Sunday, December 31, 2006

Talking with Regulars and Readers – 12-31-06 (Part 2)

This is a continuation of today’s first “talking post” which I understand some of you missed because you spent most of the day with DA Mike Nifong helping him select his defense attorneys.

You’re just in time now to get my New Year’s wishes for all Regulars and Readers (sans trolls):

Every blessing to each of you in 2007.

Here and at other blogs, boards, etc you’ve spoken up and asked for reliable information from MSM news organizations.

You’ve examined what MSM offered and sorted “the chaff from the wheat.”

Often, most of what we’ve gotten from MSM has been “the chaff.”

But that hasn’t discouraged you.

You’ve pressed for information and called "chaff" what it is.

And together with others, you’ve made a difference.

If you doubt that, go take a look at the posts and comment threads at the N&O’s Editors’ Blog.

The N&O editors thought the EB would be the place where they could “explain journalism to our readers;” and you would just go along with what the “news professionals” fed us.

Not so!

The Editors’ Blog has become a place where you and others are demanding the N&O disclose the important information it withheld from readers and other news organizations when it ran its now infamous and discredited Mar. 25 anonymous interview story.

You are doing that and so much more at the EB. Melanie Sill and the other editors barely finish their incomplete, misleading and, in some cases, outright false statement before one of you or someone like you is posting a response. And others of you follow.

On just about every important story the N&O editors have tried to “sell readers,” you and others have put the editors in “checkmate.”

You've done all of that and I haven’t even begun to talk about the work many of you do over at Liestoppers, Free Republic, etc. as well as the support you give bloggers and pundits such as KC Johnson, Bill Anderson, Betsy Newmark, La Shawn Barber, Lori Byrd, Jason Trumpbour and many others.

Mixed in with the work are the laughs we have together.

I could go on but you know what I'm saying.


Folks, I’m looking forward to working with you.

I’ll make one prediction about something we’ll help make happen in ’07.

We’ll learn with reasonable certainty just what it was the false accuser said to the N&O that was so important and libelous that the N&O suppressed it; and to this day has failed to tell its trusting print readers what it did.

Every blessing,


Talking with Regulars and Readers - 12-31-06

(Readers Note: This is an old type web logger post. John)


You remain, among other things, the best editors a blogger could have. A little while ago in "Singing Nifong Out," I referred to “Scotch ancestors.” One of you let me know it should have been “Scot ancestors.” Thanks, especially for "working" on New Year's Eve.

Other matters ---

Even if you believed it was going to happen to Nifong, did you believe it would happen so quickly and forcefully?

Every other DA in North Carolina is now telling him, in effect, "In the name of God, go!"

Even Duke's President, Richard H. Brodhead has jumped ship.

Sure, Nifong hasn't been disbarred yet, but do you doubt that will happen?

The "betting question" now is can Nifong avoid jail?

I don't know the answer to that question, but I'll say something else.

When the Feds come in, as I think they will, and start to unravel what I believe were multiple conspiracies that led, first to the framing of the three innocent young men, and second, to actions to cover up those conspiracies, what will Nifong have to "trade" in exchange for his cooperation?

I wanted to say more but I'm "out of time now."

I'll be back this evening with more Talking.

All the best to you.

You’re a very special group. I'll say more about that tonight.


Contacting Wendy Murphy

Legal historian and blogger KC Johnson has just posted, “The Wendy Murphy File.”

If you’ve already read it, you might want to skip down below the star line where I begin commentary and report on action taken.

I hope the rest of you read KC’s post. Here are excerpts beginning with quotes from Wendy Murphy, an adjunct professor at the New England School of Law:

"To suggest [the indicted players] were well behaved: Hitler never beat his wife either. So what?"
--“The Situation,” 5 June 2006

"I bet one or more of the players was, you know, molested or something as a child."
--“CNN Live,” 3 May 2006

"I never, ever met a false rape claim, by the way. My own statistics speak to the truth."
--“The Situation,” 5 June 2006

Three elements of this case distinguish it from its high-profile criminal counterparts.

First, the behavior and statements of the students’ own professors were cited as grounds for a change of venue—an action all but unprecedented in modern American criminal law. Second, blogs have played an important (and, I would argue, helpful) role. Third, the 24-hour cable news networks seized upon the case from the start, and have continued commentary more sporadically thereafter.

Sometimes, these shows have offered quality commentary—the “Abrams Report” early on, some broadcasts of “Greta” in recent weeks. Often, however, these programs feature little more than talking heads, with one adopting a pro-prosecution slant and another praising the defense.

A frequent guest on MSNBC, FOX, and CBS has been Wendy Murphy. Usually described as a former “sex crimes prosecutor” and law professor at Boston’s New England School of Law, she’s actually an adjunct professor, an inconvenient fact she rarely, if ever, reveals.

Murphy defended Nifong in a recent USA Today op-ed—and her remarks were eviscerated by Liestoppers, which also has nominated her as a “hag of the hoax.”

