Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Fisking Cohan on Rehm

Yesterday, author William D. Cohan made an extended appearance on the Diane Rehm Show. The hour-long session gave him the most detailed opportunity to present his controversial twin theses that “something happened” and Mike Nifong’s ethical misdeeds were either overblown or non-existent. The program has published the transcript of Cohan’s remarks—which in many instances are chilling. At the least, it’s clear that he has all but abandoned the argument-by-insinuation that characterized much of his book.

Remarks, with my comments, below.

COHAN
11:08:29
I decided that I had too many open questions in my mind about what happened at my alma mater, which I love, about what happened during this incident between March of 2006 when the party occurred and April 2007 when Roy Cooper, the attorney general of the state of North Carolina, declared these boys innocent. I wanted to know what happened. There was no trial in this case. I wanted this book to serve as the trial that never happened.

Comment: If Cohan was so troubled by these issues, why did he wait five-plus years to start writing his book? What were these “open questions”?

Cohan is describing individuals in their late 20s or early 30s as “boys.”

Also: If Cohan conceived of his book as a “trial,” why did he not request an interview with the defense attorneys? A “trial” in which the defense has no opportunity to address the “judge” might be described as . . . Nifongesque.

COHAN
11:09:10
I was able to speak to people who had never spoken before about this, like Mike Nifong. Everybody wanted to talk to Mike Nifong in 2006, in 2007.

Comment: Well, in 2006, just about everybody in journalism did talk to Mike Nifong. And he spoke about “this” a lot.

In 2007, it’s true, Nifong ceased doing interviews, but it’s not as if he was silent: he testified, at length, before the State Bar and in his criminal contempt trial.

Cohan’s interviews with Nifong differed from Nifong’s comments to the Bar and the court, in that Nifong didn’t speak to Cohan under oath, and in that Cohan (unlike Bar prosecutors or Judge Smith) uncritically accepted virtually all of Nifong’s tales.

COHAN
11:09:32
This is the first time [Nifong has] spoken about this case since then.

Comment: Unlike so much of what Cohan says, this actually is true.

COHAN
11:10:12
Yes, after Duke University, my alma mater, told [Steel] not to talk to me, tried to silence him. But he courageously wanted his version of this story out. He wanted to say what had happened here. And he was more than happy to talk to me.


COHAN
11:13:10
And at about midnight, they decided to invite two strippers [to the party]. They paid $400 to them each with the idea incredibly that they were going to put on a show for two hours.

Comment: If this decision was made at “about midnight,” how did Kim Roberts arrive before midnight? Why was Crystal Mangum supposed to arrive before midnight also?

Obviously this is a minor error (the reservation was made earlier in the evening). But in a case where the timeline was critically important, this is an odd mistake.

COHAN
11:14:02
Yes. I talked with [Mangum], also for the first time that’s she’s spoken publicly about this.

Comment: Really? Mangum published an autobiography in 2008, and made at least one public appearance. She did a lengthy 2012 interview with the program “Wives with Knives.” She also did an interview with ABC-11’s Tamara Gibbs, which occurred after Cohan’s discussion with Mangum but was broadcast before Cohan’s book appeared.

The book was not “the first time that’s she’s spoken publicly about this.”

COHAN
11:15:17
The police came. They tried to get her out of the car. She wouldn’t -- she was not responsive. They gave her smelling salts. It woke her up. They eventually took her to something called Durham Access. While she was at Durham Access, they asked her what had happened. She said, I was raped.

Comment: Again, a minor, but telling, inaccuracy. The intake nurse did not ask Mangum what happened; the nurse (improperly) asked her whether she had been raped. Magnum did not say that she had been raped; she said “yes,” or something indicating agreement with the nurse’s question.

COHAN
11:15:17
They immediately took her to the Duke University Hospital. She was examined by a nurse. And for the first time, the nurse’s report is in my book. That had never been released before.

REHM
11:15:46
Why not?

COHAN
11:15:47
It was deemed to be a private document, a secure document, a nonpublic document, and so it never came out before. I was able to get a copy of it. A lot of defense attorneys sort of made hay with it, about what they thought it said, but now, for the first time, you know, people can see actually what it said. And in there she tells a story, Crystal Mangum, the victim slash -- and she was later known as the accuser when the story turned.

