Saturday, February 03, 2007

Cast of Characters

A few weeks ago, a couple of readers asked for a cast of characters list, especially for those who weren’t following the case in the initial months. Here, at least, is a partial list.

The Central Player
D.A. Mike Nifong: A figure about whom widely disparate views exist.

Here’s how he described himself, in a letter posted on his campaign website:

  • I have earned the reputation among my colleagues in the court system as a prosecutor of the highest level of professional skill.”

Here’s how some of his colleagues in the court system, in this case the State Bar, described him:

  • Nifong engaged in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation . . . prejudicial to the administration of justice.”

The “Investigators”
Nifong: In a procedurally improper move, he assumed personal control of the case on March 24, eight days into matters.

Sgt. Mark Gottlieb: He abruptly vanished as lead investigator for the case after a September N&O article by Michael Biesecker revealed that he had a 10:1 disparity in arresting Duke students compared to the other three District 2 supervisors combined. The Biesecker piece was closely followed up by a Jared Mueller Duke Chronicle story that laid out convincing allegations of the sergeant engaging in deceit, excessive force, and ethnic intimidation in cases involving Duke students.

Before that time, best known for his “straight-from-memory” notes, a typewritten memo produced months after the events it allegedly described, and a document that conveniently filled in many holes which then existed in Nifong’s case.

Inv. Linwood Wilson: Nifong’s chief investigator, whose personal background and subsequent behavior in the case performed the impossible—making Gottlieb look ethical by comparison.

Best known for his December 21 “interview” with the accuser, which he conducted outside the presence of any law enforcement officer and in which she conveniently filled in all the holes in the case that had emerged since the Gottlieb memo.

Inv. Ben Himan: Best known for actually going through the motions as a police officer early on—reporting that Kim Roberts deemed the allegations a “crock” (March 20) and taking down the accuser’s descriptions of her “attackers” on March 16. These descriptions bore no resemblance to either Reade Seligmann or Collin Finnerty.

Police Chief Steven Chalmers: Otherwise known as the police chief who’s always on either leave or vacation.

Academic Rogues
Wahneema Lubiano: Principal author of the Group of 88 statement, best-known for claiming books are “forthcoming” when they seem not to have existed.

William Chafe: Former dean of faculty; author of March 31 op-ed asserting that the whites who lynched Emmett Till provided the appropriate context through which to interpret the lacrosse players’ behavior.

Houston Baker: Now departed for Vanderbilt, best-known for his racialist screeds and incredibly nasty, poorly spelled, e-mails.

Karla Holloway: Group of 88 member who has been describing herself as a “victim” of this affair since last June, even as she leveled criticism at the women’s lacrosse team.

Alex Rosenberg: Group of 88/“clarifying” faculty member who has maintained that the ad was about excessive drinking and the availability of “hook-up” with “rich, attractive co-eds.”

Grant Farred: Group of 88 member who contended that Duke students registering to vote projected their “secret racism” onto Durham.

Brad Bannon: If the courtroom exchanges between Nifong and him were instead contests in Nifong’s one and only community service activity (his son’s little league), the games would have been called in the first inning under the “mercy rule.”

Cracked the Nifong-Meehan DNA conspiracy with first the December 13 motion and then a stunning extemporaneous examination of Meehan at the December 15 hearing.

Joe Cheshire: Subject of this wonderfully done piece in this week’s Chronicle, and the person who has been the public face of the defense, coordinating strategy and emerging as Nifong’s bête noire.

Wade Smith: To my knowledge, the only defense attorney of whom Nifong spoke positively in public. Of course, the remark came a few days after Nifong accused Smith, one of the most respected lawyers in the whole state, of violating the bar’s ethics canon with a clearly acceptable defense poll of possible community bias.

Kirk Osborn: Made the risky yet critical decision to make public Reade Seligmann’s defense—a move that allowed all to see that Nifong was putting a demonstrably innocent person on trial, thereby providing a face to the corruption of the process.

Jim Cooney: Brought in to coordinate Seligmann’s defense in October. Has distinguished himself as the master of the motion (especially a brilliant motion on the April 4 lineup) and for politely delivered remarks that decimated Nifong’s position—whether the D.A.’s false claim not to have received reciprocal discovery in the October hearing, or the Perry Mason moment in the December session.

The Heroes
In a case that has been so charged on lines of race and (to a lesser extent) gender, it’s ironic that almost all of the people who have most clearly distinguished themselves in the case are either African-American men or white women—each of whom said they behaved in this case as they would have in any situation.

Jim Coleman: Critical in two respects—first by leading a thorough but fair investigation of the lacrosse players’ personal behavior and then by becoming the first major legal figure to demand Nifong’s recusal. His June letter to the N&O looks prescient now.

Moezeldin Elmostafa: An African immigrant who swore out an affidavit bolstering Reade Seligmann’s alibi before the electronic aspects of Seligmann’s alibi had been established. For his trouble, he was arrested on a bogus charge dug up by Linwood Wilson, resulting in a quick verdict of not guilty.

Beth Brewer: Chief spokesperson and organizer for the Recall Nifong-Vote Cheek effort, a person with little background in political activity who devoted countless hours to the recall campaign, simply because she considered it the right thing to do.

