Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Cohan Does C-SPAN

Sunday evening, author William D. Cohan made the longest appearance (a full hour) of his book publicity tour, on C-SPAN’s Q&A. Cohan continued his aggressive defense of the book’s twin theses: (1) that “something happened” of a nature of justify a trial; and (2) that Mike Nifong was unfairly targeted/prosecuted for his ethical misdeeds.

Lots of what he said in the exchange mirrored his earlier public statements, or was simply redundant. Nonetheless, the appearance was worth a fisking, given the fact-challenged nature of many of Cohan’s statements. Excerpts from relevant portions of Cohan’s remarks, with my comments, below:
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COHAN:  … And there was never a trial in this case and I wanted this book to be the trial that never happened. I was surprised at how few people wanted to talk about this.

Comment: Cohan’s conception of a “trial” evidently is one in which the convener of the trial (in this case, Cohan), makes no effort to speak with the defense attorneys.

Since Cohan didn’t even try to interview the defense attorneys, the State Bar prosecutors, the judge in the case, the State Bar panel, the prosecutor in the criminal contempt trial, or the senior prosecutors in the AG’s office who handled the case, it takes some chutzpah for him to complain about people not wanting “to talk about this.”
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COHAN:  Each of the boys [Cohan is describing people in their late 20s or early 30s as “boys”] – each of the three indicted players got $20 million each from Duke. 

LAMB:  Is that known publicly? Or is that something you found out?

COHAN:  That’s something I found out. I was told that repeatedly. I think one of the players had some publicity about this a few years ago, received a tax bill from the IRS that was written about in a Detroit paper. And if you do the math, the arithmetic you can quickly get to the idea that he was being taxed based on something like a $20 million payment. This has since been confirmed to me and that was of course – so that’s $60 million right there.

Comment: It’s not clear who “confirmed” “this” to Cohan, but whoever did so was almost certainly wrong: the well-connected Bernie Reeves reported several years ago that the figure was actually around a third of Cohan’s total, and I have no reason to doubt Reeves’ ballpark figure.

In one respect, the difference is irrelevant: in either case, Duke made an eight-figure settlement, presumably recognizing the university’s massive legal liability. In another, however, the correct amount weakens Cohan’s frayed credibility, since the author himself attaches so much importance to the $60 million figure.

The since-resolved IRS issue, which was unrelated to the settlement, occurred after the IRS erroneously communicated with an attorney who wasn’t Seligmann’s lawyer; moreover, Cohan has asserted that the settlements were $20 million, exactly. How does Cohan’s amateur tax calculations of “something like a $20 million payment” get him to $20 million exactly?

After listing the Pressler and unindicted players’ settlements (which he estimated as less than $3m combined), Cohan reasoned that the cost is “basically” $100 million—suggesting that (even starting from his flawed report on the settlement amount) Duke’s legal fees total around $37m. As I’ve noted before, Duke’s attorneys are no friends of mine. But the idea that they’ve charged Duke $37m in fees strikes me as very hard to believe.
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COHAN:  So, Ryan [McFadyen] was one of the sophomores on the team. He’s one of the players there he was never, you know, in or near the bathroom. He was never accused of anything. He was just, you know, doing, you know, the usual underage drinking that’s so prevalent.

Comment: Really? Cohan has asserted—time and again—that we’ll never know what happened in the bathroom, and that no one can know other than those who were there. If “we’ll never know,” how does he know that McFadyen was “never, you know, in or near the bathroom”? Indeed, a few minutes later in the interview, Cohan muses that Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty might have been misidentified. Perhaps McFadyen was the real rapist!

I should note: All evidence suggests McFadyen wasn’t in the bathroom and that he is innocent, since no crime occurred. But it’s very, very interesting that—relying on the exact same evidentiary base—Cohan has exonerated the one member of the team who spoke to him, while casting a cloud of suspicion on the other 45 white members of the team.
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COHAN:  …And I think this incident frankly, the paying of the $100 million, has unfortunately corrupted the university a little bit.

Comment: Again, there’s no evidence that Duke paid $100 million to anyone. But an argument could be made on this point—that a university whose conduct was so legally troublesome that it had to make an eight-figure settlement with its own students, but then kept the same leadership team in place, has been “corrupted.” That’s not a line of argument, however, that author Cohan is willing to explore.
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LAMB:  How did you approach doing this?

