Saturday, September 23, 2006

The Exit, Return and Five-Minute Theory

In court on Friday DA Nifong’s most startling revelation was his new speculation that the entire three-person three-orifice assault “probably took about five minutes, 10 minutes at the outside.” This dramatic revision of the 30 minute assault claim filed in sworn affidavits on March 16th, March 23rd, March 27th, and April 18th is intended to accomplish several things for the prosecution, but none more important than accounting for the Seligmann’s alibi.

This alibi has been documented extensively and is succinctly presented in a graphic by the News & Observer.

To review, the defense has produced time stamped photographs showing the women dancing from 12:00AM-12:03AM. One of those photos shows a player’s watch, corroborating the time. The last photo in the series shows the women leaving the room where they were dancing at 12:04AM. Reade Seligmann made numerous calls from his cell phone from 12:05AM-12:14AM. The last call he made, at 12:14AM, was to a taxi company. Taxi records show that Seligmann and his friend were picked up a block away from 610 Buchanan at 12:19AM. Reade was driven to a Wachovia Bank ATM machine, where bank cameras show him withdrawing money at 12:24AM.

Nifong’s new compressed timeframe for the alleged assault is apparently intended to somehow put Seligmann into a bathroom (Nifong refuses to reveal which one of the two), allegedly assaulting the accuser. Apparently Nifong believes that his new 5-minute theory (seemingly the duration of an alleged assault, as well as how long Nifong thought about it) will be sufficient to accomplish this goal. Nifong might believe that “5 minutes, 10 minutes at the outside” fits nicely into 12:04AM-12:14AM. However, as noted quickly by KC Johnson, Nifong has completely forgotten the Exit and Return.

In all versions of the assault claim (and it is getting harder and harder to keep track), the accuser claims that she left the residence for a period of time, then returned, and only after that was assaulted. These versions vary, but here is a brief review:
  • 1. The accuser’s statement to the sexual assault nurse:

“The accuser told the nurse that Nikki had urged her to have sex with her and one of the men, "Brett." The woman said something didn't feel right and she stormed out of the house. [EXIT]. She said she argued with Nikki in the car. Brett and Nikki then carried her back into the house, the nurse wrote. [RETURN]"I kept telling them no," the nurse's narrative said. "Nikki said, 'Girl, you want some more to drink, we got to make some money.' ... I said no, I want to get back in the car."

  • 2. The accuser’s statement to police as recorded in the search warrant affidavit on March 16th and repeated on March 23rd, March 27th, and April 18th.

“The victim and her fellow dancer decided to leave because they were concerned for their safety. [EXIT] As the two women got into a vehicle, they were approached by one of the suspects. He apologized and requested they go back inside and continue to dance. Shortly after going back into the dwelling, the two women were separated. [RETURN]”

  • 3. The accuser’s interview with the News & Observer on March 24th (published March 25th)

"This was the first time she had been hired to dance provocatively for a group, she said. There was no security to protect her, and as the men became aggressive, the two women started to leave. [EXIT]. After some of the men apologized for the behavior, the women went back inside, according to police. [RETURN]. That's when the woman was pulled into a bathroom and raped and sodomized, police said."

  • 4. The accuser’s handwritten statement on April 6th

“"Nikki and I started crying," she wrote. "We ran out to the car screaming and crying." [EXIT]Two of the players followed them to the car and apologized. "Nikki told me that they were sorry and that they were going to give us $1200 if we stay. Nikki and I got out of the car and went back into the house. [RETURN]. As soon as we got back into the house, they were more excited and angry." The men screamed sexual and racist threats at the two women, she said. "Nikki and I started to leave again, and three guys grabbed Nikki," the woman wrote. She said men named Brett, Adam and Matt grabbed her. "They separated us at the master bedroom door," she wrote, "while we tried to hold on to each other."

These four statements vary, but in each of them there is an Exit and a Return, before the alleged assault.

The Exit and Attempted Return is corroborated by the neighbor, Jason Bissey. His affidavit states that he saw the women enter the house and then later, sometime between 12:20AM-12:30AM, he saw one of the men leaning into a vehicle talking to the two women outside. He said he later saw that “the skimpily dressed woman had exited the car, saying something to the effect that she would go back into 610 to retrieve her shoe."

Furthermore, at 12:30AM, a time-stamped photograph shows the accuser on the stairs, with her purse, smiling.

In addition, the second dancer, Kim Roberts, states that the two women left the residence and “the first time Precious came to the car she left because she felt there was more money to be made.” Kim Roberts also stated that the two dancers entered a bathroom for period of time following the conclusion of the dance. This is consistent with the early statements from defense attorneys describing the night’s events and compresses the timeframe even further.