Comment: This is either an outright lie or an indication that Cohan is wholly unaware of any of the key reporting on the case. As I’ve noted previously, virtually every key figure who covered the case (from a variety of different perspectives) had the Levicy report. The N&O did. The Times did. 60 Minutes did. Stuart did. I did—I did a three-part series on Levicy’s role in the case, the first post of which focused on the report and Levicy’s initial actions. Stuart and I also quoted from the report in UPI (pp. 33-34).

I’m at a loss to understand what Cohan has to gain from such an easily disprovable statement.

COHAN
…And therefore they decided -- the defense decided that she was biased and a feminist, so therefore she couldn’t objectively assess what happened to Crystal Mangum.

Comment: The “defense” made no such “deci[sion].” In no defense filing was Levicy identified as a “feminist,” in no “defense” statement to the press was she so identified. And since Cohan never even asked defense attorneys for an interview, we know that he did not obtain such a statement in any interview. (The defense implied that Levicy was incompetent, and there’s every reason to believe that if a trial had occurred she would have been shredded in cross-examination on technical grounds, but Cohan is making a separate charge here.)

So: what evidence does Cohan have that “the defense decided” that Levicy was “a feminist,” which would call into question whether she could “objectively assess what happened to Crystal Mangum”?

REHM
11:17:36
Was there a second assessment at the time? Was there someone else who confirmed the evidence?

COHAN
11:17:46
Well, there was also a doctor who -- there were many doctors who examined Crystal. There were many police who talked to her. The police investigators from Durham spent a lot of time with Crystal. They obviously believed much of her story. They believed she was assaulted.

Comment: What a very, very interesting answer. Note that Cohan starts to mention Dr. Julie Manly—but then quickly backtracks, since Manly (who Nifong never interviewed) came to have doubts that Mangum was raped. It’s almost as if Cohan realized that talking about Dr. Manly’s experiences would contradict the preferred storyline. And which “police investigators” was Cohan talking about? Sgt. Shelton, who never believed Mangum? Inv. Himan, who eventually concluded she had made things up?

COHAN
11:18:07
One of the things that Mike Nifong told me, the Durham district attorney, was that had the players given DNA tests voluntarily, which they decided ultimately not to do, had they done that voluntarily, there would not have been a Duke Lacrosse case.

Comment: Another strange answer, in multiple respects. First: the lacrosse players (wisely) decided that they didn’t want to interview with Sgt. Mark Gottlieb without counsel. That’s now somehow unacceptable behavior? (I wonder how many NPR listeners would agree on cases other than the lacrosse case.) Second: the current Nifong/Mangum position (endorsed by Cohan in multiple interviews) is that something criminal happened to Mangum. If so, then why would the lacrosse players meeting with Gottlieb voluntarily have meant “there would not have been a Duke Lacrosse case”? Or is Cohan admitting that Nifong wouldn’t have pursued the case but for the publicity caused by the NTO?

REHM
11:20:01
And here’s our first email following our earlier portion of the conversation about William Cohan’s new book, “The Price of Silence.” This from Mercedes, who says, “Mr. Cohan has expressed his belief that something happened to Crystal Mangum, at the Duke lacrosse party on March 13th,” or 14th because it happened after midnight. “I would like to know, based on his research, what he believes happened in that bathroom. Does he believe that the three indicted players are not innocent?”

Comment: First: it took 20 minutes for the “first e-mail” to come in. It doesn’t appear that Rehm’s listeners were terribly engaged with Cohan’s musings. Second: this is a good question—direct, and it forces Cohan to move beyond vague generalities.

COHAN
11:20:50
So that is a very simple question that is complex to answer.

Comment: In other words, Cohan won’t answer it. (He doesn’t, instead rambling on for a few minutes.) Why can’t he answer it? “Because the people who were in that bathroom aren’t talking.” Does Cohan have evidence, for instance, that Reade Seligmann or Collin Finnerty were ever in the bathroom at the captains’ house? Does he have evidence that any lacrosse player was in the bathroom with Mangum? If not—and he’s never presented such evidence—how can he claim “the people who were in that bathroom aren’t talking”? Mangum did speak, and the only other person known to have been in the bathroom was Kim Roberts.

This question tripped Cohan up. It’s a shame that Rehm didn’t ask the obvious follow-up question: “Just to clarify, if the people who were in that bathroom aren’t talking, which people were in that bathroom?

COHAN
11:21:57
[Nifong] was extremely well respected before this case came along. And all of a sudden everybody wants to say he had no judgment and he was just out for political gain, and this was all a vendetta against Duke students, where both -- his parents both went to Duke.