COHAN:  Completely dispassionately.

Comment: Given what we’ve seen from him, such as his labeling Stuart Taylor as among “the haters” for having the temerity to question him, imagine what a “passionate” William D. Cohan would have looked like.
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COHAN:  …I wanted to be able to look back, thanks to these lawsuits that, one of which is still ongoing, there’s been a lot more documentary evidence that’s come to light then ever existed before. I was able to talk to a number of people who had never spoken up before and I’m an investigative reporter.

Comment: For his book, Cohan appears to have interviewed five people on the record: Mike Nifong, Crystal Mangum, Anne Petersen (Nifong’s attorney), Bob Steel, and Ryan McFadyen.

Contrary to Cohan’s statement to C-SPAN, each of those people had “spoken up before.” Nifong spoke to dozens of journalists, testified before his disciplinary hearing, and testified in his criminal contempt trial. Magnum published a book, did at least one public appearance, spoke to the N&O, ABC-11, and the Discovery Channel. Steel spoke to Stuart (for UPI) and Peter Boyer of the New Yorker. McFadyen spoke to me for the blog and for UPI. Nifong’s attorneys spoke a lot during the disciplinary hearing and his criminal contempt trial, and to the press at that time.

It’s true that Nifong gave Cohan his first post-disbarment interview for publication. But that’s very different than what Cohan told C-SPAN viewers.

As for the civil lawsuits: except for two Ekstrand filings, virtually no discovery from the lawsuits has surfaced, and Cohan badly misrepresented the most significant discovery item (Brodhead’s Primal Fear email) he mentioned in the book, to minimize the guilt-presuming nature of Brodhead’s beliefs. Cohan doesn’t delve into the Duke or Durham court filings in any degree; I’d estimate that at most 3-4 pages (or around 1/200th of the book) comes in any way from “documentary evidence” related to the civil suits.

There was no follow-up from Lamb regarding these brazen claims about the book’s sources.
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COHAN: … I thought for sure as the President of Duke University, my Alma Mater, knowing my reputation as a serious investigative journalist, he would have at least have the courtesy to meet with me.

Comment: The statement speaks for itself.
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COHAN:  And just as quickly, just as quickly as people prejudged these kids, they then prejudged Crystal Mangum the victim who then became known as the accuser. They quickly prejudged Mike Nifong, the District Attorney who had been a well-respected attorney in the prosecutor’s office in Durham for 28 years before he became the District Attorney. Overnight he suddenly becomes this evil conspiratorial individual who’s out to get these three Duke students.

Comment: According to Webster’s, prejudging means “to form an opinion about (someone or something) before you have enough understanding or knowledge.” Nifong was found culpable on 27 of 32 counts of ethical misconduct. He was also found guilty of criminal contempt, for lying in open court to a judge. Such behavior—except, it seems, to serious investigative journalists like William D. Cohan—is not consistent with behaving as “a well-respected attorney.”

Note also that Cohan, yet, again, favorably classifies Nifong’s service as a prosecutor during the time that he likely sent an innocent man to jail, through procedural chicanery, in the Howard case.

It is not clear which people Cohan believes prejudged Nifong.
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COHAN: Roy Cooper never talked to me. Now it’s his right not to talk to me, he’s the Attorney General of the State of North Carolina. He’s probably got other things he needs to do. But if he’s going to declare these kids innocent, I would think that he should spend time with a serious investigative reporter who’s doing a serious fair and balanced portrayal of what happened.

Comment: “Fair and balanced”!!
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COHAN:  Reade Seligmann was the only one of the three indicted boys who reached out to me.

