In yesterday’s N&O, Joe Neff completed a brilliant, five-part series on Mike Nifong’s rush to judgment. Here are the links to parts One, Two, Three, Four, and Five, plus an appendix on Linwood Wilson’s role. The series contained at least 20 new revelations about the case:
1.) Nifong first heard about the case when he saw the March 23 NTO order. His reaction: “Holy crap, what is going on?” Yet for reasons that remain unclear, he took over the handling of all matters related to the case less than 24 hours later.
2.) At a March 27 meeting with Bob Ekstrand, a blustering Nifong threatened all the players with prosecution: “If you’ve come here to ask me questions instead of telling me what you know about who did it, then we don’t have anything to talk about. You’re wasting my time. You tell all of your clients I will remember their lack of cooperation at sentencing. I hope you know if they didn’t do it, they are all aiders and abettors, and that carries the same punishment as rape.”
3.) Nifong’s motives for running, according to Jackie Brown: “He said, ‘I really don’t want this job; I was the last one on the list. I just need three years and seven months for retirement. You won’t have to worry about running another campaign for me.’”
4.) If Nifong served a full term as elected D.A., his annual pension would have increased by at least $15,000.
5.) In a conversation with Brown, Nifong justified his pre-primary publicity barrage in the following way: “I’m getting a million dollars of free advertisements.”
6.) In early April, Nifong told defense attorney Bill Thomas “that he had personally interviewed her and had spoke with her at length about this case, and that he fully believed every word she said about this incident, and that he knew a lot more about this case than I did, and that he was going to proceed as he saw fit . . . He said he had interviewed her, he discussed the details of the case, he believed her and that my view of her as perhaps being a call girl working for an escort service, running around making things up for financial gain, was absolutely false. ... He went on to say what a wonderful person she was. He said she was fully believable, she was intelligent, articulate ... and telling a convincing story about what happened.” (Nifong subsequently would claim that he never discussed the details of the case with Crystal Mangum.)
7.) Jackie Brown spoke by phone with Nifong on April 10, just after his first meeting with DNA lab director Brian Meehan. (At this meeting, of which Nifong claimed he had no memory, Meehan told Nifong not only of no DNA matches to the two players he wanted to indict, but that unidentified males’ DNA was on Mangum’s rape kit.) Brown had spoken with Nifong before the meeting about a campaign ad, and he was in a good mood. Her recollection of the call after the meeting: “His whole demeanor had changed. He was kind of ill and said, ‘I really don’t want to talk about the ad.’ Whatever happened, he wasn’t happy with it.”
8.) Jim Cooney had a previously undisclosed meeting with Mike Nifong on December 5, at which he withdrew the motion requesting Nifong’s recusal and said that the DA should drop the charges against Reade Seligmann. Nifong’s response: “There is no such thing as an airtight alibi.” Cooney offered to open his whole file to Nifong. Nifong’s response: “There is nothing you can show me that will change my mind. Only her and her story. As long as she’s willing, we’re going forward.”
9.) Brad Bannon used a textbook, Forensic DNA Typing: Biology, Technology, and Genetics of STR Markers, to help him understand the DNA evidence.
9.) At the December 15 hearing, Nifong “looked ashen, resting his face in his hands or staring down at the table.” (At the hearing, Neff was sitting almost head-on to Nifong, and so had a direct view of the DA.)
10.) In May 2006, when he started working on the lacrosse case, Linwood Wilson received a 66-percent raise, from $23,453 to $39,000.
11.) At his December 21 interview with the accuser,
12.) Nifong and Wilson didn’t tell Durham Police that the December 21 interview would occur; Officer Himan proposed re-interviewing Mangum after he found out about the interview, but this re-interview never took place.
13.) In a January conversation with Finnerty attorney Bill Cotter, Nifong admitted that he had never read Mangum’s psychological medical file.
14.) On January 10, Linwood Wilson met with SANE nurse-in-training Tara Levicy. In her report from the night of the “attack,” Levicy wrote that Mangum said no condoms were used. On January 10, according to
15.) Levicy then offered an item more appropriate for a women’s studies paper than a medical exam to explain the lack of DNA evidence in this particular case: “I wasn’t surprised when I heard no DNA was found because rape is not about passion or ejaculation but about power.” [Items 14 and 15 raise serious questions as to how Duke University Hospital could continue to employ Levicy.]
16.) Neither Nifong nor the Durham Police ever interviewed Dr. Julie Manly, the doctor who conducted the rape exam.
17.) Manly saw what Neff called “whitish discharge” in the rape exam that she thought could be semen. Later, she realized it was more likely associated with a yeast infection—but by then, Nifong had seized control of the case.
18.) Strip club manager Yolanda Haynes signed a statement suggesting that Linwood Wilson pressured her to lie about Mangum’s erratic behavior on March 11, 2006, at the strip club.
19.) Nifong is now up to 13 different explanations for his failure to turn over the exculpatory DNA evidence.
20.) At the Dec. 15 hearing, Nifong publicly stated that the first he heard of the DNA non-reporting was a defense motion two days before. Neff reveals that Nifong had made the same claim in a closed-door session with Judge Smith and defense lawyers.
All told, a phenomenal job of reporting by Neff—capping off a phenomenal performance throughout the case.