Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Strange Bedfellows

As the implosion of the Hoax threatens to bring the farce to its long overdue end, the most ardent promoters of the Hoax have now teamed up in a desperate attempt to resuscitate the dying fraud. Having proven time and again that truth is no obstacle when it comes to advancing her agenda, Wendy Murphy continues to wage her war on civil rights and the criminal justice system. In her latest contribution to the perpetuation of the lie, Murphy joins local activist and Black Press columnist, Cash Michaels, who has personally referred to the efforts to promote the Hoax as a “war.”

Perhaps intent on supporting the Wilmington Journal’s demand, issued on behalf of the entire North Carolina African American community and backed by the not so subtle threat of dire political consequences, that Attorney General Roy Cooper threaten to bring false charges of obstruction of justice against the un-indicted lacrosse players, Cash Michaels turns to widely-ridiculed Wendy Murphy to rebut three esteemed law professors whose comments reveal that the Wilmington Journal’s editorial extortion aimed to bully AG Cooper into further violating the constitutional rights of the lacrosse team.

“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.

“Sincerely,

"North Carolina’s African-American community...”

The latest offering from Cash Michaels, who has repeatedly defended his coverage of the Hoax by insisting that his job is not to expose the Hoax but rather to play to a targeted audience, features insightful comments from law professors James Coleman (Duke), Irving Joyner (NCCU), and Joseph Kennedy (UNC). All of the three profs agree that threatening charges, as demanded by the Wilmington Journal on behalf of all North Carolina African Americans, against the teammates of the innocent defendants is unlawful.

“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.”

Ironically, the assessments made by the three professors align perfectly with Mr. Michaels own parental advice, as presented several months ago at Ruth Sheehan’s Metro Blog.

"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

Knowing that Mr. Michaels would advise his own child in exactly the same manner as the lacrosse parents advised their own sons, it is difficult to attach sincerity to his repeated arguments that the decision to “lawyer up” is an indication of anything but adherence to common sense and deference to parental wisdom. There's a clear contradiction between Michaels' asserting that his instruction to his own child to speak with the help of counsel would be motivated by not wanting a “cloud over my child,” and his forceful efforts to place a cloud over other people’s children for doing exactly what he admits he would do for his own. It would appear that, with little else left to make hay about, the attempt by Michaels to continue to sully the lacrosse team for their fictional wall of silence is little more than an effort to milk the dying hoax for every last drop of circulation enhancing and audience appealing propaganda.

Not surprisingly, co-warrior Wendy Murphy attempts to affirm Michaels’ public attacks on retention of counsel, while contradicting Michaels’ personal assertion that wanting to retain counsel before speaking to authorities would be part of the cloud removal process. Murphy also adds her own unique vision on parenting by suggesting that, rather than advising counsel, she would employ blackmail with her own child.

“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.”

For Michaels and Murphy, it appears that what matters most is not an accurate telling of events surrounding the investigators' refusal to meet with any members of the lacrosse team, including the defendants, after counsel was retained. What matters most, apparently, is continued deception and distortion aimed at promoting the Hoax in the interests of prolonging the mutually beneficial grandstand it provides for their separate agendas.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Alev said,

Reading the whole Cash Michael article, I thought this was particularly of note :

"NCCU Law Professor Irving Joyner says the State Attorney General’s Office has other options in its search for evidence to justify either proceeding to trial, or dropping the case."

It is the first time that I recall that the NAACP has mentioned dropping the case as a legitimate option.

Cash Michaels said...

Dear Liestoppers:

I continue to be in awe of the efficient, yet perverted manner in which you, Prof. K.C. Johnson, attorney Michael Gaynor, William Anderson, and other minions of the Duke Three movement consistently do what you routinely accuse anyone who doesn’t kow-tow to your “No rape, no case” mantra of doing – twisting the truth to fit your agenda.

And amazingly, you take yourselves so seriously in this effort, you perpetrate this mess with a straight face. Extraordinary!

YOU have declared the "war." I've just made note of it.

