Monday, May 16, 2022

US Deaths

2017 2,813,503

2018 2,839,205

2019 2,854,838

2020 3,383,729

2021 3,458,697

Wednesday, May 04, 2022

Don’t Feel Too Sorry for the Dukies

Apr 12, 2007 7:49am
Mike Nifong, the North Carolina prosecutor who pursued a case of rape and kidnapping against three Duke University lacrosse players, has been found to have been reckless and deceitful in the discharge of his duties according to the state’s attorney general. He abused the power the people of Durham granted him. Based on the public record of what he did in this case, he may well be properly disbarred.
The accuser in this case has been shown to be either a vicious liar or a troubled fantasist.
The three young men who she accused are truly innocent of the charges brought against them according to the North Carolina Attorney General and the investigation led by his office.
But perhaps the outpouring of sympathy for Reade Seligman, Collin Finnerty and David Evans is just a bit misplaced. They got special treatment in the justice system–both negative and positive. The conduct of the lacrosse team of which they were members was not admirable on the night of the incident, to say the least. And there are so many other victims of prosecutorial misconduct in this country who never get the high-priced legal representation and the high-profile, high-minded vindication that it strikes me as just a bit unseemly to heap praise and sympathy on these particular men.
So as we rightly cover the vindication of these young men and focus on the genuine ordeal they have endured, let us also remember a few other things:
They were part of a team that collected $800 to purchase the time of two strippers.
Their team specifically requested at least one white stripper.
During the incident, racial epithets were hurled at the strippers.
Colin Finnerty was charged with assault in Washington, DC, in 2005.
The young men were able to retain a battery of top-flight attorneys, investigators and media strategists.
As students of Duke University or other elite institutions, these young men will get on with their privileged lives. There is a very large cushion under them–the one that softens the blows of life for most of those who go to Duke or similar places, and have connections through family, friends and school to all kinds of prospects for success. They are very differently situated in life from, say, the young women of the Rutgers University women’s basketball team.
And, MOST IMPORTANT, there are many, many cases of prosecutorial misconduct across our country every year.  The media covers few, if any, of these cases. Most of the victims in these cases are poor or minority Americans–or both. I would hate to say the color of their skin is one reason journalists do not focus on these victims of injustices perpetrated by police and prosecutors, but I am afraid if we ask ourselves the question honestly, we would likely find that it is. Look for a moment at what James Giles endured
I hope we all keep him and others in mind, as we cover the celebrated exoneration of well-heeled, well-connected, well-publicized young men whose conduct, while not illegal, was not entirely admirable, either. They aren’t heroes. They aren’t boys. They are young men who were victimized by a reckless prosecutor–and had the resources the fight him off.

Friday, February 18, 2022

Duke Lacrosse Update: Crimes and Torts committed by Duke Lacrosse Team Players on 3/13 and 3/14 as Reported in the press, mainly from the Three Players’ Defense Attorneys.

Duke Lacrosse Update: Crimes and Torts committed by Duke Lacrosse Team Players on 3/13 and 3/14 as Reported in the press, mainly from the Three Players’ Defense Attorneys.

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  1. The Lacrosse Team Captains who hosted the party, including Defendant Evans, lied about their identity to the dance services when they ordered two female dancers.

  2. The Lacrosse Team Captains who hosted the party, including Defendant Evans, lied about the nature of the party, stating it was a small bachelor party of less than 10 men, and that the dancers would not need an escort.
  3. The Captains, including Defendant Evans, knew it was the policy of such escort services, particularly when Duke University athletes were involved, to send a bodyguard with a female dancer if the party would have more than 10-15 males in attendance. Other Duke athletic teams have had that experience in the past.
  4. After Duke outlawed drinking on campus, some its more affluent white students merely rented or bought a nearby satellite "frat" or "party" or "team" house, to hold keg parties and hire female dancers for stag parties. A recent UNC study found that only about one out of three students took part in the binge-drinking parties held at these satellite party houses that are found near both Duke and UNC-CH. These satellite party houses have no means of direct control by the Universities, although they are the scenes of massive underage drinking, date-rapes, and other sexual assaults. Although some of the satellite party houses are informally sponsored by fraternities or athletic teams (such as 610 Buchanan Street in Durham), the University maintains it has no authority or legal liability for the acts of its students at these houses.