Murphy’s bizarre claims to USA Today prompted me to perform a Lexis/Nexis search of her myriad case-related appearances. The results were deeply disturbing.

In addition to the outrageous quotes highlighted above, on at least 18 occasions over the past nine months, Murphy has made demonstrably untrue statements. She also has engaged in a pattern of wholly unfounded speculation and has routinely denigrated due process.

Given that the preamble to the Massachusetts State Bar’s Rules of Professional Conduct states that “a lawyer is a representative of clients, an officer of the legal system, and a public citizen having special responsibility for the quality of justice,” Murphy’s behavior raises some serious questions:

• What sort of network would put such a figure on the air?

• How could the Massachusetts Bar license such a figure to practice law?

• How could Dean John O’Brien of New England School of Law allow such a figure to teach future lawyers? […]

Most of you are familiar with the careful, extensivly documented posts KC Johnson produces on a daily basis. But I’m betting Wendy Murphy isn’t.

I doubt she’s read, for instance, “Roy Cooper’s Silence.” KC published that post back in June. Its topic? The NC laws and statues that related to DA Mike Nifong’s conduct and which would allow for his removal from what we were then calling “the Duke lacrosse case.”

In May KC posted “Gagging in Durham.” It included this:
If nothing else can be said about this case, it’s that the accuser has received the benefit of the doubt. Indeed, the state went so far in giving the accuser the benefit of the doubt that one prominent legal analyst, Andrew Napolitano, has predicted that the case could end with Nifong’s losing his license to practice law.
I doubt Murphy has read that post, either.

Advice to Wendy Murphy: Start following KC Johnson. Begin with “The Wendy Murphy File.” Then go back and read the two posts I’ve cited here and others in which for many months KC's pointed out actions of Nifong that merited NC State Bar review and action.

As I’m sure you know, our NC State Bar just announced it's been reviewing Nifong’s conduct and will take action with regard to it.

Now KC is calling attention to some of your public conduct; and how it appears to fail to conform to the standards the Massachusetts State Bar says its members must uphold.

For many months Nifong ignored, even ridiculed his critics. He should have taken them more seriously, especially KC Johnson and others like him.

Message to JinC readers: I’m sending Wendy Murphy the email below. I’ll let you know if I hear back.

Dear Professor Murphy:

I blog at and have posted often on what has really now become the Nifong Hoax Case.

I’ve never posted concerning your case commentary but my attention was drawn to legal historian KC Johnson’s post today: “The Wendy Murphy File.”

But Johnson’s post provides so much documentation and deals with such important matters, that I’ve posted on it.

Here’s a link to my post, “Contacting Wendy Murphy:”

I’ll publish in full a response you make to Johnson’s post. My practice is to let a respondent’s post “sit” on the main page for a day or two before responding. That gives the respondent a chance to “have a say” without my immediately jumping in. It also allows JinC readers to judge for themselves the respondent’s reply.

JinC is read often by journalists here in North Carolina and elsewhere.


John in Carolina

Message to KC Johnson:
When I finished reading your Wendy Murphy File post, I didn’t say, “KC can't top today’s post.” That’s because every time I say you can’t top one post, you go on and produce another post that’s even better.

So I’ll just say: “Thank you for reminding Murphy she's a member of the Massachusetts State Bar; and for letting us know what we should expect from Murphy by virtue of her Bar membership.

I hope she has sense, care and character enough to respond fully and professionally to your post.

Singing Nifong out

At Christmas JinC Regular and citizen journalist Locomotive Breath gave us "Nifong Roasting," a satirical rewording of the lyrics to the Nat King Cole Christmas favorite that begins: "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire."

Now, just in time for New Year's Eve, LB offers another set of lyrics. He writes:

From constant repetition, “Auld Lang Syne” has an instantly recognizable tune and first three lines. ...

I offer my deepest apologies to my Scot forebears for this desecration of the holy writ of Robert Burns.

I’m introducing it early in the day to give plenty of time for it to be forgotten by midnight.

This is a song of commiseration, unity and eventual triumph for the Duke lacrosse team and is intended, like the original, to be sung at an annual celebration of the hoped-for and ever-more-likely complete exoneration of the entire Duke lax team and the disbarment of Mike Nifong.

I’m sorry to add to their misfortune, but this song is dedicated to Dave Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann.

Auld Nifong Bind

When equal justice is forgot, and never brought to mind.
When equal justice is forgot; you get the Nifong bind.

You get the Nifong bind, my friend.
You get the Nifong bind.
When equal justice is forgot.
You get the Nifong bind

Fantastic liar finger points, DA indicts in time.
He’s won election on our backs; he used the Nifong bind.

He used the Nifong bind, my friend.
He used the Nifong bind.
He’s won election on our backs.
He used the Nifong bind.

Once we stood astride the field, we scored and won and shined.
He’s stolen all that’s dear to us, while in the Nifong bind.