My latest story online for the Wilmington Journal and Black Press USA did not enlist Wendy Murphy, as you suggest, for the purpose of rebutting professors Coleman, Kennedy and Joyner. All four were invited at the same time, and graciously agreed to take part in the online discussion. I had been conferring with all of them throughout my coverage of the Duke case, and thought now that the AG would be taking a fresh look and approach, it would be a good time to get them all onboard to discuss the issue.

I posed one question, and got out of the way. The four of them did the rest. So your second mistake - Murphy and I did not work in tandem, and I had no idea what any of them was going to say.

I did not expect much divergence in opinion, so when it occurred between Murphy and Coleman, I was intrigued. After it was finished, I researched the issue further to make sure the context was accurate, sent them the finished product to make sure they were satisfied with how their POVs were represented, and it was filed.

All four will tell you I did very little editing to their opinions as expressed, primarily because I was so honored that all of them agreed to participate.

So the purpose of the piece was not to reinforce a previous editorial, because clearly it didn’t do that, and wasn’t meant to.

Secondly, I find it quite funny that Duke Three’ers would accuse The Wilmington Journal of “editorial extortion” regarding how Black voters would be monitoring how AG Cooper handles the case, when you, Prof. Johnson, Gaynor, Anderson, and anybody else with a Duke Three support blog kept pushing for Durham’s Black voters to oust Nifong last November, pointedly warning them that he will do to blacks what he allegedly has done to Seligmann, Finnerty and Evans.

When Durham’s Black voters paid you no mind, all of you criticized them mightily, saying they must want Nifong to prosecute the Duke case because of race. You added, erroneously, that as a result, a fair trial in this case couldn’t take place in Durham. This is the kind of low-grade rubbish sanitation departments the world over recognize immediately, and with good reason.

So a Black community newspaper cannot assure a Democrat, who African-Americans helped to elect, that it does not believe internet rumors that he’s afraid of dismissing the case too soon because it would anger them (Kempermax on Liestoppers Board). We can’t tell this official that we expect him to live up to his word of thorough and above-board re-examination of the case, followed by an honest determination, based on that work, of whether it moves forward, or gets dropped.

We can’t send that message from his constituents. But you and other Duke Three’ers can dictate to Durham’s Black voters whom they should cast their ballots for.

Do I have your hypocrisy down to the letter? I hope I haven’t missed anything. You’re good for that too!

And finally, your deliberately twisted version of what I said on Ruth Sheehan’s Blog several months ago.

I am in full agreement with Prof. Coleman that when serious trouble strikes, hire an attorney. You always want the best advice, direction, and assessment of your rights when situations warrant. No question.

But I have difficulty with, after getting that attorney, withholding information that may be critical to solving an alleged crime – in this case whether it indeed happened or not.

To get an attorney for the expressed purpose of NOT saying anything when you have nothing to hide, but may possess critical information pertinent to the solution of a criminal allegation, I find contrary to the very foundation of good citizenship.

So if YOUR daughter actually was raped, and I was in the vicinity, clearly had nothing to do with it but did not want to get involved because of the time it would take away from my personal life to talk with police, all I have to do is lawyer up. Meantime, your family is suffering because I refuse to tell investigators what I saw and heard. Is that the way we’re going to be with each other in this society?

I have problems with that. Most decent citizens who have nothing to hide would also. God forbid something should happen to you, but witnesses refuse to help the authorities.

Everyone at that party was entitled to an attorney. And they could have that attorney with them as they interviewed with police to determine immediately if a rape actually happened. I would think if 30 or more people were on the same page with that early on, we wouldn’t be dealing with this mess 10 months later.

Even Prof. Coleman indicated that while the players had every right to secure counsel, once done, he still hoped that they would talk to investigators.

So it would be hypocritical of me to be angered and frustrated when gang members kill people, then hide behind a “Don’t snitch” rule, thus denying justice; but then say it’s quite alright for 30 or more potential witnesses to forever keep their mouths shut when two serious first-degree felonies are alleged to have occurred.