Jackie Brown: Chief political advisor to the Recall Nifong effort—someone for whom the easy approach would have been to sit out the fall campaign, thereby avoiding alienating potential clients among Durham’s political establishment, but who instead masterminded what was almost a stunning upset in the November election.

Joseph Neff: N&O reporter who was virtually the only member of the print media to look critically at Nifong’s actions almost from the start, and has headlined an N&O team (Ben Niolet, Anne Blythe, Michael Biesecker, Eric Ferreri, and commentator Ruth Sheehan) that from late April onwards published more quality articles on the case than the rest of the mainstream media combined.

Kerstin Kimel: The Duke women’s lacrosse coach, the first person affiliated with Duke to speak out publicly on the men’s players’ behalf, and a critical person behind the scenes in keeping people on an even keel last spring—a time in which Duke didn’t even offer counseling services to any members of the lacrosse team.

2006 women’s lacrosse team

The Demagogues
Nifong. Never passed up the chance to offer some race-bating rhetoric, despite the guidelines of the bar’s ethics code.

Al McSurely: Chief of the NAACP legal redress committee, and author of the outrageously biased legal memo on the case posted at the NAACP website.

Cash Michaels: Wilmington Journal reporter who in the fall started exposing Nifong’s misconduct, only to turn on a dime in recent months with articles filled with anonymous quotes taken from various on-line forums.

Wendy Murphy: Adjunct professor at a low-profile Boston law school and ubiquitous talking head on the case, has shown a disregard for facts that is remarkable for someone with a law license.

Chan Hall: Head of the NCCU student government’s legislative affairs committee and runner-up for speaker of the government; said in the spring that he wanted to see the Duke students prosecuted “whether it happened or not. It would be justice for things that happened in the past.”

The Zanies
Cousin Jakki” a/k/a Clyde Yancey: The accuser’s sometime spokesperson (who the accuser said at another point was “out of the loop”), who early in the case was described as an aspiring actress with non-existent parts in films that don’t exist.

Victoria Peterson: Only in Durham could the head of a DA’s citizens’ committee be someone who contended that the Duke Hospital tampered with DNA evidence, while she later attended a rally with a hate group and calling for the lacrosse house to be burned down. Most recently distinguished herself with a “rally for justice” on the courthouse steps that attracted two people.


Anonymous said...

Great post, KC, thanks!

LOL, the Zanies! :)

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a casting call for the remake of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Anonymous said...

12:11 Anon:

"Sounds like a casting call for the remake of The Rocky Horror Picture Show."

There's no one named Janet, damnit! ;>)

Anonymous said...

I've had to make some difficult roster cuts in my day but trying to get this list down to a manageable size must have been agonizing. What about thse zany kids over at UBUNTO. Who ran Justice4TwoSisters? What about the mix of malovance and incomptetence Kim Curtis brings to the table?

Anonymous said...

Aren't you forgetting someone, KC?
Without the accuser, none of this would be possible. Shouldn't she be listed as a central player?

kcjohnson9 said...

It's true, of course, that without the accuser none of this would have been possible. But I don't see her as a central player. Indeed, once she made her allegation, she seems to have lost almost all control about how the allegation would be used by Nifong, the community, the police, etc.

To me, that's one of the most bizarre aspects of the entire affair.

Greg Toombs said...

I respectfully disagree, KC.

She could have taken a lower profile and not re-entered the farce.

Instead she's attempted to prop up this scarecrow of a prosecution for reasons known best to herself.

It's true she perhaps launched this rotted hulk under pressure

And that she wasn't captain of the cruise

But she's flopped onboard again when invited

To play fast and loose with the truth

Anonymous said...

The accuser is not a cental player, but the "idea" of the accuser as an innocent black Madonna was devastating.

Anonymous said...

JLS says....,

Professor Johnson did I missed or did you not mention:

1. Brodhead, his refusal to take a strong stand for due process enabled the 88 gangsters and Nifong.

2. Sgt. Shelton of the DPD. Sgt Shelton who was first on the scene at Kroger to me symbolized the majority of the DPD who knew or suspected this was a hoax from the start. This is why the Duke PD told the Duke Administration this would blow over. This is why no search warrant was sought for the house until days later. This is why the DPD reports on the night tell all the contradictory statements that night. This is also why the tape of the DPD radio chatter of their disbelief of the hoax that night was destroyed. Nifong eventually got his lackies at the DPD on the case and began the railroad, but initial the vast majority of the DPD seemed to behave professionally. [I have always wondered what they would testify to if this mess came to trial?]

3. The Judges: Stephens with his concern of privacy of the phone and no anger of being lied to. Judge Titus and his gag order. Judge Smith and no bill of particulars.

Anonymous said...

What is noteworthy in this list are all those people who DIDN'T get involved but should have, above all timorous faculty who hid under their desks while three Duke students were thrown to the lions. Some belatedly plucked up the courage to speak out, but not many. I do wonder what tenure is for, if not to provide academic faculty with the freedom to speak up with impunity in such cases. Virtually no one has such job security in this uncertain world now, yet tenured faculty make such poor use of it. Maybe the abolition of tenure would be a fitting punishment for these faceless cowards who refused to speak up.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate this post very much. Because I really hate the muddling up of gender issues and ethnic issues (so prevalent in this rancid epoch) with the only issue that matters: truth vs. lies.
I mean, none of us get to choose the circumstances of our birth; male/female, white/brown, rich/poor. But dammit, we do get to choose whether we tell the truth or not.
Everything else is a pitiful distraction

Anonymous said...


