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N.C. Attorney General Releases Duke Lacrosse Findings

When the North Carolina Attorney General declared the three charged Duke Lacrosse players innocent of sexual assault and stated there was no credible evidence to support that any attack had taken place that night, he promised he would be releasing a report.

The report was released today. You can read it here (pdf).

His findings:

  • The accusing witness’s testimony regarding the alleged assault would have been contradicted by other evidence in the case from numerous sources;
  • The accusing witness’s testimony regarding the alleged assault and the events leading up to and following the allegations would have been contradicted by significantly different versions of events she told over the past year;
  • No testimony or physical evidence would have corroborated her testimony;
  • The accused individuals were identified through questionable photographic procedures;

More...

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"60 Minutes" Examines Duke Lacrosse Case

The three innocent Duke Lacrosse players and North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper appeared on "60 Minutes" tonight. Coper explained how the many stories of the accuser in the Duke lacrosse players alleged sex assault case fell apart.

DA Mike Nifong's actions were so inexcusable. As for his apology the day after the players' exoneration, it's too little too late.

As player Dave Evans said, "Rape will always be associated with my name." He'll always be known as one of the charged players.

At least, thanks to Roy Cooper, it will be followed by "he was innocent."

Now its time for Nifong to take his lumps -- either in the disciplinary hearings or in civil lawsuits by the players or both.

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Duke Accuser: Should She Be Named Now?

Fox News, Scripps Howards newspapers and others are now naming the accuser. Fox has published photos of her.

Should she be named now? Her name, Crystal Gayle Mangum, has been all over the internet for many months, as have details of her prior criminal record.

I have never approved of the media policy of withholding the name of the accuser while publishing the name of the accused.

Nonetheless, I have insisted that on TalkLeft and on the TalkLeft Duke Forums (on which more than 59,000 comments have been posted on more than 1,200 threads) her name not be used.

Tonight, I'm ending the ban on the use of her name on both sites. She has officially been declared not to be a rape victim. She is a false accuser. She has no right to be shielded any longer.

I'll also have an op-ed in tomorrow's Washington Examiner on the case, titled "The Travesty of the Duke Case." It focuses on how the Duke case should forge a new frontier to protect those who are wrongfully accused.

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Duke Lacrosse Defendants Cleared: They are Declared Innocent

The North Carolina Attorney General's office is making its announcement on the outcome of its investigation into the Duke lacrosse players alleged sex assault case.

You can watch live here.

I'll be live-blogging.

What reason will they give? Will it be lack of evidence to support the charges, a conclusion that the accuser was lying, or that the accuser has asked them not to proceed (a la Kobe Bryant)? Or something else?

I hope they say more than "after conducting through interviews of all involved and the witnesses, we have concluded that we are not likely to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt."

In other words, will they have the guts to exculpate the players or will they hide behind the "not provable" scenario? (Update: Yes they do, Kudos to the AG's office.)

Ok, live-blogging below the fold.

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Decision Likely in Duke Lacrosse Case Tomorrow

Tomorrow appears to be the day the North Carolina Attorney General's office will announce its decision on whether to drop or proceed with sexual assault charges against the three former Duke lacrosse players.

Smart money says the case will be dismissed. Two of the defendants, Reade Seligman and Colin Finnerty traveled to Durham today, and the press is swarming around.

Question: If the charges are dropped because of lack of evidence or because the accuser won't cooperate, what should be the remedy for the boys? Their lives -- and that of their families -- have been turned upside down and into a hell for the past year. Their schooling has been interrupted, their reputations trashed.

Duke's reputation has taken a hit. The lacrosse team season was cancelled. Unpleasant racial issues surfaced.

I put much of the blame for this travesty of a case on D.A. Mike Nifong. If he hadn't glommed on to the media and made outrageously inappropriate comments in the beginning, jumping to the support of the accuser before the facts were in, much of the damage could have been avoided.

I think the State Bar will hold him accountable, but it still can't undo the damage.

Update: I'll be live-blogging the AG's press conference in a new thread. Or, you can watch it on your computer's here.

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Grand Juror in Duke Case Expresses Second Thoughts

One of the grand jurors in the Duke Lacrosse players' alleged sexual assault case says he now has second thoughts. Two of the grand jurors appeared on Good Morning America. They couldn't discuss what happened in the grand jury, so they talked only about their impressions since.