Comment: Cohan is describing an individual in his late 20s as a “boy.”
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COHAN:  You know, he had – you’d have to give him – he had a pretty airtight alibi about where he was at various points in the evening including, you know, calling a cab, going to an ATM machine, having his picture taken at the ATM machine, taking money out and then going to a restaurant and getting some food, you know 12:30 – 12:45 in the evening and then going back his dorm. You know, he had an affidavit from the cab driver who, you know, basically testifying that Reade Seligmann was in his car during the time that supposedly this incident occurred. Now, you know, I asked Mike Nifong about that. What do you think about the Reade Seligmann alibi and, you know, he made his points where he thought it was could very well have been a manufactured alibi. He had his doubts about the alibi. And he points to the fact that when Reade Seligmann asked for the cab to come pick him up, instead of picking him up at that house which is no longer in existence at 610 North Buchanan Boulevard he had the cab go to house around the corner. Which Mike Nifong thinks is a very strange behavior. [ed.: Imagine if the taxi had picked up Seligmann at the house. Nifong would be labeling that behavior suspicious as well.] Why would you do that? Obviously he wanted to get away from that house. I have a suspicion and Mike Nifong has this suspicion and Crystal Mangum has a suspicion that, you know, something untoward did in fact happen in that bathroom. It may not have happened with Reade Seligmann or Collin Finnerty or David Evans, although there is questions about David Evans that are stronger than questions about the other two. But one does get the sense that something happened that none of us would be proud of.

Comment: “You’d have to give him” an alibi? It could “very well have been a manufactured alibi”? This passage shows Cohan—so “besotted” with Nifong, to use Joe Neff’s word—has entered into a kind of fantasy world. Sure, the author’s implication seems to be, the accused person has an unimpeachable electronic alibi (which includes him making phone calls at the time the “attack” was allegedly getting underway, something Cohan has refrained from mentioning in his public appearances), and sure the accused person has two people (including one he had never met before) placing him somewhere else at the time the rape allegedly was occurring.

But he might be guilty anyway, because Mike Nifong says so. Or maybe Crystal Mangum just picked the wrong people when she identified Seligmann with 100% accuracy as her attacker—three weeks after she said he wasn’t an attacker, and she was only 70% certain she recognized him as even attending the party. But Seligmann should have stood trial anyway—because “somebody like” William D. Cohan says so. Utterly fantastic.
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COHAN:  … One of the interesting things, Crystal Mangum, an unanswered question in my mind is Crystal Mangum said there was a struggle. She struggled for her life in that bathroom. She was wearing fake fingernails. She said during that struggle the fingernails popped off. Those fingernails were later found and on one of those fingernails – on one of those fingernails was David Evans DNA with 98 percent certainty. Which seems pretty high to me, but I guess sometimes DNA experts say that two percent probability means that it’s not related at all. But, his attorney’s basically said it got through transference, and Roy Cooper the Attorney General in North Carolina said it got there through transference. In other words that he picked up those fingernails and put them in the trash. Which very well could have happened, except Matt Zash is the one that picked up those fingernails and put them in the trash, not David Evans. And Matt Zash another one of the co-captains who lived in that house said in his report that he did that. And even the police wondered why if (Matt Zash) was the one who picked up the fingernails and put them in the trash why David Evans DNA with 98 percent certainty was on that fingernail.

LAMB:  So, it sounds like at this point you think David Evans was guilty.

COHAN:  I can’t say that, because we’ll never know what happened, you know, as Donald Rumsfeld has said famously this could be one of those unknown, unknowns. There was never a trial. I’m not going to be the one to say that he’s guilty of doing something. There are just questions that I would like answers to that we’re never going to get answers to. Because Roy Cooper is not opening up his files and of course David Evans is not talking to me. That’s for sure.

Comment: Let’s start with the obvious. If Cohan were so interested in Evans’ case, why didn’t he seek to interview Evans’ attorneys? And if Cohan were so interested in the AG office’s handling of the case, why didn’t he seek to interview Jim Coman and Mary Winstead? For such a “serious investigative journalist,” Cohan seems to have been remarkably non-curious.

Cohan’s discussion of DNA is almost comical. Here’s Brad Bannon’s quick summary on the precise role of DNA case; Cohan, on the other hand, seems to suggest that a test that couldn’t match a single lacrosse player while being so precise as to positively match a cell from lab director Brian Meehan nonetheless can and should be interpreted as a sign of guilt. In the course of researching his “definitive, magisterial” book, did Cohan speak to a single DNA expert? If so, why didn’t he quote from this person?