Kim Roberts Pittman

aka "Nikki"

the second dancer--

who could forget?


Anonymous said...

JLS says....

There you go hman with white male concepts like the truth. It shows your bias aganst the poor downtrodden women of color. :-)

Anonymous said...

12:51 JLS:

Indeed, JLS, hman is showing his metanarrativenaiveté.

Unknown said...

To 12:51
Don't worry about me. I am not from S.Lousiana, but my family could probably buy it.

Anonymous said...


People are secondary in this case. It's the ideas that matter (think of it as 1 of those Medieval morality plays). And ideas maim and kill. So...which ideas mattered, and which didn't?

1. elite white lacrosse players secretly crave ugly black women
2. black people good, white people bad
3. it's OK to make false allegations--the law doesn't care, so go ahead evil sociopaths, tell your lies. No harm will accrue in your direction.
4. you must support stupid, unproductive protected-group studies programs. Make sure they're vocal and stupid. Give them academic welfare, and watch how they dominate all the important committees, waiting--indeed stalking--your white sons so they can pounce when a sociopath cries rape.
5. the "idea" of a black Durham jury pool is not a pleasant thought for whitey
6. Do not address the evils of affirmative action--after all, it's a swell idea (ask Barack Obama)
7. To lead a great university, make sure you hire a feckless scholar who'll sing "Mamie" as he throws your sons under the bus
8. make sure no one blames the victim--after all, Precious is the ideal victim
9. the "idea" of Duke has been sullied by all of the above


Anonymous said...

I've been wondering about the cast in the context of the book.

The formal allegations as charged in the indictments, the relevant evidence, and a clinical evaluation of the evidence measured against the legal standard of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt: that's one plot with one cast.

The initial real-time claims, the details of Nifong's strategy to alchemize those claims into formal charges, and the in-court developments from both sides that will have brought the charges to a conclusion: that's another plot with a somewhat larger cast.

The background and story of the state bar's decision to force Nifong's recusal, and the progress and ultimate outcome of that separate legal process: another plot, more players.

The external interest group-driven pressures that kept this case from being investigated and resolved properly -- what agendas were behind them, who was pressured, how those pressures changed the course of the legal process -- that's several more plots.

The evolution of the mainstream media's coverage -- what made it a story, what narrative was adopted and why, the extent to which that narrative changed (if at all) as more facts emerged -- more plots.

The extent to which the conduct of the primary players, the interest groups, and the mainstream media alike were exposed and affected by the blogger community -- more plots.

How are you going to decide where to stop?


Anonymous said...

Oh, those Medieval dramas were called "closet" dramas

This is a closet drama, all right.

Anyone know a good fumigator?


Anonymous said...

Oh, and last but not least:

When you sell the movie rights, who would you like to see play the role of Nifong?

-- Dave

Anonymous said...

Dave, your usage of "alchemized" is priceless


M. Simon said...

I read that short bit on Kerstin Kimel you did KC and it brought tears to my eyes.

To stand up straight under all that pressure took guts. To support the team when hardly any one of Duke would is a testament to her courage and heart.

The fact that she brought her team with her speaks well of her and them. I hope they get a book out of this. Or chapters in every one elses.

And how about coach Pressler? 100% graduation rate. He turned 46 boys into a team of men.

M. Simon said...

Dave 1:15Am,

A ten volume set?

M. Simon said...

When you sell the movie rights, who would you like to see play the role of Nifong?

-- Dave 1:24 AM,

Sidney Greenstreet.

Anonymous said...

Nifong role goes to William Macey. He'd be hysterical.

Cedric the Entertainer as Precious

Wendy Murphy--Rosie O'Donnell

the accused--central casting

Director: John Waters

Writer: David Mamet

Karla Holloway--Whoopi

Wahneema--Cedric the Entertainer

Anonymous said...

Guys, this will be a tough sell to Hollywood. I don't think they'll touch it.

Best bet is with an indpendent filmmaker. Mamet would be my pick to write the screenplay. He loathes political correctness, and he has balls. I have a lot of respect for him. If you want to see 1 of the funniest films ever made, get "State and Main." Mamet wrote and directed.


Anonymous said...

I'm of the view that Herald-Sun cub reporter Shadee Malakou ought to have been mentioned, pehaps under the "zanies" sub-head. Or did I overlook her?

M. Simon said...


Yeah Bill Macy would be good. I worked with him and hung out with him for about six months when I was renting some shop space from the St. Nicholas theater.

I stil like the black heartedness of Greenstreet.

Bill would emphasise the incompetence. Greenstreet the evil as just another way of doing business.

Well Greenstreet is gone. We are stuck with Macy. Or an unknown.

Anonymous said...

How about Malcolm McDowell, from A Clockwork Orange, as Nofing?

M. Simon said...

Polanski 1:44AM,

I used to party with Mamet and Macy when they were starting the St. Nicholas.

I built and installed their first sound system. Made it out of a surplus radio chasis I got for $10. I think it pot out about 4 Watts. The speakers were super efficient though.

