As TalkLeft’s Jeralyn Merritt observed, the attorney general’s report made clear that the lacrosse case was a “hoax” —perpetrated by a mentally unstable accusing witness, an unscrupulous district attorney, and a few other key figures willing to compromise their professional ethics to keep the fraud alive.
A summary of the conclusions:
1.) Crystal Mangum has no credibility now, and she never had any credibility.
In meetings with the special prosecutors, the accusing witness, when recounting the events of that night, changed her story on so many important issues as to give the impression she was improvising as the interviews progressed, even when she was faced with irrefutable evidence that what she was saying was not credible . . .
The accusing witness attempted to avoid the contradictions by changing her story, contradicting previous stories or alleging the evidence was fabricated.
Mangum’s final story contradicted each and every other story she had told to law enforcement officials over the previous 13 months. Now, she claimed that the rape occurred while she was suspended in mid-air(!), a scenario that AG Cooper already had dismissed as wholly non-credible.
In her conversations with special prosecutors, Mangum also claimed acts of public “violence”—the perpetrators, she claimed, kicked her in the neck and tossed her onto the porch, followed by 10 other lacrosse players assaulting her in the backyard. Yet not only did all of this public “violence” leave no bruises—a medical miracle—but also neither of the two neutral witnesses (next-door neighbor Jason Bissey or dancer Kim Roberts) saw any of it.
In addition to her sealed medical records explaining these bizarre allegations, the AG’s report made it clear that Mangum seemed dependent on prescription drugs—confirming the suspicion voiced many months ago by Kathleen Eckelt that Mangum was using the claim of rape to obtain prescription drugs.
2.) No innocent explanation exists for Nifong not knowing of Mangum’s lack of credibility.
The attorney general’s report makes clear the special prosecutors’ contempt for Nifong’s investigating style. The document notes, “The special prosecutors met with the accusing witness a number of times and questioned her about inconsistencies that existed at the time the Attorney General’s office accepted the case, as well as other inconsistencies that had arisen since then. This was apparently the first time these questions of inconsistencies had been asked formally.” [emphasis added]
Nifong, it’s worth remembering, had previously informed the court that he had determined Mangum to be credible by chatting with her about her children.
If Nifong hadn’t wanted to interview Mangum, he could have interviewed other lacrosse players—which he refused to do, despite offers from defense attorneys as early as March 27 and March 29. The attorney general’s report makes clear that the special prosecutors found credible the 17 lacrosse players who voluntarily submitted to questioning from the AG’s office.
3.) Without naming names, the report takes to task several of Nifong’s key facilitators.
The passages on Linwood Wilson were devastating:
Significantly, the chief investigator also showed her the photographs of lacrosse team members she had previously viewed on April 4, 2006 in the PowerPoint presentation. The chief investigator’s interview of the accusing witness was not recorded and neither the chief investigator’s notes nor his subsequent report revealed that the accusing witness was shown the photographs again, although he acknowledged to the special prosecutors in an interview that he had done so.
No explanation for this was contained in the chief investigator’s report or notes. His report does reflect, without explanation, that the accusing witness, for the first time, began referring to the three individuals as David Evans, Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty, rather than “Adam,” “Brett” and “Matt.” The chief investigator’s report also does not indicate whether the accusing witness was still able to identify the three individuals previously identified on April 4, 2006. [emphases added]
The special prosecutors then explained why
Showing the accusing witness these photographs which were the subject of a pending motion to suppress, along with her use of the proper names of those charged, provided the defense additional grounds to argue that the out of court and in court identification should be suppressed which would have effectively ended the case.
The special prosecutors determined that Tara Levicy had little credibility:
No medical evidence confirmed [Mangum’s] stories. The SANE based her opinion that the exam was consistent with what the accusing witness was reporting largely on the accusing witness’s demeanor and complaints of pain rather than on objective evidence. [emphasis added]
Ironically, despite Levicy’s full-out attempt to prop up Mangum, the accuser actually denied telling Levicy the items in Levicy’s March 14, 2006 report.
Finally, the attorney general’s office rebuked the Durham Police Department: “The special prosecutors concluded that the process by which the accusing witness ultimately identified David Evans, Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty as her attackers was of questionable validity . . . The photographic arrays shown to the accusing witness on four different occasions were limited to members of the lacrosse team. ‘Fillers,’ or individuals not regarded as potential suspects, as recommended by Durham Police Department policy for identifying suspects, were never included.”
All told, a devastating report for Nifong and his law enforcement enablers—and yet a document that in no way prejudices his right to a fair hearing before the state bar, since it skirted the two primary issues for which he faces ethics charges.
[Update, 10.11am: Patrick Baker has responded to the report, essentially dismissing the criticism of the state's top law enforcement official by claiming that the lineups were not lineups, and therefore did not require due process protections. This is, of course, the same Patrick Baker who said that every story Mangum told was consistent.]