Cohan (likely reflecting Nifong’s beliefs) also seems puzzled by the principle of transference. Zash transferred the false fingernails into Evans’ trashcan. In Evans’ bathroom. Where they sat for more than a day. So why does Cohan attach such importance to the fact that Zash placed the false fingernails; and why did he refuse to inform C-SPAN viewers that the trashcan was Evans’? It’s almost as if author Cohan wanted to mislead the audience. Or perhaps he believes that the typical college student keeps a pristine bathroom, and ensures that his bathroom trashcan never has anything in it, thereby allowing the false fingernails to sit undisturbed for more than a day.

The Cohan theory of the crime, as suggested to C-SPAN: Mangum was subjected to a brutal assault, in which one or two attackers ejaculated in her mouth. The attackers, she said at the time, didn’t use condoms. The assault was so brutal she was struggling for her life, so much so that her false fingernails popped off.

Yet these false fingernails contained no skin residue. Two of her attackers left no DNA trace. The third left no DNA trace in any item from Mangum’s rape kit, but magically might have had a trace DNA match (or might not have) on a false fingernail that was conveniently deposited, for more than 24 hours, in a trashcan that contained items with his DNA. But his possible DNA appeared on the false fingernail not through transference but through the accuser lashing out during the attack.

Recall that a few minutes before muttering this case-according-to-Nifong fantasy, Cohan had asserted that he approached his task “completely dispassionately” and in a “fair and balanced manner.”
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COHAN:  So, he’s obviously – rightly, you know, gone on with their lives as they should, you know, unless of course they got away with something. Which, you know, we’ll never know.

Comment: McCarthy-ite insinuations. A dispassionate journalist at work.
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COHAN:  I don’t know that we’re ever going get to the bottom of this until – unless and until some of the people who really know what happened, who aren’t completely discredited, I don’t think they’re discredited but everybody else thinks Crystal Mangum is discredited. They say, “Oh, she’s now a convicted murderer in jail for 18 years for murdering her boyfriend,” which is true. She is in jail now. And they think Mike Nifong is the antichrist so of course nobody wants to hear what he has to say. 

Comment: The obvious follow-up: “If everybody else thinks Crystal Mangum is discredited, and she’s now in addition to her case-related credibility problems a convicted murderer, why do you find her credible; and what does your finding her credible say about your objectivity?” Of course, Mangum was deemed non-credible because she told non-credible tales, culminating in her story to the special prosecutors of the rape occurring while she was suspended in mid-air.

It’s unclear to whom Cohan was referring with his “they think” line. It’s my sense that lots of people are interested in what Nifong had to say—I’ve written several posts on the comments that Nifong made to Cohan. Unlike Cohan, however, I don’t find Nifong, a convicted liar who violated multiple ethics rules during the case, to be “quite credible” or “honorable.”
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COHAN:  She was one of the two exotic dancers that the boys [even in time-context, Cohan is describing college students as “boys”] hired for $400 each to dance for them for two hours. I can’t imagine what they were going to do in those two hours. But the dance ended such as it was, the dance ended within about five minutes and, you know, at that point, you know, they racial epitaphs thrown…

Comment: In fact, the only people who claimed racial epithets were “thrown” inside the house were Crystal Mangum (in some of her stories) and Duff Wilson (in his August New York Times story, misrepresenting the evidence). Kim Roberts had never made such a claim. By offering it here, Cohan—like his ideological forerunner, Wilson—places Seligmann and Finnerty at the scene of racial epithets. According to the version of events offered by Kim Roberts (no friend of the lacrosse players), the racial exchanges occurred at the very end of the affair, after Seligmann and Finnerty had left.
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LAMB:  Where is [Kim Roberts] today?

COHAN:  I have no idea. She…

LAMB:  Did you try to find her?

COHAN:  I did, but I didn’t even know where to look.

Comment: A “serious investigative journalist” in action.
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LAMB:  You’ve mentioned Crystal Mangum several times. Let’s take a look at her. This is after she was found guilty of murdering her [boyfriend] . . .

COHAN:  She I believe is in a prison in North Carolina. I don’t know exactly which prison. I’ve never been able to figure out exactly which prison she’s in.

Comment: Less than a minute on the web revealed that her “current location” is the North Carolina Correctional Institution for Women.

Again, this is a self-described “serious investigative journalist.”
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LAMB: Do you have any idea how much money the boys families spent on legal fees?

