attack.

The Seligmann family released the following statement:

We are heartbroken over the death of Kirk Osborn.

Kirk stood up for Reade at great personal cost. He stood by Reade and together they faced the mob that was outside the Durham County Courthouse a year ago; Kirk never flinched and faced both that mob outside the Courthouse and the bias within the Courthouse with the courage that he showed throughout this case. He passionately believed that the truth would emerge and that the world would know of the injustice that was done that day and every day of this baseless prosecution.

While it is now plain to anyone with any reason and objectivity that there was no sexual assault and that Reade has been the victim of an unprincipled prosecution, we are nonetheless saddened that Kirk did not live to see the day when Reade will be completely exonerated. While that day will come, it will now come too late for Kirk to share in it. When that day does arrive, it will be as a direct result of Kirk’s courage, skill and passionate belief in the truth.

Our hearts go out to Kirk’s family. We ask that everyone remember them in their prayers. We will never forget Kirk and his sacrifices for Reade and for justice. Kirk’s fight for the truth and for justice in this case met the highest standards of ethics and professionalism and stand in stark contrast to those who condemned Reade. He is an example of what a lawyer should be.

We will be forever grateful to Kirk and will never forget what he has done for us.

As Joe Neff and Ben Niolet observed, Osborn played a critical role in the case:

Osborn's court filings [on May 1] announced to the world that despite Nifong's assurances that a rape occurred, Seligmann had phone records, receipts, security camera images and a cab driver that would show he was almost a mile away when the woman said he was participating in her rape.

Seligmann's alibi, which Nifong protested proved nothing, helped convince many that the allegations against Seligmann, Dave Evans, 23, and Collin Finnerty, 20, were untrue.

I got to know Kirk over the past several months. He was a gentle, decent man, a perpetual optimist about the case. As we move toward the expected dismissal of all charges, it seems horribly unfair that he will not be able to experience the culmination of an effort to which he devoted countless hours and energy.


Anonymous said...

N.C. has just lost a great defense attorney.

Maddad said...

What a terrible loss the death of Kirk Osborn is. I corresponded with him early in the case regarding some technical issues. He was kind, respectful, and appreciative of efforts on behalf of his client. As KC points out, it is indeed a tragedy that he won't see the culmination of his efforts. Along with Ed Bradley, Mr. Osborn is truly one of the Heroes of the Hoax.

Jim Quigley
Lenexa, KS

Anonymous said...

Rest In Peace Mr Osbourn. We will all remember you as a gentleman and hero of the Hoax.

Anonymous said...

God Speed Kirk Osborne.

Anonymous said...

How very sad to lose one of the good guys!

Last April when all of this had barely just begun, I wrote Mr. Osborn a fan email, telling him how much I admired all that he was doing on Reade's behalf. Much to my surprise, he wrote me back and thanked me. I never expected that, since he had to be really busy with the case, and I had no connection to it other than a son who had once attended a high school lacrosse camp under Mike Pressler at Duke.

In my email Mr. Osburn was adament about labeling CGM as the "false accuser". This was way before that term became common in the blogs and media. I'm sure his influence in this case was enormous and invaluable!

He will be greatly missed.

Svolich said...

Godspeed, Mr. Osborn.

You brought honor to your profession. Rest well, and thank you.

Anonymous said...

This is a reminder of the excellent work done by Joe Neff. Earlier, however, one year ago, the N&O published a piece that was a crucial part of the scam:

bill anderson said...

Indeed, Kirk was the attorney with whom I had contact. While he did not share any material with me -- as was right and proper and the sign of a good attorney -- he did share encouragement. My heart goes out to his family, his loved ones, and all who knew him. He will be missed, and missed greatly. I ask for the Mercy of God to be upon him.

Anonymous said...

Kirk Osborn was one of the good guys. I think he saw the writing on the wall early on and he was proven right time and again. He fought to move this case forward and I'm very sad that he won't be here to see it end. He did a wonderful job for Reade.

As a future lawyer, he'll be someone I remember and strive to emulate. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.

Anonymous said...

Carolyn says:

Though I am atheist, when I read of the people Kirk Osborn had chosen to defend as a lawyer - those accused in the Little Rascals scandal and now Reade in the Duke Rape scandal - I thought at once of a passage in the Bible:

"every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is" (1Corinthians 3:12-13).

My deepest sympathies to the family and friends of such an honorable man as Kirk Osborn.

Anonymous said...

As I've said before, Nofing stole pieces of many peoples' lives. If you add these all up, it is hard to argue that the sum does not come to more damage than is done in most murders.

