Saturday, May 26, 2007

Playing Stupid

Durham Police Investigate Crystal Mangum's Contradicting Stories

In multiple interviews following Thursday’s Durham City Council meeting, which included a 6-1 vote in favor of a resolution to commission an external review of the city’s police department’s role in the Hoax, Chief of Police Steve Chalmers went out of his way to insist that Durham Police had no exculpatory evidence prior to presenting the frame that resulted in the indictment of factually innocent men for a crime that never occurred. To further his point in one interview, the suddenly visible Chief Chalmers blamed the defense attorneys for his investigators failure to uncover the Hoax. Regarding exculpatory evidence, the Chief would tell WRAL’s Julia Lewis:
Well no we never did say that [“Look we need to take a second look at this case, we don’t have a case here” to Defendant Nifong] Again because again at the point in time that we went before the Grand Jury we presented to the Grand Jury the information and evidence that we had. Keeping in mind we had actually sought information, as we indicated in our report, that we had sought exculpatory evidence from the defense attorneys and we had none … They didn’t give it to us.”
In an interview with Ray Gronberg of the Herald-Sun, Chalmers added another blatantly false assertion to his growing list of misrepresentations:
“The only information we had was the information that we had gotten from [Crystal Magnum]… and at the point we did go into the grand jury, [Mangum’s] accounts were consistent up to that point.”
Notably, the Chief makes it a point to emphasize the falsehood that the Durham Police Department had no evidence of the fraud prior to presenting their case to the Grand Jury. Chalmers transparent deception reveals either that he has less knowledge of the facts of the case than the greenest blog hooligan or that he has an ability to dissemble unrivaled by even Durham County’s rogue District Attorney, Mike Nifong.

In yesterday’s post, we noted the most significant evidence of actual innocence available to his investigators prior to their appearance before the Grand jury that would be manipulated into bringing charges against the Duke Innocents.
Despite Chalmers' denial, his investigators were privy to the clearest evidence of factual innocence a full eight days before testifying to the Grand Jury on April 17, 2006. Both Inv. Benjamin Himan and Sgt. Mark Gottlieb, the two officers who personally deceived the Grand Jury, attended the same meeting with Dr. Brian Meehan of DNA Security, Inc. that resulted in the amended State Bar complaint against District Attorney Mike Nifong for withholding evidence from the defense attorneys. On April 10, 2006, Himan and Gottlieb learned from Meehan that DNA evidence recovered from Crystal Mangum’s nether regions and panties belonged to several men, none of whom were the innocent men his officers sought to frame or any other Duke Lacrosse player.

In describing the powerful evidence of factual innocence revealed to Defendant Nifong, Inv. Himan, and Sgt. Gottlieb by Dr. Meehan at the April 10 meeting, State Bar DHC Chair F. Lane Williamson stated at a recent hearing for Defendant Nifong:
We're talking about DNA testing that was done. And, of course, everybody--you know, whether it's justified or not--puts a lot of credence in that. And it's one thing to have--well, as a layman, I understand when the person who does the testing tells me, "I didn't find anything on these lacrosse players.

I also understand as a layperson if he tells me, "But we found DNA from other men." I also understand as a lawyer that it's one thing--you know, using the old thing--absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. But here, knowing that there's testing that has found DNA from other people, that is evidence of absence. And I don't need to be--I don't need to understand anything about the science. That's all I need to understand.
Chalmers’ attempt to suggest that his officers had no exculpatory evidence prior to April 17, 2006 offers the clearest indication to date that Himan and Gottlieb intentionally ignored and withheld evidence of factual innocence from the Grand Jury while pleading for indictments of innocent men on behalf of the rogue District Attorney.
While the DNA soup the false accuser was soaked in may be the greatest evidence of innocence known to Durham police prior to their presenting a fraudulent case to the Grand Jury on April 17, 2006, a mountain of additional exculpatory evidence was available to them by that time as well.