The bottom line is that Nifong’s 5-minute theory appears to be a futile attempt to concoct yet another fantastic lie to fit the facts. There is simply no way for the exit, return, and assault, even with modified 5-minute theory, to occur before Reade Seligmann left 610 N. Buchanan. That Nifong would suggest otherwise in court, and casually dismiss the well-documented Seligmann’s alibi with the quip, “If [Seligmann] wasn't there, he doesn't have to worry about it” is further evidence that the District Attorney is not interested in the facts or in justice.

Rather than continue to waste all of Durham’s resources on this persecution (something that would cost much more than the $4,000 Nifong objected to spending with respect to DNA information potentially helpful to the defense), it would be better for everyone if Mike Nifong exited the District Attorney’s office, never to return.


Anonymous said...

Great Analysis! What is this man up to? He clearly knows there is no case yet he continues. I hope we find out what is behind this man insanity?

luk said...

The DA's position will be that the time-stamped photos are unreliable or have been altered. He'll make a motion to supress them at the start of trial, maybe bring an expert on to challenge them or something. Remember, you can pretty much find and pay an expert to say anything.

His problem is, of course, the time stamped photos comport with Bissey's statement, as does the matchup with the watch. Of course he can argue that simply because one may be accurate, it does not mean that all of them are, but even one established a timeline that he has to contend with.

Here's the DA's main problem. While focussing his arguments on Seligman, he has no idea what the other two have in their back pocket

Learned Hand said...

dead on! i tried to contact the da and ask about the two scenarios bothering me the most:
(1) why the refusal to polygraph the av? and
(2) why not simply step aside and allow a seasoned prosecutor or a special prosecutor take over?
not surprisingly i received no comment. i agree with most of everything that has been said about the da and this case - but, in the end, my biggest concern is about justice for all involved (or as much of it as can be saved in this disasterous situation). although neither of these is going to be the most savory solution, i believe both to be the only ways for all concerned to get true justice.
if the av fails a polygraph - the da can dismiss with some "face." if she passes, the reverse with some credibility "restored." if the da moves aside for someone else, his cred may be somewhat "saved" while certainly restoring a bit of trust in the system.
i have no idea of what actually happened that night - none of us do unless you were there. to be fair to everyone and serve the ends of justice and what is left of the nc justice and legal system, both offer credible means to get to that point.

i am simply filled with sadness and disappointment.

Anonymous said...

I know what happen that night NOTHING! Two sets of DNA tests are science, not emotion, not conjecture, but proof nothing sexual happened! The idea that 3 men could rape a women with no condoms and leave no blood, sweat, hair, semen, or seminal fluid is absolutely unbelievable.

To top it all off the DNA of her boyfriend was found in her! What a travesty of Justice! What a sickening display of cowardice by these three Judges!

Anonymous said...

Learned Hand: I think most of us who have followed this closely know exactly what happened that night. The degree of rudeness displayed by the guys vs. the stippers is unknowable but whatever happened, the guys wanted them back and were able to talk the girls into it. So it could not have been too bad going either way.
As for the AV, there is no mystery at all. Upon arrival at the mental health "facility" her drunken brain started to function enough to grasp that she was being taken into the system (again) and that her parole status, child custody, and lots of other non-trivial interests were up in the air. She was sober enough to know that claiming rape was a lifeline but too drunk to keep a story straight.
If those guys had done anything rough to her she would have bruises visible in a hospital exam. Plus their skin DNA all over her.

Anonymous said...

That's a pretty ridiculous comment for Learned Hand. LOL! Sounds like something Andrew Cohen has said. You may not know what happened, but I do -- nothing. To suggest that no one knows what went on but the actual participants is to deny the existence of evidence, or non-evidence, as in this case. If only the participants to alleged crimes know what went on in the alleged crime we better shut down the justice system right now and call on God to come down from heaven to figure stuff out for us.

gc said...

I don't think Nifong would ever ask the accuser to take a polygraph test. He knows what the results would be.

Anonymous said...

I don't think Nifong would agree to take a polygraph test himself either. He knows what the results will be.

Anonymous said...

I love it the last few hold ons who still cling to something must have happen. No Nothing happen but two escorts ripped off some college boys for $800 & claimed rape & racial slurs to cover their tracks.

Then a DA who was losing a race used the Hoax and added to it. That is the story.

Anonymous said...

Nifong is a lying whore-monger. He should be in prison.