While in the Nifong bind, my friend.
While in the Nifong bind.
He’s stolen all that’s dear to us.
While in the Nifong bind.

You know that I am by your side, and I know you’re by mine.
We’ll stick together to the end; we’ll break the Nifong bind.

We’ll break the Nifong bind, my friend.
We’ll break the Nifong bind.
We’ll stick together to the end.
We’ll break the Nifong bind.

The DA should have thought it through; the bar will find his crimes.
He’ll never practice law again; he’s in the Nifong bind.

He’s in the Nifong bind, my friend.
He’s in the Nifong bind.
He’ll never practice law again.
He’s in the Nifong bind.

Locomotive Breath adds:

A year from now, I hope we can change some of the future tense to past tense.

“We’ll break the Nifong bind.” becomes “We broke the Nifong bind.” and “…the bar will find his crimes.” becomes “…the bar has found his crimes”, etc.

And FWIW I wrote the lines about the bar before the recent announcement. Anyone could see that coming sooner or later.

Do I really think that I’m going to find the Duke lacrosse team singing this song next year?

Naaah – my doggerel won’t hunt.

JinC – keep up the good work.

Happy New Year everyone!

Message to Locomotive Breath: We're all looking forward to that tense change. A big hat tip for your latest.

Message to everyone else: From the beginning, Locomotive Breath has been one of the justice seekers.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Put it here, LB

LB is Locomotive Breath, a JiC Regular and one of those commenters and citizen journalists who so upsets Melanie Sill, the executive editor for news at the liberal/leftist Raleigh News & Observer.

At The McClatchy Company sponsored Editors' Blog where Sill and four other N&O editors do what they call "blogging," Sill often scolds LB and other commenters who don't fully identify themselves.

For months now, Sill's been upset with such commenters because they've raised questions about the N&O's infamous and discredited Mar. 25 interview story with the anonymous false accuser the N&O told everyone was really "the victim."

Sill gets even more upset when readers ask why the N&O published anonymously the notorious "Vigilante" poster.

Sill gets so upset at the mention of the "Vigilante" poster that she even claims the N&O actually didn't publish it anonymously.

We'll get back to all of that in 2007.

What I want to say here is: Remember "Roasting Nifong?"

LB's written another parody, this time to the tune of Auld Lang Syne.

LB needs a "drop" for the lyrics. This post is LB's drop. I'll take his comment from the thread and put it on the main page.

I'll be back in the morning with a Talking with Regulars and Readers post.

Friday, December 29, 2006

The Churchill Series - Dec. 29, 2006

Readers Note: Today you'll read another "Amusing Oldie:" a post I ran before but which is one of a series I'm running this week with the hope that they will give you smiles and perhaps stories to share with family and friends during the holidays.



(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

Did you know Churchill disliked whistling? His aides did and made sure not to whistle when he was around.

But there was a London newsboy who didn’t know about Churchill’s dislike. What’s more, when he learned of it from Churchill himself, the boy didn’t care.

The incident happened one day as Churchill and his bodyguard, Detective Inspector Walter Thompson, were making the short walk from Parliament to 10 Downing Street. As Thompson tells it:

Approaching …(us) was a boy of about thirteen years of age, hands in pockets, newspapers under his arms, whistling loudly and cheerfully.

When the boy drew near, Winston hunched his shoulders, walked towards the boy and said in a stern voice: “Stop that whistling.”

The boy looked up at the Prime Minister with complete unconcern and answered: “Why should I?”

“Because I don’t like it and it’s a horrible noise,” growled Winston.

The boy moved onwards a few steps, then turned round and called out: “Well, you can shut your ears, can’t you?”

With that he walked on.

Winston was completely taken aback , and for a moment he looked furious. Then, as he crossed the road, he began to smile and quietly repeated to himself the words “You can shut your ears, can’t you?” and followed it up with a hearty chuckle.
I wonder whether Churchill chuckled because in his mind’s eye he saw something of himself in the boy.
Tom Hickman, Churchill's Bodyguard. (pgs, 116-117)

Nifong Hoax LOLs

Blogger Jon Ham, a Durham resident and former Durham Herald Sun editor when it was a respected community newspaper, has done some fine posting on the Hoax.

Today,something different. Jon sent along a link to a brief, fun video his daughter, columnist Mary Katherine Ham, put together of various sites in Durham where certain things didn’t happen. It had me LOL. You can view it here.

Something else. I went to Jon’s blog, Right Angles, a few minutes ago and saw a photo which, like Mary Katherine’s video, had me LOL. If you’re not from this part of Carolina it might help you to know before you look at the photo that felons here wear short sleeve, orange jumpsuits.

Take a look. Is it a vision of what’s to come?

Boyd's still a favorite

I visit David Boyd's blog because he can put so much good sense and "punch" into a few words.