  5. The satellite party houses, although owned or rented by Duke students, are not under the jurisdiction of the Duke police. Thus, if a Duke coed were to be given a date-rape drug at a party in one of these houses, and was gang-raped, Duke police and Duke would not have to report this in the annual sexual assault reports that Federal Law mandates.
  6. Any underage drinking, assaults, hate-crimes or other crimes associated with late or latent drunken adolescent socializing falls under the jurisdiction of the over-worked Durham Police Department. DPD has a working relationship with the Duke Police Department, but, even when the property is owned by Duke University, such as 610 Buchanan, the Duke P. D. claims it has no jurisdiction off campus.
  7. In response to complaints from neighbors about the loud and drunken acts of the Lacrosse Team who had been having parties at 610 Buchanan, six weeks before the alleged gang-rape, Duke bought 610 Buchanan Street on February 1, 2006. Duke continued to rent it to its lacrosse team captains. Duke did not notify its own Police Department it had jurisdiction over this property, and it is still unclear whether Duke P.D. could have made arrests that night if it had known that alleged felonies were taking place on Duke property. Certainly it must have known that there were at least 20 underage students drinking at 610 Buchanan, and that the Team Captains who had apparently bought a keg and several cases of beer were aiding and abetting this underage drinking.
  8. The captains of the team, including Defendant Dan Evans (23), carried out a plan for a party that included providing alcoholic beverages to members of the team who were under the legal drinking age of 21, including Defendants Collin Finnerty (19) and Reade Seligmann, (20). Over 40 members of the team came to the party. The party began on Monday afternoon at 2 p.m., March 13. The kegs and cases of beer, and other alcoholic beverages were readily available to the young men, who by midnight when the two invited women came into the house, had been drinking for approximately 10 hours. The majority were under 21, and everyone there knew they were breaking the law.
  9. Team parents have written that the reason for holding the drunken party at the party house was that everyone knew they could not go to a downtown bar because most of the boys were underage.
  10. The team captains who rented 610 Buchanan, including Defendant Evans, made a common plan to trick two female dancers to come to the party unescorted, for 40 young athletic men. On information and belief, the hosts requested one white and one Latino dancer. As part of the plan, they called at least two different dance services to obtain the dancers. Their misrepresentations convinced the manager of Allure Escort Services, at about 8:30 p.m., to notify CM, a recently hired dancer, that she had a job going to dance for a small bachelor party near Duke.
  11. On information and belief, when trying to hire the dancers, the Captains said it was a party for the Duke Track or Baseball team, which have more African American athletes on them. In fact, the lacrosse team has 47 members, 46 of whom are white. The only Black player, a Freshman, left the party before the dancers arrived.
  12. On information and belief, Ms. Kim Roberts, one of the dancers, arrived in her own car about 11:30. Ms.Roberts, a former student at UNC-CH, had danced for bachelor parties before. She is part Korean and part African American and, on information and belief, the lacrosse players believed she was the Latina dancer they had requested.
  13. Mr. Jason Bissey, who lived next door to the Duke-owned satellite house, saw several young men drinking beer in the back yard of 610 Buchanan at 2, 4, and 11:30 p.m.
  14. CM was dropped off by a friend in the front of 610 Buchanan just before midnight. She was a full-time honor roll student at N.C. Central University. She had taken the night-job because she has two children in elementary school, and she wanted to save the few day-time hours she had free after her studies, to be with her children.
  15. Mr. Bissey saw both Ms. Roberts and Ms. M walk around to the back door where a man greeted them, just before midnight. He saw the man talk with the women, and at midnight the two women entered the house. On information and belief, the lacrosse team member asked the women to dance and simulate sex acts between them, similarly to scenes from a book and movie that several of the Lacrosse team members enjoyed reading and talking about—American Psycho. The hero of this book/film is a 26 year old white stockbroker who works on Wall Street by day, and enjoyed hiring escort service dancers who did not know each other, having them come to his place to dance, requesting that they have sex with each other while he watches, and then he tortures and kills them. He also likes to kill poor Black homeless men, first torturing them and then killing them.
  16. Ms. Roberts and Ms. M, who did not know each other at all, say they went into the bathroom in the middle of the house and put on their skimpy dance costumes. Although the men were drinking beer, a player offered both of them a clear-colored liquid drink. Ms. Roberts declined it, but Ms. M drank her drink and possibly some of the drink that had been offered to Ms. Roberts.
  17. Although the women had been told it was going to be a small bachelor party, 44 out of the 47 lacrosse team members were reportedly present. The women began to dance and the men urged them to simulate or perform real sexual acts on each other. The men were standing and sitting all around the women—at least two dozen jammed into the small living room with the women in the middle. At least one player took digital photographs of the women, without their knowledge or permission.
  18. It is unknown how many photographers were present or how many photographs were taken at the party. Defense lawyer Joseph Cheshire has made some of them available to Joseph Neff, a reporter for the News and Observer who worked closely with Cheshire for several years in helping to free a man who was unjustly sentenced to death. One photo allegedly depicted a young man with his shorts off and his underwear wet.
  19. After about three minutes of dancing, with the men getting more and more excited, one man yelled at Ms. Roberts and Ms. M if they had brought "any sex toys." When they said, "No," a player held up a broomstick, and said he had a sex toy. There were racial remarks made.
  20. `The two dancers stopped and went into the bathroom. Several young men were knocking on the bathroom door, and Ms. M yelled at them to leave us alone, according to Ms. Roberts.
  21. Ms. Roberts retrieved her belongings from the bathroom, went to her car and changed into her street clothes.
  22. Ms. Roberts said that some of the men came to her car and said Ms. M was passed out on the backporch of the house. Ms. Roberts suggested they bring Ms. M to her car.
  23. After Ms. M got in the car, she said she wanted to go back in.
  24. Ms. Roberts said Ms. M, who had acted normally and showed no marks on her body when she first came, was acting as if she was very drunk. Ms. Roberts tried to convince Ms. M, whom she had never met before, to leave with her.
  25. Mr. Cheshire told the media the two women remained locked in the bathroom for 27 minutes and some men slid money under the door to them.
  26. Some men left after the dancers stopped and Ms. Roberts made it clear that the simulated sex between the "Latina" and the African American dancers was not going to happen.
  27. Other men noticed Ms. M seemed quite vulnerable after drinking the clear liquid. They went out to the car where she was and begged her to return to the house.
  28. Around 12:20 a.m. Mr. Bissey heard two men talking about money in the alley between his house and 610 Buchanan. One man said, "It’s only $100." He saw a man leaning into the window of a car parked outside of 610 Buchanan. He saw Ms. M. get out of the car, saying she needed to get her shoe and went around to the back porch again.
  29. Mr. Cheshire has produced a photo of her on the back porch, returning to the house.
  30. Ms. Roberts stayed in her car.
  31. On information and belief, around 12:20, some men who saw the vulnerable Ms. M returning to the house called their friends who had taken cabs and gone to get some cast from an ATM. Some returned. Sometime between approximately 12:21 and 12:53, Ms. M has stated she was kidnapped into the bathroom, beaten, robbed, choked, and vaginally and anally raped.
  32. The Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) at Duke Hospital confirmed her injuries matched her reports when she was examined about 2 hours later.
  33. During this same period, Ms. Roberts said she waited outside for Ms. M to return. Ms. Roberts was frustrated with her and decided to leave. About 12:30 she started her car, and went a hundred feet or so down Buchanan Street. Then, suddenly, she changed her mind, put the car in reverse and backed to a parking space in front of the house. The cab driver who had taken Mr. Seligman to get some cash at a nearby ATM then dropped him off near his dorm, and had returned to 610 Buchanan Street for another fare, saw Ms. Roberts’ change of heart.
  34. Mr. Cheshire has given out digital camera photos that have 12: 37 a.m. and 12:41 a.m. on them. The first shows Ms. M in a coma on the back porch. The second shows someone dumping her into the passenger seat in Ms. Roberts’ car.
  35. Around 12:50 a.m. Mr. Bissey heard a man standing behind the wall on the other side of the street, on the grounds of Duke’s East Campus, shout at the two women in or near Ms. Roberts’ car: "Thank your grandpa for my nice cotton shirt," the man said.
  36. At 12:53 a.m. Ms. Roberts called 911 from her car and said: "It’s me and my black girlfriend. And the guy—there’s like a white guy by the Duke wall and he just hollered out "nigger" to me. . . .They’re just hanging out by the wall on Buchanan." When the operator asked which side, the caller said: "It’s right outside of 610 Buchanan. I saw them all come out of, like, a big frat house." She said she was "not going to press the issue, I guess," but she was obviously distraught. Ms. Roberts said she told the men she had just called the police.
  37. About 12:53 a.m., Mr. Bissey saw the car with at least one woman in it "speed away" from in front of 610 Buchanan. Then one man said, "Guys, Let’s go!" several times.
  38. Duke police were alerted by the 911 operator. However, although they were much closer to the house, they believed they had no jurisdiction, and they claim they had not been informed Duke had recently bought the property at 610 Buchanan.
  39. When the drunken partygoers were told the cops had been called, within a minute the place was cleared and all the lights were turned off.
  40. Two minutes later at 12:55 a.m. two Durham police cars pulled up. The officers saw cups, beer cans and beer kegs, and spoke to a neighbor who said there had been a party. But no one answered their knock on the door, the lights were off, and there was no sign of the woman caller.
  41. At 1:06, after 11 minutes of checking the Duke-owned house, the police left.

