Saturday, December 23, 2006

Nifong in the N.C. Media

Three North Carolina newspapers take on Mike Nifong in their editorials today.

The most powerful response comes from the state’s largest newspaper, the Charlotte Observer. In July, the Observer urged appointment of a special prosecutor; now, it correctly maintains, “It's time for an investigation of the investigation by the prosecution.”

The paper’s editorial board notes that the dismissal of the rape charge “came, conveniently, after the discovery that Mr. Nifong might have asked a DNA lab to selectively report its findings.” It concludes, “This latest twist leads you to conclude either (a) Mr. Nifong has been misled by an uncertain or unreliable witness; (b) he is incompetent; (c) he skillfully manipulated a case charged with racial and class overtones in an election year where he faced a challenge; or, (d) all of the above.”

(d) would seem like the correct answer.

From Greensboro, the News-Record laments, “It's too bad he didn't handle this case more responsibly from the start.” The editors quoted UNC professor Joseph Kennedy arguing that with Brian Meehan’s testimony, "Nifong's own witness essentially accused him of breaking the law.”

The News-Record is incredulous that the prosecution’s office would wait nine months to speak with the accuser, at which time she changed her story yet again. (To my knowledge, the accuser has never told the same story twice at any point in this case.) But, the editors astutely observe, “Nifong’s biggest problem is the means by which the defendants were identified.” The D.A. musings of “What is a lineup?” seem unlikely to persuade any judge.

Finally, the N&O editorial page—after months of silence, in which it ignored its own first-rate reporting—confronts Nifong’s misconduct. The newly “revised account of the alleged rape,” the editors reason,

continues to point up problems with how Nifong has pursued this case. His first statements, made to television reporters with national audiences, included iron-clad assurances that a rape had occurred and that the defendants were guilty. Those statements about the men seemed to cross the line of prosecutorial propriety.

Then it turned out, as The News & Observer reported, that the D.A. had never interviewed the dancer about the events of that March evening, a puzzling fact given the certainty with which Nifong seemed to vouch for her truthfulness. The photo lineup in which the woman identified her alleged attackers included photographs only of lacrosse team members, a violation of Durham's photo ID policy and clearly skewed against the players.

After laying out the case against Nifong, however, the N&O concludes in a bizarre fashion. “The accuser,” the editorial asserts, “if she can offer a coherent account and stand by it, deserves to have her allegations heard in court.” This assertion is absurd: police and prosecutors are supposed to exercise discretion, rather than pass on any and all non-credible accusations for a jury to decide. In this case, the accuser/Nifong have presented at least 10 versions of events, with the two most recent changes (a shortening of the timeline, elimination of the rape charge) blatant manipulations of the story to fit new, exculpatory evidence.

“From here on out,” the N&O reasons, “Nifong needs to be fair and cold-eyed in evaluating evidence as it continues to come to light and in assessing the strength of his case.” Based on his conduct over the last nine months, is there any reason—any reason at all—to presume that Nifong is capable of acting in a “fair” fashion?


Anonymous said...

from the non-lawyer: I wonder how many instances did Nifong make a public comment regarding the bogus rape allegations?

Anonymous said...

It must be embarrassing for Joe Neff and Benjamin Niolet to work at the same paper with editors responsible for the absurd and inflammatory late March coverage and an editor, Ford, who produces editorials that display little logic. Where does the N&O publisher stand in all of this? Do Professor Johnson's readers know anything about him?

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that the journalists do not want to be caught on the losing side -- and they still are showing their deference to the prosecution. We are faced with massive -- and I mean massive -- evidence of prosecutorial misconduct, yet the N&O still is holding out for a trial?

This is what happens when MSM journalists constantly depend upon government employees for their news sources. When Nifong was on top and the Durham police seemed to be untouchable, the MSM could not get enough of them.

However, now that they have lost their swagger, the MSM does not know where to turn. Special prosecutor? Give me a break. Still go to trial? Someone is smoking crack.

