Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Bannon at Campbell Law Day

DIW readers in North Carolina might want to set aside time this Saturday morning, for Brad Bannon's appearance as keynote speaker for Campbell Law School's Law Day. The announcement:
Campbell Law School’s 31st Annual Law Day to Feature Distinguished Alumni Brad Bannon and Lt. Col. Stuart Couch

WHO: Mr. Brad Bannon, a 1997 graduate of Campbell Law School is known for his work in the 2006-07 Duke Lacrosse case, which garnered national headlines. Bannon served as a defense attorney and ultimately changed the course of case events with his DNA discovery. He was also an expert witness during testimony that led to the removal and disbarring of former Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong. Bannon currently serves as an associate at Cheshire, Parker, Schneider, Bryan & Vitale in Raleigh.

WHAT: The Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law at Campbell University will host Brad Bannon as the keynote speaker for the morning family portion of its 2008 Law Day.

WHEN: Saturday, March 15, 10:00 a.m.
(Interviews available)

WHERE: D. Rich Hall
Turner Auditorium
Campbell University
Buies Creek, NC 27506


Anonymous said...

KC, thanks for keeping us up to date. Brad Bannon was a hero, I wish him well and much success in his career.
It proves that it doesn't matter what school you go to, it matters what you do in life after finishing.
A sweet story recently about Collin scoring on his teammates. He is in a much better place, even if they didn't win the game!Shame on Duke for turning their backs on the three guys.Thank god, Brad did the opposite.

mac said...

I hope someone will provide a transcript - can't make the date. I would love to hear his opinion - if he offers it - on the current lawsuits, and on whether or not Mr. Elmostafa is going to get more than an award from Reader's Digest (not that there's anything minor about that.) I'd also like to hear his opinion on Robert Steel and the resignations/retirements of certain members of the Dee Pee Dee.

Lots of questions, actually: far more than these.

Anonymous said...

Any chance there will be audio, video, or a transcript?

Anonymous said...

Duke should take a lesson from Campbell and feature an honest, young lawyer who is trying to clean up the image of the legal profession!! Is anyone in Durham paying attention?????

Debrah said...

Lacrosse players counter Duke claim

By Ray Gronberg : The Herald-Sun

Mar 15, 2008

DURHAM -- Duke University's lawyers are trying to suppress criticism of the school by getting a federal judge to rewrite the ethics rules that govern what attorneys can say about a case outside court.

That's the essence of the argument offered by lawyers for 38 members of the 2005-06 Duke men's lacrosse team in defense of the efforts they've made to publicize the federal civil-rights lawsuit they filed last month against the school and the city of Durham.

Duke's lawyers contend that by issuing a news release about the lawsuit, holding a Washington, D.C., news conference to announce it and maintaining a Web site to keep people apprised of the latest developments, the players' legal team has engaged in conduct that's "substantially likely" to prejudice potential jurors.

The players' team, led by Washington lawyer Charles Cooper, says that's nonsense.

Filed Thursday, their response contends that Cooper in the news conference merely read or summarized the most important claims they're making against Duke and the city in connection with Duke lacrosse case.

State and federal ethics rules allow that, and the "simple reality" is that the claims "cannot be alleged in terms that the Duke and Durham defendants will find pleasing," Cooper and his fellow lawyers said.

Limiting such statements would amount to a violation of First Amendment free-speech rights, they argued.

Moreover, the ethical limits on out-of-court speech aren't as strict in civil cases as they are in criminal cases where someone's freedom is on the line, they contend.

And on top of that, the N.C. State Bar has recognized that sometimes a lawyer has to speak up for a client out of court to counter prejudicial publicity against his or her clients.

Given the hostility directed at the players in 2006 -- much of it voiced by students, faculty and staff members at Duke -- "it is difficult to imagine a case that falls more squarely within" that policy, Cooper and his fellow lawyers said.

Meanwhile, lawyers for the city turned in a filing of their own on Thursday that echoed Duke's complaints about the players' publicity effort.

City lawyers Reggie Gillespie and Roger Warin singled out as being especially prejudicial comments Cooper and Steve Henkelman made at the news conference that essentially accused city officials of corruption.