  42. Sixteen minutes later, at 1:22 a.m., a female security guard at Kroger’s on Hillsborough Road saw a woman in the passenger seat of Ms. Roberts’ parked car who appeared intoxicated and was not speaking or moving. The security guard reported this incident to Durham P.D.
  43. Ten minutes later, at 1:32 a.m., Sgt. John Shelton, Durham PD, responded to the Kroger parking lot call. He found a "scantily clad woman passed out, and she would not get out of the car. When he got no response when he talked loudly to her, he pressured her wrists to try to get her out of the car. Ms. M. grabbed the parking brake, and struggled to stay in the car. When he got Ms. M out, she collapsed on the pavement of the Kroger parking lot. Shelton directed her taken to a 24-hour mental health facility called Durham Access, where intoxicated people can be held.
  44. Ms. M would not speak with Sgt. Shelton, so he "did not know her namre or where she lived," he wrote, and "Taking her home was not an option."
  45. Ms. M was interviewed by a staff nurse, a supervisor and a security guard at Durham Access. Off. Joseph Stewart witnessed these short interviews and wrote that during the "check-in process the victim was asked if something had happened to her and she said yes. She was then asked if she had been raped and she stated yes."
  46. The registered nurse at Access said the woman was incoherent and her responses appeared "as if she were psychologically hurt" according to Off. Stewart’s notes.
  47. The nurse observed that Ms. M’s answers were "more of a traumatic response rather than a drunk response, because her thoughts were broken, but logical due to her trying to hold on to reality." The Access staff directed the police to take Ms. M to Duke Emergency Room.
  48. An hour and a half after Ms. Roberts brought Ms. M to the Kroger’s parking lot around 1 a.m., and about 2 ½ hours after some of the players gave Ms. M a clear liquid drink around midnight Durham PD Officer Willie Barfield transported Ms. M. to the Duke ER.
  49. Within 20 minutes, Durham P.D. and the Duke Rape Team officially classified the complaint as "rape." A full rape analysis was done and the Durham P.D. collected DNA samples from the rape kit, took photos of her wounds, and interviewed her.
  50. The sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE) found the "victim had signs, symptoms and injuries consistent with being raped and sexually assaulted vaginally and anally." The SANE also said the injuries and the victim’s behavior were consistent with a traumatic experience. Theresa Arico, the SANE coordinator at Duke Hospital said "there was a certain amount of blunt force trauma present to create injury" and that the injuries the victim suffered were "consistent with the story she told." The ER doctor on duty that night also has reported that Ms. M. suffered trauma consistent with her story.
  51. During the early morning hours, according to notes of the different police officers and staff at the ER, Ms. M.’s account of the rape included an accusation that Ms. Roberts had urged her to have sex with her and with the men, and that Ms. M. was taken into the bathroom and raped anally, vaginally and orally, and the three men used racial and sexual slurs during the assault.
  52. The serial killer in American Psycho followed a similar pattern with his female victims.
  53. The Duke PD wrote a report trivializing the incident, based on what a Duke cop had overheard of one side of a phone conversation a Durham cop was making. According to a study paid for by Duke, Duke President Brodhead was not told anything about the rape charges for several weeks.
  54. During the week of the party and the charges of rape made within three hours, Duke’s nationally ranked basketball team had moved into the quarterfinals of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Its coach was seen several times a night giving a commercial based partly on the reputation of Duke and its athletics.
  55. On the morning of March 15, Ms. M saw two doctors at UNC Hospital, where she had received health care before, because she had severe pain in her neck. Now over the affects of what ever narcotics were in the one or two drinks she was given that evening when she got to the party, she said that she was dancing at a bachelor party and wanted to leave, but the other girls (sic) wanted her to stay. She said she was pushed into a bathroom and raped by three men. "The UNC records said, " She was knocked to the floor multiple times and hit her head on the sink during one of these episodes. "She states she was drunk and had a lot of alcohol that night. She said she denied any pain in the emergency room because she was ‘drunk and did not feel pain.’"
  56. Some Duke students who were at the party reportedly gave detailed accounts of the night to Duke Administrators. D.A. Mike Nifong has said he would ask Duke to disclose them voluntarily. If Duke did not comply, he would get a Court order. Police took statements and DNA samples from the three captains and scheduled a meeting for the week of the March 20th to interview the other 43 white players. On information and belief, Nifong also has obtained statements from some of the players who attended the party.