One would hope that this fiasco would teach some of those editors and reporters a few lessons. However, they will learn nothing. When the next hoax appears, they will be in rare form, supporting it to the bitter end.

We have watched K.C. take this case apart, yet he had fewer resources than any of the journalists. What happened? K.C. was interested in the truth, not "the big story."

Anonymous said...

Nifong's comments in the NYT interview pretty much sets him up to drop all the other charges. Fox has the story.

"But in an interview with The New York Times published late Friday night on the newspaper's Web site, Nifong said the "case will go away" if the accuser ever says one of the players she identified did not attack her."

Anonymous said...

Is anyone familiar with NC Statute 7A-66 (Petition for removal of District Attorneys) or the ex DA of Wilmington, Jerry Spivey?

Anonymous said...


To: Dr. Brodhead
From: Dr. Brodhead
RE: Note to Self
Dated: 12/23/06

Reminder: The next time a Duke student is accused of a crime,people seem to like it better if Duke takes the position that (a) our students are innocent until proven otherwise,(B)we would be surprised and dissapointed if the allegations turn out to be true, and (C)we are 100% behind any member of the Duke commmunity. Also, next time remember to avoid usual knee jerk reaction to be politically correct.

CC: Administrative Assistant (Please showme this reminder once a month. Thanks!)

Anonymous said...

Thank goodness this case is over. Now we must go after Nifong and the rest of his cast. God bless everyone of us.

Anonymous said...

question: if NC defines rape narrowly as vaginal penetration by a penis, how was it that all three defendants were charged with rape? Didn't FA say only one of them penetrated her vaginally?

Anonymous said...

The N&O editorial is laughable in its conclusion. "From here on out, Nifong needs to be evaluating evidence as it continues to come to light and in assessing the strength of his case." Huh? The American showman, Phineas Taylor (PT) Barnum, is well remembered for his entertaining hoaxes. And why was he so successful? Because, as he like to put it, "There's a sucker born every minute..."

Anonymous said...

Speaking of the media,'s Lester Munson made a startling comment:

"They still face some serious charges. There is little doubt that something unsavory happened at the party on March 13. After the dismissal of the rape charges, it will be easier for the accused players to attempt to settle everything with a guilty plea on lesser charges."

What planet is this guy from that he thinks they'll plead to anything?

Howard said...

N&O has continually supported the "victim" and I would suppose that their clearly biased Black readership will only tolerate a bias toward convicting rich and privileged white boys who, even if innocent, must pay for the sins of the whites of long ago. The N&O feels that before any white person says anything that person must grovel and apologize before asking permission to speak at all.

Anonymous said...

"Nifong needs to be fair..."

Fair/Unfair= Subjective
Right/Wrong= Objective

Anonymous said...

I question whether the "interview" with the accuser on Thursday actually took place. It ought to be discoverable by the defense, and it may well contain other statements that contradict other parts of her story. If I were the defense team, I'd sure be wanting to see all notes, transcripts, recordings, etc. -- as well as all phone records, expense reports, signin-out records at hospital (if applicable), etc., related to this "interview".

John Bruce

Anonymous said...

To Lester Munson and the N & O

How could somebody ejaculate in your mouth, spit it on the floor, and have not one cell of that alleged attackers DNA in your mouth on your clothes, or on the floor.

Anonymous said...

Im white. second generation. am I included as a white person who has to pay for the sins of the whites of long ago? I dont feel any guilt, should I?

Anonymous said...

11:33 am Anon:

"Nifong's comments in the NYT interview pretty much sets him up to drop all the other charges."

I saw that in the Times article and thought the same thing. Actually, the first words that came to my mind were:

"wiggle room"

A prev commentor said 'thank goodness that the case is over...' - it's not yet, but I'm thinking it won't even make it to Feb 5. Nifong's laying the groundwork for the AV/FA to retract her identification before the next hearing.

Why couldn't he drop all charges now? In his fevered mind he thinks that these revelations on the part of the AV/FA need to be spread out to make it look like all this is news to him.