I'm not suggesting that there was any causality here, but this tragic loss reminds us all of the sacrifices so many have made to bring our society to the point of the many proud accomplishments in our history. At the same time, we can see that there are those who are huge net liabilities and who drag us down and provoke needless waste of resources on internal strife, actually promoting ills for which society collectively pays huge costs.

Kirk Osborn showed honor and integrity and will be missed. His posting of motions of motions were an early indicator of how badly messed up things actually were. Deepest sympathies to his family, friends, and colleagues.

Anonymous said...

Prayers and condolences to the Osborn family.

Anonymous said...

JLS says...,

While I of course did not know Mr. Osborn, I concur with all you say. Let me add in my view that Mr. Osborn will not be alive to hear of the dropping of these charges adds to the shame of NC not dropping these charges quickly after this hoax was transfered out of Nifong's hands.

gak said...

Its sad to see someone who was a pillar of class and honor in an industry that appears to be so corrupt, pass as he did. Its a great loss to the justice system and a greater loss to humanity.
Rest in peace

Anonymous said...

Thoughts and prayers to his family. This is a tremendous loss on both a personal level and on the side of decency in North Carolina.

Anonymous said...

Kirk Osborn was a hero, in this case & all cases he took on. It did not matter how young, old, black, white, rich, poor, guilty, or innocent his clients were: he fought for all of them & gave them (and the system) the advocacy that justice cannot do without. He fought many noble battles in the courtroom, and those of us who were lucky enough to fight with him along the way have lost a true friend & inspiration, as well as a face that managed to smile & a spirit that managed to infect a cause with optimism no matter how difficult it might have been. He was one of a kind, and he will be missed greatly.

Anonymous said...

As an attorney, I have greatly admired Mr. Osborn's work in this case. It is not easy to stand up against the "establishment" in one's own professional arena, and when someone is courageous enough to do it, it usually has quite a cost associated with it.

I wish his soul a safe and speedy journey to the next world, and may the love and protection of God surround his family and friends at this difficult and painful time.

Gary Packwood said...

What do you bet that Atty. Osborn had the case wrapped up and tied up with a nice bow and was just waiting impatiently for the politicians to take delivery?

I think he knew how to sniff out a fraud at 90 paces in an wind storm.

RIP and Thank You Atty. Osborn

Chicago said...

Terrible news. My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.

Anonymous said...

God bless Kirk Osborn! It is so sad that someone who has done so much to reveal this Hoax for what it is will not be present to see these young men exonerated. But he will most certainly be there in spirit--all will feel his presence! I will never be able to think of this case without picturing Mr. Osborn at that first hearing in court, standing up to the despicable DA Nifong.

Anonymous said...

Sorry--I meant to sign--


Anonymous said...

Kirk Osborn brought the truth out into the light with his court filings.

Anonymous said...

I am so very sorry to hear about Kirk Osborn.

My earliest memories of him are those of a dapper man about town....always with an air of sophistication.

A classmate of mine considered Kirk a role model and went into law because of him.

How shocking.

His amazing role in this case will be remembered.


Anonymous said...

It's just too damned bad he didn't get to see this case through to the end.

memomachine said...


I'm very sorry to hear this.

You're right. It is a kind of injustice that he won't be around to see the case dismissed.

Anonymous said...

to Jim Quigley

"Ed Bradley and Kirk Osborn are 'heroes' of the hoax?"

There are no "heroes" here, my friend. Did you get a good look at the visage of that monster who caused all the problems in the first place? Crystal Mangum's the only hero this hoax has produced.

She's the "perfect" hero, right Wahneema?

I wonder if the pressure of the case contributed to Kirk's heart attack.

This case has nothing whatsoever to do with heroism.

To stand up against the evils of political correctness is not heroic--it's sane!

Tabula Rasa

Jim said...

Why, on this bright and beautiful Sunday, do you presume Kirk Osborn won't "experience the culmination of an effort to which he devoted countless hours and energy"?

Let's suppose he will.

My condolensces to Mr. Osborn's family.

Anonymous said...

Kirk Osborn R.I.P. Here's hoping that his survivors will take comfort in the knowledge that he stood against bullying and oppression.

Carolyn 12:55: Your biblical quote separates the adults from the DPD and G88. How are these ethically-challenged people going to look back on their lives? By celebrating their own dishonest bullying? How does one reconcile the cognitively dissonant behavior of an 'activist' who actively seeks to harm another human being because they don't like his preferred sport or his genetic characteristics?
Tall T

Anonymous said...