  57. On information and belief, Captain Evans, knew that he was in trouble, the minute the Ms. Roberts called 911 at 12:53 a.m. He had hosted the party, may have been involved in mixing the drinks, and has produced no alibi during the critical two periods when his own lawyer’s photos indicate Ms. M, almost passed out from some kind of narcotic, was brought back into the house.
  58. On March 16th, Durham PD interviewed Ms M again, and then they interviewed the three captains, including Evans. After developing probable cause and obtaining a search warrant at 6:55 p.m., 40 hours after classifying the crime as "rape," the officers served the warrant at the house. Crime scene technicians were inside the house for seven hours on the night of the 16/17 of March. They found broken fingernails, a purse and a cell phone that belonged to Ms. M. They also seized a number of computers, cameras, cloth and paper towels, rugs and bath mats, fingernails and a photograph.
  59. Mr. Evans knew two days after the party, when police came with a search warrant and found several items belonging to Ms. M in the bathroom, including some of her false fingernails, some towels and other materials, that he might be charged.
  60. Mr. Evans consulted with his father, a Washington, D. C. lawyer, who in turn, hired one of the best criminal lawyers in North Carolina and a man with good skills at working the media, Joseph Cheshire. Cheshire had close working relationships with one of the best investigative reporters in North Carolina, Joe Neff. Cheshire and Neff together had pieced together enough evidence to help get Cheshire’s client, Alan Gell, exonerated for a crime that a jury had convicted him of, and sentenced him to the death penalty.
  61. The Evans family and other parents who had watched their boys play Lacrosse for Landon Prep school in the Montgomery county suburb immediately worked out an arrangement with Robert Bennett, a powerful D.C. lawyer who had represented Pres. Bill Clinton against the accusation of sexual harassment by a state employee in Arkansas, Ms. Paula Jones. Mr. Bennett and other supporters of Pres. Clinton spent much time and energy trashing Ms. Jones. In fact, one of the favorite names for her was "Trailer Park Trash." Ms. Jones had not brought criminal charges against Pres. Clinton for the alleged advances he made toward her—she had merely sued him in civil court for violating her rights under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
  62. On information and belief, some of the information found on the seized computers from 610 Buchanan, as well as from other team players, refer to scenes from American Psycho. A mother of one player wrote several players were in a Duke psychology class and had American Psycho assigned to them for analysis.
  63. One partygoer, Ryan MacFadden, went back to his dorm room and about an hour after Ms. Roberts’ 12:53 a.m. call to the cops had abruptly ended the party, sat down at his computer and sent out a drunken cry to his team-mates: And about an hour later, one of the "kids" sent out an e-mail to the team saying: "To whom it may concern: tomorrow night, after tonight’s show, I’ve decided to have some strippers over………... However there will be no nudity. I plan on killing the b_____as soon as the[y] walk in, and proceeding to cut their skin off while cumming in my duke issue spandex. All in besides arch and tack please respond. ‘41’" (Sic[k]) Defense lawyers said he was just joking, and that proved there was no rape. Later he told Duke investigators he was just joking, and he was sorry. Pres. Brodhead reinstated McFadden as a student in July.

  64. On information and belief, this American Psycho depravity is sprinkled throughout some of the young men’s computer files that the State controls. Mr. Evans and his defense team, people at Duke (the University has access to all e-mails and files on its computer system) and Duke’s alumni and sports backers are aware that if these ideas or reports of some of Duke young athletes were to be published—like Mr. McFadden’s e-mail that night—all the spin doctors in the world could not stop the public from having an adverse reaction to the type of education Duke provides.
  65. The cousin of Ms. M has reported that Duke supporters have approached her with an offer of $2 million if she will retract her testimony. Other people who have access to Ms. M also have reported being approached with offers of huge sums of money if the case will go away. Sam Hall, the communications director for the Duke Alumni Affairs, checked with other officials to see whether Duke Alums had bade such an offer. Mr. Hall told the press that "We have no information about that. I think there’s been a rumor of it since the beginning, but I’ve never heard it discussed."
  66. Although the players first indicated they would voluntarily give DNA, a few days after the computers were seized, on March 20, a lawyer told the D.A. that none of the players would voluntarily submit to DNA tests. The State obtained a Court Order for the DNA.

  67. On March 23, ten days after the State’s investigation began, 46 Duke students, with their shirts over their faces, walked into the forensics unit of the Durham Police Department, and they were seen by a reporter and photographer from the News and Observer. The next day, March 24th, the story broke for the first time publicly.
  68. About the same time, Duke was eliminated in the NCAA basketball tournament. That weekend, a Duke alumnus witnessed about 20 members of the lacrosse team acting like drunk children at a local bar. She published an account in the Duke newspaper, the Chronicle. In late March, she was told not come back to the bar.