Here's one Boyd post:

It's the power, stupid


Progressives are in the business of complaining and denouncing — as a prelude to seeking sweeping powers to control other people’s lives, in the name of curing the ills of society.
And here's another:
Safety nets not mattresses

...apparently we have lost sight of the conservative, as opposed to purely libertarian, reasons for limiting government. It is exactly because the welfare state cannot replicate the benefits of organic institutions like families, neighborhoods, and congregations; it can only make it easier for atomized individuals to live without these vital institutions. Welfarism tends to crowd out civil society just as surely as public spending crowds out private investment.
The purely libertarian reasons are enough for me, however he's on to something. It's impossible to replace mothers and fathers - even if you have a seemingly infinite supply of government bureaucrats.

Folks, I hope you give David a visit. I think you'll like his blog. He's a "neighbor" blogger "just down the road" near Greenboro

Klayman enters Nifong case

If Mike Nifong thought things couldn’t get worse, he’s wrong because at PRNewswire we read:

Today, Larry Klayman, former U.S. Justice Department prosecutor, founder of Judicial Watch and Freedom Watch, U.S. Senate candidate and now in private practice, filed an ethics complaint against Michael Nifong, the Durham District Attorney who has abused his official position in the investigations and indictments of certain Duke Lacrosse players.

The complaint, filed with the Grievance Committee of The North Carolina State Bar, tracks a USA Today editorial of the same date which lays out the charges against Nifong.[…]

Klayman took a special interest in this matter because he is a graduate of Duke University having received a Bachelor of Arts Degree with Honors in 1973.

Ironically, Klayman, who founded Judicial Watch in 1994 to fight against government corruption in the legal and governmental systems, and who spent years taking on wrongdoing in Washington, D.C. and around the world during the Clinton and Bush administrations, graduated on the same day as Ken Starr, who received a law degree from Duke in 1973.

During the Clinton years, Klayman was thought incorrectly to be working with Starr in the events which led up to the impeachment of then President Bill Clinton.

"The misuse of government power which the world has witnessed with Michael Nifong is part and parcel to the wrongs I have fought against throughout my legal career," stated Klayman. "When it comes to ruining the reputation of Duke, my alma mater, and harming its students, I take a special interest. I will not rest until Nifong is brought to justice," Klayman added.
At one time Klayman and Judicial Watch were pursuing more than 20 separate lawsuits against the Clinton administration. Klayman was involved in both the Paula Jones case and Pardongate. By reputation he’s a very smart, “overlook nothing/ pursue everything” attorney.

This Washington Post article tells you something about him. But you must also read the sidebar “Related articles.” That way you’ll learn even more about Klayman, and see once more how MSM news organizations slant the news, something we’ve seen so much of since Nifong started his hoax.

Message to Klayman: Welcome to Durham and Raleigh. A lot of us down here hope you bring the Feds with you.

Message to Charlotte Observer, Raleigh N&O and Durham H-S: Why are you all ignoring this important development?

When was the last time a nationally known attorney and public advocate who’s successfully sued a President of the United States got involved in an ethics case against a North Carolina DA?

Klayman makes things happen: just ask Ms. Paula Jones or former President William Jefferson Clinton.

Message to readers: I’m sending Klayman a link to this post. I’ll invite his comment and let you know what happens.

Stay free, journalists

Readers Note: Here’s another post by Bob Wilson, a well-respected and now retired Carolina journalist with thirty-plus years experience in North Carolina.



The Raleigh News & Observer and The Charlotte Observer are North Carolina’s two largest papers. As journalists say, “They have the means.”

So why weren’t either one of them the first paper in the state to call for Durham DA Mike Nifong’s resignation?

That distinction – and distinction it is among NC journalists who value public service – belongs to The Wilmington Star which told readers:

[Nifong] owes an explanation to the people who elected him.

He owes it to the people of this state.

But he owes them more: his resignation.
IMHO The Star is leading the state on the resignation issue because its editorial pages staff is tough, smart and independent of interest group considerations

Which brings me to The Durham Herald-Sun and its editor, Bob Ashley.

Full disclosure: I was editor of the Herald-Sun editorial pages from 1991 to
2005, when Kentucky-based Paxton Media Group, one of the true bottom-feeders in American journalism, bought the paper at a vastly inflated price.

In the early 1970s when I was an N&O reporter, Ashley worked for the now defunct Raleigh Times. He was a personable guy who filed his stories on time.

But as an editor in Durham, Ashley has made some serious mistakes at the H-S. The paper's falling circulation is a reliable indicator of those mistakes.

Ashley came to Durham from a small-town newspaper that curries favor with local interest groups. Durham, however, is not a small town. It is a mid-size city. It's population is about half white and half black, with a growing Hispanic presence. And it is a city with raw-bone racial politics; indeed, it has been said that Durham is so tough it eats its dead.

Ashley quickly aligned the H-S with the Durham's largest and most influential political group, the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People.