I got to watch the first production of American Buffalo from the shop which had "Phantom of the Opera" windows that had an excellent view of the stage.

Plus there was a no drinking rule in the theater. We had no such rule in the shop.

Anonymous said...

May all the evil clowns, as well as the heros and heroines, go down in history as such when the books are written (and I'm still hoping KC will write the definitive book).

Anonymous said...

Isn't the way we look at things interesting? I think I understand and appreciate the rationale for most of the list. For instance, the choices and actions of Nifong certainly justify seeing him as a central character.

Still, I prefer to view the three accused young men (and their parents) as the central characters. Although much of what is happening is outside their control, this story loses much of its significance if the defendants are relegated to bit parts. The accused lacrosse players and their families are not just potted plants being affected by the decisions and actions of others. Their actions and dignity throughout this nightmare provide much of what is compelling about the story and may tell us more (or at least as much) about the human condition as do the maneuverings of everyone else combined. In some ways, relegating the defendants and their families to minor roles is analogous to saying slaves did not have significant roles in slavery.

This is in no way a criticism of K.C.'s post. As with all of his writing, the post serves its purpose very well. Part of the absurdity of this mess is that, in many respects, an observer does not need to know anything about Reade, Collin, and Dave. Almost any innocent bystander could have gotten caught in Nifong's web.

Texas Professor

Anonymous said...

Say, a link or a little more info on Brad Bannon would be helpful. I don't recall his name or what he did.

Anonymous said...

Video - there is a Toyota ad then...
2007 LAX US Coaches Convention
Now at Bryant, Mike Pressler addresses the USLacrosse National Convention and references the case and its affects quite a bit. A moving and inspirational address. Pressler's topic is "How to build a winning team".

ex-Duke Lacrosse coach Mike Pressler Speaks


Anonymous said...

"Innocent Black Madona" reminded of the following Robert Service poem, which speaks to this situation on many levels:

My Madona - Robert Service

"I haled me a woman from the street,
Shameless, but, oh so fair!
I bade her sit in the model's seat
And I painted her sitting there.

I hid all trace of her heart unclean;
I painted a babe at her breast;
I painted her as she might have been
If the Worst had been the Best.

She laughed at my picture and went away,
Then came, with a knowing nod,
A connoisseur, and I heard him say;
"Tis Mary, the Mother of God,"

So I painted a halo round her hair,
And I sold her and took my fee,
And she hangs in the church of Saint Hillaire,
Where you and all may see."

Anonymous said...

Sweetmick says: KC, I really don't understand your inclusion of Ruth Sheehan as part of a "team" that produced since April the best articles in the MSM. You are way off base. She revealed her true colors in March. Her heart hasn't been in it since April. Nothing but slick cold comments; damn, she even called Rae Evans "arrogant" for the "not with my family" comment. Sheehan is even more dangerous than Nifong. Remember, Nifong FOLLOWED Sheehan's lead in March, and so did the black community .Rogue prosecutors are everywhere; that's why we needed a vigilant press. Sheehan? No better and just as corrupt as that New York Times reporter, Durant, who years ago portayed the Soviet Union as a workers paradise, and Stalin as a freedom fighter. You've given me an upset stomach.

Anonymous said...

Brian Grazer and Ron Howard should buy the film rights and cast Tom Hanks as Joe Cheshire. Can I get "dibs" on my son as and extra, playing a member of the lacrosse team?
Texas Mom

Anonymous said...

KC makes an important point about the strategy of making Seligman's alibi public. Publicizing the player's defense was a bit like having a football team's playbook stolen by the opposing team.

But I agree with KC that the defense had no choice but to do it because the case was already being tried in the public media and on the campus and the verdict already rendered in the important court of public opinion.

The defamation of character is such a serious part of this drama that the accused had no choice but to take the legal risks involved in revealing the evidence that indicated their innocence.

One hero who is left out is Ed Bradley. The dying CBS and 60 minutes reporter's story about the case turned the tide of public opinion and made it respectable for people to support the players. It took great courage for Bradley to do it as this story will always be a big part of his legacy.

Anonymous said...

KC makes an important point about the strategy of making Seligman's alibi public. Publicizing the player's defense was a bit like having a football team's playbook stolen by the opposing team.

But I agree with KC that the defense had no choice but to do it because the case was already being tried in the public media and on the campus and the verdict already rendered in the important court of public opinion.

The defamation of character is such a serious part of this drama that the accused had no choice but to take the legal risks involved in revealing the evidence that indicated their innocence.

One hero who is left out is Ed Bradley. The dying CBS and 60 minutes reporter's story about the case turned the tide of public opinion and made it respectable for people to support the players. It took great courage for Bradley to do it as this story will always be a big part of his legacy.

Anonymous said...

How true, Anonymous, Ed Bradley was integral. What an amazing man.

Anonymous said...

Five other African-American heroes -

Former Duke lacrosse player Randall Drain and current player Devon Sherwood, who stood up to tremendous pressure and spoke the truth that their teammates were men of good character, who treated all members of the team as brothers, and who could not have conceivably committed the crimes for which they were being framed,

Jason Whitlock of the Kansas City Star, for being the first Black journalist to condemn the racial motivations behind the rhetorical lynching conducted by Houston Baker and others, and for evoking the parallels to the injustice portrayed in the Harper Lee novel, "To Kill a Mockingbird",

Thomas Sowell, for his razor sharp insight into the danger to the African-American community of tolerating pandering demagogues and dishonest public officials, and

Ed Bradley of CBS 60 Minutes, for recognizing the importance to the nation of understanding the extreme injustice of the Duke lacrosse case.