Cooper actually used the word "corrupt" in reference to the Durham Police Department detectives who assisted former District Attorney Mike Nifong. Other officials, he said, used the lacrosse case in 2006 to "advance their own career ambitions, [further] their own ideological agendas [or] gratify their own personal prejudices."

Henkelman criticized police for producing and distributing what he termed "lie-filled CrimeStoppers fliers" about the bogus rape charge.

The fliers in question assumed the truth of a stripper's claims against the players and branded the allegations "a horrific crime [that] sent shock waves throughout our community."

Federal District Court Judge James Beaty Jr., was scheduled to hold a hearing on Duke's motion next week. But Cooper had sought a continuance, and it appeared late Friday that Beaty had granted one.

The law Beaty will have to consider before ruling on the matter includes a 1991 U.S. Supreme Court case on the interplay between a lawyer's free-speech rights and ethical obligations.

Five justices agreed that Nevada's bar improperly sanctioned a lawyer over out-of-court comments. The lawyer targeted, Dominick Gentile, was defending a man accused of stealing cocaine and travelers checks from a police-controlled safety deposit box.

Gentile contended that one of the detectives investigating his client had actually committed the theft.

The author of the key opinion in the case, Justice Anthony Kennedy, contended that Gentile's comments were "classic political speech" critical of government officials that the courts should protect.

A majority of justices disagreed with that argument, but Kennedy lined up enough votes on the court to get the sanctions against Gentile voided on technical grounds. They decided the Nevada bar's ethics rules weren't clear enough.

Debrah said...


Magazine names cabbie Hero of the Year

By Dan E. Way : The Herald-Sun
Mar 15, 2008

DURHAM -- Moezeldin Elmostafa is elated beyond expression. He has risen from the humiliation of being the cabbie who became collateral damage in the politically motivated Duke lacrosse case to being anointed an American hero.

Reader's Digest has named Elmostafa its 2008 Hero of the Year. He was selected by thousands of readers in an online contest sponsored by the popular, folksy magazine that has more than 40 million U.S. readers. The distinction will be announced in the edition slated to hit news stands Tuesday.

"I feel great about it. I really feel good," said Elmostafa. The Sudanese immigrant and co-owner of On Time Taxi said he couldn't have entertained a dream of this uniquely American miracle story when he immigrated here in 1999.

"When I came to this country I just was by myself, and seven years later I'm a hero. It makes me feel like I'm on a right track," he said.

Consider that the 40-year-old and his wife, who is still in Sudan, just had their fourth child a month ago and it's been an incredibly good streak of fortune. In another month, he will take the oath of U.S. citizenship.

"That's all I dream about. If I get my citizenship, I will be able to bring my family" to America, Elmostafa said. "They are in a part of the country [Sudan] where they are kind of safe, not really safe, but kind of safe. I call them every day, sometimes twice a day."

Reader's Digest profiled the 40-year-old Elmostafa and his travails in its November edition, and the ordeal struck a national nerve.

To recap, he was the taxi driver who picked up Duke lacrosse player Reade Seligmann and a friend on March 14, 2006, from an off-campus lacrosse party at 610 N. Buchanan Blvd. He took them to an ATM, a fast-food restaurant and then to a campus dorm.

The late-night fare provided Seligmann, who was falsely accused along with two teammates of raping a stripper who performed at the party, with an ironclad alibi.

Shortly thereafter, Elmostafa was arrested on a 2003 warrant charging him with shoplifting at Hecht's department store at Northgate Mall. A woman who got a ride in his taxi had been charged and later pleaded guilty to stealing handbags.

Defense lawyers and lacrosse case observers accused District Attorney Mike Nifong -- who was later disbarred as a rogue prosecutor for his misadventures in the lacrosse case and spent a night in jail -- of attempting to shake down Elmostafa with the old warrant. District Judge Ann McKown found the cabbie not guilty at trial for lack of evidence linking him to the crime.

"That's the only time I ever saw her," Elmostafa said of the lady shoplifter. "I wish I never had picked her up that day."

"It was politics at that time," he said of the move to arrest him. "Those people [the three indicted Duke lacrosse players], they took them to jail for no reason and they took me to jail for no reason, too," Elmostafa said. "I'm still kind of angry against official people here."

"It was a very scary time" as he rode in the back of a police car with handcuffs on, he said. "I thought they were going to deport me, take away my green card and end my life here," or that he might end up spending the rest of his life in jail, the sort of sentence that might be expected in his native country.