  69. The next week, two weeks after the party, several team members retained some of the best criminal lawyers in the area. The three team captains, who lived at the House (it is unclear whether they paid Duke rent for the house and they all moved out) have hired top-dollar attorneys: James "Butch" Williams (Capt. Dan Flannery), Joe Cheshire (Capt. Dave Evans), and Kerry Sutton (Capt. Matt Zash).
  70. Cheshire attacked the D. A. for creating a "lynch-mob mentality in the community," and said Nifong "has judged these young men to be guilty." Williams accused Nifong of doing the "two step," because Nifong first said he wanted to get the DNA results back before considering what to indict for, and then later said a negative DNA test did not prove innocence. Ms. Sutton said Capt. Zash was ¨locked in his room watching the Dave Letterman show" when the alleged attack took place in the 3-Bedroom house. (Zash’s semen was on a towel in the bathroom where the rape took place.) Cheshire chastised the D.A. for "trying the case in the press." All the lawyers have maintained there was no sexual attack at the house that night.
  71. Ms. Roberts, seeking legal advice, contacted Mr. Williams. He told her he represented one of the men, and then told her about the photos and implied she was going to look bad if there was a trial. He tried to get her to tell him what she knew. Ms. Roberts has since made public interviews, describing her role and saying Mr. Nifong and the Durham P.D. have handled the case professionally.
  72. Mr. Nifong made comments about possible accessory charges, since it is hard to believe that a gang rape in the bathroom could occur without other party-goers knowing something about it. He gave several interviews about the case the first few weeks, when it created a media firestorm. He once estimated he gave "50 to 70" interviews during that period, and the defense lawyers have used that figure repeatedly. He has since apologized for giving so many interviews to the media, which would camp outside his office everyday until he stopped granting any interviews.
  73. Since about two weeks before his successful primary election, maintained a professional quiet with the press.
  74. The defense lawyers are paid large fees to zealously represent their clients. A tactic in every sexual assault case is to intimidate the survivor/witness of the attack into refusing to testify. As part of this tactic, they released their photos of the dancer, they have dug up old stories about how she was traumatized as a teen-ager, and have tried to put her past character on trial, knowing well her past sexual history is off limits before the jury.
  75. The strategy of the Duke 3 Support Group is as old as sex. Attack the survivors, the vulnerable women. Trash them to re-traumatize them. First the night of the assault, and then every night after on the tv talk shows, the blogs, and on the front pages of the press—trying to bludgeon them into to being afraid to testify.
  76. There is a second reason why the Duke 3 Support Group and the defense lawyers continue to try their case in the media—even when the State has chosen to not to join the publicity contest. Their objective is simple: to prepare for a Motion to Change the Venue, saying the jury has been hopelessly tainted with what they have read. They are worried Mr. Nifong and his prosecutors will be on their home court, with a home jury, that will no doubt have at least 5 and maybe more African Americans on it. They are worried the egregious racism of some of the players will affect a Durham Jury, just as it has affected all people of good will who are outraged by the arrogant, entitled behavior of these men, whether or not three men physically assaulted an obviously almost comatose woman.
  77. No one represents Ms. M, the survivor. As in the case of domestic violence or any other violence against a woman, she becomes the third party victim of the criminal justice system. Nifong represents the State of North Carolina, not the survivor.
  78. The three defendants they have two mountains to climb. First, they must deflect public attention from their boorish, racist, and illegal behavior by mounting outlandish attacks on the survivor and the D.A. Second, they must deal with a mountain of physical evidence, that is corroborated by, we have reason to believe, accounts of some of the men who were at the party who have cooperated with the police and the D.A. from early on.
  79. The NAACP and several key Durham Congregations held a highly successful Durham Conference on the Moral Challenges raised by the lacrosse case. One of the issues the Durham Conference addressed was the outrageous media attention given to the case, and the way the defendants were "playing the media like a banjo." In early June, The Durham Conference wrote to both the Durham Superior Court Judge and the N.C. Bar, requesting a "quiet zone" be declared, based on the N.C. State Bar’s Rules of Professional Conduct 3.6.
  80. On July 17, Superior Court Judge Kenneth Titus told both the defendants and their lawyers, as well as the State of N.C. and its lawyers, that "future statements or disclosure of additional information, otherwise prohibited by Rule 3.6 will have a substantial likelihood of materially prejudicing" the constitutional guaranteed right to a fair trial by a jury free from partiality, bias or prejudice. "Therefore," Judge Titus told the lawyers for both sides, "I am entering an order in these cases which require compliance" with the professional rules.
  81. Two weeks after the defense lawyers had been ordered to stop trying the case in thepress (Nifong had muzzled himself two months earlier), the Herald’s crime reporter, John Stevenson, wrote on July 31st there were two matches to Evans found on stuff the police seized 40 hours after the party. Material on one of Ms. M’s fingernails seized from the bathroom wastebasket could have only come from Evans, out of all the 46 players there, and Evans’ DNA was found on a seized towel from the hallway toward Evans’ room. Defense attorneys had mentioned the fingernail DNA and tried to minimize its meaning when it first came out, and there had been a mention of DNA on some towels, but it had not been revealed it was also Evans’ DNA on the towel.
  82. This damaging news about Cheshire’s client was followed a week later with a lengthy attack on Nifong in Sunday’s N & O, August 8, with graphics, photos and a full page of editorializing against Nifong by Neff. Neff apparently has complete access to the records Nifong has turned over to Cheshire, as long as Neff spins the story against the State. Many of the facts revealed in the August 8 story tend to support the Central student’s claims, particularly if she was drugged when she first came to the party.

Tuesday, December 07, 2021


Thursday, November 04, 2021

About that Duke lacrosse thing


About that Duke lacrosse thing

UPDATE: In light of comments on the AutoAdmit/XOXO message board in response to this post (“I want to brutally rape that Jill slut,” “I’m 98% sure that she should be raped (even if only in Internet Land),” “So seriously, I think we should start another war with this cunt. She clearly deserves anything XOXO might inflict on her”), I’m going to be moderating it very heavily. I’m not going to link to the AutoAdmit board; you can google it if you’re curious. Those of you who post comments that are deleted can whine about censorship and echo chambers all you want, but we’re more than 200 comments in and I’ve only deleted a handful (fewer than 5) of truly outrageous ones. Now that a group of people are making rape comments (hilarious as always) and threatening to “start another war with this cunt” because I clearly deserve “anything XOXO might inflict on her,” I’m not feeling the need to be particularly generous with my online space. So here are my rules:

-You throw out insults, you’re gone.
-You’re rude and/or clearly not interested in reasoned discussion, you’re gone.
-You’re clearly one of the people who posted nasty things on the AutoAdmit board, you’re gone. And your IP address very well may be going up in a subsequent post.
-You continue to take the thread off-topic, you’re gone. As a reminder, the post is about posting the woman’s pictures and personal information all over the internet. I did not weigh in on whether I think the three men are guilty or not, because we’ve had that conversation and another flamewar is not going to change anyone’s mind (also, please stop assuming that I think they’re guilty). This post is also not about the women’s sexual history or her line of work, so drop that, too. On this thread, we are discussing the posting of her picture, whether the posting was fair, and the posting’s effects on rape survivors. The internet is a big place, and I’m sure there are hundreds of blogs where you can discuss the guilt/not guilt of the men in question, or of some unidentified man. This is not that blog.
-Because we are talking about rape survivors, I am not going to accept comments that attack or blame survivors of sexual assault.