Nifong will exit this case the same way he entered - sleazy & dishonest. He just doesn't know any other way.

Anonymous said...

11:23 Bill Anderson:

'Big story' indeed, Bill. That's it in a nutshell.

"I find it interesting that the journalists do not want to be caught on the losing side -- and they still are showing their deference to the prosecution."

Bill, I guess they, like Nifong, have to let themselves down slowly. I would generally want them to show at least some deference to the prosecution's side, but also some deference to the defendants.

Having failed to show any deference to the defendants previously, it's time for the media to abandon the prosecution completely.

And that SI article still suggesting, no, insisting that 'something happened that night'. Shameless.

Anonymous said...

12:53 Anon:

"How could somebody ejaculate in your mouth, spit it on the floor, and have not one cell of that alleged attackers DNA in your mouth on your clothes, or on the floor?"

Forget it, Jake, it's Chinat.., errr, Wonderland. ;>)

Anonymous said...

Chicago writes:

That is an OUTSTANDING question! The only thing an think is that Mikey is saying a rape occurred in front of them and they participated or enabled it.

Anonymous said...

from a non-lawyer: I find the most damning indictment of Nifong's misconduct are his own words in the NYT article of December 22. I am sure the defense attorneys were salivating when they read these comments. KC did a nice job earlier in reporting on this NYT article. Notice it is hard to get Nifong on the record since his many public statements last spring. So the NYT piece is quite useful

Anonymous said...

12:22 this is far from over.

There are still two very serious charges in which Collin, David and Reade could face up to 30 years or more.

So yes yesterday was the beginnings to the end but not the end in no way.

Anonymous said...

forgot to add to my last post that we all still have a lot of work to do.

Anonymous said...

Duke, do the right thing and hire KC Johnson if for no other reason than balance the Group of 88!!! He is a breath of fresh air.

Anonymous said...

Stephens and Titus need looking at.We need to parse every word in those transcripts. Nifong did not achieve all this on his own. Look at everything those judges did! It all needs to be exposed.

Anonymous said...

Nifong gave a press conference. He vovs to go foward with the charges. Im sure we all would like to see Nifong go foward with these charges and watch him make an a** of himself, but that wouldn't be fair to the 3 boys and their families.

Anonymous said...

Something else need to be pointed out. The NY Times says that its reporters interviewed Nifong for three hours on Thursday. Now, no one interviews someone for that long, and I can guarantee you that this was more of a strategy session than anything else.

Other than the Herald-Sun, no newspaper in the country has aligned itself with Nifong more than the NY Times. It was the Times that insisted we swallow the Gottlieb report whole, even when it was obvious that it was blatently false.

From Salena Roberts to Duff Wilson, the NY Times has been heavily invested in Nifong and the hopes of a guilty verdict. Thus, when things really started falling apart, they met with Nifong to plan how to spin this business and to deal with the obvious lies that have been told from the start.

The difference between the Times and the H-S is that the H-S just sucked up to Nifong, but he never really gave them anything. For example, Gottlieb's "report" was leaked (illegally, I might add) to the NY Times, not the H-S, despite Bob Ashley's fawning pro-Nifong coverage. Think of it as gains from trade. Nifong thought that the stature of the Times would be such that no other journalists would dare write anything to contradict the "newspaper of record."

However, Nifong underestimated the attorneys, he underestimated K.C. Johnson, and he absolutely underestimated the truth. This moment is perilous not only for Nifong, but also for the NY Times. This, after all, is the newspaper of Jayson Blair, and now that the Times has been at the forefront of promoting yet another hoax, one can bet that people there are feeling desperate.

Anonymous said...

I kind of have this theory about Nifong. By proceeding with this case. even knowing he can not likely win any conviction against anyone charged, I suspect that as long as he proceeds and claims his actions were “for the victim,” then he can probably not be sued afterwards by any of the defense members. I wonder if he were to totally drop all the charges against all three suspects, then Nifong might be susceptible to both possible civil lawsuits and possible criminal charges against Nifong. His “strategy” might be to proceed to avoid the potential negative sanctions against himself, and it really may be nothing about actually attempting to provide “justice“ to the alleged “victim.“ Anyone thinking the same???????