But amid the terror arose a level of calming acceptance that he was doing what was right and that he would not allow anyone to sway his testimony about the Seligmann situation.

"I thought about that. I tell the truth, it doesn't matter, so jail doesn't matter," he said.

That gritty resolve amid overwhelming pressure, and the fact that Elmostafa ended up with a $2,500 debt for money he borrowed to defend himself, is what resonated with Reader's Digest voters in the hero contest.

"Mr. Elmostafa won by a very large margin. He was far and away our frontrunner," said Ellen Morgenstern, director of public relations for Reader's Digest.

"When we originally ran the story in our November issue we had a wonderful response from our readers, several of which were offers of monetary donations to help him cover his legal expenses," Morgenstern said. "We've had readers send money to him."

"I'm really thankful for that, for whatever they send, even $1," Elmostafa said. "They make me feel like I've done something good."

The Reader's Digest honor does not come with a monetary gift, but the Durham cabbie will receive other rewards for his perseverance in the face of politicized pressure during the lacrosse case.

"We will actually bestow an award on Mr. Elmostafa, and we are hoping to do that in New York City," Morgenstern said, "and we are expecting that to be done in conjunction with a national morning show" television appearance by Elmostafa. Those details have yet to be finalized.

Hopes of bringing Elmostafa to New York sooner were dashed, but Morgenstern said "I was very impressed" with the reason for the rejection.

"We wanted him to come up as the magazine was coming out" announcing him as the winner, Morgenstern said. "But he said, 'I can't, I have to be here for my customers.'

"We understand that his [business] partner has been away, and he will not leave his customers high and dry" before his partner returns to work, she said. "He takes his work very seriously."

And Americans have taken Elmostafa into the fold as a true American hero.

Letter writers to Reader's Digest variously described him as "the type of immigrant America wants and needs" to "indeed a hero . . . Important people, intellectual elites, people who had much greater responsibilities and power were aligned against him yet he still did the right thing."

"Every day I get a phone call or two calls," Elmostafa said. "People I don't even know. People from all over the country" thanking him for his bold stance to do what's right.

"When you see people calling you a hero, you feel great about yourself," Elmostafa said. "You feel more, like, grateful and thankful for America and the justice system and society, a combination."

Anonymous said...

Though I agree that the Treasury Dept. and Fed. must act or else we are in for a very ugly ride, (we likely are anyhow), I don't think Robert Steel is one who has a record of building confidence.

I suppose the silver lining may be that Mr. Steel is now too busy with the economy to have any additional time to undermine Duke.

If he screws up three institutions, he'll have a hat trick.

Bob Steel Confidence Builder?

"In an extraordinary move, the Federal Reserve and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. stepped in to keep Bear afloat following a severe cash crunch...

...With each firm intricately intertwined with others in a maze of loans, credit lines, derivatives and swaps, the Fed and Treasury agreed that letting Bear Stearns collapse quickly was a risk not worth taking, because the consequences were simply unknowable...

...The Fed can lend directly through its "discount window," but ordinarily only to commercial banks. A 1932 provision of the Federal Reserve Act allows the Fed to lend to non-banks if at least five of its seven governors approve. That provision was last regularly used during the Great Depression. It is meant to underscore that the central bank should lend to nonbanks only in extreme circumstances...

...At about 5 a.m. Friday, regulators including New York Fed Chief Timothy Geithner, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and the Treasury under secretary domestic finance, Robert Steel, convened by conference call. At the end of the call at 7 a.m., the Fed had decided it would offer the loan...

...The Fed, with two governors' seats vacant and one governor overseas and unreachable, invoked a special legal clause to approve the loan with just four governors...

...The immediate capital infusion isn't likely to restore enough confidence in Bear to stop the exodus..."

Anonymous said...

If anyone managed to attend this event, I would really appreciate them giving a summary of it. I take it for granted that Brad will have spoken eloquently - I'm just curious if the audience appreciated that.

Anonymous said...


...I am curious about the Fed's rather extraordinary move. What is the source of your quotes?


Anonymous said...

You are welcome Inman.

They are from the Wall Street Journal article of Saturday, March 15. That is the link above though it could have been clearer.