UPDATED CHRONOLOGY OF DUKE LACROSSE CASE: OCTOBER, 2006
(Thanks to Quasi, JSwift, and Baldo for comments and suggestions.)
SUNDAY OCTOBER 1: The Raleigh News & Observer (N & O) runs a profile of Durham District Atty. Mike Nifong by reporter Benjamin Niolet. The article reads in part: “Anyone who asks why Mike Nifong won't drop the Duke University lacrosse rape case doesn't know Mike Nifong. In his long career, Nifong has earned a reputation as a prosecutor who charges hard at his opposition and relishes going to trial. Although his unpredictable behavior might puzzle some observers of the lacrosse case, it is vintage Nifong... Even after DNA tests came back negative or inconclusive, and evidence emerged that contradicts the state's case, Nifong pressed ahead. He was so confident in the accuser's story and his case that he refused to meet with lawyers who said they could prove players' innocence. He bickered with the lawyers in the media and needled them in court. The faith in his case was a familiar posture for a man who, with talent and the resources of the state on his side for nearly 30 years, is accustomed to having the upper hand.”
The N&O profile of Nifong is analyzed by Brooklyn College Prof. KC Johnson in his Durham-in-Wonderland blog in a post “The N&O Does Nifong.” The Johnsville News notes: “The most shocking statement from today's N&O profile of Mike Nifong: “Although Nifong has never heard the woman [Crystal Gail Mangum] tell her story, he believes her.” How could a prosecutor not have read a written statement from a rape accuser or even talked to her about the assault and still believe her? It's astonishing.”
TUESDAY OCTOBER 3: The Johnsville News criticizes DA Nifong and Durham administrators for lack of attention to the city’s gang problem. The post observes: “The Durham City Manager, Patrick Baker, apparently shares Nifong's priorities. He thinks cracking down on Duke students' partying is "a high priority," forget gangs, guns, and drugs. The N&0 reported: ‘In an interview Sept. 8, Baker said cracking down on the partying was an enforcement priority but that "to his knowledge" Gottlieb was not under any specific direction to treat Duke students differently.”” Nifong is quoted: ”You can't really conduct trials in an atmosphere, where there is intimidation of witnesses, or where there is fear something might happen… The District Attorney's Office is not equipped to protect witnesses in any situation. There aren't any local witness protection programs or anything of that nature. The fact is that people are to some extent on their own, in terms of their protection."
THURSDAY OCTOBER 5: The Chronicle publishes an article “Pace of lax cases raises questions” which explores how slowly the cases against indicted lacrosse players David Evans, Collin Finerty and Reade Seligmann have progressed in the last 5 months. "The discovery phase is taking an inordinate amount of time," lawyer Robert Ekstrand is quoted. The defendants are not expected to face trial until Spring, 2007 at the earliest. Neil Vidmar, professor of law, says that the timeline for the trial so far is typical of cases like this. "The wheels of justice grind slowly for a reason," he says. The appointment of Judge W. Osmond Smith III as the sole judge is expected to move things along, according to Ekstrand.
FRIDAY OCTOBER 6: The blog Liestoppers posts an essay “Anatomy of a Nifonging” in which the conduct of DA Nifong in the lacrosse case is compared to a 2004 study by the Center for Public Integrity concerning prosecutorial misconduct. Liestoppers lists nine lessons from the study which Nifong is said to have violated, calling him “the poster child for prosecutorial misconduct.”
SATURDAY OCTOBER 7: The Duke men’s lacrosse team plays in a charity exhibition tournament in Rockville Centre, N.Y. It is the first time the team has participated in an off-campus game since the university canceled the remainder of the season in April. Duke begins in the Long Island Fall Lacrosse Tournament with a two-hour exhibition against Towson, followed by hour-long scrimmages against Hofstra and Division II New York Institute of Technology.
SUNDAY OCTOBER 8: N&O reporter Joseph Neff interviews the two experts who designed the identification procedures for criminal suspects adopted by Durham and other police departments. The two psychologists say that Durham police violated two fundamental essentials when accuser Crystal Mangum identified suspects in the alleged rape-- an independent investigator did not run the procedure, and no “fillers” were used. According to Profs. Gary Wells and Brian Cutler, police must give a witness the chance to pick the wrong person. This is why photo lineups contain “fillers” -- photos of people who resemble the suspects but are demonstrably innocent. Durham police showed Mangum only photos of Duke lacrosse players. The DA and police had declared all 46 players suspects. "It's a multiple-choice test with no wrong answers," Wells says.
In an accompanying article “The Problem with Matt,” Neff recounts that Mangum on April 4 actually identified four suspects, including Matt Wilson, instead of the three attackers she claimed had assaulted her. A transcript of Mangum’s videotaped session with police shows that Sgt. Mark Gottlieb ignored Mangum’s comments about Wilson, whom she had failed to identify in previous photo ID sessions.