Some of the exculpatory evidence that belies Chalmers’ “We had none” statement includes:
  • Results of DNA testing conducted by the State Bureau of Investigation two and a half weeks prior to April 17, 2006 and promised by Inv. Ben Himan and Assistant District Attorney David Saacks to “immediately rule out any innocent persons,” demonstrated the innocence of the suspects and clearly showed that the imagined assault could not have occurred as alleged by the filer of the false police report;
  • The alleged brutal, 30 minute, condom-less gang rape, during which the accuser claimed two alleged attackers ejaculated, left no traces of DNA from the accused on, in, or near the accuser;
  • There was a total absence of any DNA from the accused on the false accuser, despite the fact that the SANE exam took place within several hours of the alleged attack, and the accuser had neither bathed nor changed her clothes;
  • The alleged brutal, 30 minute, condom-less gang rape left no DNA from the accuser on the floor, towels, or rugs in the bathroom;
  • Despite allegedly having spit out the oral attacker’s ejaculate onto a bathroom rug, neither the rug nor the accuser’s mouth retained DNA from the alleged attacker, and the rug did not show traces of the accuser’s saliva;
  • The alleged brutal, 30 minute gang rape, which the accuser claimed also included kicking in the butt, physical striking, strangulation and her head hitting a sink, left no visible bruises, nor any signs of physical trauma detectable upon medical examination by multiple nurses and doctors, except for three small non-bleeding scratches on the accuser's leg and foot;
  • Photographs of the false accuser taken by police on March 16, 2006 contradict the accuser's story and the accounts given by Durham police investigators on affidavits and likely to the Grand Jury;
  • The accuser failed to identify Reade Seligmann as her attacker the first time she viewed his photograph in a lineup when he was included as a known innocent by police;
  • The accuser was only 70% certain that Mr. Seligmann was even at the party, yet 100% certain that he forced her to perform oral sex.
  • The accuser identifies Collin Finnerty as an alleged assailant despite his physical appearance being exactly opposite the descriptions the accuser gave to Inv. Himan during her initial police interview;
  • The only player identified by the accuser, in both the March lineup attempts and the April manufactured lineup, as having been in attendance at the party on two of the three lineup attempts was not even in Durham, let alone at the party;
  • In addition to the player misidentified in both March and April, at least one other player was recognized as having been at the party yet was not present
  • The accuser “recognized” 15 players at one viewing but didn't recognize them at another;
  • Two of the four alleged attackers the accuser identified in April were not identified by her in March.
  • Kim Roberts, the accidental outcry witness, clearly stated to Investigator Himan, in March of 2006, that the false accusations were a “crock” and impossible due to the brief time she was separated from the accuser;
  • Statements from team captains David Evans, Matt Zash, and Dan Flannery given on March 16, 2006 offered additional exculpatory evidence as did the photographs on the cell phone of Zash seized on March 16, 2006;
  • The accuser misidentifies the person who made the broom comment that precipitated the end of the dancer’s performance;
  • The wildly divergent, and logic defying, versions offered by Mangum clearly offered exculpatory evidence prior to April 17, 2006;
At his Durham-in-Wonderland blog, preeminent Hoax blogger Professor KC Johnson eviscerates Chalmers’ deception of the consistency of Mangum’s wildly divergent tales that were described by North Carolina Attorney General Cooper, when asked if she had EVER told the same story twice, as follows: “She's told many stories. Some things are consistent within those stories, but there were many stories that were told.” Professor Johnson offers more than a dozen versions of Mangum’s changing stories that precede April 17, 2006, the date Chalmers officers duped the Grand Jury into returning a true bill against innocent men for a crime that never occurred.

Highlights from Professor Johnson’s dissection of Chalmers’ deception include:

On March 16, Mangum said she was 70 percent certain she saw Reade Seligmann someplace at the party. On April 6, she said she was 100 percent certain he looked like one of her attackers.

On March 21, Mangum said she didn’t recognize Dave Evans. On April 6, she said that she was 90 percent sure Evans looked like one of her attackers, except that Evans had no mustache. She hadn’t mentioned that any of her attackers had mustaches at any point previously.

