Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Morning Highlights

The highlights from the morning session:

Wade Smith’s testimony—with typical understatement—created enormous problems for Mike Nifong. Smith’s recapitulation of the Dec. 15 hearing? Nifong denied knowing about the additional DNA evidence in chambers; said nothing in court once the additional material was revealed; and then gave a press conference immediately afterwards affirming that he did know about the matter but kept the material out of the report for privacy concerns.

Smith also used his prestige to considerable effect, noting at least twice that he had never encountered a prosecutor who behaved in any way like Nifong in his more than 40 years’ experience as a member of the North Carolina bar.

The opening statement by Mike Nifong’s attorney, David Freedman, meandered between attempting to retry the lacrosse case and attempting to claim that even if Nifong were guilty as charged, he’s basically an ethical guy who shouldn’t be severely punished.

His most mindboggling line of defense: that Dr. Meehan made the statements he did in the Dec. 15 cross-examination from Brad Bannon because Nifong had not “prepped” Meehan. How, it could be wondered, would “prepping” Meehan have made the lab director more likely to tell the truth?

The runner-up in the mindboggling category: that Nifong had a routine practice as a prosecutor of turning over material to defense attorneys without reading it, and so might not have realized that the May 12 DNA Security report was incomplete.

Freedman also made several statements that appeared to “discover” items not in the case file. He said that police had interviewed people nearby the lacrosse house on the night of the 14th, and that these “witnesses” told the police that racial slurs were used. Yet the only such witness was the neighbor, Jason Bissey. Bissey’s recollected remark (the “cotton shirt” comment) was highly crude, though not a remark that normally is associated with a racial slur. Who are these mystery witnesses? Who knows?

Freedman also claimed that Mike Nifong felt comfortable asserting that a crime occurred because the three captains, in their March 16 statements, unintentionally corroborated Crystal Mangum’s claim that she was threatened with a broomstick.

Yet Mangum never made this claim to SANE nurse-in-training Tara Levicy, nor to any other law enforcement official, on March 14th. Nor did the reports of either Officer Himan or Sgt. Gottlieb indicate she made such a statement on March 16th. (Mangum did make this assertion well after the fact, on April 6th.) So how did the captains’ statements confirm a claim that Mangum already had made? Freedman didn’t say.

Other items: in Nifong’s row were wife Cy Gurney; a campaign volunteer, Suzanne; Nifong’s brother, sister, and son. Victoria Peterson didn’t arrive early enough to gain entry (and apparently raised quite a ruckus) but made it into the courtroom after the break.


Anonymous said...

"The email FOUND ON ONE OF THE DUKE LACRODSSE PLAYERS' COMPUTER" friedmann said. This is the 1st time I heard where the police found the email. I thought the DPD said it was given to them by an anonymous source!!!!

emmy said...

Can the defense attorneys call Freedman out on this, these supposed witnesses who all heard these racial slurs? This is a blatent lie!

Anonymous said...

Did Victoria bring any fried chicken with her to keep Mikey from chewing on things in his mouth (ie: his pen!)??

Anonymous said...

I'm sure the fact that Victoria Peterson was not admitted immediately had something to do with racism in Durham and the actions of the evil Duke University lacrosse team.

Gprestonian said...

Victoria Peterson didn’t arrive early enough to gain entry (and apparently raised quite a ruckus)...

Heheheheh ;>)

Anonymous said...

The email I wrote about at 2:02 was the Ryan F. email that caused an uproar when it was released to the press on 4/5/06 out of context. If it came from one of the players' computers it would have been in context when it was retieved. The investigators would have known it was just a bad joke. Did DPD have the permission to get this email from the player's computer and did they have permission to use it the way they did?

Anonymous said...

Yes, Wade Smith is a righteous dude.

Sly like a fox, though.


Anonymous said...

I wouldn't focus too much on the racial slurs, I believe the boys admitted some racial slurs were used in response to Kim Roberts calling them limp dick white boys, and we always knew Bissey heard the comment about the cotton shirt.

Racial slurs are irrelevant, especially since none of the 3 eventually charged was ever even ACCUSED of being one of the people who made racial comments or the broomstick comments.

Dan Weber said...

> So how did the captains’ statements confirm a claim that Mangum already had made?

I'm confused, or this sentence is misstated. Maybe you meant to say "So how did the captains' statements confirm a claim that Magnum had yet to make?"

miramar said...

It seems to me that Nifong's lawyers are presenting a "I is dumb" defense, which is hardly convincing given all the very public facts in the case. No matter how inexperienced he was running an office, he had 30 years of experience in the Durham DA's office and presumably would know the difference between ethical and unethical behavior. Maybe it's just me, but the whole thing is so weak that I wonder if Nifong and company don't see disbarment as a foregone conclusion, and they are simply trying to present Nifong as a completely confused individual who (once this case leaves the Bar and goes to the courts) doesn't deserve to go to jail for perjury or obstruction of justice, either because he didn't understand what he was doing or because he really didn't mean it.

What happened to the good old days, when Nifong actually said that if he were a defense attorney, he wouldn't want to go up against himself? Based on the opening testimony, the only attorneys who would lose a case against someone this idiotic are named Mike Nifong and Woody Vann.

Good luck staying out of jail and keeping your pension, Mike. The only people who believe in you at this point are sitting on either side of you.

Anonymous said...

Dan Weber--
I think K.C. is saying that Freedman said the captains' statements confirmed a claim that Mangum had already made. But because she had not actually made this claim yet, he's asking how their statements could have confirmed it. A bit structurally confusing, perhaps, but it makes sense if you read it this way.

Anon at 2:02 and 2:09--KC said on an earlier thread that, according to sources related to the AG's investigation, the police did not get the McFadyen e-mail from the players' computers turned over to them by the residents of the house. So, apparently, we still don't know exactly how they got it.

If this Freedman statement is correct--that they did, somehow, get it from one of the players' computers--then you are absolutely right that they would most likely have seen it in context and their use of it out of context to get the NTO is pretty sleazy.

But if they got it some other way, that itself raises questions. Did police get hold of a lacrosse team user name and password and access the e-mail that way, or did someone else do that and give police the e-mail without the context?

I hope someone figures this out, because I'd sure like to know.

Anonymous said...

How PC and stupid were the lacrosse players to even allow those 2 pigs into the house!

Their pimp must have laughed his ass off at the stupid honkies paying for smelly ugly Negresses.

Ralph Phelan said...

"No matter how inexperienced he was running an office, he had 30 years of experience in the Durham DA's office and presumably would know the difference between ethical and unethical behavior."

After 30 years in the Durham office how would a person even know there was a "difference between ethical and unethical behavior."

Anonymous said...

I too find it hard to believe that the police actually interviewed witnesses in the neighborhood who claimed to have heard racial slurs. Busybody neighbor Bissey was all over the television for days before anybody from the police ever bothered to speak with him, and I believe Bissey said on LS that the only contact he had with the police was after HE called them (and even then, all they did was ask him to write a statement; no one even bothered to question him!).

Anonymous said...

2:56 --

Please go back to dancing with your UBUNTU pals. We don't go over there and pretend to be you ("gee! wouldn't it be a blow for wymyn everywhere if we could bang pots and tongue-worship our syster Waheena at the same time?? OH GODDESS YES!!") to make you look stupid.

Anonymous said...

2:56 Gotta agree with your post.