New York Magazine publishes a major article “Rape, Justice and the ‘Times’” by Kurt Andersen excoriating the coverage of the Duke lacrosse case by the New York Times:
“But real facts are stubborn things. And today, the preponderance of facts indicate that there is an injustice—committed, as it turns out, against those perfect offenders. Yet at the epicenter of bien-pensant journalism, the New York Times, reporters and editors—although pointedly not the paper’s columnists—are declining to expose it. “The only thing we can look forward to now,” says Dan Okrent, who was the Times’ ombudsman until last year, “is what the Times will say to the accused once the charges are dropped, or once acquittals are delivered.” (…)
The Times has not addressed any of this. For the past few years, I’ve tended to roll my eyes when people default to rants about the blindered oafishness or various biases of “the mainstream media” in general and the Times in particular. At the same time, I’ve nodded when people gush about the blogosphere as a valuable check on and supplement to the MSM—but I’ve never entirely bought it. Having waded deep into this Duke mess the last weeks, baffled by the Times’ pose of objectivity and indispensably guided by Johnson’s blog, I’m becoming a believer.”
Liestoppers criticizes the original March 25, 2006 N&O article “Dancer Gives Details of Ordeal” by Samiha Khanna and Anne Blythe which fanned the flames of the lacrosse controversy with an incomplete, one-sided account of the only interview with Mangum. The critique “Walk Down Memory Lane” comes after the N&0’s Linda Williams admits the article omitted Mangum’s claim that she was robbed by second dancer Kim (Roberts) Pittman and that Pittman assisted in the sexual assault.
TUESDAY OCTOBER 10: A Durham-in-Wonderland blogpost ”Understanding SANE III” highlights procedural and factual shortcomings in the medical aspects of Nifong’s case, especially faulty conclusions by Sgt. Mark Gottlieb and SANE nurse-in-training Tara Levicy. SANE expert Kathleen Eckelt discusses discrepancies between the objective medical findings concerning Mangum and later claims by Levicy and Gottlieb.
WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 11: Attorneys for Dave Evans send a letter to DA Nifong saying that they are entitled to a report of anything Mangum told Nifong about the night she claimed she was raped. The letter, filed in court by lawyers Joseph B. Cheshire V and Bradley Bannon, seeks to pin Nifong on whether he has heard the accuser tell her story. The attorneys have highlighted several inconsistent accounts from Mangum indicating that her accusations are false. Evidence turned over to the defense contains a reference to a single meeting April 11 between Nifong and Mangum. He told a judge last month that Mangum said nothing at that meeting, in part because she was still too traumatized from what happened at the March 13 party. The letter also asks for notes or reports by Linwood Wilson, Nifong’s investigator, none of which have been turned over.
KC Johnson reveals that Mike Nifong personally lent his campaign $28,989 before the primary because campaign donations had dried up. In a major Durham-in-Wonderland post “Follow The Money,” Johnson writes: “A cynic could argue that, in mid-April, Mike Nifong had 28,989 reasons to seek indictments against Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty before the primary. The full story, of course, isn’t that simple. But the campaign finance report illuminates the severe financial and political pressures bearing down upon the district attorney at the very time he made a series of ethically and procedurally dubious decisions in the lacrosse investigation.”
THURSDAY OCTOBER 12: CBS News issues a release about the upcoming Duke segment on Sunday’s “60 Minutes” program. According to CBS, Evans, Finnerty and Seligmann maintain their innocence in interviews with correspondent Ed Bradley. "It's a national story we began working on six months ago," says Kevin Tedesco, a "60 Minutes" spokesperson. "A '60 Minutes' story on an event can often refocus attention on it and in this case... you will be hearing from [all of] the accused for the first time." Bradley also interviews Kim (Roberts) Pittman, the other dancer at the party, who refutes Mangum’s account of the night's events. Bradley made multiple visits to Durham and conducted interviews with many people--including administrators and family of the defendants--for the double-length segment which will make up two-thirds of the program.
The Johnsville News reviews the various, sometimes conflicting, accounts made by Kim (Roberts) Pittman about the events surrounding the March 13-14 lacrosse team party in a post “Duke Case: Kim Roberts version 6.0.”
The campus group Duke Students for an Ethical Durham holds a barbeque on West Campus to spur students voter registration for the November election. DSED and lacrosse team members sit at tables registering students and other voters. County Commissioner Lewis Cheek took the stage at the barbecue. Cheek -- endorsed by the Anybody But Nifong and Recall Nifong-Vote Cheek campaigns -- told the Duke students that he would vote for himself because his name is on the ballot, even though he has said he will not serve. He urged them to vote Cheek, too, if they had concerns about Nifong and Republican Steve Monks. Cheek plans to attend more rallies and meet with political endorsement groups. Many lacrosse players and their new coach, John Danowski, were at the Duke rally. "It was about register and vote," says lacrosse player Tony McDevitt.
Later, at a social event at Shooters II, bar owner Kim Cates agrees to donate a portion of the night's proceeds. "We think they're completely innocent and we've been wanting to help them out, in any which way we can," Cates says, adding that she approached lacrosse players and their supporters to propose the event. "The owner of Shooters has been real supportive throughout this whole thing," says junior Bo Carrington, a lacrosse player who helped plan the event. "[Cates] offered to do a night where she would donate all of the cover charges to Duke Students for an Ethical Durham." DSED opposes the election of DA Nifong.