COHAN: What I say in the book is that they spent upwards of $3 million . . . it’s probably more at this point. It could have been more at the time. It’s, again, it’s something that’s just sort of a figure that’s been thrown out there. [emphasis added]

Comment: Yet again, this is a self-described “serious investigative journalist,” who readily admits to including a piece of data in his book based on “a figure that’s been thrown out there.

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COHAN:  Well, there was Mike Nifong’s state Bar hearing through the spring of 2007 that went even beyond the declaration of innocence from Roy Cooper. So, there was all sorts of documentation that was made public as part of that. Then in addition to that two sets of the players, who were the non-indicted players have filed major lawsuits against Duke and there was a lot of discovery as a part of that and a lot of depositions, and a lot of documentation came out of that as well. That was made available. What was not made available was Roy Cooper’s investigation, which was the basis for which he said they were – he declared them innocent. There was like a 20 page report that sort of skimmed the surface of what happened, but he, you know, he certainly would not let me or anybody else see his investigatory files.

Comment: If “a lot of documentation came out” from the civil suits, it didn’t appear in the Cohan book. It’s true that lots of material came out in Nifong’s Bar hearing (and in his criminal contempt trial, which Cohan seems to have conveniently forgotten on C-SPAN), but to the extent Cohan used this material, his chief goal seemed to be to discredit it, explain it away, or minimize its significance.

Cohan neglected to mention that under NCGS § 132-1.4, criminal investigative files are not public documents. That said: based on their reporting, several reporters (Joe Neff at the N&O, Stuart Taylor, 60 Minutes, likely ABC’s Law & Justice Unit) had access to the discovery file. The New York Times claimed it did. Even a college professor (me) had access to the file.

Don’t “serious investigative journalists” like William D. Cohan keep digging for the material they need, if they are unable to obtain it from the first government official that they ask? Instead, in this instance, Cohan appears to have simply given up. A cynical person might suggest that Cohan’s chief interest was not obtaining the discovery file (whose contents would not advance his “something happened” thesis) but instead creating a dispute that would allow him to suggest a government-defense attorneys-State Bar conspiracy to deny him the “truth.”
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COHAN:  [Cooper] found them innocent, Brian. Which is basically not in the legal lexicon. In other words you get to a trial and somebody’s either guilty or not guilty. The concept of innocent doesn’t even work – doesn’t even kind of exist in our Justice system. So he took it way out of that, in fact Mike Nifong told me that on the morning that he declared them innocent he was told by his two – by Cooper’s two investigators that he was just going to say they’re not guilty. Not this idea of innocence. And so that was a complete shock to Mike Nifong as well. As well as, you know, the other – the defense attorney’s, it was a shock to everybody. Because using the word innocent is not something that is usually used in a legal context. 

Comment: Here’s the link to the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission—the very state about which Cohan wrote. It seems as if the “concept of innocent” exists there.

The most remarkable element of this passage, however, is that Cohan basically repeats—with a slight modification, to the point where now it’s just Nifong being blindsided by the innocence declaration, leaving only the implication that the AG’s prosecutors were as well—the first of the many items discredited in the book. In this instance, Joe Neff actually interviewed Jim Coman, which Cohan did not, and Coman said the book’s claims regarding the innocence declaration were “figments of [Nifong’s] imagination.”

That Cohan is unwilling to admit errors is not too surprising. But that he’s willing to simply go out and repeat (or very slightly modify) Nifong stories that have already been disproved?
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COHAN:  . . . And by the way their defense team did an extraordinary job of defending these kids. You know, whether these kids got away with something or not we’ll never know but they did an amazing job of exploiting every mistake that Mike Nifong made. They made it – did an amazing job of getting the state bar to attach Mike Nifong and go after him and file a complaint against Mike Nifong, which forced him to recuse himself from the case and turn it over to Roy Cooper, where we know now that he declared them innocent.

Comment: It’s striking how—in a one-hour interview—Cohan never mentioned that the key ethics charge against Nifong involved his improperly withholding DNA evidence from the defense; and then lying about it to a judge. This information, upon which the case turned, wasn’t important enough to squeeze into a 60-minute discussion?

Instead, he left C-SPAN viewers with a vague statement about defense attorneys exploiting unnamed Nifong mistakes, and the State Bar, for unknown reasons, filing a “complaint” against Nifong.
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LAMB:  So, is there a bigger lesson to learn in all this that goes beyond Duke to other colleges? Is there a lesson of the law, the legal aspect of this to learn?

