A few things in the lacrosse case have been certain. Former lawyer Mike Nifong would violate the Bar’s ethics rules whenever presented with the opportunity. Group of 88 leader Wahneema Lubiano’s “forthcoming” books will still be “forthcoming.” And serial fabricator Crystal Mangum—the woman who could never tell the same story twice—will continue to fabricate.
At one level, it should come as no surprise to see Mangum’s fabricating today—in the three released chapters of her “invent-all” memoir, or in a treacly morning press conference. At another level, however, the performance was shameless—this woman whose lies caused so much harm lacks the decency not to publicly offer new lies.
As Joe Cheshire correctly noted, “Her press conference and her continued assertion that an assault happened is really pathetic . . . She’s clearly doing this to make money. By continuing to lie, she makes everything in the book, everything she says, a lie.”
Three chapters of the “invent-all” memoir have been released; here’s a summary of the peculiar tales offered by Mangum and co-author Ed Clark, who the N&O delicately describes as “a self-employed publicist.”
The Big Lie
At her press gala, Mangum affirmed, “I am still claiming that a sexual assault happened . . . [her story] has never changed.”
It’s worth reiterating, I suppose, that Mangum never even told the same story twice, much less consistently. Among the changes:
--Mangum variously claimed that there were 20, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, or zero “rapists.”
--Mangum variously claimed that Kim Roberts, the second dancer, was an accomplice in the attack on her, a neutral bystander, or the victim of a “rape” by three other lacrosse players.
--Mangum originally asserted that the “rape” occurred in a manner consistent with the normal laws of physics, only to conclude the case by describing an “attack” while she was being suspended in mid-air (just after, it should be noted, she was chatting with her father on the phone during her exotic dance and even as one of her “attackers” was chatting on the phone with his girlfriend).
But the serial fabricator asserts that her story “has never changed.”
The “Star Student”
Mangum, Clark writes, “could talk about news events, politics, and sophisticated concepts in psychology.”
Indeed. And Mike Nifong is in line to become the nation’s next Supreme Court Justice.
In another factual whopper, Clark assures readers that Mangum has never really had a problem with drug abuse.
This is, of course, the same Crystal Mangum who was on several drugs during her final interview with the special prosecutor, and who seemed to be "hospital shopping" early in the case to get some additional Percocet from UNC Hospital.
Press Conference Bizarro World
Mangum unleashed a howler at the press conference, asserting that she had decided to write her "invent-all" memoir because she hadn't had a chance to tell her story.
This is, of course, the same Crystal Mangum who was sought for an interview by 60 Minutes, ABC's Law & Justice Unit, the AP, the N&O, and the Herald-Sun, among other media sources.
She also hinted that she never had an opportunity to tell her side of the story--even though she was repeatedly interviewed by the special prosecutors.
In the event, she had little interest in telling her side of the story at the press conference, declining to answer such basic factual questions as how often she met with Mike Nifong.
The Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy
I began to notice most of [Sean Hannity’s] rants were identical to [those of: sic] people such as Internet columnists Michael Gaynor, Stuart Taylor, and K.C. [sic] Johnson. I found it amazing that these non-local people invested so much time and energy on the case . . . A group of right-wing bloggers, . . . the people who peddled the libelous and slanderous stories about Crystal are the same people who have been behind the Terry Schiavo case and have worked on such causes as the Linda Tripp defense fund.
Just to correct the record—since I’m sure Clark wouldn’t knowingly include false information in his product:
Stuart formerly wrote for the New York Times (he was nominated for a Pulitzer) and currently writes for National Journal, a high-brow Washington publication that focuses on politics and public policy. Neither the NJ nor the Times are “internet” publications.
As for me: I opposed the Clinton impeachment, consider Linda Tripp a pathetic person with whose defense fund I had no involvement, and strongly opposed the Bush administration’s attempts to intervene in the Schiavo affair, which I viewed as emblematic of the dangerous influence of the GOP’s Christianist wing. Few people would describe as “right-wing” someone who publicly supports Barack Obama, abortion rights, and gay marriage—but perhaps Clark shares the Group of 88’s definition of “right-wing.”
Clark is, however, absolutely right in saying that I do not live in Durham. I congratulate him on getting something accurate in this passage.
The Race Card
Clark unsurprisingly plays the race card, suggesting that those who contended that (white male) Mike Nifong violated prosecutorial ethics or (white male) Mark Gottlieb violated normal police procedures were racists determined to uphold the position of white males.
Moreover, Clark contends, “hundreds” of prosecutors do what Nifong did, and go without punishment. He doesn’t list any of these prosecutors.
On the other side, he suggests, Mangum never employed emotion, and only wanted to get the facts out. The result, he suggests: “Whenever anyone wants to discuss the merits of the case, no one can really remember any of the facts.”
This claim is almost hilarious: if nothing else, those critical of Nifong were swimming in facts.
Clark continues with an even more astonishing assertion: “The weak link for the prosecution . . . was the accuser’s life story and not the facts of the case.” This attempt to rewrite history might even make the Group of 88 blush. Of course, the “weak link for the prosecution” was that Nifong had no “facts,” and constantly violated ethics rules to prop up his non-existent case. Mangum’s “life story” played almost no role in the defense presentations to the court in 2006.
Now that Mangum has publicly challenged the conclusions of the Attorney General’s report, will she finally release her psychological case file, so that readers of her “invent-all memoir” can evaluate her credibility?
For instance: has Mangum ever falsely accused anyone else—including medical personnel—of a violent crime?
When was Mangum first prescribed anti-psychotic medication—and was she taking her medication regularly in spring 2006?
Does Mangum have a history of hearing voices that order her what to do, or other symptoms associated with psychotic behavior?
When did Mangum first tell the DPD or Nifong of her serious psychological problems?
Clark asserts that the full Mangum Opus will be available tomorrow. I’ll review it when it appears.