Anonymous said...

What an ass kissing defense atty post. Nifong is an idiot, is corrupt, and deserves to be disbarred for what he did, but you make it sound like Cheshire and his fellow defense lawyers did so much to undermine that prosecution. Risky moves? Please. They may well be brilliant lawyers, but dont kiss their ass when they are fighting a war where they are like this great army with plenty of resources and a well fortified position trying to hold off an invader who acts like they have resources and great soldiers, but really has nothing but a bunch of rock throwers.

Praise them in a tougher case where they win a case for an innocent defendant who has a real pro of a prosecutor and some actual evidence on the other side.

Your like a groupie. Just report the facts.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate your hard work on this blog. It has become my first-stop source for following the case, and I've informed many others about it. I've also chased many of the links you've provided, often links that show the other side's "perspective", so no one can accuse you of not presenting their view. If the experiment in government that is the US survives, it will be because of the diligence, bordering on obsession, of people like you. This case has proven beyond a doubt that much of mass media and government can’t be trusted, so I guess it’s up to the bloggers now.

Anonymous said...

K.C....Have to agree with 6:24, including Ruth Sheehan is like including Roseanne Roseannadanna, except when Roseanne said "Oh,never mind", She was sincere!

Howard said...

I am sick of you people attempting to lynch poor Mike Nyfong. Even his hate mail has turned against him. God will get you for all this.

Anonymous said...

3:05am Anon:

"Say, a link or a little more info on Brad Bannon would be helpful. I don't recall his name or what he did."

Brad Bannon is a partner in Cheshire's firm. Read Bannon's direct of Meehan in the transcript of the December 15 hearing.

Anonymous said...

Yesterday DA Nifong was spotted at the Koury Center in Greensboro attending the 'NC Conference for Judges & Public Officials'.
Of note is his attendance at the Seminar on "House Bill 1853: NC State Government Ethics Act".
I guess it's never too late to repent...or give the appearance thereof ! (or maybe just a free lunch and a chance to snivel in front of one's accusers and judges)
Attending w/ Mr. Nifong was Attorney D.Hoke, the sanctioned DA of Alan Gell murder trial fame; another ethically challenged public official now the #2 at AOC (Administrative Office of the Courts). The Foxes guarding the Hen House...Do you think they talked ??

Anonymous said...

Polanski -

you are too cynical. Of course Hollywood will make the film. Regrettably, Ben Stiller gets the role of Nifong.

Anonymous said...

Polanski -

you are too cynical. Of course Hollywood will make the film. Regrettably, Ben Stiller gets the role of Nifong.

Anonymous said...

Praise them in a tougher case where they win a case for an innocent defendant who has a real pro of a prosecutor and some actual evidence on the other side.

Your like a groupie. Just report the facts.

8:17 AM

This is a ridiculous post, and one that ignores the situation that existed last spring when this case broke. Yes, it is true that Nifong had no evidence of which to speak, something we knew then and we really know now.

However, it also was clear that the potential jury pool of Durham was ready (and still is ready, in my thinking) to convict the players of "something," even if Nifong could not prove rape. In other words, if there ever was a case in which the truth did not matter, this was it.

Last spring, you also forget that just a few of us were writing on this case from the viewpoint of the defendants, K.C., Johnsville News, Wendy McElroy, and me. Literally all of the media was on the other side and pretty well had convicted the players. Nifong was able to arrest Moez Elmostafa, and hardly anyone complained. The man held all of the cards, as far as this case was concerned.

Furthermore, Nifong had the judges Stephens and Titus in his back pocket, as they were acting as agents for the prosecution. When one of the BP members shouted a death threat to Reade Seligmann in a courtroom, Stephens did nothing. When Nifong laughed out loud when Kirk Osborn asked for a reduction in Reade's $400K bail, Stephens did nothing.

When the NAACP (acting as an agent for the prosecution) demanded a gag order that in reality was only a gag on the defense, Titus enthusiastically aceded to the organization's demands. The MSM at that time pretty much was an amen chorus to Nifong.

This was -- and to a certain extent, still is -- a case where facts and truth have not mattered to many people. Nifong was able to hide evidence, and if Stephens or Titus were still on the case, none of us would have known about the multiple DNA, Nifong would be preparing to take the case to trial, and the trial would definitely have been in Durham, where a jury would have been eager to convict.

I am not exaggerating when I say this. We see the MSM pretty much on our side, but that was NOT the case last spring when Nifong was able to do whatever he wanted, and the attorneys had their hands tied.

Yes, I suspect that after the conviction and after the young men had served time in prison, their convictions might have been overturned. That is the reality of this case, and I can guarantee you that K.C. is not engaged in butt kissing of the attorneys. Yes, they had the facts on their side, but even today, facts do not matter to many people, and last spring the facts did not matter to the politicians and the judges, and certainly the potential jury pool.

Anonymous said...