Anonymous said...

Dukeparent '03'05 and '10 said...
Duke, do the right thing and hire KC Johnson if for no other reason than balance the Group of 88!!! He is a breath of fresh air.
1:21 PM

Duke should be so lucky to get a professor like KC!

Anonymous said...

1:52 pm Bill Anderson:

Bill, I know you don't intentionally mean to slight the other blogs, etc that have had a hand in shining the light and spreading the disinfectant, but LieStoppers esp deserves kudos as well. KC & LS both have done such a yeoman job that I wouldn't even attempt to get into a discussion of who did what the first the best and the most. ;>)

Anonymous said...

I agree with the last post, and I sure did not mean to slight Liestoppers. Nifong never had a chance against DIH and L-S, not to mention Johnsville, Crystalmess, and John-in-Carolina.

Me, I have been along for the ride, and pretty much have been feeding off everyone else. I have a little different perspective, being a college professor and an economist. And, I don't much care for most prosecutors.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't a DA, in his/her pursuit of justice, have to weigh the evidence, including the witness' testimony, to decide if the witness is credible. KC showed that Nifong did that in a 1989 case and decided the accuser in that case was not credible and as there was no other evidence, he dropped the case. Why can't he use the same logic and ethics in this case? " was to say that Nifong can't use the "I'll have to wait for the AV to give us a version that says that Collin, Reade and Dave didn't sexually assault her". He knows right now that he can "drop this case with the stroke of a pen". He also knows that one of Precious' versions was that she was only groped in front of her car. That should be enough to drop the kidnapping charge.

Mikey it's Christmas. I'll give you a pen if you'll use it to drop this case with a stroke from that pen. But wait, the taxpayers have paid for a number of pens. Why don't you just use one of those to mitigate the damages that the taxpayers of Durham are most likely going to have to pay.

Anonymous said...

bill anderson:
"We have watched K.C. take this case apart, yet he had fewer resources than any of the journalists. What happened? K.C. was interested in the truth, not "the big story." "

You've been there, stating your outrage from the very beginning also, Bill.
I thought Nifong was going to win, because not enough people cared about injustice.
I happy to say, I now think I was wrong.

Anonymous said...

I doubt Duke would hire K.C..
K.C. refused to sell out his principles at Brooklyn College, causing The radical left to attempt to destroy his career.
K.C. fought back and achieved a total victory.
I can't imagine the politically correct crew at Duke wanting a Professor with K.C.'s scruples.

Anonymous said...

Looks like the NC & nasty little Durham area rags are starting to turn. They can't turn on fong in just one editorial - but over the next few weeks they will crucify him, as will the the national media. Then it's just a matter of time before the Governor and State AG realize that they are losing political good will and are looking like laughing stocks across the country. Fong is becoming a leper and there is no way any politician in NC wants to associate with him. Even the so called black community feels tricked by the fong. Duke is starting to turn with the president's letter and I expect at some point the left wing Duke group of 88 will want the healing to begin.

However, healing can only begin when fong is disbarred and the city and state are made to pay for false arrest, illegal prosecutorial activity, denial of civil rights and due process, and various slander and libel incidents by the group of 88, members of the black community as well as the media.

Orange Lazarus

The Dude said...

Maybe this is the last big joke from Nifong. The AV claims the men were not wearing condoms when they raped her. Now she is not sure if it was a PENIS! Since 5 people's DNA was on her person, can we be that stupid to believe that she saw something that assaulted her without a condom and DIDN'T KNOW IT WAS A PENIS!
nifong is actually killing himself in the civil argument with these new items. Anyone with half a brain would have dropped charges and make the subjects prove civil rights violations. Nifong is proving the case against himself.

Anonymous said...

4:25 pm Anon:

"You've been there, stating your outrage from the very beginning also, Bill.
I thought Nifong was going to win, because not enough people cared about injustice.'

