Thursday, April 12, 2007

Samiha Khanna Returns to the Hoax

On March 25, 2006, the News and Observer’s Samiha Khanna, having been granted the only interview with the Duke accuser to date, co-authored an emotion-laden story that ferociously fueled the initial days of the Nifong/Mangum Hoax. Reporting as undisputed facts the transparently false accusations, or false "memories" as AG Cooper suggested, of the impaired accuser repeatedly described as the "victim," Khanna offered an idealized portrait of Crystal Mangum, which was soon shown to bear little resemblance to the truth. While painting a highly sympathetic picture of the woman whose deceit caused thirteen months of anguish for three innocent young men and their families, Khanna falsely portrayed the lacrosse team as evildoers, whose history lended credence to their erroneous characterization as brutal gang rapists.

Dancer gives details of ordeal
A woman hired to dance for the Duke lacrosse team describes a night of racial slurs, growing fear and, finally, sexual violence

"...Just moments after she and another exotic dancer started to perform, she said, men in the house started barking racial slurs. The two women, both black, stopped dancing.

"We started to cry," she said. "We were so scared."

"Forty-six members of the men's lacrosse team submitted DNA samples Thursday in the unusual case. As of late Friday, there had been no arrests. Duke officials briefed university staff Friday on the allegations, and authorities vowed to crack the team's wall of solidarity.

"We're asking someone from the lacrosse team to step forward," Durham police Cpl. David Addison said. "We will be relentless in finding out who committed this crime."

"He emphasized the seriousness of the accusations -- first-degree rape, kidnapping, assault by strangulation and robbery.

"The accuser spoke Friday, struggling not to cry as she recounted the events of the early hours of March 14 at 610 N. Buchanan Blvd., next to Duke's East Campus.

"It is The News & Observer's policy not to identify the victims of sex crimes.

"The accuser had worked for an escort company for two months, doing one-on-one dates about three times a week.

"It wasn't the greatest job," she said, her voice trailing off. But with two children, and a full class load at N.C. Central University, it paid well and fit her schedule.

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

"She hesitated to tell police what happened, she said Friday. She realized she had to, for her young daughter and her father.

"A hurt that would last

"My father came to see me in the hospital," she said. "I knew if I didn't report it that he would have that hurt forever, knowing that someone hurt his baby and got away with it."


"Paul Haagen, chairman of Duke's Academic Council, was in a faculty meeting about the incident.

'This is sad'

"There was a sense of, 'This is sad, and it's terrible,' " Haagen said. "Beyond that, people don't know what's going on."

"Haagen, a law professor who specializes in sports law, said studies show that violence against women is more prevalent among male athletes than among male students in general -- and higher still among such "helmet sports" as football, hockey and lacrosse.

"These are sports of violence," he said. "This is clearly a concern."
While Khanna's March 25 offering, the first article to report and play up the race of the supects and false accuser, would ignite the Hoax, her subsequent "reports" would serve to hype it.
Mother, dancer, accuser
Duke scandal peels back layers of Durham woman's identity

She is a 27-year-old mother of two who married young, served in the Navy and was once in serious trouble because of an episode of drunken driving and assault that left her with a criminal record.

On the campus of N.C. Central University, where she is a full-time student, few people know her.


Adding further divisiveness is that the woman is black, and she has accused three white men. That has drawn race, class and privilege into the debate.

'She was quiet'

The petite, soft-spoken woman is described by friends as a caring mother and a hard worker. According to people who have talked with her about her studies at NCCU, she also is a serious student who recently received an A in a difficult course.

The youngest of three children raised in a working-class Durham neighborhood, she graduated from Hillside High School in 1996, according to her family. A school yearbook photo from her senior year shows a girl with chin-length black braids and dark brown eyes. Her lips are pursed in a shy smile.


"She usually kept to herself," said Frederica Thomas, 27, a classmate from Hillside. "She was quiet. ... When I saw her, she was usually with her sister." The sister, who is a year older, is described by former neighbors and family members as a smart overachiever.


With aspirations to travel the world, the former husband said, she signed up in the fall of 1996 for an eight-year enlistment -- two years of active duty followed by six years in the reserves. She began active duty in the summer of 1997 and was sent to school in Dam Neck, Va., near Virginia Beach, to train for her job operating radios and navigation equipment.