He got into Duke and chose to go to UNC. They just make him out to be an incredible villain. And I’m sorry -- and this is going to make all the haters hate me all the more -- I don’t believe it. Okay. I believe he was an honorable man trying to get to the bottom of what happened.

Comment: Who are the “haters”? What do they “hate”? Cohan doesn’t say. Who has claimed that Nifong had a “vendetta against Duke students”? If the case had involved black Duke students, given the political realities that Nifong faced, it’s inconceivable that Nifong would have responded as he did.

“An honorable man.” This is a man who committed multiple ethics improprieties and lied to a judge in open court. Incredibly, Rehm asks no follow-up question.

REHM
11:22:27
All right. Now, take us back to the Duke University Hospital once again. Did any of the evidence indicate that this young woman had been assaulted with a broomstick?

COHAN
11:22:49
Well, that night, when she was examined, I don’t think she said anything. I mean, there was discussion about a broomstick and the threat of using a broomstick. The broomstick idea is something that she told me later. Okay. That was new information that was not mentioned that night.

Comment: He doesn't think she said anything that night? Given that there’s no medical evidence of this “broomstick” assault, and given that Mangum never offered this theory of the crime at any point before indictments to any police officer or to Nifong, a remotely skeptical person would wonder about his interviewee’s credibility. But apparently not Cohan.

COHAN
11:23:28
[In] December of 2006, when she was -- so this is sort of nine months into this controversy -- when she was interviewed by one of the Mike Nifong’s investigators. And during that interview, which was, you know, transcribed and put on -- written down, she said she could no longer remember whether she was assaulted by a penis that night.

Comment: Cohan doesn’t even mention that this “revelation” came five days after the Meehan revelation that he and Nifong had agreed that the lab director would produce a report that didn’t contain the results of all the DNA tests, in violation of two separate sections of North Carolina law.

COHAN
11:25:01
[Cohan blames the defense attorneys for the Bar’s actions, and then explains why Nifong was disbarred.] The first charge was because during the first or second week of March, after he had the case, he was on TV everywhere talking about his belief that these kids had done this -- committed this crime. He was everywhere. He was everywhere. And the second part of it was related to DNA evidence that the defense believed that Mike Nifong withheld. I don’t believe he withheld it. [emphasis added] He turned all the DNA evidence over to the defense during the course of the procedural part… the defense attorneys claim that Mike Nifong withheld that information from them. But that’s just simply not true. [emphasis added]

He turned it all over to them months before there was going to be any trial. He didn’t make it easy for them. He didn’t put a nice bow around it. He made them dig through it and find out that there was DNA evidence from other men in and on her, not related to the Duke players. So of course they then trumpeted that information publicly and then they had the state bar file a complaint against Nifong for claiming to so-call withhold this evidence. But obviously he didn’t withhold the evidence because they found it. [emphasis added]

Comment: This is an extraordinary statement, quite beyond the fact that Cohan appears to have given up even trying to defend Nifong’s improper statements, which occurred from late March to mid-April, not, as Cohan claims, in the first or second weeks of March. § 15A-282 of North Carolina’s General Statues states, “A person who has been the subject of nontestimonial identification procedures or his attorney [as the lacrosse players were here] must be provided with a copy of any reports of test results as soon as the reports are available.” [emphasis added] § 15A-903 of North Carolina’s General Statues states, “Each such witness shall prepare, and the State shall furnish to the defendant, a report of the results of any examinations or tests conducted by the expert.” [emphasis added] Both of these statutes refer to “reports,” not simply raw data. The Meehan report clearly did not contain the results of all the tests he had conducted. But according to Cohan, this is all a game, and Nifong not following two separate provisions of North Carolina law was simply the DA not putting a “bow around it” or making it “easy” for the defense.

Cohan purports to be concerned with issues of class. What happens to poor defendants who can’t hire lawyers to pore over raw DNA data in the hopes of finding the evidence that the prosecutor has hidden? Apparently to Cohan, those defendants are just out of luck, because the prosecutor doesn’t have to provide full test results, or “put a nice bow around it.”

Again, almost incredibly, Rehm asks no follow-up question.

REHM
11:27:20
So they found the evidence, which it sounds as though could have been exculpatory.