FRIDAY OCTOBER 13: Judge W. Osmond Smith III rules attorneys representing three Duke lacrosse players do not have to turn over the results of a poll of Durham residents. DA Nifong had filed a motion last month calling for an immediate stop to telephone surveys of potential jurors, labeling the questions a "thinly disguised attempt to influence the opinions of respondents." Nifong states he became aware of the poll after his wife was called by an opinion-research firm wanting to gauge her attitudes about the Duke case. Smith says any phone surveys conducted by the defense were designed to help develop a trial strategy and were privileged information that attorneys don't have to turn over to Nifong. "The questions do not appear to be designed to influence the opinions of the respondents, but more to determine what the opinions are, or would be, under a given set of circumstances," Smith writes. "The effects and influences exposed or created by the polling can be dealt with readily and appropriately in jury selection, just as in dealing with any other matters of pre-trial publicity." Smith also enters an order freeing lacrosse players and other potential witnesses from a previous judge's order limiting what they could say to the media. The modified order, which was agreed to in court Sept. 22, is entered two days before the accused are to speak on "60 Minutes."
SUNDAY OCTOBER 15: CBS’ “60 Minutes” features a double length segment on the Duke lacrosse case. The television program reveals: accuser Crystal Mangum was dancing at a strip club just days after the alleged attack; second dancer Kim (Roberts) Pittman disputes key aspects of Mangum’s allegations; and the three indicted players thought they would be cleared by negative DNA testing. The show is the first public appearance by Seligmann, Finnerty and Evans, who expresses regret for helping to plan the ill-fated March 13 party.
The three state they were frustrated when authorities continued to pursue the case after DNA tests failed to find a match with Mangum. Evans tells "60 Minutes" he cooperated with police when they arrived to start investigating the allegations. "It was scary," Evans says. "I woke up from a nap to 10 police officers in my living room with a search warrant. I went through every part of it -- told 'em where they could find things and that we'd fully cooperate and answer any questions they had." But Evans and Seligmann say they were never interviewed by police or prosecutors. Indictments against them followed a series of controversial photo lineups, in which the accuser identified Seligmann, Finnerty and Evans. "It felt like Russian roulette. It could have been any single one of us," Seligmann explains. "Kids were even calculating their chance ... the percentage ... that you would get picked." Both Seligmann and Finnerty say they both have alibis. Cell phone records show that Seligmann placed several calls, including one to a taxi service, and left the party before, defense attorneys say, the alleged rape would have occurred. "I left soon after I saw them do their act in the room with everybody else," Finnerty says. "I saw them leave the room. I never saw them again in my life." Finnerty adds, "It's changed my life, no matter what happens from here on out. It's probably going to be something that defines me my whole life." Evans says he regrets his decision to host the party with alcohol and strippers. "I was naive, I was young, I was sheltered," Evans explains. "And I made a terrible judgment. In five months I've learned more than I did in 22 years about life."
The CBS report also includes an interview with Pittman, who was also hired to perform at the party (pictures from which are shown in screen captures by The Johnsville News). She states she was separated from Mangum twice during the evening, both times for 5 to 10 minutes. Pittman says the accuser never gave her any reason to believe she had been attacked or that a rape occurred. "She obviously wasn't hurt. You know, she was fine," Pittman says. "She wouldn't have went back into the house if she was hurt." Pittman also disputes claims made by the accuser that she was actually present at the time the accuser said she was attacked. "Nope," Roberts responds when asked about the claim.
The "60 Minutes" report also shows a video of Mangum performing at a strip club two weeks after the party. Late Sunday, attorney Joseph Cheshire states the tape was made a few days before Mangum went to a hospital complaining of lingering injuries from the attack. "It's enormous," says Cheshire, who represents Evans. "The relevance is she's saying she's so hurt and can't hardly move and can't remember what she's doing and some kind of victim of a rape and yet we'll have testimony and demonstrative evidence that days later she's in the strip club performing."
Also on the “60 Minutes” program , DA Nifong comes under fire by Duke Law Prof. James Coleman for how he has handled the high-profile investigation. Coleman tells CBS that Nifong has committed "prosecutorial misconduct," citing a controversial series of photo lineups with only lacrosse players. Coleman describes the case as "out of control," and also criticizes Nifong for the way he handled the case in the days before charges were first filed in April. Coleman states he believes a special prosecutor should be appointed. He also questions whether Nifong has a case at all.
Liestoppers features a post “Occam’s Razor II” which offers detailed evidence to demonstrate that the simplest explanation for the facts uncovered so far is that Mangum is lying and that the rape allegations are a hoax. The article presents 90 different inconsistencies and contradictions as to why her stories do not add up.
The Johnsville News publishes FAQ about the “Duke lacrosse rape hoax” with detailed answers and references to 25 questions.
MONDAY OCTOBER 16: DA Nifong states he did not watch the "60 Minutes" report featuring three Duke lacrosse players that he is now prosecuting. "It would be hard to comment on something that I hadn't seen," he says at a news conference concerning an unrelated investigation. Asked whether, as the prosecutor, he was disinterested in what the accused players had to say, Nifong responds, "I have a tape of it. I have a transcript of it. I didn't watch it." He adds, "There was no need for me to watch it last night."
African-American blogger LaShawn Barber writes a scathing post about the “60 Minutes” report. She blogs in part:
“The stripper-accuser’s luck is as rotten as it can get. Not only did she make up a gang-rape story, she happened to blame it on the three people least likely to have done it! Seligmann has an alibi supported by a paper trail. He says he tried to tell the police and Nifong about it, but they refused to talk to him. Finnerty says he also has a provable alibi. Evans and the other two say they did nothing wrong. They weren’t even among the group that called Roberts a “Ni*ger.” Seligmann says he didn’t say it and won’t accept responsibility for others saying it.
