Duke Lacrosse Case Update

There's lots of news in the Duke lacrosse player's alleged sexual assault case, which continues to crumble at an astonishing rate.

  • The accuser told yet another version on Dec. 21. The statement was turned over to the Defense on Jan. 4. In it, she says Reade Seligman was not one of those who sexually assaulted her. DA Mike Nifong knew this before he dropped the rape charges, yet didn't drop charges against Seligman. And that's just the beginning of the new inconsistencies. You can read the original suppression motion here and yesterday's supplement here.
  • "60 Minutes" will do a follow-up story on the case Sunday night (Jan. 14).

In his first interview about the controversial case, Dr. Brian Meehan (the forensic expert hired by the prosecutor in the case) tells CBS News correspondent Lesley Stahl that he made a "big error" in judgment by not stating in his report that the only DNA he found on the accuser was from several men who were not on the Duke lacrosse team. You’ll also hear from the parents of the accused, who spoke to Stahl in their first group interview.

Also in the 60 minutes interview, David Evans' mother says the players will sue DA Mike Nifong.

When asked what they would say to Nifong if he were in the room, Rae Evans, the mother of indicted player David Evans, says, "I would say with a smile on my face, 'Mr. Nifong, you've picked on the wrong families … and you will pay every day for the rest of your life.'"

JawaReport adds its thoughts.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Speculating on Nifong's reaction to Evans' mom (none / 0) (#1)
    by scribe on Fri Jan 12, 2007 at 11:48:29 AM EST

    What about the other culprits? (none / 0) (#2)
    by roy on Fri Jan 12, 2007 at 11:49:51 AM EST
    Suing Nifong is all well and good, but will the accuser be held accountable for the harm she's caused?

    why is it worth suing her (none / 0) (#6)
    by scribe on Fri Jan 12, 2007 at 12:30:59 PM EST
    she's got no money and work(s/ed) for an escort service.  It only makes sense to sue someone who's got money (or who works for some entity with money, like the government).

    criminal, not civil (none / 0) (#7)
    by roy on Fri Jan 12, 2007 at 12:47:36 PM EST
    I hear "filing a false police report" a lot on cop shows, not exactly a prime source of legal wisdom, but it make sense that it would be a crime to try to get innocent people imprisoned.  And the government should discourage people from doing so.

    I suspect that she has in mind to sue somebody, probably Duke in addition to all the players' families, if she succeeds in getting any players convicted.  If she gets away with it without any consequences, there's no reason for the next poor non-victim victim to try the same trick, hoping for better luck.

    I'm not suggesting they throw her in a cage for any significant amount of time.  That'd be excessive, not to mention screwing over her children.  And a fine wouldn't work if she can't pay it.

    A heavy community service sentence seems about right.


    Redress (none / 0) (#3)
    by Joe Bob on Fri Jan 12, 2007 at 11:55:58 AM EST
    Last year an acquaintance was indicted and tried as part of a conspiracy to distribute narcotics case. The whole thing went to trial because he wouldn't plead to anything, because he knew he had done nothing wrong. He was acquitted on every charge, and some of the jurors went so far as to publicly state that they had no idea why he was ever charged in the first place.

    So it's a happy ending, right? He didn't go to prison. Well, not so much. His legal defense cost tens of thousands of dollars. Meanwhile, his career needs serious rehabilitation because of the months he was unable to work due to the trial. That's a pretty steep penalty for having done nothing wrong. I think it must be hard to feel vindicated when you have a second mortgage on your house because some prosecutor screwed up.

    Anyway, this is just a long way of saying that if the Nifong case completely falls apart I hope that the accused are made whole, as much as that's possible now.

    They're screwed for life (none / 0) (#4)
    by roy on Fri Jan 12, 2007 at 12:11:22 PM EST
    Even setting aside the possibly irreparable damage from interrupting their educations and athletic development, their reputations will never recover.  The facts of the case are complicated enough that a lot of people won't be able to recognize that these guys are victims, not criminals.  Add in the people who refuse to believe that white men could ever be victims of a black woman, and they're going to be not just "accused sex criminals", but tokens in our never-ending racial tensions.

    We'll stop talking about them in a few years, but the damage will already have been done.


    Ethics violation? (none / 0) (#5)
    by Jen M on Fri Jan 12, 2007 at 12:13:17 PM EST
    knowingly trying to destroy the lives of several innocent young people for political gain is an 'ethics' violation? Why isn't it a crime?

    As an aside.. (none / 0) (#8)
    by Patrick on Fri Jan 12, 2007 at 12:54:25 PM EST
    Is it common for motion arguments to be made public?  It seems like both side of this "case" are using the court of public opinion.  I've seen many a motion that cherry picks facts to present the argument in the best light for the defendant.  I'm not making a judgement on the merits of this particular case, just wondering if this is usual practice or a result of the unusual nature of this case.  

    Pleadings are Public Records (none / 0) (#10)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Jan 12, 2007 at 02:28:06 PM EST
    It's the newspapers that are publishing them, not the defense.  

    Motions (none / 0) (#9)
    by Fredo on Fri Jan 12, 2007 at 01:09:08 PM EST
    Every place I've practiced, all pleadings and other filings in a case are public documents unless the court enters a protective order providing for sealing them.

    I think they'll have a hard time overcoming Nifong's immunity in a civil suit, although I hope I'm wrong.  But I suspect they may sue the university (one non-defendant lacrosse player has already done so), and in light of some of the inflammatory statements and actions of a number of faculty, I like their chances for a very hefty recovery.

    Anybody know what Wendy Murphy is saying about the case these days?

    Correct Jerry (none / 0) (#12)
    by Slado on Fri Jan 12, 2007 at 04:15:09 PM EST
    I've often wondered during this process if the leaders of the black community that Nilfong was pandering to when he was in an election realize that this prosecuter has probably sent several poor black defendents to jail because unlike their Duke conterparts they didn't have the money to defend themselves.

    A prosecuter is required to show great judgement when bringing cases to trial and if this case is only a sample of what Nilfong is ready to do to get a conviction then lord knows how many innocent men and women have plead to lesser crimes or are siting in jail because unlike the dukies they couldn't defend themselves.

    correct me if i'm wrong........... (none / 0) (#13)
    by cpinva on Sun Jan 14, 2007 at 02:41:13 AM EST
    I think they'll have a hard time overcoming Nifong's immunity in a civil suit,

    but wouldn't the commission of an illegal act (wrongful prosecution) pierce the veil of immunity? much the same way corp. officers can't use the corporate veil, to shield them from the consequences of an illegal act on their part.

    i should think once that veil is rent, it can't be sewn back together.