COHAN
11:27:30
Yes. I’m not a lawyer. So then there’s the whole debate about exculpatory and inculpatory. Basically, Mike Nifong, what he told me was that the absence of evidence isn’t evidence of absence. It happens to be a same phrase that Donald Rumsfeld used in the new Errol Morris movie. But the fact of the matter is there was rape cases brought in Durham and in jurisdictions all over this country before DNA evidence was used...

Before they even had DNA testing, rape trials occurred all across the country. And basically, his view -- this is Mike Nifong’s view -- just because there was no DNA evidence doesn’t mean something didn’t happen in that bathroom.

Comment: Another bizarre statement. Of course there were rape cases before DNA was used. So what? In this case, given the particular crime Mangum alleged, DNA was almost certain to be dispositive. How does the fact that 40 years ago prosecutors didn’t use DNA change any of that?

Cohan’s willingness to rely on Mike Nifong’s word about what is and isn’t exculpatory evidence is terrifying.

REHM
11:29:48
All right. The remainder of the subtitle of your book is, “The Corruption of Our Great Universities.” What are you referring to?

COHAN
11:30:04
I’m referring to the fact that, you know, number one, that the emphasis on sports and big-time sports and the status that athletes get at universities all across this country is just a fact of life that is corrupting. We see that now going on, playing out in real time because we’re just coming off the NCAA basketball championship where billions of dollars go to these schools.

Comment: All well and good, but lacrosse doesn’t exactly bring in “billions of dollars” to any school.

COHAN
11:31:05
The basketball program does make money, of course, Under Coach Gay. But this party, in the end, Duke settled with these kids for reasons that are mystifying to me. Paid them $20 million each . . . And this party has cost Duke upwards of $100 million, between legal fees and P.R. fees and investigations and settlements. And I wanted to know why. Why did my university spend this money? And I feel like, you know, they got corrupted in the process.

Comment: Cohan has produced no evidence that the total settlement was $60 million, and there’s good reason to believe otherwise. Second, Cohan has produced no evidence that the legal/PR fees totaled anywhere from $37 million to $77 million; he never even mentions this second group of figures in his book.

I’m mystified as to why Cohan’s mystified that Duke settled. Entities settle when they think they’re legally vulnerable. Duke was.

REHM
11:31:34
Here’s an email from Lisa, who says, “Please address the issue of the culture of the men’s lacrosse team, whose end-of-year celebrations included a stripper. For these young men to have been wrongly convicted and to serve jail time would certainly have been unjust, but they put themselves in a position to have that happen by having a stripper at the party. The issue of the exploitation of women was never addressed. And the lacrosse players risked their freedom by their thinking it was okay to celebrate with a stripper present.”

COHAN
11:32:26
I think that because of the pedestal that the lacrosse players were put on at Duke, they were allowed to get away with a lot of bad behavior, misdemeanor kind of behavior, underage drinking, public urination, noise. I mean if you look at the analysis of the “crimes” or the misdemeanors that occurred at Duke during this period and the years leading up to it, fully half of them were committed by the lacrosse team players.

Comment: I have no idea to what study Cohan is referring suggesting that lacrosse players committed “fully half” the crimes that occurred at Duke “during this period and the years leading up to it.”

“The issue of exploitation of women was never addressed”? Has this person never heard of the Group of 88, or the CCI, or the myriad commentaries discussing the issue? But it doesn’t surprise me that Cohan liked this e-mail.

REHM
11:40:40
Here’s an email from Malcolm who says, “One thing your guest failed to mention was that the DA, the prosecutor Nifong was in a heated re-election campaign.

COHAN
11:40:58
That is, of course, quite true. And I think I referred to that as well but I’m happy to reiterate the fact that he was appointed the DA in 2005 when the then current DA was appointed a judge. He then, at the end of 2005, declared himself to be a candidate for the seat himself after 28 years being an underling. He was actively campaigning to become the DA. Beginning of the year of 2006 he had two opponents. And then in March of 2006 this happened.

So the defense and the critics will say he just used this case to promote his political ambitions, because Durham is 45 percent black so he’s just going to appeal to the black community. I mean, I think that is total rubbish. He didn’t -- he is already a declared candidate in January of 2006. This case comes around in March of 2006. He realizes it’s going to be volatile and important. And he just happened to find out about the case by reading this non-testimonial order that appeared on a copy machine a week after the case had started. And so for his critics to complain that he was just exploiting this for political purposes, I don’t think is fair.