By the way, Roberts started the whole verbal exchange by calling one or more players “small dick white boy(s).” She whined, “They could have said anything else. They could have said ‘black’ but they said ‘Ni*ger.’”
That’s a lot of nerve. Hitting below the belt and questioning a man’s physical endowments, a very sensitive area to begin with, and Roberts is surprised the “white boys” retaliated and called her a Ni*ger? …
Wherever the false accuser is, I hope her conscience is eating her alive. Until she rectifies this mess, which means coming forward and confessing she made up the whole thing, and apologizing to Evans, Seligmann, and Finnerty, I hope she never has a moment’s peace. I hope her lies are taking a toll on her health. I hope the damage she’s doing to innocent lives causes tenfold damage to her own.
If anyone out there still believes David Evans, Reade Seligmann, or Collin Finnerty raped a black stripper on March 13, 2006, you’re willfully deaf and blind. And stupid.”
KC Johnson writes a comprehensive case narrative so far of the alleged rape controversy. In “Durham-in-Wonderland,” Prof. Johnson suggests there have been five stages of the case so far: 1) the March 13-14 party; 2) the “investigation” March 16-23, primarily involving Sgt. Mark Gottlieb; 3) the Nifong “usurpation” March 24-April 6; 4) the “effects of demagoguery” April 6-May 3; and 5) the “effects of procedural fraud” May 4- present.
TUESDAY OCTOBER 17: The Chronicle’s Saidi Chen reports that while Sunday's "60 Minutes" segment heavily criticizes the actions of DA Nifong, a number of legal experts say it is difficult to determine the extent of the program's impact. "It's hard to say whether [the program] helped the defense.... But I can tell you that if you're a prosecutor and this segment just came on you're probably not excited," says Richard Meyers, a UNC law professor and former federal prosecutor. "Statements that the players who appeared on television made can be used as prior inconsistent statements. They can be impeached with it," Meyers explains. Another attorney, Woody Vann, who represented Mangum in a previous case, notes, however, that the interviews would not have happened if the defense teams thought their cases would be damaged. "[The players'] attorneys would not have let them on camera unless they felt very confident they would come across as sincere, believable, credible, and that they wouldn't say anything that could harm their legal status-and they didn't as far as I could tell," he says. Because of the polarizing nature of the case, the segment likely did little to change the opinion of those watching, Vann says. What people took away from the program also depends on their existing biases and perceptions of the case and of the show, says Jennifer Collins, a law professor at Wake Forest. "60 Minutes" was the top-rated program during its time segment last week. According to Nielsen ratings, approximately 12.8 million households--20 percent of televisions in use at the time-- were tuned to the program.
Liestoppers states “the impact of '60 Minutes' expose’ of District Attorney Mike Nifong’s hijacked hoax is readily apparent. A brief review of some of the comments the big tractor has elicited leaves little doubt that the injustice that we, and other bloggers, have been hollering about for months is now common knowledge across the country. From coast to coast, millions of people now know that Nifong is the embodiment of prosecutorial misconduct.”
Durham Police investigator Ben Himan meets with Linwood Wilson, Nifong’s investigator, and Victor Olatoye, owner of the Platinum Club. Olatoye provides an affidavit stating that the accuser had not danced at the strip club since before the alleged attack. Olatoye later attempts to correct the affidavit based on club records.
THURSDAY OCTOBER 19: In a post “Understanding SANE IV” KC Johnson reviews some of the medical facts of the case using expert commentary from SANE Kathleen Eckelt. Johnson writes: “Not only did Nifong bring a case based on procedural fraud in the legal arena; but the medical report that he claimed persuaded him a rape occurred actually is dramatically inconsistent with the accuser’s stories. Eckelt’s work raises the disturbing question of whether Nifong constructed out of whole cloth the medical case as he did with the procedural handling of affairs. But of course, to quote Eckelt, ‘Then again, maybe they do things differently in North Carolina.’ ”
FRIDAY OCTOBER 20: Local and national journalists discuss at a Duke forum why the lacrosse story has dominated news headlines for the past 7 months. "It became not just a story for us, quickly, but it became sort of a neighborhood and community protest story," says Bob Ashley of the Durham Herald-Sun. "We were becoming aware this was a district attorney in the middle of an election," states Susannah Meadows of Newsweek. "This wasn't just about a woman saying she was raped." Duke University estimates there have been nearly 75,000 stories done on the case. Local journalists complain the story seemed to spin out of control when national networks and writers took hold of the script. "They were making generalizations for purposes of sensationalism," says Seyward Darby of The Duke Chronicle. The panel of journalists – all but one having ties to Duke-- talk about mistakes made during the coverage. ESPN's Jay Bilas points to self-described experts who weighed in on every aspect of the case. Panel members agree the case has raised the issue of terminology, such as what to call Mangum, the woman at the center of the controversy. "The distinction between victim and accuser -- it's really alleged victim or accuser," says Bilas.
Duke Law Professor James Coleman writes a letter to the Durham Herald-Sun:
“Your editorial about the recent "60 Minutes" report mischaracterizes both what the district attorney's role has been in the Duke lacrosse rape case and why some of us have criticized him. Like much of the media hype that has surrounded the case, your editorial turns the case into an ugly caricature by suggesting that the decision to prosecute the Duke students was made by a valiant prosecutor on a white horse who is defending a helpless black woman who "ranks near the bottom of society." That is what the prosecutor also suggested when he told a largely African-American audience that he personally would protect "this black girl" from the hooligans at Duke. I find that characterization of the case offensive and patronizing. Why do you say the accuser is "near the bottom of society?" She is an apparently talented student and mother who dances to support herself and her child. She is a woman, not a "black girl."