Carry this with you to Hell, Nifong. Mr. Osborn, a great man, is in Heaven. God rest his soul, and damn yours to eternal pain.

MTU'76 said...

KONTAKION 7 (a song of praise)
Endeavoring to give help by Thy might power to Thy servants who have fallen asleep, Thou hast appeared to their loved ones, O Lord, in mysterious visions clearly inspiring them to pray, that they may remember the departed, and do good works and labors of faith and love for them, crying: ALLELUIA.

Anonymous said...

Kirk Osborn, like Ed Bradley, modeled extraordinary determination and integrity in his efforts to reveal truth and pursue justice.

Mr. Osborn's achievements in addressing the state's abuse of his client, its own justice system, and the public trust compel our attention and respect. I join with all of those honoring his life and grieving his death. And I pray that like Moses, Mr. Osborn could see well the inevitable success of his worthy strivings and that his vision of eventual triumph was very sweet.


OTRblog said...

Wasn't he just the best guy? I will miss him. Kirk is my hero.

otrblog said...

Wasn't he just the best guy? I will miss him. Kirk is my hero.

sceptical said...

Kirk Osborn is one attorney I have always admired.

If courage is grace under pressure, then his appearance in court with Reade Seligmann was courageous.

His website with the text of the defense motions was the sunlight that illuminated the darkness, especially early in the case.

He understood the forces Reade and his fellow defendants were up against and he acted with great foresight and strategy.

His passing is a sad loss but he lived his life with dignity and purpose. Rest in peace

Kilgore said...

God Bless Kirk Osborn.

What a beautiful statement by the Seligmann family.

What a shock for all involved. Sudden death is very difficult.

Anonymous said...

My sincere and heart felt sympathy to Mr. Osborn's family and friends. He was an honorable and upright member of the community, the sort of person who gives the legal profession a good name - unlike certain members of the the criminal justice system in Durham.

Orson Buggeigh

Anonymous said...

Blessings to the Seligmann family for writing such a heartfelt statement. The statement is so sensitive and human it makes Ms. Mangum, Nifong, the low grade Bolsheviks that work in the Durham Police Department, the Gang of 88 and associated pot bangers, as well as beacons of astounding mediocrity like the Herald Sun, well, look even uglier than they already do, a feat of considerable consequence.

Rest in peace Mr. Osborn.

John Kaiser said...

My thoughts and prayers go out to his family.

Anonymous said...

Kirk Osborn was a defender of the truth and a great and honorable man.

I still seethe with anger at the memory of the discourteous, unprofessional manner in which Mr. Osborn was treated in court by Nifong and his crony, Judge Stephens, both of whom should feel great shame.

Our commitment to the memory of Kirk Osborn should cause us to redouble our efforts to ensure that, in this case... justice is done.

Anonymous said...

The people who have contributed to this great hoax, harming others, and causing lasting damage and pain when the facts have been out there for so long will have a lasting pain visited upon them one fine day.

Mike Nifong, Richard Brodhead, the Gang of 88, Bob Ashley, the corrupt DPD, and all the horrific players in this case will never make it to heaven as long as there is one more place left in hell.

Imagine. All of these cowardly and filthy people are walking around right now while someone like Kirk Osborn was taken from us way too soon.

May true justice come to these harmful people one fine day and may it be swift and sure.

Mad Hatter said...

I am so sad that Mr. Osborne will not be here to hear the LAX players vindicated on all counts. He fought valiantly for them .(right about now I wish I could write like Joan Foster. Where are you Joan?.)

God Bless Kirk Osborne for his professional integrity and due diligence in handling the LAX case.

Anonymous said...

damn it! life really isn't fair when something like this can happen.

RIP Mr Osborn

emmy said...

As others have said, Kirk walked beside Reade while thugs in the ridiculous NBPP party shouted threats to him...Kirk walked with Reade while looking very positive and UNAFRAID...his presence right beside Reade must have been a great comfort to this young man, who at this time had barely started his adult life. I find myself with tears in my eyes, thinking about a man I never knew...but I knew, through the work he had done on Reade's behalf, that he was a good, decent man...Reade was well-represented by this man, and he will surely be missed...but Kirk I'm certain will be with Reade still...God bless the family of Kirk Osborn, and all those who loved and knew him...

Anonymous said...

Real greatness is when you can spend years and years surrounded by ugliness without becoming ugly or losing the faith; when you can deal those who are dishonest on a daily basis without it corrupting you and without walking away.

There couldn't be a starker contrast. In addition, the Duke students who are so resented by so many are those who may become the next generation's great leaders, or unsung heroes who toil away, making a better world for humanity.

