Before beginning the fisk, these are the topics that the author of the “definitive, magisterial” account of the lacrosse case failed to mention, at all, in a 26-minute interview:
- that the State Bar found Mike Nifong made myriad, ethically improper public statements, over a period of several months;
- that the State Bar found Mike Nifong improperly withheld exculpatory DNA evidence, in violation of two provisions of North Carolina law;
- that a judge found that Mike Nifong lied to him in open court;
- that any Duke professor (much less 88 of them) publicly affirmed that something “happened” to Crystal Mangum based solely on information supplied by Nifong and the media;
- that Duke had any legal exposure (any at all) in a possible lawsuit filed by the falsely accused players.
I haven’t bothered to re-fisk routine Cohan statements that he made again at WAMC—such as his assertion that Nifong was subjected to a rush to judgment or his claim to have approached the case in a “dispassionate” way or his repeated description of individuals in their late 20s or early 30s as “boys” or his incorrect claim that each of the falsely accused students received $20 million from Duke. While book tours normally feature authors speaking about their books, Cohan appears instead to be making more and more extreme statements that go beyond even the one-sided presentation in his book.
The Levicy Report
Cohan’s penchant for misleading about the Levicy report reached its apex in the WAMC interview, to the point in which it’s hard to describe him as doing anything other than making deliberate misrepresentations.
The host set the stage at 11.10 of the interview, noting that the book had revealed the Levicy report. The host asked what Mangum told former SANE-nurse-in-training Tara Levicy, “and why that conversation had not been revealed prior to what you write in the book”?
Cohan’s answer should have been that the conversation had been revealed, repeatedly. Instead, he said the following:
COHAN (at 11.47): So, of course, this is a family-oriented show. So it’s going to be hard to get into graphic details of what—but she basically claimed that night that she was brutally raped and sexually assaulted by a number of these players in the bathroom at the same time.
And the nurse who examined her [the medical exam was actually done by Dr. Julie Manly, not Levicy] found evidence that she had been brutalized and that she had been hurt very badly. That is the evidence, I have to say, one of the pieces of evidence that of course Mike Nifong had that others did not have. And he, of course, rightly or wrongly, believed that this nurse was a professional and had done a good job and the right job of examining Crystal Mangum on that night. The medical records, I guess—I’m not a lawyer, that’s something that gets sealed up as part of this—and nobody made that public until now. I got my hands on it and reported it faithfully in the book.
Comment: This is an extraordinary statement, in two respects.
First: In the most extreme public remark he’s made at any point about the case, Cohan has now claimed that the Levicy report “found evidence that [Mangum] had been brutalized and that she had been hurt very badly.” His book made no such “brutalization” assertion about the Levicy report: did Scribner’s attorneys veto the effort? If the attorneys so acted, they did so for good reason, since the report found that Mangum had a couple of scratches on her leg (which she had from before the party) and “diffuse edema of the vaginal walls,” a symptom easily traceable to Mangum’s vigorous sexual activity, which she had initially concealed from authorities but which the DNA test results Nifong helped to conceal confirmed. That’s some of the evidence that Cohan has said “didn’t matter.”
What about bruises? Levicy took no pictures, but two days later, a police photographer did. Here’s the photo. Not exactly the look of someone who was “brutalized,” much less kicked in the neck, as she told the special prosecutors.
Second: Cohan has revived his outright false statement that “nobody made that [report] public until now.” In fact, it was reported on by the N&O, by 60 Minutes, by the Times, by me. Stuart and I quoted from it in UPI. To get a sense of the early, widespread nature of the dissemination of the Levicy report’s contents: here’s a TalkLeft discussion thread—from early August 2006.
As to Mangum being “very clear about what she still believes happened”—about which version was she “very clear”? And, lest it need pointing out, Cohan is describing a convicted murderer as “rational, thoughtful, articulate.”
Here is a link to the audio, of the line below:
“I certainly feel sorry for Mike Nifong, the prosecutor, whose life was ruined because of this.”