Trying to make this case about race and class has done a great disservice to Durham. From the start, it should have been handled as just an alleged rape that had to be investigated and prosecuted if the evidence warranted it. As someone who has criticized Nifong's handling of the case, I have not called for him to dismiss it; rather, I have suggested only that a special prosecutor be appointed who can make the kind of disinterested decisions about the case that Nifong has shown himself incapable of making. If the case goes to trial, it should be based on the strength of the evidence against the defendants, rather than as a convenient way to shift responsibility for ending what now appears to be a highly questionable prosecution to a judge or jury.”
SUNDAY OCTOBER 22: An article in the N&O explores the new role of bloggers in coverage of major stories such as the Duke lacrosse case. The article features Prof. K.C. Johnson: “A Maine native who teaches history at Brooklyn College, Johnson, 38, has no tie to Durham aside from a few visits over the years. Nevertheless, he has fixated on the enormously high-profile Duke lacrosse case, turning his own outrage over District Attorney Mike Nifong's handling of it into a lively, popular and occasionally scathing blog through which he posts daily critiques and criticisms of Nifong, other players in the case and the media. He spends a couple of hours each day working on the blog, which, he said, is read by between 15,000 and 20,000 people each week. His blog entries are heavy with detail culled from public records. On occasion, he has corrected errors on his blog. "You can't put up wrong things and expect your product to be treated seriously."”
MONDAY OCTOBER 23: KC Johnson in a blogpost “What, Exactly Did the Police Investigate?” discusses the lack of a thorough police investigation after the initial rape allegations and the failure of police and DA Nifong to follow up on leads and re-interview witnesses such as Kim (Roberts) Pittman to resolve discrepancies.
TUESDAY OCTOBER 24: Duke chemistry professor Steven Baldwin writes a column in the Chronicle about the relationship between Duke’s faculty and students:
“My biggest concern has always been with Duke’s treatment of the student athletes at the center of the storm. These kids were abandoned by their university. At least one of the indicted students, perhaps all three, was trespassed from Duke property. They were denied the presumption of innocence, despite the mounting evidence that the case against them is made of smoke and mirrors and is fatally flawed procedurally. They have been pilloried by their faculty and scorned by the administration. They are pariahs…”
“On the other hand I do not believe that a faculty member publicly describing any student in pejorative terms is ever justified. To do so is mean-spirited, petty and unprofessional, at the very least. The faculty who publicly savaged the character and reputations of specific men’s lacrosse players last spring should be ashamed of themselves.”
Durham Police investigator Ben Himan meets with Linwood Wilson, Nifong’s investigator, and “Fats” Thomas, a bouncer at the Platinum Club. Thomas shows them a DVD with the dance scene depicting Mangum from "60 Minutes". He did not allow them to keep the DVD. The dance apparently had occurred on March 25.
WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 25: DA Nifong has a double-digit lead heading into the November election for district attorney, according to a survey of Durham voters. The poll, commissioned by the N&O and WRAL-TV, asked 600 likely voters whom they would vote for. Of those polled, 46% say they will vote for Nifong, while 28% of respondents say they will vote for county Commissioner Lewis Cheek. Two percent say they planned to vote for write-in candidate Steve Monks. The poll, conducted between Oct. 16 -19, finds that 24% remain undecided, enough to change the outcome. The poll also reveals that nearly half of Durham residents feel worse about the relationship between Duke University and Durham in the aftermath of the lacrosse scandal. Asked about the town-gown bond, 47% of all respondents say they felt less positive about it, and 31% feel the same -- while 14% feel more positive. Eight percent aren't sure. There was a stark difference of opinion along racial lines. Among black voters, 67% felt worse about Duke-Durham ties, while only one-third of white voters expressed a more negative view. Twenty-one percent of white voters felt the relationship was better, compared with only 5% of blacks. Latino residents' views were similar to those of African-Americans. "It's disappointing to see these numbers, but it's not surprising, given the racial aspect of the situation," says John Burness, Duke's vice president for public affairs.
The Johnsville News, in a blogpost “Duke Case: Identification Issues,” summarizes the inconsistencies of Mangum’s identification of lacrosse players in her photo ID sessions with Durham police. “Forget the fact that local, state, and federal identification procedures were violated by not having fillers and that an investigator who does not know the suspect's identity should be conducting the lineup. Even with rigged lineups, Ms. Mangum fails to make convincing identifications. The only crime involved here is allowing anyone to be indicted for rape based only on these flawed identifications.”