Also, I’m not going to be sitting at my computer all evening checking the moderation queue. I won’t be at my computer much at all tonight. I imagine that Zuzu and Piny are also fairly busy, and we generally have a policy of not moderating comments each others’ posts, unless they’re so benign that the poster would clearly have no problem letting them through. That means that, out of respect for me, Zuzu and Piny will probably not been approving comments from people who aren’t regular posters here. So if you’ve played by the rules and your comments still go into moderation and stay there for a while, it’s not because I’m trying to censor you, it’s because I’m out. If you think your comment was deleted unfairly, you are welcome to email me and contest the decision.

UPDATE TWO: A few clarifying points:
-I am in no way saying that I think these three lacrosse players are guilty. My opinion on their guilt or not isn’t really relevant since I wasn’t there and I don’t know all the facts of the case, but if you’re interested, I don’t think that they raped her. That’s neither here nor there, but there it is.
-I do, however, think that something happened in that house — I’m not sure what else explains her fingernails on the bathroom floor, her leaving her cellphone and wallet at the house (especially if she’s a greedy whore, as many people seem to be arguing), and the medical examination which showed trauma consistent with sexual assault.
-I think that the criminally accused deserve far more protections than they currently have. I think rape survivors do, too.
-I don’t have a whole lot of faith in the criminal justice system. I think it is fundamentally flawed, and broken at its very base. I think there are some good things about it, but as a general rule I cannot throw my support behind a retributive system, and I’d rather see us go the rehabilitation route. I’d rather our prisons weren’t holding pens for War on Drugs offenders. I’d rather our prisons were not major money-makers, and I’d rather they were not traded on Wall Street. I think prison rape is a huge problem, and that it’s inadequately dealt with. I don’t think that the solution to crime is to simply lock everyone up. I think it’s unfortunate that a retributive system is our only option when it comes to criminal “justice.”
-I am not interested in determining whether or not the Duke lacrosse team had anything to do with the alleged assault. I am interested in the ethical decisions to post the woman’s picture and personal information on The Smoking Gun, on the cover of the New York Post, and on dozens of websites.

Now back to the post:

Unless you’ve spent the past 48 hours hiding under a rock, you’ve probably heard the news that prosecutors have dropped charges against the three Duke lacrosse players accused of sexually assaulting a stripper. The backlash has been stunning: The woman’s face as plastered across the cover of the New York Post yesterday along with the words THE DUKE LIAR, and The Smoking Gun has posted her personal information. I’m not linking to either.

The overwhelming response, from liberals and conservatives alike (but mostly conservatives), has been to brand the accuser a liar. I’ve already had to delete a series of “gotcha!” comments from the moderation queue. Anti-feminists in particular are overjoyed with the players’ exoneration — not because they particularly care about justice, but because they think this is a good way to stick it to the feminists who support rape survivors, sometimes to the detriment of white men. These are the same people who regularly lectured us not to jump to conclusions, and to wait until the “boys” had their day in court.

Last I checked, the woman has not recanted her story. Last I checked, she isn’t being prosecuted for filing false charges. Last I checked, there is no evidence that she lied about a rape occurring.

At this point, what’s obvious is that there was not a strong enough case against Reade W. Seligmann, David F. Evans, and Collin Finnerty to take it to trial. That doesn’t mean that they’re upstanding citizens — after all, they hired a stripper for a team party, harassed her, etc etc — but that doesn’t make them rapists. On the other hand, they may very well be rapists, and there was simply not enough evidence to make a case. I hope we can all agree that, if they are in fact innocent, then it’s terrible that they had to go through this whole ordeal. I hope we can all agree that the DA screwed up this case royally.

But this post isn’t about guessing whether or not they did it. As far as the courts go, that issue has been pretty much settled, and we can argue until we’re blue in the face about whether or not we think they did it. I have no idea. I do think that the DA made a hasty indictment and had a shoddy case. But just because Reade W. Seligmann, David F. Evans, and Collin Finnerty may not have raped the woman in question does not mean that there was no rape, or that the woman is a liar. A guilty conviction is not the standard for determining whether or not a crime occurred, or whether or not someone who files a criminal report is telling the truth. OJ wasn’t convicted of murdering Nicole, but she’s still dead. If your car is stolen and the police never find it, it doesn’t mean that the theft never happened.

Women do not lie about rape any more than people lie about being victims of other crimes — but yet we look at rape charges with far more skepticism than we do crimes like theft or other kinds of assault. Could it be that she completely made up the assault? Yeah, it could be, but there’s about a 98% chance that she’s telling the truth.

This isn’t a choice between the three Duke lacrosse players being guilty OR her being a liar. They can be innocent, and she can still be raped. There were a lot of people in that house that night, and the three indictees are not the only possible perpetrators.

The DA dropped the ball on this one, not the woman, which is why I don’t understand the desire to post her picture and her personal information online. She was taken to the hospital an examination supported her claim of sexual assault. Several of her fingernails were left behind on the bathroom floor, along with her cell phone and her purse. She fled the house without collecting her money. She called 911. Is that definitive evidence that she was raped? No. But it lends itself to the contention that something out of the ordinary happened in that house.

From the reports I’ve read, even the law enforcement officials who don’t believe she was raped believe that she’s mentally unstable, and that she honestly thinks she was raped. The “nut or slut” defense is too often used by defense lawyers to discredit rape survivors, and these prosecutors obviously have much to gain by blaming her for their inability to make a proper case, but at the very least it’s worth noting that even the people who don’t think she was raped believe that she thought she was being honest. If that’s true, it doesn’t make her a liar; it makes her traumatized, troubled, and possibly mentally ill.

It’s deeply troubling that so many people have no qualms about posting the picture and personal information of a woman who, thus far, has not been formally accused of a crime. Of a woman who very well may be a rape survivor. Of a woman who, at the very least, believes herself to be a rape survivor. Of a woman who has not been accused nor proven to have done anything wrong.

Rape is one of the least successfully prosecuted crimes out there. It has the lowest reporting rate of all violent crimes. Women who survive sexual assault are too often silenced, and too often keep the crime a secret because they don’t think anyone will believe them. This case has been extremely harmful to rape survivors — who wants to report a rape if you think that, should prosecutors fail to successfully prosecute anyone, your face is going to be plastered all over the Post with the word “LIAR” next to it?