Well said, Anon!

When the book about all this is written (many say by KC), I can't wait to read just how all the bloggers got involved.

KC Johnson has indicated that it was the "listening statement" of the Gang of 88, and the paucity of response by the Duke admin, that first got him going. Read up on his tenure battles at Brooklyn College to see why the Duke faculty & admin response hit home w/ KC. I've read what I think was his first post on the subject in mid-April, on an academic board, and was stunned by the resistance and outright dismissal by his colleagues on that board.

Bill Anderson has written extrensively about the problems with the justice system, esp the Federal system long before. I suspect that his interest in that, as well as his academic background, led him to start writing about DukeLAX on or about April 15. Bill, was your 'Lynching' article your first on the subject?

LieStoppers - I know less of their history other than that they are a group of Duke alums (mostly??) that have an obvious connection to the case.

Even less sure about John In Carolina's & CrystalMess' start, but they obviously care about the students and justice.

Anyway, that's where I'm going with this, Anon - your comment "I thought Nifong was going to win, because not enough people cared about injustice..."

All the bloggers & essayists cared about this case from their individual perspectives, grew together as each came online and reinforced each other and learned from each other. I have no doubt that KC & Bill came to care about these kids as much as they care about their own students.

So... where do the members of the peanut gallery fit in, the Observers & Chicagos & Victims in Massachusetts & Windbags & HMans & Amacs & Debrahs & Cedarfords (and tons of others I can't remember) as well as the billions of billions of 'anonymous' posters?

We who cared deeply as well gave all the bloggers an audience, and let them know that we were here to, and that we cared. That's not to say that that's what they were looking for, but I just have a feeling that had no one been posting comments to support & reinforce & encourage & inform the bloggers, that they would not have remained as inspired. So we little people did good too! ;>)

We're not done yet, but I'm feeling better about this than I have in a long while.

Just wanted to say thank you to all the main bloggers, and fellow commenters who have helped the cause.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to all of you as well, although this sorry tale is not over. Gprestonian is correct that "Lynching the Lacrosse Team" was my first article. I had watched the story for a while, but once my friend Wendy McElroy started to weigh in, I figured I should so the same as well.

Everything else came after that. One thing to keep in mind is that Nifong really did not try to cover his tracks (except in the case of dealing with Brian Meehan). From what I can tell, he figured that he could get away with it because (1) he considered himself to be "the law," (2) Durham's black community was solidly behind him, so he had a ready-made jury that could convict, (3) the Duke faculty and administration either enthusiastically backed him, or said nothing of substance to hinder him, (4) he did not have to worry about the thing being a hoax, because other prosecutors in North Carolina had pursued hoaxes and even got wrongful convictions, but none were punished for their misdeeds.

Thus, Nifong figured he did not have to worry about anything. The N&O fell into line early, and the Herald-Sun, well, was the Herald-Sun. Furthermore, no case ever had been taken apart by bloggers and Internet hounds, and I doubt he even considered them to be any problem at all.

Another thing he had in his favor was the support of the New York Times. First, Salena Roberts had her incredibly stupid piece. (War Eagle, she is an Auburn grad. We need to rescind her damned diploma.) Then we saw Duff and Company weigh in, along with the others there. As Stuart Taylor told me, it took a while before the adults there were able to jump in.

But Nifong figured that if he had the press on his side, he could ramrod the case through a Durham court and get convictions. He never understood the dynamics of the Internet and of motivated people who were willing to put their lives on hold and jump into this feet first.

Anonymous said...


I couldn't agree with you more!

I have no personal connection with Duke, though my wife's late father was an alum. My son's played h.s. lax so interst in the sport caused my initial attention. I came to find out that some of the Lax players families were friends of friends. The more I learned about these events the more incensed I became.

If there was a Pulitzer Prize to be awarded for Ethics, Character, Investigative Reporting in Blogging then it would be hard to decide who to vote for: KC & D-I-W, Bill Anderson, LieStoppers, John in Carolina or Johnsville. These have been some of most selfless & persistent champions I have seen in a long time.