Comment: This response (to a good question) was word salad. No one disputes that Nifong declared as a candidate in January 2006. Presumably at that time, he thought he could win. But by mid-March 2006, the only objective evidence that exists (a poll showing him trailing and his fundraising drying up) indicates that Nifong was on his way to defeat.

Cohan appears to believe that the fact that Nifong “just happened to find out about the case by reading this non-testimonial order that appeared on a copy machine a week after the case had started” (assuming that’s true) means that Nifong didn’t subsequently decide to exploit the case for political purposes. Given Nifong’s statement to Jackie Brown, and given the absence of any other credible explanation for his pre-primary publicity spree, Cohan is remarkably non-curious as to what motivated Nifong’s behavior in late March and April 2006.

REHM
11:42:15
Here’s an email from Andrew. Did you speak with any of the Duke 88 faculty members and what happened to those faculty members?

COHAN
11:42:28
Yes. I spoke to a number of the faculty members. Understandably they still work there. And even though they’re tenured, they don’t want -- never wanted their names to be used because they are very scared. There’s still legal proceedings going on. There’s still lawsuits. Lawyers have been sending professors threatening letters about make sure they don’t talk to the media, don’t share any documents with the media. Everything is subject to litigation.

So the answer is I did speak to them. Many of them of course are still -- they remain adamant with their original position, the group of 88, that something happened here and that none of us would be proud of. They had a chance to reiterate that view or decide not to pursue that view any more a year later in March of 2007. And they reiterated their view despite knowing that the kids were soon to be declared innocent.

Comment: Perhaps the only actual “news” of the entire hour. At no point in his book does Cohan mention having spoken to even a single member of the Group of 88, much less “a number of them.”

Who are the “lawyers sending professors threatening letters about make sure they don’t talk to the media”? Who knows? What possible motive could these unnamed lawyers have? No member of the Group of 88 is party to any remaining lawsuit—they’re free to speak if they choose. They were certainly willing to speak against their students in April 2006. Why have they lost the courage of their convictions?

It’s intriguing that Cohan dispenses with the pretense that the Group statement wasn’t about the lacrosse case—the Group (at least, presumably, those members to whom he spoke) believed “something happened here and that none of us would be proud of.”

By the way, there’s that curious “none of us would be proud of” phrase that Cohan erroneously placed into the mouth of Bob Steel. It’s interesting how many of Cohan’s real and alleged interviewees wind up using phrases that are remarkably similar to Cohan’s own.

COHAN
11:45:34

Mike Nifong thinks that [Seligmann’s] alibi is sort of convenient. If you did something wrong why did -- if you didn’t do anything wrong why did you have the cab pick him up around the corner? And if you were trying to establish an alibi, of course he would go to an ATM machine and then a restaurant and then pay a big tip to the cab driver and all of this. So Mike Nifong has doubts about Reade Seligmann’s alibi.

Comment: To Nifong, it seems, a defendant can’t win: if he doesn’t have an alibi, he’s guilty; if he does have an unimpeachable alibi, he’s suspicious. Any sentient person would respond to this theory by dismissing Nifong’s credibility. Instead, Cohan finds Nifong “quite credible” and an “honorable man.”

The hour concludes with Cohan proving yet again his misunderstanding of the DNA evidence, followed by his disastrous, thin-skinned response to Stuart, which I covered yesterday.

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

If you like fisking, you should check out www.fiskkit.com

Anonymous said...

KC, do you recall if you documented whether Duke had a tangible concern with the well-being of their patients and patients families and all NC citizens during the media barrage which caused visible distress in many citizens in NC?

There were times when there were major changes in behavior among the public that was very noticeable and quite negative due to the constant media onslaught, the subject matters, and the way in which these were all presented as if the media onslaught was the trial encouraging all to decide guilt or innocence of others as they saw fit, and as if all were guilty, (or innocent), because they lived in NC, or because of whatever else they might identify with or be identified by for whatever reasons, or as they were led to believe by the media presentations with whatever their agendas were at any specific time in the case.

The mental well-being and community spirit of the public in general seemed to actually be the targeted agenda of the media barrage at times, yet never in a focused positive manner to assist the public in general, but always and continuously in a manner in which ill health and deteriorated well-being among the populace and communities was the actual and obvious goal and agenda of many of the media events.

William L. Anderson said...

It seems that our troll has spent another sleepless night, so he has to ask Really Stupid Questions in order to have something to do.