I don’t challenge the right of individuals to weigh in on this case. After all, the “innocent until proven guilty” standard is a legal one, not a social one, and if we’re permitted to speculate on whether the Duke lacrosse team was involved in an assault, then we’re permitted to speculate on whether she was telling the truth. But just because we’re permitted to doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. And speculation goes about 10 steps too far when it turns into publishing her picture, her name, her address and other personal information.

The fact is that the three Duke men will go on leading lives of relative privilege. I’m not trying to downplay the trauma of being falsely accused of a crime, but these men have hordes of support. They are roundly perceived as innocent white victims of an evil black hypersexed slut. They had some of the best lawyers available. They will graduate from a top-tier university, and they will go on to have well-paying jobs.

She will forever be branded a lying whore. She will go back to her home in Durham — not her pricey dorm room, not the house her parents pay for her to live and party in — and she’ll try to move on with her life. She’ll have survived assault, and she’ll have survived being used as pawn by the media and her local legal establishment. She isn’t coming out unscathed. Further attempts to cause her harm — posting her pictures, calling her a liar — strike me as unbelievably cruel (not to mention usually hypocritical).

Even if you believe that the attacks on this individual woman are warranted, consider the effects that they will have on rape survivors. Consider what rape survivors feel every time they hear her called a liar. Consider what women will internalize about rape from this incident. Consider how that will effect them in the future — how it will effect their own reporting, or their belief that their friend, their daughter, their mother is telling the truth.

Accusations of lying about rape have far-reaching consequences. Lauren wrote an incredibly moving post about this a while back. I hope you’ll all read it, and re-consider the Duke case through that lens.

Monday, August 23, 2021

'Are you kidding me?' National security lawyer tears apart Nunes' 'pathetic joke' of a memo


'Are you kidding me?' National security lawyer tears apart Nunes' 'pathetic joke' of a memo

Brad Reed

February 02, 2018


'Are you kidding me?' National security lawyer tears apart Nunes' 'pathetic joke' of a memo

Attorney Bradley Moss (Screen cap).

The controversial Nunes memo is out -- and one national security expert is decidedly unimpressed.

Bradley Moss, an attorney who specializes in litigating national security matters, has written a tweet storm in which he shreds the memo and says that he believes it amounts to a "pathetic joke."

"This is the scandal??" Moss writes incredulously of the memo. "Are you kidding me?"

He then goes on to explain why there is simply no major scandal embedded within Nunes' memo, and he says that British spy Christopher Steele's personal biases against then-candidate Donald Trump are completely irrelevant to whether a FISA court should have granted the FBI a FISA warrant to surveil former Trump foreign policy adviser Carter Page.

"The entire premise of its insuffiency is the fact that the FBI/DOJ didn't tell the FISC that Steele was biased against Trump," he writes. "So the hell what? They're not REQUIRED to reveal that in every case. Unless that bias somehow renders the information, in and of itself, unreliable, it doesn't matter if Steele wore a 'I'm with Hillary' button. It's irrelevant."


Moss then went on to note that the Nunes memo confusingly admits that the FBI first launched its investigation into the Trump campaign based on the drunken boasts of former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos, who bragged to an Australian diplomat that he knew the Russian government would release dirt on rival Hillary Clinton.

In conclusion, Moss says the FBI needs to clear this up by releasing the entire FISA application on Page -- which he notes is usually between 50 to 100 pages long.

Bradley P. Moss


This is the scandal?? Are you kidding me?

12:21 PM · Feb 2, 2018

Bradley P. Moss


The Nunes memo is exactly the pathetic joke I expected it to be.

1) It admits that the Steele dossier is only a part of the FISA application. It even resolves once and for all that the Russia investigation did not start based on the dossier. It was based on "coffee boy".

12:22 PM · Feb 2, 2018

Bradley P. Moss



Feb 2, 2018

The Nunes memo is exactly the pathetic joke I expected it to be.

1) It admits that the Steele dossier is only a part of the FISA application. It even resolves once and for all that the Russia investigation did not start based on the dossier. It was based on "coffee boy".

Bradley P. Moss


2) The entire premise of its insuffiency is the fact that the FBI/DOJ didn't tell the FISC that Steele was biased against Trump. So the hell what? They're not REQUIRED to reveal that in every case. @OrinKerr did an exhaustive piece on the 4A issues for @lawfareblog

12:24 PM · Feb 2, 2018

Bradley P. Moss



Feb 2, 2018

Replying to @BradMossEsq

2) The entire premise of its insuffiency is the fact that the FBI/DOJ didn't tell the FISC that Steele was biased against Trump. So the hell what? They're not REQUIRED to reveal that in every case. @OrinKerr did an exhaustive piece on the 4A issues for @lawfareblog

Bradley P. Moss


Unless that bias somehow renders the information, in and of itself, unreliable, it doesn't matter if Steele wore a "I'm with Hillary" button. It's irrelevant.

3) Release the FISA application. The FBI has to do it now. It would likely have been 50-100 pages. Release it.

12:26 PM · Feb 2, 2018

Bradley P. Moss


Any pundit that goes out there and says this is the FISA memo is a bombshell scandal is either a hack, stupid, naïve, incompetent and/or is completely and unapologetically unaware of Fourth Amendment law involving warrant applications and confidential informants.

12:45 PM · Feb 2, 2018

Monday, June 07, 2021

There is no solution to the GOP's vaccine refusal By Amanda Marcotte

There is no solution to the GOP's vaccine refusal

COVID denialism lost its political usefulness months ago, but the GOP zombies keep on refusing to get the vaccine

By Amanda Marcotte
Published June 7, 2021 1:09PM (EDT)

In the past six months, we've all witnessed the near-miraculous effectiveness of the vaccines against COVID-19  and President Joe Biden's success at turning the joke of Donald Trump's vaccine plan into a well-oiled machine. Anyone who wants the shot in the U.S. can get it. Yet, despite an initial surge of interest in vaccines in the mid-spring, there's been a drastic drop-off in vaccination rates just ahead of Biden's Independence Day goal for a return to summer grilling. 

"The United States is averaging fewer than 1 million shots per day, a decline of more than two-thirds from the peak of 3.4 million in April," the Washington Post reports, noting that "[s]mall armies of health workers and volunteers often outnumber the people showing up to get shots at clinics" in more conservative areas like Utah, North Carolina and Tennessee. 

