14 January 2007

At last, some movement (possibly forward) on the alleged Duke rape case

It's been a whirlwind of activity since I last updated (December 15, 2006) on the status of the alleged Duke lacrosse rape case. In that time, we've had (and these are not in order, folks, it's been busy):

  • the birth of the accuser's child (a healthy girl, a bit premature as she was due in February);
  • the quiet, and secretly held, swearing-in of Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong on January 2nd for his current, and hotly controversial, term;
  • the court-ordered paternity tests of said child with the 3 men accused (whose results are not known publicly yet, but both sides involve all agree none of the accused could be the father...so I'm surmising that we taxpayers paid for this to help the accuser in some fashion with the identity and to prove once and for all the accused could not be responsible, in case this comes into question later?);
  • a public statement from the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys asking for Nifong step aside and recuse himself from the case (ed: a flash copy of the actual document);
  • an interview in a major magazine, Newsweek, with one of the defendants, Reade Seligmann, about how he's coping...the first such interview really granted with any of the accused;
  • the North Carolina State Bar filing ethics charges against Nifong (ed: an audio file from NPR's "All Things Considered" program);
  • the invitation to return to school from Duke President Richard Broadhead to defendant Seligmann and co-defendant Colin Finnerty (both of whom were suspended indefinitely when the charges were filed back last spring); which prompted...
  • a Duke faculty member to resign all her Duke committee work in protest, in response to having Seligmann and Finnerty be invited to return before all charges are settled...and there has been a lot of emails flying between the Duke "Group of 88" staff and the local, national, and international community;

    which ALL of the above was caused by, happened simultaneously, or barely preceded...

  • Nifong dropping the rape charges against the 3 men, but keeping the sexual assault and kidnapping charges, after the accuser changed her story...again;
  • which the above 'new' version has either morphed or more details are leaking out from the December 21, 2006, re-interview with the accuser: now, Seligmann, didn't participate in any sexual acts, a previously unmentioned 'white towel' makes its appearance, and the time line of the alleged attack has moved forward.

    For the sake of all readers, I won't go into my whole diatribe about the timeline...a diatribe I've harped on and off ever since the case first broke in March. Suffice it to say, excluding all other evidence, I have yet to see an explanation for why the two women (regardless of the actual time of the alleged attack, how many players were supposedly involved, etc) would leave the scene on Buchanan Boulevard and drive all the way to the Kroger on Hillsborough Street, and right past Duke University Medical Center. DUMC, which is much shorter in distance (5 minutes, 1.9 miles), would naturally have been able to give immediate medical treatment to the accuser...no matter what condition she was in. Or, God forbid, the Durham Police Department, (3 minutes, less than 1 mile away from the scene of the crime)...the second dancer had already called in a '911' call anyway in regards to hearing racial epithets...again, much shorter than an understaffed 24 hour Kroger store off I-85 (6 minutes, 2.2 miles...and past DUMC). I used to live near that Kroger, and while the employees there are a wonderful group of people even in the dead of night, they're so busy on the inside (and frequentially understaffed stocking the aisles or trying to run out shoplifters), it's still not a place you'd go to if you needed immediate help following an attack. And let's not even get me going about the timeline with all the 911 calls...

    To catch up all the late comers to this saga, here's a fairly good timeline of events, as they're known to the public so far.

    Now that we're all caught up, let's add two new events from the last 3 days:

  • DA Nifong has asked to be recused from the case due to conflict of interest stemming from the ethics charges he is facing;

    And, yesterday...

  • State Attorney General Roy Cooper's office has taken over the Duke case, and he's appointing two special prosecutors to see just how warped the whole case has become.

    I'm not sure all of this is good news; I'm not sure any of this is bad news, either. I do, however, feel some relief that some fresh (and hopefully competent) eyes will re-examine this whole endeavour and do something that makes sense to the NC taxpayers (such as myself) paying for it. If the woman is a victim, her case deserves a much better treatment than it's been given (although I suspect the case is long lost no matter what the final decision on the guilt of this is handed down). If the accused men are innocent, they deserve whatever justice they can muster from our system for malicious prosecution at the minimum. (I'm not sure how gung-ho the players, if proven innocent, would want to go against Duke, but there are some arguments that Duke University could be/should be in the crosshairs next...after Nifong...for not handling this situation well at all.) No matter who wins, though, we all here locally have lost from all the negative publicity: I'd just like to get to a 'logical' conclusion to this whole circus so I can sleep a little better at night.

    And, speaking of circuses, did I mention that:

  • "60 Minutes" will be covering the story tonight (Sunday, January 14, 8pm EST), and including interviews with the lacrosse players' families? (Some local blogger friends here heard about this on Wednesday and then Nifong asked to be recused on Friday, and these bloggers do not think the two items are concidential.) This should be a corker, and, if keeping up momentum, should provide some more new information.


  • Paula Zahn from CNN will be broadcasting also on this case...but including the ever-popular race relations angle, of course...live this upcoming Tuesday, January 16, from here, too? (ed: The CNN TV commericals say it's Tuesday, her web page linked above says Friday...I'll update when I get clarification. I may attempt to go, for no other reason than to hear the debate. It's a shame Miles O'Brien couldn't cover this instead, as he seems to be a far better moderator than Paula. In a perfect world, old CNN alum Aaron Brown would be handling this, but CNN wasted his wonderful talent in favour of glamboy Anderson Cooper. I love Keith Olbermann over on "Countdown" on MSNBC...I think he's got the lion's share of Aaron's old viewers and he's an equal to Brown in his writing, which is really saying something...but I desperately miss watching Aaron.)

    I'm sure that there will plenty of news...again...on this tonight. "Film at 11."
  • 1 comment:

    Anonymous said...

    The so-called "glam-boy" of CNN can handle the Duke case and any other assignment as well or better than Aaron Brown OR Keith Olbermann.