On March 16, Mangum described her three attackers as a “white male, short, red cheeks fluffy hair chubby face, brn”; “Heavy set short haircut 260-270”; and “chubby.” On April 6, she said she was 100 percent Collin Finnerty, who doesn’t even remotely resemble any of those descriptions, attacked her.
Number of Attackers

On the morning on March 14, Mangum spent several hours with Officer Gwen Sutton (who Mangum later would not recognize); she told Sutton that there were five attackers. Then, in her interview with SANE nurse-in-training Tara Levicy on March 14, it was three attackers. The number was still three on March 16, when Sgt. Mark Gottlieb and Officer Ben Himan interviewed her. But by April 6, the number of attackers had risen to six—three who committed the crime, and three who dragged a crying Kim Roberts away from her at the bathroom door.

Names of Attackers

In the Levicy interview, Mangum said her attackers names were Matt, Adam, and Brett. She said the same in her March 16 Gottlieb/Himan interview, and the officers then constructed photo lineups using lacrosse players with those first names as the suspects. But by April 6, Mangum said her attackers’ real names were not Matt, Adam, and Brett, and that these three names were “aliases.”

What Her Attackers Did

In the Levicy interview, Mangum said that Matt assaulted her orally and vaginally; Adam assaulted her anally; and Brett did neither. By March 16, the claim was that Matt assaulted her anally; Adam assaulted her orally; and Brett assaulted her vaginally and anally. And on April 6, Matt and Brett assaulted her vaginally and anally; while Adam assaulted her orally.

The Marital Plans of Her Attackers

On March 14, Mangum claimed that, during the attack, Matt mentioned he was getting married the next day. No record survives of Mangum making any such claim in her March 16 interview with Gottlieb and Himan. By April 6, one of the attackers was back on the eve of betrothal, only this time it was Adam who was getting married the next day.

The Role of Kim Roberts

In her interviews with the Durham Access Center nurse and then with Levicy, Mangum accused Roberts of stealing her money; the Levicy interview also featured Roberts as a de facto accomplice to the criminals, someone who carried her back into the house and then helped clean her up and dress her after the “attack.” By April 6, however, Roberts was a fellow victim, torn away—in tears—from Mangum at the bathroom door.

The Nature of the Attack

In her discussions with Duke Hospital medical personnel, Mangum denied that she had been struck during the attack. The next day, she told UNC doctors that she had been “knocked to the floor multiple times and had hit her head on the sink.”

Mangum’s Alcohol Intake

In her March 14 interview with Levicy, Mangum said she might have had one or two beers before the dance. The next day, she informed UNC doctors that during the attack, she was “drunk and did not feel pain.” The following day, according to the Gottlieb memo, Mangum was a virtual teetotaler, having consumed no alcohol other than a mixed drink the sergeant implied had been spiked.
In addition to the items outlined by Johnson, there are countless additional inconsistencies and variations to Ms. Mangum’s continually changing invention. Among the more notable are:
  • The amount of money allegedly taken from her changed from $2000.00 as told to Officer Sutton, to $400.00 as apparently told to Himan and Gottlieb prior to the March 16 search warrant for 610 n. Buchanan, and then back to $2000 as implied by her written statement of April 6;
  • Magnum offered apparently divergent descriptions of Adam, Matt, and Brett to Inv. Himan and Sgt. Gottlieb with the same interview on March 16 as detailed by their contradicting notes;
  • She identified four men as the three imaginary attackers in her April 4 lineup lottery;
  • The false accuser names four make believe attackers (Adam, Matt, Brett, and Dan) as the three men who “assaulted” her in her written statement of April 6;
  • She recanted her allegations entirely on March 14, stating that she was not sexually assaulted after initially nodding her head in response to a direct inquiry to start the hoax and before the invention of the variations detailed above;
  • Despite Mangum's claims, Kim Roberts, the “outcry witness,” did not seek help for the accuser when calling 911 to report being racially slurred when driving-while walking by 610 N. Buchanan, despite allegedly being told by the accuser that she had been hurt by the young men, and allegedly offering to get help.
The list of exculpatory evidence at the disposal of Durham Police prior to the Grand jury and the compilation of inconsistencies in Mangum's stories also available to the investigators who duped the Grand Jury could go on almost indefinitely. The pages of this blog, our forum, Johnson’s blog, The Johnsville News, Talk Left, and several other blogs are littered with additional examples.