THURSDAY OCTOBER 26: Nearly 100 people pack into the Duke’s Bryan Center to hear three panelists discuss the lacrosse case. Organizer Daniel Bowes the Duke-Durham community liaison, says, "This is not meant to be an anti-Nifong event or an anti-lacrosse event. This is a forum meant to facilitate an honest discussion of various perspectives surrounding the social and legal aspects and repercussions of the Duke lacrosse case." KC Johnson, history professor and “Durham-in-Wonderland” blogger, outlines at least five points where he thought Nifong had either violated the N.C. State Bar Rules of Professional Conduct or police procedures. Larry Holt of the Durham Human Relations Commission tells of a history of off-campus student behavior problems that had led the Trinity Park neighborhood to lobby police to aggressively target rowdy Duke student parties. Stephen Miller, a Duke senior who leads the Conservative Union on campus, expresses outraged at an ad last spring signed by 88 faculty. He describes it as a missive in which professors and students had assumed a crime occurred, regardless of the results of the police investigation. Audience members speak of the case as one with major legal flaws that has made victims of the accused. One speaker says he wished the administration had stood behind the lacrosse team. Donald Ceres, a divinity graduate student who grew up in Durham, thinks the case is polarizing because many in Durham think of Duke as a walled-off campus of elitists.
In a post “Referendum on Nifong” Liestoppers discusses the politics of the upcoming Nov. 7 election in which Nifong is running for a full term as Durham DA. The article examines the role of candidate Steve Monks, a Republican, and his advisor Cliff Brandt as possible spoilers, siphoning votes away from Lewis Cheek, Nifong’s strongest opponent.
According to a post on “Talk Left,” a Duke parent (not associated with the lacrosse team) sent an e-mail to President Brodhead questioning why the indicted players had not received more support from Duke. The parent received the following message back from a Duke official (not named in the post but later revealed to be VP Larry Moneta):
"President Brodhead asked me to respond to your email to him about our support for the students and alumnus charged in the case. Let me assure you that we're in regular contact with them and their families and offering considerable support. As you know, for the reasons articulated by the president on numerous occasions, Duke cannot pre-judge the outcome of the case regardless of media accounts. We all hope this ends soon.”
The spokesperson for Friends of Duke University, Jason Trompbour, writes a response:“I am posting here for the first time because the assertion made by Brodhead’s assistant that the Duke administration has been “in regular contact with them and their families and offering considerable support” is so absolutely outrageous that I believe you should know the facts.
Brodhead and the rest of the administration have had no contact with any of the lacrosse players or their families whatsoever with the following three exceptions:
1. Brodhead talked to Devon Sherwood’s family and apologized for what they were going through. Devon is African American.
2. One of the families of a player who was not charged ran into Brodhead at a reception following the dedication of a facility at Duke Medical Center. Brodhead was very cold and uncaring toward them. One of the trustees joined them and was supportive of the lacrosse players. The trustee asked them how to get lacrosse wristbands and he indicated he wanted to get enough for a lacrosse team at the university where he teaches. As Brodhead watched silently, the family members gave him one of their own wristbands, and he put it on immediately. At this point, apparently, Brodhead walked away.
3. Colin Finnerty’s parents contacted Brodhead to ask for permission to transfer credits from other colleges. Both Colin and Reade Seligmann are taking classes this semester at colleges near their homes. However, Duke will not let them transfer more than two courses so they are unable to keep up with their studies while suspended unless they get permission to transfer more. Colin was supposed to do study abroad this semester, but Duke cancelled that. Brodhead refused to meet with them despite several requests. Finally, the person in charge of the annual giving program told Brodhead that, unless he agreed to see the Finnerties, he would resign. Only then did Brodhead agree to meet them. In the meeting, Brodhead remained intransigent and he and Mrs. Finnerty got into terrible argument. The Finnerties walked out because Brodhead started insulting them.
There has not been a single note, card or other expression of kindness from anyone in the Duke administration to any of the three accused students.
By contrast, I received an e-mail from someone close to Reade Seligmann who told me that, the same day Duke suspended Reade, an Ivy League athletic department official called him to tell him how much they believed in him and wanted him to come to their university and play lacrosse. The people there had recruited him out of high school, two years prior, remembered what a great person he was. They had that much confidence in him.”
FRIDAY OCTOBER 27: In a contentious hearing before Judge W. Osmond Smith, DA Nifong reveals that he has not talked to accuser Crystal Mangum in detail about her rape allegations. Nifong asserts if he talked to a witness, he could risk becoming a witness in the case himself. Defense attorneys want to know about conversations Nifong may have had with Mangum. Nifong tells the judge that there was nothing to tell. "I understand the answer may not be the answer that they want, but it is the true answer, and it is the only one I can give them," Nifong says after the hearing. Defense attorney Joe Cheshire says, "Mr. Nifong did admit that he, in fact, has basically never talked to this woman and has absolutely no idea what her story is, and yet he has chosen to continue to go forward with this case." Nifong states that during a meeting in April, Mangum looked too traumatized to talk about the incident. Nifong says she spoke less than 15 words, had difficulty making eye contact and looked like she was going to cry the entire time. Since then, according to Nifong, “ I've had conversations with (the accuser) about how she's doing. I've had conversations with (the accuser) about her seeing her kids." He states, "I haven't talked with her about the facts of that night. ... We're not at that stage yet."
Nifong also reveals the criminal investigation has largely ended. Nifong tells the judge that Sgt. Mark Gottlieb, who ran several key elements of the inquiry, has been on sick leave and other than being called to testify would likely have no further involvement in the case.
During the hearing, Nifong turns over 1844 pages, including a written report, concerning DNA testing performed by the SBI and by DNA Security Inc. in Burlington. The material is in response to a September 22 order by Judge Smith that Nifong supply to the defense all underlying data and documentation about the DNA testing in the case. The incomplete report later plays a role in Nifong’s disbarment. Also at the hearing, Judge Smith states he received medical records involving Mangum from the hospital. Those documents are currently under seal until the judge looks at them and decides whether the prosecution or defense can use them. Another hearing in the case is scheduled for December, which some observers believe is too lengthy a delay.