That alone was a major compromise of the H-S' independence, but Ashley also set about ingratiating himself and the paper with Durham's manifold civic clubs, charitable organizations and religious groups, and, yes, Mike Nifong. You name it, Ashley was there.

So what's wrong with that? Everything.

A newspaper that sides with interest groups, political figures and the like puts its credibility up for target practice. That's been a long-term issue with the N&O, which is still seen today by many North Carolinians as a mouthpiece for the state's Democratic Party.

I don't know if the St. Louis-Post Dispatch, once one of the country's better newspapers, still requires its editorial writers to stay free of membership in local organizations, but the idea remains sound.

I never joined any local political groups, civic clubs or other organizations in
Durham. Nor did my executive editor, Bill Hawkins, curry favor with interest groups. We let them come to us; we did not go to them.

This policy might seem exclusionary, but it had a serious purpose: The Herald-Sun's editorial independence was more important than individual participation in interest groups.

Newspaper editors and reporters cannot be cozy with the people and organizations they cover. It just doesn't work.

Alas for Bob Ashley's Herald-Sun and Durham, that cardinal rule of journalism has been ignored.

-- Bob Wilson

Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Churchill Series - Dec. 28, 2006

(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

Readers Note: We continue this week with "Amusing Oldies:" posts that have run before but which I hope will give you a smile and perhaps a story to share with family and friends during the holidays. John

Churchill quite often delayed leaving for the train station. Early in speaking out against communism and fascism, where trains were concerned he was a classic "last minute" traveler.

When he was a cabinet minister or PM, and later when out of office but "a great man," Churchill's delays didn't cause him any problems. Staff simply phoned ahead and the train was held; no need to race.

But when out of office, Churchill frequently had to race to catch a train. Often he lost.

Clementine once explained Churchill's "last minute" habit this way: "Winston's a sporting man. He likes to give the train a chance."
Tom Hickman, Churchill's Bodyguard. (p. 130)

NC State Bar, KC and God’s mills

The AP reports:

The N.C. bar filed an ethics complaint Thursday against the prosecutor in the Duke lacrosse case, accusing him of breaking four rules of professional conduct when speaking to reporters about the case.

The punishment for ethics violations can range from admonishment to disbarment.

Among the rules Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong was accused of violating was a prohibition against making comments "that have a substantial likelihood of heightening public comdemnation of the accuser."

In a statement, the bar said it opened a case against Nifong on March 30, a little more than two weeks after the party at which a 28-year-old student at N.C. Central University hired to perform as a stripper said she was raped. (bold added)[...]
Legal historian and blogger KC Johnson gives his first take on the Bar’s action:
Some quick reactions, with more detailed analysis to follow.

1.) This filing is the beginning of the end of Nifong’s career as Durham D.A.

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.”

Importantly, the bar complaint also alleges that Nifong’s violations of 3.8(f) were of such magnitude that they ran afoul of Rule 8.4(c) and Rule 8.4(d), which state that prosecutors cannot “engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation”; or “engage in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice.”

2.) There is no reason to believe that the bar will not take other actions against Nifong.

The bar surely would have to consider filing an ethics complaint against Nifong for his conspiracy with Dr. Brian Meehan to hide the exculpatory evidence; given the recent nature of this revelation, no public filing on this matter could occur at this stage. […]
We’ll keep reading you, KC.

Meanwhile, who could miss that the State Bar opened the case on March 30?

That was just 5 days after the Raleigh News & Observer published across five, front page columns a story about a night it said ended in sexual violence. (I’ve used no quotes around sexual violence because the N&O editors ruled they shouldn’t be used when it reported the account of the false accuser the N&O told readers was a frightened young mother brutally gang-raped by members of the Duke lacrosse team. John)

March 30 was also just 3 days after Nifong began speaking publicly about the case. Remember “Hooligans” and “why would they need attorneys?”

Nifong was extraordinarily out of line to catch the Bar’s attention so soon, wasnt he?

But so many didn't notice or went along with Nifong anyway.

I’ll say more about what the failure of almost all of Duke and Durham's leadership, the N&O and H-S and assorted rights groups to say or do anything to check Nifong’s malfeasance tells us about those leaders and groups.

You're very likely saying some of it already.

Meanwhile, here are words the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote more than a century before Duke's "poet-president," Richard H. Brodhead, told an audience of Durham civic leaders “Whatever they did was bad enough.” From Longfellow:
Though the mills of God grind slowly,
Yet they grind exceeding small;
Though with patience he stands waiting,
With exactness grinds he all.

Nifong will again swear

On Jan. 2 Durham DA Mike Nifong will be sworn for his first full term. I posted concerning the event here.

Some of you have asked who may administer the oath to Nifong and just what the oath says.

I contacted Peg Dorer, Director of the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys. She was very helpful and has provided the answers.

What you are about to read is copied from the State of North Carolina Judicial Branch of Government Human Resources Management Manual. The material is found under Employment and Records, Section 3E beginning on pg. 1.