The last report I read put Duke's contribution to the Durhan economy at $3.2 billion per annum, and this was a bit dated. In reality it is far greater and much further reaching. This is what a very little man wanted to destroy, for his small personal gain. This is what so many others were so earer to help to damage.

Thank God for Kirk Osborn and the comparatively few others who have realy taken a stand. We owe it to them -- and to ourselves -- to learn all we can from this nightmare. There are clear lessons here, but we repeatedly have shown that we are slow learners. Maybe the fact that this hit so close to home and that those who have stood up for us all have utterly exposed how dark things can be in the very institutions that are supposed to be our protections will help us not to forget.

Anonymous said...

God bless Kirk Osborn and his family. He was a man of integrity and character. I, too, emailed him early on in this debacle and he was kind enough to email me back and let me know that he appreciated my support and care. We are all richer for having been touched by his life and his work.
Texas Mom

Anonymous said...

The defense may have manipulated events so that Nifong is disbarred and the case thrown out and the gulity will go free with no repurcussions but God is making his presence known and His justice cannot be manipulated:

Ed Bradley: died suddenly after his slanted 60 minutes report

Kirk Osburn: died suddenly after his work on the Lax case

Coach K: right after speaking out recently for the Lax players lost in the first round of the NCAA for the first time in decades

JJ Redick: spoke out in favor of the Lax team and within a few days had a DUI and was publicly humilated

The Duke women's LAX team was very vocal in their support of the team and then promptly lost in the NCAA last year

They have been judged by a higher power--and were foung wanting and so have been punished. That is what happens when you support the doers of evil like the LAX team. You and your endeavors cannot prosper if you love evil. You may reap worldly benefits for a little while but in the end you will suffer(and that goes for the stripper, too). Read the Bible.

emmy said...

Of *course*, 8:20...death, and losing a BASKETBALL game, and getting busted for DUI...yes, of course...all God's doing for defending the evil Dukies...*sure*...

Anonymous said...

8:20 AM - interesting take. Do you have any information on what has happened to Mike Nifong since he brought this bogus case? How about Gottlieb - how is he doing? Any charges against him lately? And this "foung wanting" of which you write - that sounds serious.

Anonymous said...

To 8:20AM---

I can only assume that we are in the presence of an insane compadre of Nifong from Durham.

Your post is akin to one of those roly-poly fundamental Christian and brimstone from the peanut gallery.

Preaching doom and gloom as if any of these unfortunate events are controlled by the semi-literates who have gone after the lacrosse team.

I can only think that perhaps Bob Ashley (aka) Barney Pfife, Greg Childress (aka) Chan Hall's hood buddy, or Ron Landfried (aka) Dennis Kucinich, from Durham's weekly reader--the Herald Sun--has sought to put a limp curse on they watch from their padded rooms.


Anonymous said...

Debrah - two spelling corrections here - first, it is the Durham "weakly" reader, the Herald Sun, and second, it is Barney Fife. Must be accurate lest the lord smite us in our unworthiness...

Anonymous said...


Dear 11:07AM---

Thanks for the correction. I never have been quite sure about Barney's name; however, take a look at Bob Ashley's photo.

He's certainly a duplicate of Don Knotts.

And I do agree that the Herald Sun is more of a "weakly" reader. Early on, I held out hope that the editorial staff would get back on track. I thought that poor anemic Ashley was afraid of Durham's black community and was trying to get used to his new job; however, we can now say with certainty that the place is going down the tubes.

The writing is abominable.

One can get sick with nausea comparing the slick writing of Bob Wilson--the former op-ed page chief--and what they are offering up now.

Just sickening.


Anonymous said...

6:20 You are right up there with the folk who cover themselves with tinfoil when the census taker arrives at the door.
Certainly obvious why mainstream religion is taking a hit with the kind of representatives out front. No one has even suggested the tam were angeles - just the deniers saying they were not angels. With all the atrocities going on in the word, hiring a stripper is pretty tame,

Anonymous said...

8:20 AM -- I didn't know Victoria Peterson followed this blog!

Eventually you may figure out that the more you open your mouth, the worse you look -- that you can keep saying/doing things beyond the realm you have already staked out really says something. Or -- you will never figure anything out because of some sort of brain damage or perceptions that are permanently distorted by some bizarre phenomenon.

May your role in all of this come to light and you be utterly ruined.

Anonymous said...

I knew Kirk, worked with him on occasion, and knew him to be a fair and decent guy.
He was definitely one of the good guys.