COHAN:  Well, I mean to some extent shows how the legal system can be corrupted. Well, you know, from both sides. It can be corrupted by a prosecutor who is probably too aggressive in making statements, even though he believes in his mind the idea was just to bring this to trial. You know, clearly the justice system was subverted here. There was no trial. I mean how many times can you think of where somebody’s been indicted, three kids – three people have been indicted and then there was no trial to see whether or not in fact they were guilty or not guilty and then declared innocent.

Comment: This is a very strange statement, in a couple of respects. First, Cohan suggests that a corruption case against Nifong would be based on his “probably” having been “too aggressive” in public statements—not even bothering to mention Nifong’s withholding of exculpatory DNA evidence or lying to a judge, offenses that get to the heart of a corrupted system.

Then, Cohan asserts that not bringing a case to trial—a case in which the prosecutors of the state attorney general’s office believed that the defendants were actually innocent—constitutes the “legal system” being “corrupted.” Under this astonishing standard, people who both the prosecution and the defense believe are innocent nonetheless would have to face trial, with the not-insignificant chance of a false conviction that results.
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LAMB:  Last question. Mike Nifong who was the District Attorney in Durham, was he right or wrong the way he conduct himself? Especially in that first week or so declaring them guilty.    

COHAN:  I think he probably would be the first to say he regrets all those public statements he made. He also was the first to tell me why he did that. Again, this is the first time he’s ever had the chance to talk about it and a lot of people condemn him for even having the temerity to speak out and sharing his point of view, but his problem was that he was a District Attorney, he was trying to figure out who the suspects were, who the people were, who may have done this. And he didn’t have any suspects. So he thought that by going public, by describing what he believed happened based on what the police investigation showed, what Crystal Mangum had said, what Tara Levicy had found in her medical report that he could sort of smoke out somebody who would feel guilty about what they thought might have happened in that bathroom and would be willing to come forward. Unfortunately that didn’t work and so within a week’s time he gave that up and basically didn’t talk to the media again and but he was crucified for doing it in that very publicly and during that week.

Comment: This was a fitting end to the interview—Nifong, lo Durham’s Christ-like figure, “crucified.”

Start with the obvious: first, nothing in Rule 3.6a (and Nifong was, as Cohan repeatedly reminds listeners, a prosecutor of long standing) allows prosecutors to avoid the rule’s prohibition on making prejudicial public statements if the prosecutor believes the statements will serve some benefit to his case. Cohan’s conception of the rule would allow prosecutors to constantly violate it on grounds that they had an innocent motive.

Second, why would any prosecutor, especially one as experienced as Nifong, believe that the way to encourage witnesses to come forward is to publicly label them “hooligans,” or to suggest they’re comparable to cross-burners (both Nifong remarks)? And why should anyone believe that Nifong wanted to encourage witnesses to come forward, given that he repeatedly spurned meetings with the former students’ attorneys, who said they had evidence that would prove to Nifong no crime occurred?

Finally, despite Cohan’s claim, Nifong made many ethically improper statements well beyond “a week’s time” after his first statement (27 March 2006). Seventeen days after his first statements on the case, Nifong made this public remark, at a candidates' debate:

 

Wholly contradicting Cohan’s concluding remarks to C-SPAN, more than six months after his first statement on the case:
  • Nifong asserted, “If a case is of such significance that people in the community are divided or up in arms over the existence of that case, then that in and of itself is an indication that a case needs to be tried”;
  • Nifong claimed that dismissing the case “does nothing to address the underlying divisions that have been revealed. My personal feeling is the first step to addressing those divisions is addressing this case.”
  • Nifong maintained, “They have endeavored to make this election something it is not: a referendum on a single case that that view as a threat to their sense of entitlement and that they do not trust a jury of Durham citizens to decide: a referendum on a single case that that [sic] view as a threat to their sense of entitlement and that they do not trust a jury of Durham citizens to decide.”
  • Nifong told one reporter, “They’ve come out really strong with the idea they would either scare me or the [accuser] away. That’s never worked for me, which they should know by now, and it didn’t work for her, either. And so here we are.”
For good measure, in late December 2006, nearly nine months after his original statements on the case, Nifong conducted a three-hour interview with his friends from the New York Times.