I think the Nifong role should be played by that guy who played the principal in Ferris Bueller's Day Off. I don't remember the actor's name, but he's a snarly-looking weasel of a guy, and I believe that he was subsequently arrested for sexually molesting a little boy. I think he'd make a great Nifong!

Anonymous said...

Dustin Hoffman doing his Rainman shtick would be ideal for Nifong. Dress him in a bathrobe, have him wander the streets of Durham and it couldn't be any stranger than the truth.

Which black actress would want to play Crystal Gail Mangum? Need one that doesn't mind being filmed while she explains how the DNA from 5 guys got into her various orifices after she claimed she hadn't had sex in a week - oh, that's right, almost any "actress" in Hollywood is familiar with that scenario.

You need to get Danny Glover, Susan Sarandon and the rest of the usual suspects in to the cast somehow - their hatred of freedom should make this fit the standard template of oppression that Hollywood will make the central theme of the movie. Mustn't allow facts to get in the way, eh Marcotte? I haven't seen her picture but posts here suggest that she is ugly enough to scare a pitbull off a meat wagon - perhaps she could play one of the strippers - they are certainly repulsive women. Wymyn. Oh, I know, the word I was looking for was, oh nevermind...

Anonymous said...

His name is Jeffery Jones and he does like the little ones...

Anonymous said...

I am hoping to get a seat on that jury, should this abomination ever get to trial. There will be no conviction of the LAX players if I am seated. Oh, that's right, I'll be pre-emptively dismissed because I am white - nevermind - this is Durham afterall, and I, for one, am gettin' tired of bein' oppressed by the man!

Anonymous said...

Have any faculty members from NCCU come to the defense of the 3 boys? or spoken out on the injustice of this case? If not i would like to add NCCU.

Anonymous said...

To howard at 8:25 -

I was having coffee with God this morning, and She is not happy with Nifong. Trust me.

Anonymous said...

As an additional casting suggestion for a movie role, I would suggest that the role of Professor Coleman by played by James Earl Jones.

Anonymous said...

Be sure to check out the front page of today's News and Observer.

"Gov. Mike Easley said last month that picking Mike Nifong to be Durham's district attorney was the worst appointment of his career, and he said Nifong broke his promise not to run for the office."

Anonymous said...

"Risky moves? Please."

Yes, the defense attorneys have a lot of resources. But that isn't really relevant to the risky move KC identified. There is a great strategic risk in making alibi evidence public, because this allows the prosecution the opportunity to either change its own theory to counter the evidence or work to undercut the credibility or availability of that evidence. As we saw, the prosecution here has tried both--by resurrecting a dead warrant to prosecute the taxi driver who supported Reade's claim and by getting a statement from the accuser that both changes the timeline to make it possible for Reade to be in the bathroom and drops the claim that he directly participated in the assault. Defense attorneys can't count on the prosecution being as hamhanded in its efforts as this one was. So here the tradeoff was between this risk and the risks inherent in continuing to proclaim innocence but letting the other side dominate the public discourse. Really, not as easy a choice as it might seem in retrospect.

james conrad said...

re 9.40....agreed, but what choice did the defense really have here? the national media was going absolutely nuts with this story line, aided by nifong, g88, etc

Anonymous said...


Actor/convicted sex offender Jeffrey Jones was arrested yesterday (6/1/04) for failing to inform Florida authorities that he had moved from a temporary residence in Sarasota where he was bunking with his mother. The 57-year-old performer, best known as the snarling principal from "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," formally registered as a Sunshine State sex offender last December, months after he pleaded no contest in Los Angeles to a felony charge of paying a 14-year-old boy to pose for explicit photos.

I agree, he would be ideal for the Nifong part.

Anonymous said...


You need to add another category: "The Blamers".

In the "The Blamers" category, top distinction should go to Mike Easley.

From today's Raleigh News & Observer, we learn more details about the Easley-Nifong relationship.

"I almost un-appointed him when he decided to run." Easley said concerning Nifong's decision to seek office last fall.

What about Easley's decision to appoint him in the first place?

Easley said he was comfortable with the appointment because Nifong said he wouldn't run for office. Incredible logic.

What reason(s)explain why Easley was okay with appointing Nifong, yet at the same time not okay with Nifong running for full term when the election later arose?

Anonymous said...

To anon 9:54:

I too noticed the blurb in the N&O where it stated that Easley said he was comfortable with the appointment because Nifong said he wouldn't run for office.

This is a very illuminating, for it gives us a chilling view of how Easley thinks.

Anonymous said...

I will say it again, and this does not come just from me: a Durham jury would have been very likely to have convicted the three of "something." And, yes, Kirk Osborn did take a risk because Nifong was able to change the timeline through a change in Crystal's statements.

Nifong and his followers had multiple ways to promote the prosecution's case, and from what I can tell, the prosecution's strategy was to pick a story that would seem to have the fewest contradictions. The key is to understand that the prosecution decided up front to declare that a rape had occurred, and then to figure the best way to spin a story.

This is backwards of what should be the procedure. Prosecutors are supposed to follow the evidence trail to see what (or, if anything) happened that was a crime. If the evidence leads to a crime, then indict and prosecute.

Instead, we had Nifong, much of the Duke faculty, the NAACP, Nancy Grace, Wendy Murphy and others decided up front that there was a rape (or at least they said there was a rape), and then trying to figure the best set of "fact" -- or fiction -- that would "prove" the original contention.