Who May Administer An Oath of Office Pursuant with G.S. 11-7.1, “Except as otherwise specifically required by statute, an oath of office may be administered by:

• a justice, judge, magistrate, clerk, assistant clerk, or deputy clerk of the General Court of Justice, a retired justice or judge of the General Court of Justice, or any member of the federal judiciary; (Retired is defined as drawing benefits from the Consolidated Judicial Retirement System. The justice or judge must be retired and not just be a "former" justice or judge).

• the Secretary of State;

• a notary public;

• a register of deeds;

• a mayor of any city, town, or incorporated village;

• a chairman of the board of commissioners of any county;

• a member of the House of Representatives or Senate of the General Assembly;

• the clerk of any county, city, town or incorporated village.”
(As to the wording of the oath Nifong will take, you'll see below that he and other NC office holders actually take two oaths.

Neither Peg nor I know why that is. I hope there's someone out there who does.

As you read the oaths bear in mind they're the same oaths Nifong swore to when he was appointed to fill the remainder of the term of his predessor, Jim Hardin, when Hardin became a Superior Court Judge. John
Pursuant to the North Carolina Constitution Article VI, Sec. 7 and G.S. 11-7, “…every person elected or appointed to hold any office of trust or profit in the State shall, before taking office or entering upon the execution of the office, take and subscribe to the following oaths:

I, ……………, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and maintain the Constitution and laws of the United States and the Constitution and laws of North Carolina not inconsistent therewith, and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of my office as …………………., so help me God.”

‘I,…………………, do solemnly and sincerely swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States; that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the State of North Carolina, and to the constitutional powers and authorities which are or may be established for the government thereof; and that I will endeavor to support, maintain and defend the Constitution of said State, not inconsistent with the Constitution of the United States, to the best of my knowledge and ability; so help me God.’”
Those oaths are interesting reading, especially for those of us thinking about the possibilty U.S. Department of Justice officials will review DA Nifong's conduct with regard to possible violations of the constitutional rights of three clearly innocent young men.

Message to Peg Dorer: Thanks again for prompt, expert help delivered in a friendly spirt.

Swearing DA Nifong

(Readers Note: This post initially incorrectly said Nifong's predecessor as Durham DA was current Superior Court Judge Ron Stephens. Nifong's predecessor was current Superior Court Judge Jim Hardin. The post has been corrected to reflect that.

I'm sorry for my error. John)

No, I’m not talking about those times Durham DA Mike Nifong has lost his temper and screamed foul words.

I’m talking about Nifong’s swearing in when he takes his oath of office for his first full term as Durham DA.

According to Nifong’s office, the swearing in is scheduled for Jan. 2 at 8 A.M. in Courtroom #1 on the fifth floor of the Durham County Courthouse.

(Geez, John, couldn’t you have gotten us a more reliable source than Nifong’s office? Even on something like the time and place of his own swearing in, we don't trust him.)

I understand, folks, but I did my best.

Moving on.

I couldn’t find out who will swear Nifong in. “We haven’t been told that yet,” the spokesperson said.

I wonder who it will be.

Nifong was appointed by NC’s Governor Mike Easley to fill the unexpired term of his predecessor, Jim Hardin, when Hardin became a Superior Court Judge.

Superior Court Judge Ron Stephens, under whom Nifong had served as an Assistant DA swore Nifong in to fill what remained of Hardin's term.

Stephens later signed the order for DNA testing and photographing the 46 white Duke students. Stephens also initially sealed the indictments of Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann until they were attested and handcuffed.

I don't think Stephens will swear Nifong in this time.

Too many memories.

It will be interesting to see who shows up and who stays away from Courtroom #1 next Tuesday.

For those of you who appreciate irony and what time's passing reveals there's this: The Durham Herald Sun is running a Top Ten Stories of 2006 series. It's one story each day counting down to number one.

Today the H-S offered story number four: "District attorney race hotly contested." There's a color photo above the headline. It shows a smiling Mike Nifong on election night, Nov. 7, hugging a supporter.

The story carries reporter John "Anything for Mike" Stevenson's byline. The story's very brief and interesting for all it leaves out. Take a look.

Back to Nifong’s Jan. 2 swearing in

Anyone want to bet on his chances of finishing out the full four years of his term?

My opinion: He won't make it. His malfeasance will force him from office. I just can't say the particular form his leaving will take.

I feel about Nifong the way I felt about Nixon in 1973 and 74: "He's going. It’s just a question of how."

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Churchill Series - Dec. 27, 2006

(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill. )

This week it's a series of "Amusing Oldies:" posts that have run before but which I hope will give you a smile, and perhaps a story to share with family and friends during the holidays.

The post below ran on Mar. 23, 2006. Twenty-eight Hyde Park Gate was the Churchill's London home from after the war until his death. G.H.Q. stands for General Headquarters. The note’s punctuation is as it appears in a published copy.



15 June 1948


You did promise Sept 12 1908 ‘To Love, Honour, & Obey.”