From where could Cohan have gotten such an odd (and demonstrably false) idea that Nifong “basically didn’t talk to the media again” after early April? From . . . Mike Nifong’s attorneys, in an argument that was presented to and then firmly rejected by the Bar.

That Cohan has now been reduced to recycling the rejected legal arguments of Nifong’s attorneys speaks volumes about his “fair and balanced” approach. 

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

KC, could it be that Cohan's widespread publicity that a trial 'should have' taken place be another approach (dare I say liberal?)to support the current 'guilty as charged' premise that college men accused of rape MUST be tried by those in authority even if the evidence doesn't support the charge and even if it isn't reported to the police? Would it be at some point that Cohan's campaign will be referred to a disinterested view of support for the feminist (and U.S. Government's) assertion that all college males are potential rapists? Could it be that Cohan anticipates adulation from those aforementioned that would increase his renown and sell more of his books, both present and future?

Big Al

Anonymous said...

KC - I wish that some of these outlets providing Cohan with forums to spew his nonsense would arrange a televised discussion of the facts of the case, including Cohan... and you! Better yet, why doesn't Cohan arrange such a meeting, since he is so committed to Fair and Balanced. We would love to see you make mincemeat of Cohan's shoddy journalism.

My hypothesis is that Cohan was among the early "rush to judgement" crowd, who then embarrassed himself within his community of "respected journalist", when he was proven to be so spectacularly wrong. His book now is his effort to redeem his reputation as a world-class FOOL.

Anonymous said...

Here are links to video and to MP3 audio (scroll down to "Q&A" section, then click on "Recent Programs). Audio also available at iTunes.

Anonymous said...

I suggest a live Oxford-style debate between KCJ and WDC on the PBS/NPR program "Intelligence Squared!"

RighteousThug said...

"COHAN: Reade Seligmann was the only one of the three indicted boys who reached out to me.

Really? 'Reached out' in what manner, I wonder...

RighteousThug said...

Greg said on previous thread...

If Cohen is going on talk shows and suggesting the Duke players were probably guilty of something in that room, I'd really be surprised.

At this point, Greg, your comment above leads one to believe that you are terminally obtuse, willfully ignorant, or that you are being intellectually dishonest.

Seriously.

Chris Halkides said...

RT, Cohan quotes from an email Reade Seligmann sent out near the end of his book. I am not sure who first contacted whom.

KC Johnson said...

To Chris:

It would be very rare indeed for a potential interview target to "reach out" to the book author requesting an interview.

And I have absolutely no reason to believe that's how it occurred in this case. To the extent that Cohan is claiming that Seligmann originally reached out to him rather than the reverse, he is being deceptive.

William L. Anderson said...

This is one of those "absolutely last word" posts, a post which tears apart every lie Cohan is spouting. The only way anyone could deny otherwise would be if that person simply were closed to the truth. Period.

Cohan had no intention from the start to find the truth, since the facts were in front of him or easily accessed. He cannot claim ignorance nor inexperience. This book is a fraud. No other word will suffice.

No Justice, No Peace said...

Of sorts, Cohan is leaving a mark. He was a co-host on Bloomberg West last night.

I initially thought he was promoting his book. In the segment I caught, he was not.

However, they were interviewing an author of another book. Cohan seemed to be favorably impressed. By association I was tuned out.

I didn't follow much of what was said because I kept finding myself staring at him. Why, at this point, after the revelation of so many unimpeachable facts would someone, anyone, ignore the truth and misrepresent the case the way he has. It is baffling.

He did appear tired, very tired.

Like Nifong, like Brodhead, like so, so many others, it will define his legacy. Why indeed?

Anonymous said...

I was at the Durham NC, Regulator Bookshope discussion with William Cohan. CSPANwas there taping it andthey said it was tobe shown that week on the CSPAN book club. Itwas cancelled and instead was substituted with whatKChas quoted above.

Anonymous said...

This is just damn depressing that Cohan and company are not laughed off the public stage.

Anonymous said...

I suspect Cohan's next book will be a painstaking re-examination of the Tawana Brawley case, with her and Rev. Sharpton coming out "crucified."