What is the "mental well-being and community spirit of the public in general"? That whole paragraph, in fact, is a doozy. Yeah, the media was trying to promote "ill health" and attack the "well-being among the populace," what ever that is. I had no idea.

Maybe Wahneema was taking a break from grading paper or working on her "forthcoming" book.

As for the book, I think it is safe to say that Cohan is doing what his blood brother Mike Nifong has done for many years: lie, and then tell a bigger whopper to cover for the fact that he is caught in the first lie.

If this has been Cohan's M.O. in the lacrosse book, I cannot help but think that his previous books also have used this sloppy, slipshod method of reporting. I doubt seriously that William Cohan suddenly became a deceitful writer and deceitful person with the research and writing of this book.

William L. Anderson said...

K.C.,

I hope that in a future post, you will deal with Cohan's claim (made through Nifong) that Reade Seligmann lied at Nifong's Bar trial. Of course, Cohan does not say what was untrue, only that something was. It is more of the same with him.

Also, I hope you deal with Cohan's treatment on the Rehm show of Moez Elmostafa, in which he claims that no one tried to pressure him to change his testimony. I did find it curious that Cohan declares, "Of course, they found him not guilty" at Elmo's trial.

The ADA who tried Elmo's case (her name slips my memory right now) supposedly told her friends that Nifong told her to lie. (Mike Gaynor has written about that.)

I will also say this: If Cohan spends an inordinate amount of time and space defending liars, and pathological liars at that, then what does that say about his own truthfulness? I'm quite curious as to what others who know him have to say about his personal truthfulness.

RighteousThug said...

Anonymous at 11:29 said...

much of it focused on protected groups of people by law

Eric Officeholder, is that you? It's surprising that Maya didn't proclaim Nifong the 'first black Durham DA'.


Most want it to stop since people have and are dying and/or are harmed from it

You can remove your criminal DAs only so fast in the Tarheel State. 2 in a row in Durham...

The harm caused is criminal, abusive, constant, and needs to stop immediately for the well-being of all.


Jeff said it best:

"Hey! You know, we left this England place 'cause it was bogus; so if we don't get some cool rules ourselves - pronto - we'll just be bogus too! Get it?"

Your 'protected peoples', along with their Angry Studies enablers, couldn't (and still can't) see the forest for the trees, choosing to champion a drug-addled lying prostitute at the expense of convenient-yet-innocent 'non-protected' targets.

How much better for all citizens of NC had Rev Porkchop Barber and others worked instead for reforms of NC's legal system that would actually protect the folks who are disproportionately affected by the system. A short list of 5-6 changes would protect everyone, but the 'protected peoples' wouldn't hear of it because it would have implied that Nifong (and Cline) wwere wrong.

Remember, if Crazy Tracey Cline hadn't gone all cray cray on OHud she'd still be withholding evidence, lying in Court, and otherwise abusing and harming 'protected' (colored) peoples.

Anonymous said...

Out of curiosity, what is the real reason Seligmann called a cab to the adjacent street rather than 610? Did anyone investigate whether that had previously been his (or the players') practice when calling a cab to go into town?

Anonymous said...

"Did anyone investigate whether that had previously been his (or the players') practice when calling a cab to go into town?"

IIRC, he wasn't the only player to get a cab at the corner, instead of in front of the house.

Anonymous said...

@ 7:51 -- Yeah, but if he did it that night to avoid a potential police response, it would make sense that he wasn't the only one. If they all did it customarily, though, that would weaken Cohan/Nifong's argument.

RighteousThug said...

Anonymous at 9:25 said...

"that would weaken Cohan/Nifong's argument"

Nifong had no argument, Cohan only innuendo.

Anonymous said...

@ 9:34,

I am not attaching any ennobling connotation to the term "argument." You can change "argument" to "assertion" or "insinuation" if that pleases you, but the substantive point remains the same.

RighteousThug said...

Anonymous at 10:03 said...

"but the substantive point remains the same"

There was nothing substantive about Nifong's snark. Nor yours.

You may recall that Nifong was disbarred for his extra-judicial comments including the claim that 'those boys sure did disappear fast'.

Anonymous said...

10:21, I think you're still missing the gist here. Neither "substance" nor "argument" are compliments or endorsements. They are just nouns, and they're accurately applied. Per Cohan's comments in the above transcript, Nifong takes the position (makes the argument) that Seligmann's decision to call a cab to a location other than the house invited an inference that Seligmann wanted to get away from the house ASAP -- perhaps in effort to evade a potential police response. If calling a cab to the corner was aberrant behavior (if, customarily, Seligmann and housemates called cabs to 610), then Nifong's inference is at least facially plausible. (Hate to break that you to, but it's true).

