But how is Mangum the “alleged victim”? The state of North Carolina said that nothing happened. The city of Durham said that nothing happened. The Durham Police Chief said that nothing happened. Even Mike Nifong has conceded that nothing happened. So who, exactly, is “alleging” that Mangum is a “victim”?
To Chester, suggesting Mangum leveled a false accusation is unacceptable, since “the alleged victim has still not been charged with a crime.” But, of course, a good reason exists for this decision: as AG Cooper noted, Mangum’s mental problems mean that she might actually believe her myriad, mutually contradictory, tales—which would explain why a prosecutor might exercise discretion and not file charges. That decision doesn’t mean that journalists should be prohibited from deeming false a claim that Mangum was raped while suspended in mid-air, at a time when her own cellphone records and the receipt of her “driver” indicated she wasn’t even at the lacrosse house.
Chester also went of her way to defend Nifong: “There has been no proof that Nifong knew that the players were innocent and decided to frame them in order to win an election. But hey, why wait for proof?”
Chester apparently missed the Disciplinary Hearing Committee’s findings of fact, which made exactly this point. That alone would have disproved her wild charge that Roy Cooper’s behavior “mirrored Nifong.”
Now that the case has been dropped, accepting the statements of all the players and all defense attorneys without question is as dangerous as accepting the initial statements made by Nifong. They clearly want to do more than see the criminal case resolved, they want to control the narrative.But, of course, no one is arguing that people should accept the statements of the players and their attorneys “without question.” The players and their attorneys had corroborating evidence—in the form of unimpeachable electronic data. (Without any foundation for do so, Chester suggested that some of this evidence might have been doctored.)
For some, alas, the accusation alone will be enough.