Thursday, February 25, 2010


A few updates.

Crystal Mangum’s bail, for charges of attempted murder, arson, and child endangerment, was reduced to $250,000. As one of the most astute observers of the case commented to me privately, a notable aspect of this affair is that, by filing severe charges against her, the Durham Police Department is no longer willing to afford Mangum the special treatment she so consistently received in the lacrosse case.

Mangum’s patron and “co-author,” Vincent Clark, appears to have noticed this as well: he sniffed to WRAL that “we hope that the courts will adjudicate this case with fairness and without bias.” (In the mind of Clark, it looks as if Nifong's decision to violate rules on behalf of Mangum constitutes the system acting fairly.) Clark also wildly suggested that Mangum had suffered from unidentified “past injustices.”

In Newsweek on-line, Susannah Meadows, who covered the case extensively, correctly observes, “I am sorry to say that I wasn't at all surprised by the most recent events.” Mangum, of course, has a long history of mental illness. And, as Meadows observes, “There were so many different versions of events that her statements took on an air of absurdity. She came off as more pathetic than conniving” (quite unlike, for instance, Nifong).

Meadows also contends that “though the case ended, the sadness that the scandal incidentally exposed remains unresolved. Remember that racial slur? When the two black strippers left the lacrosse party in a huff, a white freshman on the lacrosse team yelled out to them, ‘Thank your grandpa for my nice cotton shirt!; Case or no case, the epithet still hangs in the air.”

Indeed it does. So, too, does the Group of 88’s statement. But unlike the student who uttered the racial epithet, the Group of 88 has, if anything, only tightened its vise over Duke’s humanities and (some) social sciences departments in the wake of the affair.

Two instances of false or dismissed rape allegations. The New York Post brings the story of a woman sent to prison for lying about a rape—a lie that led to an innocent man being sentenced to 20 years in jail. It’s inconceivable to me that Mangum could have been convicted of such an offense—she could have claimed mental illness, or she could have suggested that, as the DPD and the county’s “minister of justice” believed her, the story she told was credible. But the sentence is a reminder of just how unusual it is for false accusers—in a crime where the word of a false accuser can be enough to merit a decades-long sentence—to be prosecuted for their lies.

On another front, the Sacred Heart lacrosse case, which prompted several publications to write, as fact, that the “victim” was a “girl”? It turns out that, legally, there was no “victim” at all. All charges have been dropped.

Finally, I’ve little doubt that only the truest of true believers, scattered hacks who want to rehabilitate Mike Nifong, and those with high tolerance for what Dave Evans once termed “fantastic lies” monitor the “justice4nifong” site. I count myself in the latter category.

That said, the site remains the closest thing we have to the unvarnished thinking of Nifong. The committee members that nominally supervise the site consist of Nifong’s closest followers, and have admitted that they’re in contact with Nifong himself.

With that in mind, it’s been interesting to see a sudden, even abrupt, change in the “Nifong party line” over the last couple of weeks. The previous party line amounted to: Mike Nifong’s an ethical guy, a rape probably occurred, the lacrosse players are awful racists, and the State Bar mistreated him. These beliefs still animate the site. But nonetheless, sometime between a post on February 7, 2010 and February 16, 2010, the party line shifted.

The site escalated its personal attacks on the State Bar prosecutors. It magnified its claim that Nifong didn’t benefit from the case politically. More intriguingly, it suddenly started homing in on Rae Evans, to an extent far greater than previously. And, again, to a much greater extent than before, it suddenly started highlighting an alleged plot between CBS News(!) and the special prosecutors/AG’s office.

I’m not aware of anything that occurred in the case between February 7, 2010 and February 16, 2010 to cause Nifong and his acolytes to suddenly focus on demonizing Rae Evans and CBS News, or to suddenly challenge, in minute detail, the DHC’s conclusion that political concerns motivated Nifong.

The new party line, alas, is no more convincing than the old party line was, and would persuade only those in Nifong’s closest circle and the hacks who accept Nifong’s rationalizations as credible.


William L. Anderson said...

Good points all around, K.C. Indeed, I stopped reading justice4nifong because it was clear that the operator was going to try to push the same sets of lies that Nifong was giving us. And I agree that the blog is reflecting Nifong's thinking, and it is clear that Nifong really feels sorry for himself.

Anonymous said...

Is Clark a Communist?

Anonymous said...

Where is Victoria Peterson when we really need her?

Anonymous said...

