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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.