That fall, the couple got married in Virginia Beach. The union would allow the woman's husband to travel wherever the woman was stationed, he said.

The former husband said he was illiterate when he married the then-19-year-old woman. She taught him to read, he said, and was kind and patient during the process. After months of tutoring and many evenings spent paging through beginning-level books, he said, he was finally able to fill out his own job applications.

"She never downed me for that," he said. "She loved me for who I was." He said he saw her after the accusations of rape were reported and she appeared distressed..."

"Being that we had given members of the lacrosse team, their parents, and leaders in the athletic department an opportunity to address these allegations, we had a responsibility to give the alleged victim the opportunity to tell her story as well...

"we were careful not to allow her to make wide-spread allegations of any kind. The only part of her story that was different than what police had already released was the racial aspect..."

Father: Injuries were telling

The father of the woman who said she was raped at a party near the Duke University campus said in an interview Tuesday that when he saw her the day after the party, her eyes and face were swollen, her arms were scratched, and she was complaining about her leg.

She told him she thought some part of her leg had slipped out of joint, he said.

The woman told her father that she had been dancing at a party and that someone had hit her. It wasn't until the next day the woman told her father she had been raped, he said.

"I think she was ashamed. ... I just felt numb, angry," the father said.


The father said Tuesday that early on the morning of March 14, he went to Duke Hospital with his son and waited more than two hours to see his daughter. Doctors wouldn't say why she was there, he said.

The father went home and waited for word from his daughter. Later that morning, she came to her parents' house with her boyfriend.

"After she came home, that's when I knew she had been beaten up," her father said.


"I don't think she wants to go home," he said. Meanwhile, the woman's two school-age children are trying to keep their routine, spending parts of each day with their grandparents, he said, as he waited for the children to arrive in their school bus.

The father said his daughter can identify the men she says attacked her. "She said ... 'I'll never forget those faces,' "
In spite of the definitive revelations by North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper that Crystal Mangum's accusations were as false as they have appeared to any objective observer for some time, McClatchy Newspapers, the N&O’s parent company, has today distributed a Samiha Khanna sequel which mirrors the egregious errors of her pivotal "reporting" over a year ago. Inexplicably, Khanna cont inues to attempt to portray the discredited false accuser in a sympathetic light, while choosing to cast aspersions onto the now vindicated conclusions of those who have battled the Hoax. In her latest attempt to prop up the false accuser, Khanna finally reveals long-withheld information, belying the transparent rationalizations offered by the N&O’s editors for its exclusion. As always, Ms. Khanna’s effort is characterized by misrepresentation, deception, and false information.

Far too modestly, Samiha. Khanna begins her sequel by declining to take credit for the enormous effectiveness of her March 25, 2006, propaganda piece. Instead, she offers Ms. Mangum credit for rallying the legion of potbangers, race baiters, and agenda-obsessed Duke professors who eagerly enabled the Hoax.
“It was Crystal Gail Mangum's own words that brought a legion of supporters to her side.”
Ms. Khanna, ignoring it was her own words which inflamed the public, proceeds to purposefully mislead readers by suggesting that Defendant Nifong actually built a credible case against the three real victims of the Hoax. In fact, Attorney General Cooper yesterday made it resoundingly clear that no criminal case was built and no effort was made by the Durham District Attorney to verify Crystal Mangum’s fantastic lies.
“Piece by piece, the criminal case that Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong built against the former lacrosse players - Collin Finnerty, David Evans and Reade Seligmann - collapsed."
After fraudulently implying that some grand criminal case composed of many pieces was built against the three men declared innocent by the Attorney General and the dismissal filing of special prosecutors Jim Coman and Mary Winstead, Khanna predictably attempts to evoke sympathy for the false accuser, whose lies caused incalcuable pain for so many:
“Mangum, a mother of three children ages 6, 8 and 3 months, was enrolled last spring at N.C. Central University. On March 24, 11 days after the party, she granted a short interview with The News & Observer, her only media interview to date. Mangum made allegations of racism, claimed to have only a short history as a stripper, and said she believed the other woman hired to dance with her also had been assaulted.

“The interview began as Mangum stood in front of her parents' home near the N.C. Central campus. When an N&O reporter approached, she confirmed that she had made the rape report. She started crying.