"Experts are concerned that states across the South, where vaccination rates are lagging, could face a surge in coronavirus cases over the summer," the New York Times further reports. While many states in the Northeast have reached Biden's 70% benchmark, the Times notes that only "about half of adults or fewer have received a dose" in 15 red states. 

As vaccine rates have been lagging, a number of reasons for what tends to be called "vaccine hesitancy" have been documented through polls and other research. Issues include a lack of access, skepticism that COVID-19 is particularly dangerous, a lack of trust in the vaccines, a belief in conspiracy theories and fear of side effects.

No doubt all these aspects are true to one extent or another, and there's certainly evidence that some working-class people simply are struggling to find the time to get the shots and recover from them. But the glaring geographical differences give away the one deeply uncomfortable reality about what is driving much, if not most, of the discrepancies in vaccination rates: Republicans are refusing to get vaccinated out of pure spite.

Both Trump and Fox News made it clear in the early days of the pandemic that taking COVID-19 seriously is something only hated liberals would do. To show their right-wing bona fides, it was important for Republican voters to refuse to do anything that would suggest they are concerned about getting sick, which would be seen as disloyalty not only to Trump but to the right-wing cause. This is even though Trump himself got very sick from COVID-19 and then, as soon as it was available, got the vaccine. And it clearly persists, even though the political usefulness of COVID-19 denialism ended when Trump's presidency did.

As Politico's health care reporters Dan Goldberg and Alice Miranda Ollstein wrote on Saturday, the "partisan divide in Covid-19 vaccinations is becoming starker," as evidenced by the fact that all "but one of the 39 congressional districts where at least 60 percent of residents have received a coronavirus shot are represented by Democrats" and "Republicans represent all but two of the 30 districts where fewer than one-third of residents have received a shot."

Another giveaway is how Republican politicians have downplayed the role tribal loyalty and COVID-19 denialism are playing in the vaccine slowdown.

On Sunday morning, Mississippi's Gov. Tate Reeves, in full gaslighting mode to Jake Tapper of CNN, insisted that he believes "all Americans should go get vaccinated because I think it's safe," that that "individuals can make their own decision, Jake, as to how to protect themselves and families."

This is, of course, full-blown nonsense. People aren't carefully researching how best to protect themselves and their families. If that was the case, they'd be lining up for shots because — outside of a few rare cases where people are immunocompromised — the single best and safest way to protect yourself and your family is to get vaccinated.

No, what's actually happening in these red states is that people are putting themselves and their families at risk, deliberately. And they're doing it because Trump spent months downplaying the threat of COVID-19 and making it a loyalty test for his people to do the same. It's also clear that a lot of the fears of vaccine safety being offered to researchers as reasons for vaccine hesitancy are, in fact, just a cover story for the mindless tribalism of the right. 

Part of the problem is Trump's ability to convince people to give up their own safety and security in order to prove their loyalty to him. Recall how cronies like Michael Cohen and Rudy Giuliani ended up in deep but predictable legal trouble after sticking their neck out for Trump? Hundreds of Capitol rioters are now facing fines or jail time because they stormed the Capitol for an ungrateful Trump. As hard as it is for those of us who see this comically dressed, half-literate sociopathic narcissist for who he is, there can be no doubt of the hold he has over some people. 

Still, the widespread nature of vaccine refusal in the red states suggests this is actually about much more than Trump the cult leader, especially as he himself has gotten the shot. In fact, the whole situation illustrates how certain lies take on a life of their own on the right, becoming identity markers that far outlast their political expediency. In other words, getting the vaccine would be an admission for conservatives that they were wrong about COVID-19 in the first place, and that liberals were right. And for much of red-state America, that's apparently a far worse fate than death.

Of course, adding to the problem is that right-wing media has not abandoned the idea that there's something "liberal" and therefore evil about admitting that medical scientists know stuff. Right-wing media figures keep bashing Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, with increasingly convoluted conspiracy theories involving his emails that no one, right or left, can follow. Such conspiracy theories are incoherent by design. They aren't meant to be understood, so much as to create an air of suspicion around Dr. Fauci and public health officials generally, and to reaffirm that being a true member of the conservative tribe means hating such people. 

On Fox News, the message to the audience is quite clear: Real conservatives prove themselves by rejecting the vaccine. Most recently, Tucker Carlson was on air ranting about how it's "medical Jim Crow" to expect people to get vaccinated to protect others. Besides being language designed to minimize the seriousness of actual racism, this kind of rhetoric is also about falsely telling conservative Americans they are akin to a marginalized ethnic group. Refusing vaccination is a way to show off your tribal membership, like wearing a MAGA hat or deliberately getting an ugly haircut, except deadlier. 

Outside of mandates or raising the penalties by barring the unvaccinated from public spaces, there's not much to be done now to change Trumper minds on vaccines. They know being unvaccinated is irrational. Being irrational is the appeal. They know how much irrationality annoys liberals. This is one of those situations where, the more that people outside of the Trump tribe push, the more the Trumpers will dig in their heels, ready to stick it to the rest of the country by acting like stubborn asses. 

The only solution may be reverse psychology.

People who want the pandemic to end need to, paradoxically, release the desire to see conservatives get vaccinated. The more zen that liberals (or people perceived to be liberals) are about vaccination rates, the less fun it is to try to piss liberals off by refusing to get the shot. Well-intentioned goals, like Biden's 70% by July 4 deadline, end up backfiring. If Biden wants it, then conservatives will, like bratty children, refuse to do it just to stick it to him. 

The good news is that, as painful as it is for Democrats to admit, there seems to be a growing acceptance that it's unwise to let Republican anti-vaxxers hold the rest of us hostage. Lockdowns and mask mandates are relaxing, even in blue areas, despite not meeting vaccination goals. While this is less than ideal, it's better than the alternative: keeping those measures in place and trying to incentivize conservatives, who are motivated purely by spite and will thus continue to refuse the shot.

They aren't getting shots in order to troll the liberals. Time to stop feeding the trolls and let them get sick if they really want to play. 

Amanda Marcotte