"Knowing what I know now and all that's been broadcast on the news and in media, I think I would have definitely … made a different decision," he said to ABC News.

"I don't think I could have made a decision to go forward with the charges that were put before us. I don't think those charges would have been the proper charges, based on what I know now," he said.

The second grand juror disagreed.

"I don't know for sure whether she was raped, you know, because of everything that … came out," he said. "I'm not sure, to tell you the truth."

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Duke Lacrosse Case on "60 Minutes"

The DNA expert in the Duke Lacrosse case will be on "60 Minutes" tonight admitting to "big errors" in the case.

The forensic expert hired by the prosecutor in the Duke rape case says 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.

....Meehan acknowledged that he has never omitted potentially exculpatory evidence before. "We haven't done that before," he tells Stahl. "In retrospect, I should have done a better job of conveying that information."

Always good to hear a mea culpa. Now, if we could only get one from D.A. Mike Nifong.

The full transcript is here.

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Duke Lacrosse Prosecutor Steps Down

Update: The State Attorney General, Roy Cooper, announced Saturday his office will take the case from Nifong.

Mike Nifong, the prosecutor in the Duke lacrosse player's alleged sexual assault case has asked to be removed and for the appointment of a special prosecutor.

Noelle Talley, a spokeswoman for the attorney general, said Friday in an e-mail that District Attorney Mike Nifong sent a letter requesting the special prosecutor.

As to what this means for the case, I'd say delay, a long one.

A hearing on the defense motion to suppress the accuser's identification of the players is scheduled for February 5. The state attorney general must now appoint a special prosecutor who will need a substantial amount of time to familiarize himself or herself with the case.

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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).

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WAPO on Prosecutiorial Indiscretion

A Washington Post editorial today calls for an end to the prosecution of the Duke Lacrosse players.

It recalls the words of U.S. Attorney General Robert Jackson in 1940:

"THE PROSECUTOR has more control over life, liberty and reputation than any other person in America. His discretion is tremendous. He can have citizens investigated, and, if he is that kind of person, he can have this done to the tune of public statements and veiled or unveiled intimations."

....The prosecutor, as Robert Jackson said so many years ago, "can have no better asset than to have his profession recognize that his attitude toward those who feel his power has been dispassionate, reasonable and just."

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N.C. Files Ethics Complaint Against DA Mike Nifong

Bump and Update: The North Carolina Bar has filed an ethics complaint against DA Mike Nifong for his improper extra-judicial comments in the Duke Lacrosse players alleged rape case. Professor KC Johnson has reviewed it and provides analysis.

The filing focuses solely on his procedurally improper public statements, which the Bar (correctly) contends violated Rule 3.8(f) of the Code of Professional Responsibility. That provision requires prosecutors to “refrain from making extrajudicial comments that have a substantial likelihood of heightening public condemnation of the accused.”

The text of the complaint is here (pdf).

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DA Nifong: If Accuser Wavers on Identification, He'll Drop Case

While one of DA Mike Nifong's investigators was interviewing the accuser Thursday, he was giving a three hour interview to the New York Times.

Shorter version: If the accuser cannot with certainty identify the players she claims sexually assaulted her at the lineup hearing in February, he'll drop the case against those not identified.

Mr. Nifong declined interview requests Friday, but said in an e-mail message that his decision to dismiss the rape charges showed he was “willing to go in whatever direction the evidence takes me.” And in a three-hour interview on Thursday, Mr. Nifong said he would not hesitate to drop all the charges if the accuser expressed doubt about the identity of the men she has accused when she sees all three defendants at a pretrial hearing set for February.

“If she came in and said she could not identify her assailants, then we don’t have a case,” Mr. Nifong said. On the other hand, he continued, “If she says, yes it’s them, or one or two of them, I have an obligation to put that to a jury.”

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DA Drops Rape, Not Other Charges in Duke Lacrosse Case

Embattled DA Mike Nifong has dropped the rape charges against the Duke lacrosse players.

But he's leaving the sexual assault and kidnapping charges.

Nifong said he plans to proceed with kidnapping and sexual assault charges against the three players....

Nifong's investigator interviewed the woman Thursday, and she told the investigator that she couldn't testify "with certainty" that she was raped. Prosecutors said they couldn't proceed without her testimony, so they decided to dismiss the rape charges in the case.

Nifong's motion states she is no longer sure it was a p*nis that was inserted into her, as opposed to an object.

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