What are NCCU's requirements for graduation with honors again? What course requirements are there? How many hours of class attendance? How many papers written? Can degrees be awarded on the basis of faculty sympathy for the student?

Is that school accredited?

Pierce Harlan said...

Excellent point about how unusual it is to prosecute false accusers who have the power to destroy men on the basis of their uncorroborated accusations.

Slowly but surely, judges and the public are starting to take more seriously the crime of false reporting. Those of us who advocate for the falsely accused know that this is due in no small measure to your efforts. No one has brought awareness to this problem more effectively than you have.

With the avalanche of rape reforms in the past several decades, we have made reporting rape, and charging and convicting rapists, easier than ever. We have handed women unprecedented power to bring their rapists to justice merely by crying rape. The problem is, we didn't bother to consider what we should do if they abuse that power.

The falsely accused are treated as little more than unfortunate collateral damage in the "more important" war on rape. "Rape" has been gender-politicized to the point that the victimization of our sons is not deemed as worthy of our protection as the victimization of our daughters. As a result, the presumed innocent, who too often turn out to be falsely accused, are readily arrested on the basis of even far-fetched claims without sufficient investigation (e.g., Hofstra); their bail is often set sufficiently high to insure they won't get out until trial; their reputations are too readily destroyed while their accusers' identities are guarded with greater tenacity than Clark Kent guards Superman's; and their false accusers are often excused with no punishment, thus providing no deterrence to other would-be false accusers.

With your help, more people than ever realize that this abuse of power is a significant problem.

The Hounds of TASSers'ville said...

Of course Susannah Meadows fails to mention that the "cotton shirt" shout was a polemic response to a previous racial (and we daresay in addition, sexist) slur by Kim Roberts.

No lessons learned in the media on accuracy before narrative, particularly at Newsweak.

Hound No. 2
The Hounds of TASSers'ville

Anonymous said...


Have you tried to contact Nancy Grace, Wendy Murphy, and other Mangum-boosters for their reaction to this latest development?

I can't help wondering whether they are just hoping they can slip away quietly from Crystal Mangum, Mike Nifong, and the Gang of 88, and nobody will notice.

I think you should hold their feet to the fire.

Gus W.

Nicolas Martin said...

She has moral rot, not some fictional "mental illness."

Anonymous said...

"Remember that racial slur?... case or no case, the epithet still hangs in the air.” Because an accusation of racism trumps anything else, right? As in: 'OK, maybe those lacrosse players didn't really commit rape, but that single shouted remark proves that, deep down, they're racists -- and deserved at least a little of what they got.'


Walt said...

KC: You wrote: "And, again, to a much greater extent than before, it suddenly started highlighting an alleged plot between CBS News(!) and the special prosecutors/AG’s office."

This seems like the ramblings of Vince more than Syd or even Mike Nifong. Vince seems to believe in media conspiracies to block his client from telling her story. I find that odd, since the media gave her many opportunities to tell her story without any interference. When some outlets question her version of events, they are in a conspiracy.


Anonymous said...

Fake journalist Susannah Meadows wrote:

"But though the case ended, the sadness that the scandal incidentally exposed remains unresolved. Remember that racial slur? When the two black strippers left the lacrosse party in a huff, a white freshman on the lacrosse team yelled out to them, "Thank your grandpa for my nice cotton shirt!" Case or no case, the epithet still hangs in the air."

Has Susannah ever picked a single boll of cotton? I have. I picked lots of bolls of cotton -- by hand -- in San Patricio County, Texas, in the late-1960s. I never saw any blacks picking cotton.

When I first heard of this taunt, I thought it was an economic one -- "My family's richer than yours!"

Unless Susannah has some proof that this was a racial and not a class slur, she should retract her born-in-the-narrative accusation.


gak said...

I have to wonder. I understand the courts set a $250K bail, but she still has to have the case go through the (Klein) DA's office. I have to wonder if the lady DA will find isufficient evidence to follow through on the charges. The arrest alone looks good for the civil case, but I want to see the hand after all the cards are played out.

Anonymous said...

Remember, the Duke faculty set the groundwork for the initial discussion of this horrible situation. They were biased, bigotted, and prejudiced from the outset. They allowed no reason or justice to be manifested toward their chosen victims. They plotted, planned, and instigated in their purposeful ignorance. They were in short an intellectual mob pure and simple giving cover for Nifong and others of their ilk to hunt, hurt, and destroy people.