“When asked why she made the report, she said "most guys don't think it's a big deal" to force a woman to have sex. She confirmed that the alleged incident had occurred at a party near Duke. Moments later, she added, "Maybe they think they can get away with it because they have more money than me."

“After just a few moments, Mangum said she had to leave, but consented to another meeting that afternoon.

“Later, she sat in her living room for less than 15 minutes to answer more questions. She said she had received a phone call from her escort service to appear at the party at 610 N. Buchanan Blvd. that night to dance for a small bachelor party. There, she met a second dancer whose name she could not recall.

“Mangum said that as soon as she and the second dancer entered the house, they were barraged with racist remarks and wanted to leave.

"We started crying," she said. "We were so scared."

“Moments later, after someone in the group apologized, the women went back into the house and were separated, Mangum said.

“She did not go into details of the attack, as she had done for police, but maintained that she was raped.”
Among their many defenses seeking to justify the editorial decision to selectively withhold information offered by Ms. Mangum, News & Observer editors Linda Williams and Melanie Sill contended that inclusion of the previously unrevealed statements would have been libelous.

“As previously stated, the accuser offered a description of the second dancer hired for the party. The presence of a second woman at the party was already known, but she was not identified at that time. The description was withheld because it was irrelevant in the absence of any other available information about the second woman. The accusers' speculation about the actions of the second woman was also not printed.

“If we had printed that utterance- an admitted speculation without the slightest foundation to suggest the possibility of truth-- it would have been a conscious act of libel…Nonetheless, having made the decision not to print the speculation that was highly probably to be defamatory to several people, we have no legitimate reason to ever discuss publicly the specifics. Some of you have suggested that we should have printed it simply to show that the accuser was not credible.

Such reasoning is curious. Moreover, it is neither legally nor morally defensible.” --Linda Williams 12/24/2006
“As to the question about libel exposure from various accusations: Allegations contained in police reports, lawsuits and other judicial documents are protected, meaning people can bring such complaints (and media can report on them) without being subject to libel prosecution.” -- Melanie Sill 1/02/07
Apparently, now that charges have been dropped and Crystal Mangum has been proven to be a liar, McClatchy has no remaining legal or moral qualms, as Ms. Khanna now reveals the previously hidden words:
“She said that although she saw no proof, she believed the second dancer also was attacked, but didn't come forward because she would lose her job as an escort.”

"I got the feeling she would do just about anything for money," Mangum said of the second dancer, Kim Roberts."
While printing the libelous words of a proven liar may or may not hold less legal and moral accountability, it is difficult to understand the additional rationalizations of the editors.
“Our March 25 article that included an interview with the woman who accused Duke lacrosse players of rape has been the subject of questions and speculation on blog posts. There is a mistaken assumption that the N&O conducted an extensive interview with the woman and deliberately withheld a substantial portion of the interview.

“Those assumptions are false.

“The reporter’s interview with the woman was brief, an encounter that lasted a few minutes outside the woman’s parents’ home in Durham. Only two things the woman said at that time did not make publication. She provided a description of the then-unidentified second woman who had also been hired to dance at the lacrosse team party. She also offered an opinion about the other woman’s actions that night. The latter was clearly an opinion, offered without any substantiation.

“Incorrect assumptions have been made about information left out of that interview. Neither Samiha nor any editor omitted anything that sheds light on what happened that night or that would have made a difference in how this situation has played out.”
-- Michelle Valenzuela 12/23/06
“I've learned over these long months that attempts to set the record straight on this blog are futile. Some people posting here simply will not listen…As I explained previously, two things the accuser said did not make it in to print. As Ms. Valenzuela said, nothing about that information shed light on what happened that night, nor would the publication have made a difference in how this case has played out.” -- Linda Williams 12/24/06
It is difficult to imagine how it was determined that another wholly different version of events, edition number six by Khanna’s count, was deemed not to be relevant. Imagine how different the Hoax may have been had knowledge of a wildly different version of events offered by Crystal Mangum been made known to the defendants, the police, and the public thirteen months ago, rather than after it would make no difference to anyone.