Do you actually know the answer to this -- i.e., answer to whether calling the cab to the streetcorner represented a departure from ordinary custom?

I'm guessing you do not.

Anonymous said...

Also, 10:21, the only snark in this exchange is yours.

RighteousThug said...

Anonymous at 10:54 said...

"If calling a cab to the corner was aberrant behavior (if, customarily, Seligmann and housemates called cabs to 610),"

Seligman wasn't a 'housemate', and had never been to the captain's house before. He gave the address of another lacrosse player's house that he did know; that house being somewhat less than a block away (2 houses down and 1 street behind).

Seligmann was just bored, and tired, nothing suspicious about him wanting to leave. The anonymous call (from Kim 'that's a crock' Pittman/Roberts) that led to the DPD arriving happened ~45 minutes after Reade called a cab from the back yard. And ~10 min after he arrived at his dorm. Doesn't sound like he was concerned about the police coming, and had no reason to be.

Enough with your concern trolling.

RighteousThug said...

KC:

"To Nifong, it seems, a defendant can’t win: if he doesn’t have an alibi, he’s guilty; if he does have an unimpeachable alibi, he’s suspicious."

Fully in keeping with Nifong's late March statement to ESPN:

"And one would wonder why one needs an attorney if one was not charged and had not done anything wrong."

Sandfred said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
William L. Anderson said...

I'm sure that the members of the Duke faculty that openly condemned the players did not give a care about who was negatively affected. They just wanted their day in the sun, as their entire lives revolve around the theme of "victimization."

A Duke Dad said...

For those who are not familiar with the term used by the 4/15/14, 2:26 AM

Fisking :
A point-by-point refutation of a blog entry or (especially) news story. A really stylish fisking is witty, logical, sarcastic and ruthlessly factual;
flaming or handwaving is considered poor form.

Anonymous said...

I repeat what I wrote in the previous thread about Cohan's reaction to a caller's question about Nifong's treatment of Moez Elmostafa.

Cohan actually chuckled at the thought of it. To Cohan, it showed what a slick operator Nifong was.

Trial Junkie

KC Johnson said...

Another quick reminder:

"(4) Commenters who ... engage in obvious troll behavior will not have their comments cleared. Troll-like behavior includes... repeatedly asking questions that already have been answered."

I've had to delete several such comments (all, it seems, from the same anonymous figure) over the past 2 days. Will be as vigilant as possible, but at times I'm offline for a bit.

Nicolas Martin said...

Wall Street Journal has outdone itself with Shribman’s vapid review of Cohan’s book.

KC Johnson said...

To the 2.37:

Agreed.

Chris Halkides said...

Cohan said, "Now the defense will say because he's the one that put them [the fingernails] in the waste basket. But in fact it was Matt Zash who put them in the wastebasket and they don't -- never explained that and of course nobody wants to talk about that." Did the defense say that? I do not recall hearing them make that claim. Did Evans shake hands with Ms. Mangum when she arrived?

I think that secondary/tertiary transfer is the most plausible explanation, but it is worth pointing out that the DNA itself cannot be dated, nor is there any way to tell whether it is primary, secondary, or tertiary transfer.

KC Johnson said...

To Chris:

I don't recall the defense ever making a definitive claim as to who put what in the waste basket.

Cohan at this point seems to be creating an imaginary debate between himself and the "defense." If he was so interested in what the "defense" might say, why didn't he ask any of the defense lawyers for an interview.

Jim In San Diego said...

Bill Anderson, who has substantial credentials as an author himself, has asked if perhaps the research and conclusions behind Cohan's earlier three books about business should be examined more closely.

I read with pleasure his book, "House of Cards". Upon reflection, a good deal of the pleasure was that Mr. Cohan was feeding my own prejudice about the economic disaster of 2008, and how it was caused.

Perhaps Mr. Cohan's strength and weakness is that he writes well and truthfully only when the facts support his prejudices. Perhaps not.

For funsies, I will now spend some time going back to take a look at "House of Cards" in a more critical light. Then, will report back here with any insights. I have no particular skill or knowledge of business, but can, possibly identify research issues.

Jim Peterson

Chris Halkides said...