SATURDAY OCTOBER 28: The N&O reports it has reviewed the entire video of Crystal Mangum performing an athletic pole dance at a strip club at the same time she was visiting hospitals complaining of intense pain from being assaulted. A time-stamped video shows a woman at The Platinum Club on March 26. The club's former security manager, H.P. Thomas, identifies her as Mangum. The video shows a limber performer. The same woman told doctors at UNC and Duke hospitals around that time that she had been assaulted and was now racked with pain. Linwood Wilson, investigator for DA Nifong, says that he has watched the video but could not say with certainty that it was Mangum dancing. At trial, defense lawyers could show the video to undercut what Mangum told doctors and nurses in the days and weeks after the party. On March 16, two Durham police officers interviewed Mangum at home and later Sgt. Mark Gottlieb described a woman in excruciating pain. Nine days after that interview, according to security manager Thomas, the woman was filmed dancing. The video segment, about a minute long, shows the woman, introduced as Precious, as she approached a floor-to-ceiling pole on a stage, dressed in a thong and skimpy top. She grasped the pole and lowered herself into a squatting position, so that her buttocks almost touched the floor. With her hands on the floor, she stretched out her right leg vertically, as though she was kicking to the ceiling while squatting, and waved her leg several times to either side of the pole. The Johnsville News shows a screen capture of Mangum’s performance.
SUNDAY OCTOBER 29: Duke Literature Professor Grant Farred writes an article in the Herald-Sun “Secret Racism Underlying Lacrosse Case, reading in part:
“The racist taunts by the lacrosse players on that infamous March night were nothing historically new. The vulnerability of black bodies now assumes a different guise, but its political realities remain unchanged, especially in this instance, as it applies to black and minority women. That is only a public secret, but an ongoing shame.
Why have the racial slurs and a player’s e-mail “promise” about killing and skinning “strippers b—s” been forgotten, and transgressions against Durhamites made victim to the relentless commitment to exonerating the three players? In casting the players as the aggrieved “victims,” as CBS’ “60 Minutes” did and the players, their attorneys and the PR machines continue to insist, what has been eliminated from discussion is a more serious issue. How is the lacrosse affair symptomatic of the political culture at Duke?
Why is there not a more urgent sense on the university campus about March 2006? Why has it not precipitated a more profound educational, political, and intellectual crisis? If the gravity of the situation did register, how is it possible that the team could be reinstated despite its criminal history? How could an athletic director’s response to the affair suggest that this was simply a matter of “boys being boys,” by which he really means that historic white privilege should go unimpeded, and perhaps even [un]punished?”
MONDAY OCTOBER 30: In an interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” second dancer Kim (Roberts) Pittman states that at the lacrosse party Crystal Mangum was clearly impaired and "talking crazy" afterward. "The trip in that car from the house went from happy to crazy," Pittman says. "I tried all different ways to get through to her." Pittman, who has previously called the rape allegations "a crock," left the party with the accuser and drove her to the parking lot of a nearby grocery store. Unable to get the accuser to leave her car, Roberts says she pushed on the accuser's arm and leg to try to force her out. At that point, according to Pittman, the accuser said: “Go ahead, go ahead. Put marks on me. Go ahead. That's what I want. Go ahead.” According to the Johnsville News, a poll by ABC shows that 85% of respondents say this new information does not look good for the prosecution.
DA Mike Nifong says he is comfortable about the decisions he has made about the Duke lacrosse rape allegations. "I think that I have a responsibility to prosecute this case," Nifong tells the Associated Press in an interview. "I think that really nothing about my view of the case and my view of how the case ultimately needs to be handled has been affected by any of the things that have occurred." Nifong had granted numerous newspaper and TV interviews as he prepared to face two challengers in May's Democratic primary -- an election he won. "I think it was pretty clear that I (misunderstood) the likely consequence of appearing on camera," Nifong says. "What I was trying to do was to reassure the community, to encourage people with information to come forward. And that was clearly not the effect." After that initial flurry of interviews, Nifong generally stopped talking publicly about the case. But in an interview about the upcoming general election, Nifong defends his handling of a case that has divided a community and has led to a debate about race, class and sex, as well as claims of the culture of privilege for athletes at Duke. "My personal feeling is the first step to addressing those divisions is addressing this case," Nifong claims. "That is not the kind of thing that you can really assign to somebody else and say, 'You go do this for me. The future of Durham's in the balance and I don't really want to get my hands dirty. You do it.'" Nifong says granting so many interviews was his only regret, insisting that he and police investigators have not mishandled the case. Nifong's apparent indifference to criticism angers defense attorney Joseph Cheshire, who says Nifong's belief he "wouldn't look back and do any of that differently is astounding." The latest questions about Nifong's handling of the case came last week, after he said he and his staff have yet to interview Mangum about the facts of the case, leaving that work to police. He states his responsibility is to direct the investigation, not conduct it. "I've been prosecuting cases for 28 years, and nobody has ever asked me questions about my policies in terms of when I have normally interviewed witnesses," he says. "But all of a sudden, everybody has an opinion about when I should interview witnesses in this case."