It is clear to me that the North Carolina courts were determined to let Nifong procede in that manner. That was how the Little Rascals case proceded, so we have an example of how the courts would work in such a situation.

I will say it again; the attorneys have done a very good job against tough odds. True, it is obvious to us that the charges always have been false, but modern courts are not about finding the truth anymore. They are about enabling prosecutors.

Anonymous said...


You forgot Peter Wood in your list of academic rogues. It's my impression that he more than anyone is responsible for the anti-lacrosse player tide amongst the faculty that has never subsided.

Gary Packwood said...

Write the book as a work of fiction

I suggest that you write the book as fiction as that will be the only way readers will get past the first chapter.

The facts so far in this case suggest that adults associated with The Press, Duke and Durham are either stoned or stupid or both.

As a work of fiction, the facts can be viewed with tears and laughter at the same time...and never forgotten.

Anonymous said...

Re Editorial Nitpicking

It is not "race bating," which would mean reducing race (however that is done.) It is "race baiting," meaning to appeal to the lower emotions on the basis of race. Spell checkers are dangerous: they approve valid but unintended words, but remove typos that do leave the intended sense clear.


Anonymous said...

And still the charges have not been dropped. Nifong is a jerk. He never did answer any motions - none of the Judges ruled on the motions. North Carolina justice is a joke.

Anonymous said...

There is no doubt the defense attys did good work, but KC is a defense atty ass kisser. He just reposts the same information with a different spin over and over. Sounds like a professor who has been teaching the same class for 20 yrs.

Some people stand on the sidelines and criticize and then make their voice louder when they are on the right side looking to benefit either financially or from recognition by those actually in the game.

All defense lawyers stand up for their clients atleast on a superficial level and it is so easy to do when your clients are rich and or famous, guilty or not. They dont deserve props in this case like they did something extrordinary. Its easy to cry out injustice like you are the only defender of the truth when you have these facts. Praise for them is better deserved when they dont have such a clear cut set of facts and a piss poor prosecutor on the other side.

Making public Reades alibi was not a risky move at all. You make it sound like these guys are Perry Mason in this case. My guess is you are just laying the groundwork for the interviews the defense lawyers and players will give you for a book when this is all over. Why make a living as a lawyer when you can make an easier living in a way similar to the talking heads you criticize.

You do a great job reporting the facts, just stop repeating yourself and cut back on the ass kissing.

The previous poster is correct on one thing, justice in NC is a joke. The criminal justice system in this state is as outdated as the contrib argument on the civil side.

bobo1949 said...

Early in this thread there was some discussion concerning who should play the various characters in a theoretical movie. William Macey and Sidney Greenstreet were proposed as possibilities for the role of Nifong. Both of these gentlemen are/were excellent character actors. This role requires the skills of a leading man. I suggest George Clooney play the role. Culturally and politically Clooney is a perfect fit for the role. He is a little too handsome but special effects can solve that issue.
Who should play Nifong's wife and who should play the governor?

Anonymous said...

Sally Field should play Nifong's wife.

A bland mousey woman.

Poor Cy carries the residue mulcted from her odious husband. Perhaps she can land a Boniva commercial to help with the legal bills.



Anonymous said...

ok, here is the Law & Order episode:

Of course, as usual, some modifications are made so the episode is politically correct and approved by New York Times. In the Law & Order episode 975, Nifong is a republican appointee, Crystal is a white prostitute who served in Iraq and Klu Klux Klan is the external hate group harassing black victims (black basketball players) on campus. David Duke is the leader of Gang66, intimidating students.

Starring: Matt Damon, NY lawyer working for NAACP who helps the poor black players. In the end, Damon proves the existence of global warming.

Ben Affleck: A common man who gives alibi to the accused players despite being threatened by the prosecutor

George Clooney: Cab driver, who is harassed by racist police (GWB lookalike) and DA but who eventually gives alibi to the accused player.

Susan Sarandon: Feminist professor at Duke who speaks against the injustice during the public lynching (mob is wearing George Bush bumber stickers).

Anonymous said...

4:16 post of Pressler's speech...

The introduction is on point relative to the Gang of 88. Why do they coach? Good years, bad year? Because of the relationship with their students...

The Gang of 88, and their ilk, have no relationship, rather overt disdain for their students, and/or especially the white, male, athletic ones.

Anonymous said...

4:16...discusses; foundation, character, winning, hiring staff, work ethic, strenght of character, trust, etc...

That's the culture desired in a program. It's pretty clear that the Gang of 88 and the race, gender, class warfare types come down 180 degress from these and yet Pressler was "fired"?

Unbelievable, the President Brodhead, should resign and his successor should immediately begin radically altering the funding of the 88's and their ilks, programs.

I think I'm gonna be sick.

Anonymous said...

This cast of characters is curious. Many no-brainers on whom we can all agree.

Many were ommitted.

Some, like Ruth Sheehan, were a stretch. In reality, the N & O came late to the party---unless we want to talk about their horrendous interview with the "victim" and the horrific decision to print a wanted poster of the lacrosse players before any evidence was in.

I certainly believe that the e-mails and conversations that some of us had with the powers-that-be at the N & O put them on the right track. Not much else.

Neff and Niolet all of a sudden found their journalistic balls and started covering the case with objectivity.