Samiha Khanna concludes her article by shamelessly attempting to create public doubt in the AG office's exhaustive investigation and its conclusions, while providing cover for those who continue to see an advantage in pretending that the uncomfortable truth is still unknown. Demonstrating either her abject ignorance or an irresponsible willingness to distort facts, Khanna also takes aim at those who have spoken out against the Hoax.
“After saying she was raped, sodomized and strangled, she later said she wasn't sure whether her vagina had been penetrated by a penis, the legal definition of rape in North Carolina. She maintained that she was otherwise sexually assaulted.

“Four months later, she changed the times at which she claimed an attack took place. The new timeline was contradicted by records of cell phone calls made from her phone and time-stamped photos of her at the party, clad in a sheer red negligee.

“Those photos of Mangum have surfaced on television and the Internet, her faced blurred. A video clip of her dancing at an area strip club 10 days after the party also has been posted online.

“Using these images, critics from Durham and beyond cast doubt on her initial claims to police that she was beaten. As some caricatured the woman as a prostitute, a gold-digger and pawn of a calculating district attorney, Mangum herself retreated from her life. She hid from friends and family and did not return to NCCU. Just months before she had her third child, her own father said he was unaware she was pregnant.

“The clashing evidence in the case has divided two groups judging a woman they never have met - those who still believe her, and those who never did.

“Followers of the case have long waited to see the accuser appear in court, as though finally seeing her face or hearing her voice could shed light on who she truly is.

“They will never know.

“Wednesday's dismissal of sexual assault and kidnapping charges will mean confidential “records on Mangum's history and her mental health, previously sealed by a judge, will remain closed tight.

“The public will rely on a patchwork of facts revealed through court records, hypotheses posted on the Internet and blurry photographs to draw conclusions about the accuser. Her true motives will remain a mystery.”
Despite Khanna’s efforts to suggest otherwise, there is no “clashing” evidence in this case. Apparently uncomforable with the truth, Khanna would prefer her readers believe in "blurry" photographs, rather than the Crystal clear police photographs taken two days after the fictional assault:

Photograph of Crystal Mangum taken shortly after
1:00pm on March 16, 2006 by DPD Investigator Reid.

The public does not need to rely on patchwork facts and mischaractizations, as the actual case facts led Attorney General Roy Cooper to forcefully declare that the young men are innocent and that no attack occurred. For quite some time there has been an incredible amount of substantive information available to the public and to Samiha Khanna. If anything, “clashing” evidence has only existed in the form of her words and those of her fellow Hoax enablers who have chosen to foster the same fraudulent illusions. Any doubt that existed, and that will continue to exist, is the poison fruit of lies and misinformation put forth by the unscrupulous Defendant Nifong, agenda-driven activists and community leaders, and, as Ms. Khanna again demonstrates, an irresponsible and willfully misleading media.


Anonymous said...

Shameful behavior by Ms. Khanna-artist

Anonymous said...

Thanks Liestoppers!

Quite a few liars in that Durham area.

Anonymous said...

Carolyn says:

Until the Duke rape scandal, I had no comprehension of the depths liars would go to in order to keep lying.

And Ms. Khanna is still digging.

Anonymous said...

I still don't understand why the Khanna couldn't have just included these additional Precious statements and prefaced them with something like: "The accuser also made the following comments, which this reporter cannot verify as true..."

Then again, Khanna didn't bother to verify whether any single Precious comment was true, did she? Oh well, I made this and other arguments many times on the N&O editor blogs, only to be called a "bully" by Ms. Sill! I feel good about that!

- Jim Curry

Anonymous said...

Ms. Khanna-artist LOL!

She needs to fess up. She admitted in her Podcast on Laxcast way back at the start of the Hoax that she talked with Gottlieb before she wrote her article. What she get from him??

What did Cpl Addison said to her??

This young Cub Repoter got taken to the cleaners and we need to know the WHOLE STORY!

Mandelbrot's Chaos said...

I just hope Ms. Khanna and her employer have deep pockets, because they're about to get a legal enema.

Anonymous said...

This woman is a despicable excuse for a human being. She belonged on the OJ jury, who ruled the murderer innocent despite an absolute mountain of evidence to the contrary. A real fantasist, who makes what an escort service worker does sound as innocent as flipping burgers. "Yes, it is menial, but it pays the bills, ma'am."