Maybe the "System" has gotten so complacent & corrupted that the passion for decency & the truth is almost gone. These folks are as close as what we have now for the Free Press that the founding fathers saw as critical for a democratic republic to survive.

This battle is not over yet but the truth is on the side of the Three.

Anonymous said...

The Times tonight has finally gone after nifong...he now says "this case" is no big can't make this stuff up...

Anonymous said...

the case is a big deal because everyone on the street in durham knows the attorneys bought off precious. the lacrose playars spend money to buy her off and now she says she was not rapes when the street says they rapedd her.

Anonymous said...

To theman:

Ignorance must be bliss. I guess you may next say that the DNA from five other individuals found inside the accuser was planted by some member of the defense team? You are an unabashed idiot.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Dukeparent '03'05 and '10 said...
Duke, do the right thing and hire KC Johnson if for no other reason than balance the Group of 88!!! He is a breath of fresh air.
1:21 PM
Then anonymous 3:26 pm said:
Duke should be so lucky to get a professor like KC!

3:26 PM

Actually if any young business man wishes to become wealthy beynond his dreams, he needs to bring in KC as a full partner. His Sam Waltonish ability to accomplish far more than the average person is uncanny.

Having had the privilege of working for and with three men that are considered giants in their respective industries, this is the one common trait in all of them. The interesting thing about all of them was their attitude regarding their accomplishing the things they did. Making large sums of money was not necessarily the goal, just that in the business world that is the measuring stick of success. Success to them was accomplishing as much as they could in the hours given to them.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the good (?) citizens of Durham have any idea how expensive this may get for THEM.

Even if the omission of the exculpatory evidence were innocent ngligence, and I'm not sure where you'll find a jury that will believe that, Durham is still liable for civil damages over the fact that by failing to timely provide this information, and making the defense dig for it, Durham must now compensate the defendants for at least that portion of their lawyer fees. Nifong's decision to choose Meehan means that his company will be liable as well. And the rest of the industry is lining up to guillotine the guy, to keep their own credibility. He's going to squeal like a pig, and let me tell you, he's going to have notes and/or recordings of everyone of those meetings with Nifong.

And once that is shown.....once it can be proven that Nifong was not acting in good faith, Durham is going to be civilly liable, and it will cost them big.

Anonymous said...

Why would anyone want to move to Durham? Student or Professor. To leave NYC for Durham would be crazy. Bill A and KC should be at Harvard if they were to move anywhere. Bill A - you are right on. How is the powere of the internet generated?

Anonymous said...

From the Times article:

"But given the volume of evidence in this case, [Nifong] said he simply did not realize that he had failed to turn over the DNA results in question. “It was not something that I specifically noticed,” he said, “because if I specifically noticed it I would have dealt with it.”

Yet, again, you squealed like a fucking pig when you fought the defense request to compel production of the DSI DNA detail testing.

This is great - the more he tries to 'splain it to us Lucy', the more disconnected, arrogant, and incompetent he sounds & shows himself to be.

Oh, did I forget to also say 'guilty? ;>)

Anonymous said...

N and O - she is not a dancer - she is a stripper. Why can you not get this right?

Anonymous said...

11:43 --

No, you are mistaken. Crystal Gail Magnum is a PROSTITUTE. The DNA testing confirmed that half the human genome was pulled from her orifices.

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas to all at this blog from an interested observer in Australia.

Thank you for all your hard work explaining the details of this riveting case. I have become a stranger to my usual haunts trying to keep up with this hoax.

KC you have put in the hard yards on this one. There must be a book in all of this showing how presuppositions (prejudices, really) about class, race and gender still afflict us notwithstanding the sixties civil rights revolution. These prejudices are just as dangerous today and the politically correct allowances that are required in certain quarters are dangerous and divisive.

Finally best wishes to the accused and their families. It is shocking you have been forced to endure this travesty. I hope you can find some good somewhere in all of this.