The publisher Orage Quarles is no dummy. Very sharp guy. He wasn't about to allow his paper to follow the lead of the Herald-Sun......even though many of his employees would have gladly continued down that path.

Truth is, no one at Duke played an heroic role except Coach Kimmel and her team.

It was obvious from watching Nifong's excited gyrations on Dan Abrams show.....right at the very beginning......that this was a flawed and unethical DA.

Where were these "heroes" then? It took a while for them to come to the party. That's what assisted the railroading of three innocent people. Silence.

Or those feverish, glossy Liberal Democrats who called anyone a "racist" who questioned Nifong's behavior.

I see very few "heroes". Just a few opportunists. All one needs to do is read Governor Easley's frantic attempt to redefine his impotent role in the article today. When I read that at 7 o'clock this morning, I did a cappuccino spit-take.

All the Democrats in NC are pussy-whipped by the black vote. It's a pathetic thing to view in the year 2007.



Anonymous said...

Two! Two!

Two Debrahs in one!

Anonymous said...

"Is you is or is you ain't my constituency?"

Wayne Duvall, as gubernatorial candidate Homer Stokes, just before being run out of town on a rail in in "O Brother, Where Art Thou"

I'd love to see what the Coen brothers would do with this one.


Anonymous said...

Just saw the short film clip of Pressler's talk. This man was fired and the feckless stumblebum brodhead is still there???????
How utterly grotesque.


Anonymous said...

You wrote that Clooney's words would "decimate" Nifong's case.

Decimate means [to remove] one in ten.

I think you were being too generous to Nifong.

Anonymous said...

Failing media...

I read this quote from Robert Conquest in an WSJ article written by Christopher Hitchens that I think properly explains the recent, and dramatic, drop in main stream, poluted, media. The quote is in response to a question about feeling vindicated for Conquest's expose, through his work,"The Great Terror" about the communists/Stalins, Harvest of Sorrow.

"There was a magazine in Russia called Neva, which found its circulation went up from 100,000 to a million when it serialized 'The Great Terror.'"

Maybe others will be equally vindicated, sooner rather than later, about exposing the fraudulent and poisonous nature of the gender, race, class studies departments as well...

I still believe naming the building that houses those frauduelnt departments would be poetic justice. Make those bigots walk to their office every day and be reminded how pathetic they really have become.

Anonymous said...

One other hero that I would mention is the Duke Chronicle. Of *all* the media they have been the most balanced in reporting. And they have been the only source that provided an inside view of the Group-of-88 as well as reflecting the Duke students' opinion.

Duke Alum (and, no, I did not work on the Chroncile staff while @Duke)

Anonymous said...

naming the building after the boys...of course.

Anonymous said...

How did Tim Tyson escape being an "academic rogue"?

Anonymous said...

The Heroes

I think we left one name out ... KC Johnson

Anonymous said...

Check out the following post on Howard Bashman's website - a dissent from a Fifth Circuit en banc opinion named Mike Nifong as an example of prosecutorial misconduct. Is this the first instance of this?

Anonymous said...

Quarles was publisher when Khanna's March "interview" with the "victim" was printed. And when the libelous vigilante poster appeared in the N&O.

Anonymous said...

Finnerty : Matthew Modine
Evans : Tom Cruise
Seligmann : Rob Lowe

Anonymous said...

The New York Times has to be added to the villians. They were the ones who tried in vain to revive Nifong's case in the court of public opinion with that now infamous August front page article/op-ed/ambulance run.

Duff Wilson should get special mention. You can name Wilson and the Times jointly and severally.

KC Wilson will definitely be a hero. Same for Stuart Taylor, who shredded the Times article before the ink was dry. Same for numerous bloggers and internet corresponders in general. 10 years ago, the Times and others in the MSM (eg. Herald Sun) could have gotten away with their biased reporting and outright disinformation.

Wendy Murphy will be the most well known villian, being the last Nifong defender who was shown nationally and regularly on cable. An apologist and denier to the bitter end, she's the 'Bagdad Bob" of the Duke Hoax.

Anonymous said...

I would add to the heroes list

The Bloggers:
KC Johnson
The Liestoppers Team
John in Carolina
and all the others that helped keep this case alive

Anonymous said...

--5:52pm---True, but as more information came out, the N&O changed their coverage, unlike the Herald Sun.
What Nifong did in the beginning ginned up the media to where only the reasonably fair outlets began to take a step back.

Anonymous said...

I think KC should be in the movie.

Would be cool to somehow bring in characters from the blogosphere.

The hoax would have been different without it.

Bill Anderson, JinC, Joan Foster, Gaynor. I know I've forgotten some......anyway, would love to see them in the movie some way. Could be quite an addition.

Anonymous said...

We are missing the boat, folks. Nifong should play Nifong and the 3 LAX players should play themselves. NOBODY can portray the depth of evil required for this part better than fong. And heroes should play heroes.... the guys would not even have to rehearse.


Anonymous said...

Anyone remember the movie Bull Durham? How about Bullshit Durham as the title?

Anonymous said...

Brodhead not making the list is curious .

Coleman was helpful but hardly a hero . As a hero he would have spoken out against Brodhead and the
Gang .

Coleman's role is clearly to direct all criticism to Nifong and away from Duke .