[Update, Tues., 4.04pm: Mark Anthony "thugniggaintellectual" Neal brings news that Group of 88 leader Wahneema Lubiano--or, in his words, the "brilliant" Wahneema Lubiano--now has a twitter account.]
A few updates on litigation matters.
Despite Harr’s reputation as a public gadfly and Nifong’s biggest supporter, most people know little about the man and his motivations. It is not well-known that after going broke in California, he bounced around with his wife, leaving a trail of sensational lawsuits marked by paranoia. Between 1985 and 1997, Harr was a party to at least 27 lawsuits in California, Arizona and Ohio. He sought hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation for civil rights violations, employment discrimination and fraud.
“He confidently moved from city to city wrecking people’s lives and careers,” said Dwight James, a physician who runs a practice in Porterville, Calif.
Mangum symbolizes a host of uncomfortable ideas, like mental illness and social order, according to Wahneema Lubiano, the associate chairwoman of Duke University’s Department of African & African American Studies. “And frankly we should be uncomfortable,” she said, “but the discomfort should take a different form than collectively rolling our eyes.”
As is his longstanding media policy, Nifong declined to comment for this story. He and Harr have met only a handful of times, but there are parallels between them. Both men tried to take on Duke University, and lost. Both were rebuked by the State Bar. Both declared bankruptcy. Both staked their identities on fighting injustice.As portrayed by Tucker, Harr comes across as delusional, an almost sad character: it’s entirely possible that he sees himself as a champion of justice, and that he actually believes that Richard Brodhead’s Duke was actually part of a conspiracy to victimize, rather than lionize, Crystal Mangum.
But Nifong—a man who broke myriad ethics rules and tried to manufacture evidence to imprison innocent people, all in an effort to advance his political career—cannot possibly be portrayed as someone who staked his identity on “fighting injustice.” Moreover, Nifong never took on “Duke University.” He took on Duke students, a big difference. Duke University, by contrast, was one of his biggest allies. It employed his star witness (former SANE-nurse-in-training Tara Levicy). Its president repeatedly took actions that communicated to the world a belief in the players’ likely guilt (such as cancelling the Georgetown game while the players were on the field, or publicly remarking that whatever Seligmann and Finnerty did was “bad enough). And, of course, for the critical first weeks of the case, the public voice of Duke’s faculty was the rush-to-judgment sentiment of Wahneema Lubiano and her 87 pedagogical allies.