Two recent developments from the Wonderland that is Durham (updated below):
First, ex-DA’s investigator Linwood Wilson was issued a new fugitive arrest warrant, after the AG’s office assumed control of his stalking obscenity case. Court papers revealed that Wilson allegedly had boasted to his wife that “he owned Durham (and) lawyers and judges would do anything he said.” Little in the case to date had contradicted this claim—Wilson was released on a laughably low $1000 bond.
Wilson’s case also was removed from the purview of his cronies on the Durham bench; Guilford County District Judge Thomas Foster oversaw the hearing on the new warrant, and released Wilson on a $10,000 bond, coupled with restrictions on his movement and an order not to contact his estranged wife or her family.
Wilson’s attorney defended the justice of the original $1000 bond, and denounced prosecutors for requesting a $100,000 bond: “I just think $100,000 is outrageous for a man who has served the citizens of Durham to uphold the law," the counsel huffed.
And who is Wilson’s attorney? None other than former Nifong campaign contributor Fred Battaglia, who also was one of the last Nifong apologists. In January 2007, Battaglia fantastically suggested that Nifong could continue prosecuting the fraudulent sexual assault case—and that the State Bar should have filed ethics charges against the defense attorneys(!) for publicly rebutting Nifong’s myriad inaccurate and inflammatory statements.
Only someone who considered Nifong an ethical attorney could make the bizarre claim that Linwood Wilson—the man immediately fired as soon as Nifong left the DA’s office—“served the citizens of Durham to uphold the law.”
A curious passage, by the way, in the Herald-Sun article on Wilson’s new bond hearing. Reporter John McCann writes, “According to Wilson's wife, her husband's treatment of her worsened in 2007 after he was fired from his job in Nifong's District Attorney's Office. It has been speculated Wilson's removal had to do with his role in the case involving exotic dancer Crystal Mangum's since-discredited accusation of being sexually assaulted in 2006 by members of Duke University's lacrosse team. In particular, that he crossed swords with Nifong by raising doubts about the Mangum's credibility and suggested she take a lie-detector test, a suggestion Nifong disregarded.”
It’s true that—well after the fact—Wilson claimed he had wanted to give Mangum a lie-detector test. But no connection exists between the DA’s office firing Wilson and his having “crossed swords” with Nifong at a point in December 2006. Indeed, all evidence suggests that Wilson was fired because of his pattern of unethical behavior in attempting to prop up Nifong’s fraudulent case.
Wilson wasn’t the only unethical lacrosse case figure now on the other side of the law—he’s joined in this status as a criminal defendant by the false accuser herself, Crystal Mangum.
It would be hard to top the strange circumstances of Wilson’s case—the disgraced investigator getting his bond lowered by placing a phone call to a friend in the Durham judiciary—but Mangum was able to do so.
After a court appearance yesterday by the false accuser, her defense attorney, Clayton Jones, withdrew from the case. Jones said that Mangum had refused to follow his legal advice. Indeed, it’s hard to imagine that a competent defense counsel would have allowed Mangum’s bizarre press conference, at which she suggested that Duke and the DPD were now engaged in a conspiracy to prevent her from having a fair trial.
Jones also suggested that Mangum was now taking legal counsel from a handful of pro-Nifong cranks (a group including former Nifong citizens’ committee chair Victoria Peterson) who hold up the disgraced former prosecutor as a paragon of ethics. These are also about the only people (apart, of course, from the Group of 88) who are still on record as saying something “happened” to Mangum.
Perhaps Battaglia can take Mangum’s case as well?
[Update: Jones says he will remain as Mangum's attorney of record, at least through Monday. By phone today, Jones said Mangum has not been following his legal advice. The N&O reports, "He pulled her aside after the hearing Wednesday when he saw her talking with members of the Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong, who say the public defender's office can't adequately represent her because they work for the state, which they say is out to punish her because of the Duke lacrosse case. '[Committee member] Sidney Harr has absolutely no clue what's going on with this case,' Jones said. 'I have told him a number of times to stay away from my office.'"]