NOW herewith are Orders

5:15 You come up here to rest. E.Y.H. [car registration letters] will bring you & is waiting

7:30 Dinner

8:30 Journey to 28 [Hyde Park Gate]

9:40 Bed & a read

Given at Chartwell G.H.Q.

The Tyrant

Clementine and Churchill had pet names for each other. Hers were Cat and Kit; his were Pug and Pig.

The Tyrant sketched a pig below his Orders.

The note can be found on page 549 of Speaking for Themselves: The Personal Letters of Winston And Clementine Churchill, which their daughter, Lady Mary Soames, edited.

Taylor & Johnson’s WSJ op-ed

In today’s Wall Street Journal National Journal columnist Stuart Taylor and historian KC Johnson (Durham-in-Wonderland) offer readers a concise, fact-filled account of rogue DA Mike Nifong’s repeated violations of standard investigative procedures, State Bar Association ethics and possibly laws as he prosecuted three clearly innocent young men; a prosecution he hoped would assure his election to a full term as Durham DA. (A Dirty Game, Dec. 27 – subscription req’d)

Besides a superb case summary, Taylor and Johnson provide very informed commentary regarding possible case outcomes besides those most of us are expecting: dismissals of the remaining fraudulent charges. For example, they think Nifong will be disbarred unless the State Bar wishes to make a parody of itself.

The op-ed’s so well done, let’s look at it in its entirety:

It's no secret that hugely disproportionate numbers of the innocent people oppressed by abusive prosecutors and police in this country are African-Americans. Now one of the most outrageous cases of law-enforcement abuse is unfolding in Durham, N.C., home of the Duke lacrosse case. And African-Americans are leading the cheers for the oppressors. Why?

The poison of identity politics, plus class hatred of the prosecutor's three main victims, well-off white men falsely accused of rape by an unstable black "exotic dancer," and a deeply dishonest district attorney.

Last spring, Durham D.A. Michael Nifong, who is white, was facing a primary in a racially divided electorate. He was badly behind and out of campaign money, excepting almost $30,000 in loans from his personal funds. Then came the accuser's allegations.

Mr. Nifong responded by assuming control of the police investigation and making racially inflammatory statements pronouncing the Duke lacrosse players guilty of rape. Even as evidence of their innocence accumulated, he brought rape, sexual assault and kidnapping charges that fed the racial resentments he had stoked. The black vote put him over the top in both the May 2 primary and the Nov. 7 general election.

Black leaders -- including Durham Mayor Bill Bell, the appallingly demagogic North Carolina NAACP and others -- should know better. So should the powerful, identity-politics-obsessed hard left of Duke's own faculty, 88 of whom issued a statement in April saying "thank you" to protesters who had branded the players rapists. And so should the media, most of which gleefully joined the clamor last spring.
Concise and fact-filled so far, isn’t it. Something else. I’ll bet many of you appreciate Taylor and Johnson giving due attention to Nifong’s enablers.

But then where's Duke's President Brodhead, you may be asking? Keep reading. They didn’t forget him.
It has been clear for many months that the rape claim is almost surely a lie. But not until the DA's dramatic dismissal last Friday of the rape (but not the sexual assault and kidnapping) charges did Mr. Nifong enablers such as the New York Times and Duke President Richard Brodhead begin distancing themselves from his oppression of three innocent young men.

How can we be confident that the charges are false?

Let us count the ways: The police who interviewed the accuser after she left the March 13-14 lacrosse team party where she and another woman had performed as strippers found her rape charge incredible, and for good reason. She said nothing about rape to three cops and two others during the first 90 minutes after the party. Only when being involuntarily confined in a mental health facility did she mention rape. This predictably got her released to the Duke emergency room for a rape workup, whereupon she recanted the rape charge.

Then she re-recanted, offering a ludicrous parade of wildly implausible and mutually contradictory stories of being gang-raped by 20, five, four, three or two lacrosse players, with the other stripper assisting the rapists in some versions.

After settling on three rapists, the accuser gave police vague descriptions and could not identify as a rapist any of the 36 lacrosse players whose photos she viewed on March 16 and 21. These included two eventual defendants: Dave Evans, whom she did not recognize at all, and Reade Seligmann, whom she was "70%" sure she had seen at the party, but not as a rapist.

All of the 40-odd other people at the party have contradicted every important part of the accuser's various accounts. The second stripper called the rape claim a "crock" and said they had been apart less than five minutes. The accuser told doctors she was drunk and on the muscle relaxant Flexeril, whose side effects include badly impaired judgment when taken with alcohol. She has a history of narcotic abuse and bipolar disorder, a mental illness marked by wild mood swings from mania to depression, and spent a week in a mental hospital in 2005.

In court filings last week, even Mr. Nifong conceded that, contrary to his claims since March, medical records show no physical evidence of rape -- let alone injuries consistent with the accuser's April claim of being beaten, kicked, strangled and raped anally, orally and vaginally by three men in a small bathroom for 30 minutes.

