Friday, October 24, 2008

The Fantastic World of Vincent "Ed" Clark

After leading off with the almost laughable Shird preface, the Mangum Opus segues into a chapter from Mangum co-author Vincent “Ed” Clark, the figure who the N&O delicately described as “a self-employed publicist.”

Clark recalls for readers his first reaction upon hearing news of the Mangum’s fantastic charges:

I hated anything related to Duke sports.

So much for collaborator Myra Shird’s linking the dangers of prejudgment to slavery and the Holocaust.

Clark’s recollection of his first meeting with Mangum reads like the tales of a love-struck teenager:

My heart pounded. I had been waiting for the opportunity to meet the accuser. The case had been constantly on my mind. For some reason I felt as though I needed to know her. I needed to know as much as I could.

And Mangum didn’t disappoint her new, fawning friend:

From that moment [when Mangum first spoke to him] I believed something had happened, too. This person sitting in front of me was supposed to be delusional. I had met plenty of people like that and this person did not strike me that way.

Clark doesn’t share with readers his psychological training, or how else he is equipped to determine when a person is “delusional.” Nor does he reveal why his travels have caused him to encounter “plenty” of “delusional” people, and how he determined that these people were, in fact, “delusional.”

Indeed, Clark himself seems a bit delusional when he discusses the media’s handling of the case:

There was not one positive thing I had seen or read about this woman, and she had no way of knowing if I believed what I had read about her.

At other points in his introduction, Clark claims to have read everything he could about the life and times of his newfound, schoolboy crush. And yet he claims not to have encountered the myriad “positive” portrayals of Mangum as a hard-working mother—the paeans given to her by the potbangers, figures on the NCCU campus or at the state NAACP, and media personalities such as Nancy Grace?

When Clark gets to the facts of the case, his delusions only increase.

If people were willing to tell the truth they would acknowledge that people produced to discredit Crystal were facing their own legal troubles and were represented by lawyers who were members of the players' defense team. They would come forward and tell why Crystal’s medical records were leaked to the public to imply she had mental health problems. Others will say how they floated stories implying Crystal had been sexually promiscuous immediately before the alleged events when there was no proof she had been.

What case is he talking about? Mangum was “discredited” not by anyone coming forward, but by the public revelations of the procedurally flawed lineup, the exculpatory DNA evidence, and the myriad contradictions between the myriad stories she told. She was discredited, in short, by hard evidence, not by personal testimony from anyone.

And what of his claim that “Crystal’s medical records were leaked to the public” In fact, Mangum’s medical records were under seal, and have never been leaked—indeed, their specifics have never been publicly revealed. It’s true that those covering the case looked at the records’ existence “to imply she had mental health problems.” It seems to me—and Clark might disagree—that when a judge in open court holds up a psychological case file of around 1000 pages, the subject of that case file can be described as having “mental health problems.”

And what of Clark’s accusation that “others . . . floated stories implying Crystal had been sexually promiscuous immediately before the alleged events when there was no proof she had been.”

No proof? How, then, does Clark explain the fact that the DNA of multiple unidentified males was found in Mangum’s rape kit? Does he subscribe to Mike Nifong’s theory that this DNA might have come from Mangum’s young children?

Lacking facts to justify his assertions, Clark (as noted yesterday) regularly plays the race and class cards. “North Carolina,” writes he, “was not immune to unfairly prosecuting poor men. I just could not comprehend how having Joe Cheshire as your lawyer was being put at a disadvantage.”

And he continues, in a passage that could have been stolen from any of a number of Group of 88 members,

The idea of a white man abusing some black prostitute has appeal for some folk. Other white men consider black women there to be used, easily accessed, so it goes, and it has been that way since the first enslaved Africans came to America.

Clark concludes with a tribute to Durham, which he celebrates as a city ruled by African-Americans in which the “conservative block [sic]” cannot elect candidates. What’s Durham like, he asks. “Yes, there are murders, rapes, and other mayhem but nothing on the scale of what I saw when I traveled away from home.”

And where are these mysterious places to which Clark has “traveled away from home”? He doesn’t say.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Clark's notions remind of the kind of thing I would hear as a boy in the barbershop I frequented some 40 years ago - prejudice, wishful thinking and statements, supposedly of facts, that had nothing to do with reality. Only in those days, it was white men speaking poorly of the "coloreds." It was a very accurate depiction of the thinking by many people at that time. So too, are the things Clark says now.

Debrah said...

Does it really surprise anyone that--if reports are accurate--this Ed Clark person used to work for a Triangle newspaper?

Given the joyous and enthusiastic complicity most of the area outlets exhibited in the Spring of 2006, Clark would have fit right into their reporting methods of this abominable Hoax.

How do such people as this Ed Clark person garner even an ounce of credibility.......anywhere?

Mike Lee said...

"How do such people as this Ed Clark person garner even an ounce of credibility.....anywhere?" It's very simple actually Debrah,......they don't.

Anonymous said...

"Mangum was “discredited” not by anyone coming forward, but by the public revelations of the procedurally flawed lineup, the exculpatory DNA evidence, and the myriad contradictions between the myriad stories she told. She was discredited, in short, by hard evidence, not by personal testimony from anyone."

To play devil's advocate... The personal testimony of H.P. "Fats" Thomas certainly did have a discrediting effect -- Thomas, of course, was the bouncer at the club where Mangum was caught on tape pole-dancing so athletically just a short time after the alleged assault and the alleged great pain it left her in. I have no credible source indicating that Thomas has faced legal charges of his own and has been defended on those charges by one of the attorneys who also defended the players, but I know that such has been alleged by former visitors to the blog.

Of course, the problem is that even if all that were to be true -- such people are hardly the only reason Mangum wound up so consummately, thoroughly discredited. No one is taking "Fats" Thomas as a source for Mangum dancing athletically at the club on a night she was supposedly racked with pain; they don't need to when the videotape is right there...

Anonymous said...

I know who divulged Mangum's secret psychological history, and I will share it with you. It was Essence Magazine and Mangum's mother:

"The accuser's mother told Essence her daughter went away to a hospital for about a week last summer, where she was treated for a 'nervous breakdown.'"

Another culprit was that dasterdly New York Times, through its public editor, Byron Calame:

"Then I decided that the mental health of the Duke accuser and the failure of Mr. Nifong to limit the harm she caused by doing his job responsibly combined to keep this case from being a good one on which to debate such a policy change."

MOO! Gregory