Cohan said, "She was examined by a nurse. And for the first time, the nurse's report is in my book. That had never been released before." IIRC Tara Levicy was a nurse in training, but she was not yet a nurse. One small error like this doesn't mean much, but if they accumulate, then they do.

Chris Halkides said...

I should have read farther into the transcript. It seems that Cohan does address this. Fair enough. Yet if he finds Levicy credible and if Levicy did not observe splinters, then how can he also find Mangum credible.

RighteousThug said...

Chris, she was a licensed Nurse at the time, but hadn't yet rcv'd her SANE certification.

Chris Halkides said...

RT, Cohan said, "Because she had gotten her certification on March 1 of 2006, but she hadn't gotten it in the mail until she actually went home that night on March, you know, 14." Does Cohan mean her certification as a nurse, or to her certification as a SANE nurse?

Chris Halkides said...

Cohan said of Matt Zash, "He said that he had moved and thrown those fake plastic fingernails, which came off in a struggle, into the wastebasket, okay. And there was no DNA evidence of his on those fingernails." I wish DNA transfer were as obliging as Mr. Cohan thinks it is. For example, if several people handle a polypropylene tube, the last person to handle it will not necessarily be represented by the largest profile.

Anonymous said...

Find it hard to believe that Cohan really referred to the Duke basketball coach as "Coach Gay" (at 11:31:05 of the transcript.)

RighteousThug said...

"Does Cohan mean her certification as a nurse, or to her certification as a SANE nurse?"

Chris, that was referring to her certification as a SANE.

The DukeLAX legendarium has 'always' been aware that she hadn't yet actually received her SANE certification, which is required by DUMC (at least) to do complete SANE exams. But Cohan's statement that it was retroactive to Mar 1 (thought he'd said Mar 2 earlier) is the first time I'd heard that.

No matter, Levicy knew she wasn't aloowed to do the pelvic exam until she had the paper in hand. That's why she waited until Dr Manly arrived so she could do the pelvic (or at least attempt it).

Thank G-d she did, huh?

RighteousThug said...

Anonymous at 827 PM

"Find it hard to believe that Cohan really referred to the Duke basketball coach as "Coach Gay"


Yeah, I noticed that too.

Who knew!? ;)

RighteousThug said...

Chris, I just checked the book - it says "was effective as of Mar 2" on page 30.

Thought I had seen that somewhere, prolly no need to bust his chops on a probable mistake - it's tough to keep your facts straight when you're making up 75% of them.

Chris Halkides said...

A professor of law whose specialty is scientific evidence, Paul C. Giannelli wrote a chapter in the book “Race to Injustice” on the DNA evidence in the DL case, which is well worth one’s time to read or reread. “In any event, no attorney should have to search through the haystack for the exculpatory needle. A laboratory report should be comprehensive and include a section specifying the limitations of the technique used in the analysis. The report should also be comprehensible to laypersons.” He also notes, “In short, adequate representation often requires expert assistance.” IMO rather than bashing the players, Cohan could instead use this case to illustrate that indigent defendants don’t have much of a chance to defend themselves against complex forensic evidence.

We don’t have access to all of the data, but we can draw some tentative conclusions based on what he presented. With respect to the autosomal profile, I don’t disagree with the lab that David Evans cannot be excluded as a donor, but some locations clearly show that at least three individuals contributed DNA. With respect to the Y-chromosomal testing, I don’t disagree with the lab that David Evans cannot be excluded as a donor. However, YSTR testing is not nearly as discriminating as autosomal testing (which uses multiple chromosomes). At least two other males contributed DNA to the sample (apparently not lacrosse players). This result is problematic for the prosecution. If one acknowledges that this DNA arrived in a way unrelated to a sexual assault, then how is it possible to exclude the possibility that Evans’s DNA also arrived innocently? Exactly the same issue arises with respect to the DNA on the bra clasp in the Knox/Sollecito case.

Greg Allan said...

Regarding this rubbish about booking a cab at a corner instead of a house number...

I use taxis frequently and almost always give an intersection rather than street number particularly at night. It's simply easier for cab drivers to locate. House numbers can be anywhere on the property - on the fence, the structure or even nowhere to be found - and are a bloody hastle for drivers in motion to spot. Ask any taxi driver.

The individual who is persistently pushing this is really clutching at straws.

guiowen said...

I live on x street, some 60 yards from the intersection with y street. You've no idea how many times I get called by a taxi driver or a pizza delivery man, saying that they're at the corner but can't find my house number.