It is not unreasonable to suggest that now that a new prosecutor is at the helm, he should go beyond the cripple case of Mike Nifong to determine, once and for all, whether there is a case to proceed with. And there is nothing wrong with asking for a full and factual accounting of all that went on at that party that night, so indeed fair people can finally make cogent and informed determinations of what did, and did not happen.

Nothing wrong with that at all…unless you’re afraid of the answers.

So Liestoppers, continue to twist and misrepresent. I understand why that is important for your cause, and I see you’ve been doing more and more of it lately.

All to bring about a better, fairer, more decent society, I’m sure.

Not.

Sincerely,

C

LieStoppers said...

Mr. Michaels,

Thank you for reading and taking the time to post your comments here. As always, your input is welcome.

I fear, however, that you do not give yourself enough credit. It’s difficult to imagine that you would solicit comments from Wendy Murphy without knowing full well what to expect in return. Like a windup doll, you can pull the string and the same lines come out every time. You, sir, are far too intelligent and attentive to the media coverage of the Hoax to pretend that you were surprised that she offered a viewpoint counter to the opinions of the three experts you diminish by presenting alongside her. Suggesting that you were particularly surprised that Murphy and Coleman disagreed on anything related to the Hoax insults not only yourself but also Professor Coleman and the intelligence of anyone who would read those words.

I imagine you’d be hard pressed to find support for your suggestion that LieStoppers pushed black voters to oust Nifong last November and even harder pressed to find a single citation to support your claim that we pointedly warned black voters that Nifong would do to blacks what he has done to Seligmann, Evans, and Finnerty. We pushed strongly for all voters to oust Nifong. In doing so, we did not take the position that black voters would be more or less susceptible to similar treatment. This is not a position that we held nor one that we promoted. I have no doubt, however, that you can find comments from readers that state what you accuse us of. Our position was, and remains, that Nifong is a menace to all of us.

You are welcome as well to support your contention that attorneys were retained by the lacrosse team with the “expressed purpose of not saying anything.” For months, I’ve been waiting for a single documented instance of any effort being made by prosecutors or police to interview any of the lacrosse team members after Nifong took over the case and after counsel was retained. I suspect that if you were aware of such an instance you would publicize it. How you can claim to know what purpose was expressed to the attorneys hired is beyond me.

In any event, thanks again for reading and sharing your thoughts with us.

Smile often,

Philip

Anonymous said...

Cash - Do you really believe the stuff you write? You do not come close to being as good as Nifong in twisting the truth. Are you aware that Mikey has his own lawyers, because of charges brought by the NC Bar? People who begged the black community to think of themselves during the DA race, have been proven right. The people who paid us no mind (the down home does not work for you) have been prayed upon yet again. Cash - their your folk. Most of us don't live in Durham. I certainly don't care about the community. My intent was yelling "red light" before the car wreck. Durham has made its bed, and will in fact lay in it. This case has not been about rape from the beginning. I can only hope that Attorney Professor Coleman becomes the voice and example in the black community.

Anonymous said...

Coleman is a paid off sell out who works for Duke and has sold his soul to protect them at all costs, hence his report trying to cover up how badly the lax team had acted; this was to protect Duke in case there was a civil suit as they knew there was a team at their university that was a focus for criminal behavior and did not stop it. Coleman has little credibility with the blacks in Durham. Cash has mucho credibility and is known for telling it like it is. That is why the blacks ignored Coleman and the 60 minutes of lies and voted Nifong in anyway. They could give a s---t what people like you Liestoppers think. Liestoppers are defending racists who are trying to get away with their bad acts and blacks have not paid attention to racists ordering them about for a long time. too bad for you that slavery days and Jim crow are over. "Thank your Grandpa for my nice cotton shirt" indeed.

Anonymous said...

Slavery and Jim Crow was a terrible burden for everyone - black and white. Glad this has been lifted from us. "Thank your Grandpa" barely makes it on the racial comment meter. Listen to the hip-hop folk - that will show you what real racism is all about. In any event, I hope electing Nifong and listensing to Cash makes you life better.