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January 13, 2007

NC AG Takes Over Duke No-Rape Case

Various reactions at Durham in Wonderland, and lots of other stuff, like a Democratic (federal) congressman joining in the calls for a federal investigation into Nifong's possible criminal violations of the defendants' civil rights. Just keep scrolling.

Here's a further rundown of incongruities, inconsistencies, and impossibilities in the New Improved Testimony of the victim, including the oddity that, according to the new timeline, the victim was raped around 11:40 for a brief period but didn't get around to leaving the party until 12:45 or 12:50 (according to two witenesses, including a neighbor who despises the lacrosse player and the other dancer, and also, it seems, time-stamped photos).

And then she went back inside to fetch a lost shoe.

Sweet quote here:

Critics, such as Duke law professor James Coleman, said the new document was a blatant attempt to fix a flawed case and called for a criminal investigation of Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong and his staff.

"Who would believe that a witness, nine months later, suddenly recalls facts that coincidentally negate evidence produced by the defense?" said Coleman, who led a Duke committee that investigated the lacrosse team's culture and has criticized Nifong's handling of the case for months.

"These people are almost criminal. It's making a mockery of the system. It's like Nifong is mooning the system. It's contemptuous."


The NYT includes this passage, which only seems to track in the minds of passionate liberals:

Mr. Nifong prided himself on integrity, having been a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War, yet the laboratory director’s testimony and his acknowledgment of the error undercut his reputation.

Hmm. Maybe having been a conscientious objector isn't quite the guarantor of personal integrity that NYT reporters imagine it to be.

Wendy Murphy: Liar? I never had much of an opinion on the ubiquitous cable news go-to talking head for sex crimes. This post by DIW makes a pretty persuasive case that a supposed "expert" and licensed attorney who's supposed to be generally honest as regards the law and cases is simply making up an awful lot of "facts" out of whole cloth.

Speculation is one thing, but simply claiming "facts" which are demonstrably untrue is entirely another.

Wendy Murphy: Nifong Accomplice: Liestoppers rips a Wendy Murphy Op-Ed. Here, however, Murphy seems to have been correct.

Murphy: “For nine months, we've heard only from defense attorneys in the Duke case, and they've refused to release certain evidence."

The defense did not release all exonerating evidence, true enough. They held some things back.

Why?

Perhaps because they had a sneaking suspicion that if they offered more detailed evidence about proof of their actions and whereabouts that night, right down to the date-stamp, the "victim" and her coaches would create New Improved Testimony specifically to avoid those inconvenient facts.

And it's a good thing they did. The defense had offered evidence that Reade Seligmann had ATM receipts and time-stamped photos putting him out of the house at the time of the supposed rape. Shockingly, the New Improved Testimony now moves the rape's time around to avoid that exonerating evidence.

But the defense had held something back -- Seligmann has proof he was on the phone with his girlfriend during the night. At a time, it turns out, which the New Improved Testimony claims he was supposedly raping the "victim."

Does anyone doubt that if he had released this information earlier, the victim and her coaches/suborners would simply have constructed an adjusted timeline to have the rape ending mere minutes before this call?

Of course not. Anytime the defense makes public evidence like this, the prosecution just uses it as a jumping-off point to construct a new false timeline avoiding the times the defendants were provably unable to be participating in a rape.

It's an unending adjustment where the prosecution keeps saying, "Please tell me when it is not physically impossible for you to have conducted this rape. Oh? Five minutes between 11:50 and 11:55? Well then, that's when we're now saying the rape could have occurred. Wait-- you say you can prove one of the defendants wasn't there at 11:53? Oh, well then we meant the rape occurred for three minutes between 11:54 and 11:57."

With a different prosecutor, and a different "victim," maybe a defendant would feel more comfortable releasing all exonerating evidence right up front. Because a normal prosecutor and normal "victim" might have some shame about eternally revising their claims to avoid exonerating evidence.

But not these two. The claims will just keep shifting and changing and adapting to "new facts" up through the trial, or, more likely, the dismissal of all charges Tuesday afternoon.


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posted by Ace at 05:25 PM

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