“You see, Mr. Attorney General, save for the three captains who lived at the house where that perverted, underage drunken Duke lacrosse team off-campus party took place, none of the other 30 or more players and/or guests who reportedly attended that soiree’ have ever given Durham police investigators or the Durham District Attorney’s Office a signed statement as to exactly what happened…
"Mr. Attorney General, your task, challenge and duty isn’t just to go over Mike Nifong’s case to see how badly he screwed it up.
"Your job now, if you call yourself honestly promising “a fresh and thorough review of the facts,” is to indeed compel every last witness attending the party that night, to come forward and truthfully tell what they saw and heard.
"All of it!!!
"You see, this puts you in a weird situation, Mr. Cooper.
"… You can’t possibly be fully accountable to the citizens of North Carolina, who you and your office constitutionally represent, unless you indeed do “a fresh and thorough review of the facts” in this case, which must include interviewing everybody at that party.
"But here’s your problem, Mr. Cooper.
"All of the players lawyered up, according to some of the knuckle-dragging leaders of the “free the Duke Three” movement, because they were afraid of being railroaded by that “mean, nasty and corrupt” Durham D.A. (funny how they knew how “corrupt” Nifong was BEFORE he took the case).
"… So surely all of these brave, upstanding, fine young leaders of tomorrow – many of whom engaged in, all together now, “a drunken, perverted party” where they peed
off the patio and railed against two Black strippers because the players’ raucous behavior scared the daylights out of them – are relieved, and will now graciously, and willingly, sit down with SBI agents and, for the very first time in ten long months, actually truthfully tell what they saw and heard.
"Under threat of obstructing justice, of course.”You can’t play games with this, Mr. Cooper. Those boys must talk if you’re doing a full and transparent investigation…
“After all, as a Democrat, just like Mike Nifong, you need the Black vote for any future political aspirations.
"North Carolina’s African-American community...”
“Prof. Joyner said. “They can not be compelled to answer questions from an investigator.”
“UNC-Chapel Hill’s Prof. Kennedy concurs, noting that the AG cannot sanction any of the witnesses for not cooperating.“I would offer is that it is not obstructing justice simply to refuse to speak with investigators,” Kennedy said. “The only time you are legally obliged to answer questions is when you are under compulsion of court process (such as a subpoena). Once subpoenaed, you can still take the Fifth Amendment, of course.
“Just to be clear, however, you don’t need to invoke the Fifth Amendment in order to refuse to talk to an investigator who knocks on your door or calls on the telephone,” Prof. Kennedy added. “There is no legal obligation to cooperate.”
“Duke’s Prof. Coleman, who has been a staunch critic of Durham D.A. Mike Nifong’s original handling of the case, maintains that despite being at the party where serious felonies were alleged to have happened, all of the lacrosse players present had a right not to cooperate.
“I don’t think it is appropriate to ascribe anything negative to the decisions of the students to get lawyers,” Coleman told The Carolinian/Wilmington Journal newspapers. “As you recall, at the beginning, Nifong was threatening to prosecute all of the students as possible accomplices because he claimed they failed to come forward to assist with the investigation.“I would advise any person in their situation to get a lawyer,” Prof Coleman said. “I would especially advise a person who is innocent to get a lawyer.”
"And if one of my children was present during an alleged criminal situation they had nothing to do with, but someone may have been hurt as a result of, no, I wouldn't want any cloud over my child, which means I would instruct her to tell all (with the help of counsel)." Cash Michaels at Ruth's Metro Blog
“I disagree somewhat with the point that uncooperative witnesses who hire lawyers deserve deference rather than pressure and suspicion,” Murphy says.
“If my son were at that party - and not a suspect – I would never let him NOT talk to police. I would threaten not to pay his tuition if he didn’t tell the truth about what he saw.”