In response to Chalmers' bizarre assertion, defense attorney Brad Bannon noted:
"That is the most ludicrous thing I've ever heard in my life, and I can't believe anyone who has read the case file would say those things," Bannon said. "[The accuser] never told the same story twice. Her accounts were all over the place between March 14 and when these cases were submitted to the grand jury. That statement by the police chief lets me know he knows nothing about the investigation he's commenting about."
While Johnson and Bannon politely offer the Chief the courtesy of ignorance or delusion as an excuse, we draw a far more ominous inference from the Chief’s continued deception. By repeatedly pointing to the Grand Jury as the point in time for which his department was blind to the only crime committed, filing a false police report, the Chief demonstrates his willingness to employ blatant deception to deflect the logical conclusion that his officers, Inv. Ben Himan and Sgt. Mark Gottlieb, deliberately, intentionally, and knowingly mislead the Grand Jury.

While attempting to justify the deception presented to the Grand Jury with deception of his own, Chalmers naively states:
"There's nothing that's being alleged that we did criminally. The allegation is that we did not conduct a good investigation."
To the contrary, there have been, and will continue to be allegations of criminal conduct on the part of his department. Although Chalmers feigns ignorance of such, his proactive attempt to deflect suspicion from the obvious distortions presented to the Grand Jury, and his employment of sloppy deception and clumsy misrepresentation to disguise the same, reveals his intention to mislead the public into believing that his department was merely incompetent and not corrupt or criminal. By playing stupid for the cameras, Chalmers makes a desperate attempt to hide the complicity of his department in the Hoax but instead directs clear attention to the questions, “What did his investigators know before facing the Grand Jury and what, instead, did they present?”

Note to Chalmers: When your best defense is pretending to have been outsmarted by Crystal Mangum, you're in trouble.


bill anderson said...

Last year, we figured that Chalmers was MIA and out of the loop. By lying and insisting that his department was "in charge" of the investigation, and by claiming he was active in that role, Chalmers is confessing that he is a criminal.

May this man meet the bar of justice he so richly deserves. It is illegal in any state to frame someone, period.

Anonymous said...

Carolyn says:

Nice picture.

But I think Chalmers actually has his head inserted up something different.

Anonymous said...

Liestoppers - would like to see you put Lawyer Williamson's statement on the blog - a lot of folk appear to have missed this DNA opinion,

Anonymous said...

The Hoax Cover-Up continues with the Durham Chief of Police Chalmers.

What are they hiding?

David M. Brooks said...

Chalmers mislaid the department's only copy of their Hardy Boys' Detective Handbook. Chalmers and the DPD were just doing their best until they found it.

Gráinne O'Donovan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Purps said...

Chalmers transparent deception reveals either that he has less knowledge of the facts of the case than the greenest blog hooligan or that he has an ability to disseminate unrivaled by even Durham County’s rogue District Attorney, Mike Nifong.


Good work, LS.

Anonymous said...

It cries for vengence that CGM was not indicted by the AG for false accusation. She was a given a pass on criminal conduct the way the AG is giving a pass on criminal conduct by the DPD. Where is the outrage in Durham?

Mandelbrot's Chaos said...

Well, if CGM were truly that fucked in the head, which she could very well be, then she should undergo involuntary committal procedures, since, should that be true, she is clearly not guilty by reason of insanity/mental defect. But the DPD... The sons of bitches behind this gross miscarriage of justice need to face the bar of justice, and they should be sentenced to that which they framed three innocent men.