N&O columnist Ruth Sheehan urges Durham voters to cast their ballots against DA Nifong by voting for Lewis Cheek in the general election next week. She writes in her opinion column: “At this paper, and in this column, my colleagues and I have written plenty about prosecutors with tunnel vision, who press forward with flawed cases at any cost. Here's a chance for voters to say, "Not here. Not in Durham." Durham voters can set this case before new eyes. If only they would. “
TUESDAY OCTOBER 31: Liestoppers comments on Nifong’s AP interview:
“In an interview with the Associated Press yesterday, interim District Attorney Mike Nifong, makes the stunning admission that he feels he has a responsibility to prosecute the Hoax, not, apparently, because doing so is his legal obligation, but rather because he seems to feel it is his societal obligation because of the “underlying divisions” revealed by the Hoax…
Echoing the sentiments of the potbangers who attached their agendas to the Hoax, Mr. Nifong reveals his own. Admitting that, with “a stroke of a pen” he could end the nightmare being experienced by the innocent Duke Three and their families, if he were “so inclined,” Mr. Nifong declares his “responsibility to prosecute” this hoax is the “first step in addressing these issues.” If DA Nifong’s words are to be believed, he clearly misunderstands what his responsibilities within the criminal justice system are. If his words are sincere, he clearly has put three young men in jeopardy of decades in jail while soiling their good names, damaging their lives and causing their families to endure outrageous expense, not in the interests of criminal justice but rather in the interests of serving his own personal agenda of addressing “underlying issues.” “
KC Johnson in “Durham-in-Wonderland” also addresses Nifong’s comments: “A trial is designed to determine whether or not the three people charged committed a crime. It’s not designed to address Durham’s “underlying divisions”—a task, based on what we’ve seen in this case, that the city’s political leadership has utterly failed to perform in the last generation.”
Devon Sherwood, the only black player on the Duke lacrosse team, is interviewed on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” Sherwood, 19, says that his three white teammates who have been accused of sexually assaulting a black woman have been stereotyped by class and skin color. "It's almost a reversal." Sherwood said he found it "impossible" to believe that the rape allegations are true. "I'm 100 percent confident," he said. "I know nothing indeed happened that night at all."
SPECIFIC REFERENCES (BY DATE)
October 1: Nifong profiled by N&O’s Benjamin Niolet
October 3: The Johnsville News on Durham gangs
October 5: Chronicle article on slow pace of lacrosse case
October 6: Liestoppers on Nifong and prosecutorial misconduct
October 7: Duke men’s lacrosse team returns to competition
October 8: Joe Neff reveals problems with Mangum’s identifications
October 8: New York Magazine article on New York Times’ coverage
October 8: Liestoppers on March 25 N&O “Dancer” article
October 10: KC Johnson on faulty SANE conclusions
October 11: Defense attorneys ask for records of Nifong’s contacts with Mangum
October 11: KC Johnson reveals Nifong personally loaned campaign $28,989
October 12: DSED promotes voter registration at barbeque
October 12: Preview of “60 Minutes”
October 13: Judge Smith rules on polling by defense attorneys
October 15: “60 Minutes” on Duke case
October 15: Liestoppers on 90 contradictions in charges against lacrosse players
October 16: Nifong on “60Minutes” show
October 16: LaShawn Barber commentary on “60 Minutes” show
October 16: Case narrative according to KC Johnson
October 17: Reaction to “60 Minutes” program
October 19: More from KC Johnson & Kathleen Eckelt on SANE issues
October 20: Panel of journalists discuss lacrosse case coverage
October 20: Prof. James Coleman letter to Herald-Sun
October 22: N&O on role of bloggers in news coverage
October 23: KC Johnson on the lack of a police investigation
October 24: Duke chemistry Prof. Steven Baldwin’s letter
October 25: Poll shows Nifong in the lead
October 25: The Johnsville News on identification issues in the case
October 26: Duke forum on lacrosse case
October 26: Liestoppers on Nifong, polls and Durham politics
October 26: TalkLeft post on Duke “support” for indicted players
October 27: Hearing before Judge Osmond Smith: Nifong never questioned Mangum
October 28: Videotape of Mangum pole dancing March 26
OCTOBER 29: Professor Grant Farred article in Herald-Sun
October 30: Roberts claims Mangum said “Make marks on me”
October 30: Nifong interview with Associated Press
October 30: N&O columnist Ruth Sheehan calls for Nifong’s removal
October 31: Reaction to Nifong interview with Associated Press
October 31: Devon Sherwood interviewed on “Good Morning America”
(The Duke lacrosse case article indices in the Raleigh News & Observer and the Duke Chronicle have been taken down following website revisions. Articles can still be found using the search feature of the new websites.)
EVANS et al v. DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA, CITY OF et al
MCFADYEN et al v. DUKE UNIVERSITY et al
CARRINGTON et al v. DUKE UNIVERSITY et al
Duke University & Brodhead Statements
Duke University Archive of Media Coverage
Johnsville Blog Posts
KC Johnson’s Case Narrative
Chronology by Vance Holmes “Poetic Justice”
CBS News Chronology
Friends of Duke University Media Index
New York Times Article Index
Hat Tip: sceptical for his continual dedication to disovering the details of the Duke Lacrosse Frame!
Monday, December 13, 2010
UPDATED CHRONOLOGY OF DUKE LACROSSE CASE: OCTOBER, 2006