Above all, DNA tests by state and private labs, which Mr. Nifong's office had said would "immediately rule out any innocent persons," did just that. They found no lacrosse player's DNA anywhere on or in the accuser and none of her DNA in the bathroom.

Yet two weeks ago we learned -- only because dogged defense lawyers cracked a prosecutorial conspiracy to hide evidence of innocence -- that the private lab did find the DNA of "multiple males" in swabs of the accuser's pubic hair, panties, and rear after the supposed rape. None of this DNA matched any lacrosse player.

After the first two photo sessions, it was clear that the accuser had no idea what her rapists (if any) looked like. By the end of March, it should have been clear to any prosecutor that there probably had been no rape at all. But Mr. Nifong had driven the black community into a rage with dozens of guilt-presuming, race-baiting attacks on the lacrosse players like this one, on March 27: "The contempt that was shown for the victim, based on her race, was totally abhorrent."
By Mar. 27 the public should have been asking why two weeks after the alleged incident there weren’t any detailed descriptions, drawings or computer generated composite "pictures" of the alleged perpetrators circulating.

But few citizens questioned why they weren't circulating. Media hadn't reported on the absense of descriptions, so the public wasn't alert to the issue.

Media’s failure to ask and report on the absence of detailed, reliable descriptions was a very important enablement of the witch hunt and Nifong's rogue conduct.

Back to Taylor and Johnson:
Such statements flagrantly violated North Carolina ethical rules requiring prosecutors to "refrain from making extrajudicial comments that have a substantial likelihood of heightening public condemnation of the accused." They also poured gasoline on the flames of racial rage.

Black leaders and voters made it clear that Mr. Nifong's only chance of winning the primary was to put his money where his mouth was by indicting the lacrosse players. He closed his door to defense lawyers offering evidence of innocence and rigged a multiple-choice test with no wrong answers. On March 31, he instructed police to conduct a third photo ID lineup, and to show the accuser (and tell her that she was being shown) photos of only the 46 white lacrosse players.

On April 4, when this third photo-ID process took place, the message to the accuser was, effectively: Pick three, any three. At random, if you like. You can't go wrong. This setup trashed the defendants' constitutional due process rights and specific Durham, state, and federal principles for identification procedures. To test the reliability of often-mistaken eyewitness ID's, these principles require showing at least five "fillers" (non-suspects) with each suspect and telling the witness that the lineup may or may not include a suspect. Mr. Nifong recently defended his procedure through word games, asking, "What is a lineup?"
I hope the feds come in and say to Nifong: “No ‘word games’ now. We’re here to talk about due process violations and possibly conspiracy.”

Taylor and Johnson are saying the feds have reason to come to Durham. I think they're right.

Moving on:
The accuser's responses demonstrated her unreliability in ways too numerous to detail here. For one, she picked four as rapists. For another, the only player she twice identified with 100% certainty as attending the party could prove he was in Raleigh that night. But the accuser gave Mr. Nifong enough to obtain three indictments from a rubber-stamp grand jury.

When he went to the grand jury, Mr. Nifong knew that the DNA results were inconsistent with the rape allegation. But he pressed ahead with the charge until the defense exposed his efforts to conceal the forensic evidence. Then he abruptly changed his theory of the crime.

The case is now unraveling so rapidly as to be ridiculed on "Saturday Night Live."
True enough. And here’s a prediction: If the NC State Bar doesn’t disbar Nifong, its failure to do so will be the material for another SNL spoof.

Taylor and Johnson conclude:
Mr. Nifong is on his way to being disbarred, unless North Carolina's legal establishment wants to be held up to national scorn. He faces lawsuits and at least a remote risk of federal criminal investigation. As for Durham's black leaders, and many in the media, and much of Duke's faculty, history will mark them down as enablers of abusive, dishonest law enforcement tactics. They will share responsibility for the continued use of such tactics, mainly against black people, after the Duke lacrosse players' innocence has become manifest to all serious people and the spotlight has moved on.

I look forward to your comments.

Hat tip: Liestoppers.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Churchill Series - Dec. 26, 2006

(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

We continue this week "Amusing Oldies:" posts I've run before but which I hope will give you a smile, and maybe a story to share with family and friends during the holiday's.



On the night of October 14, 1940 Churchill was dining at 10 Downing Street when a German bombing raid began.

A part of the Treasury Building, not fifty yards from Number 10, suffered a direct hit before Churchill and aides could get to a shelter.

Churchill refused to remain for long in the shelter. He soon went to the roof of the building that housed the shelter, and there witnessed the raid. He later wrote:

The night was clear and there was a wide view of London. It seemed the greater part of Pall Mall was in flames. (There were) fierce St. James Street and Piccadilly. Farther back over the river in the opposite direction there were many conflagrations. But Pall Mall was the vivid flame-picture
Pall Mall was then as now the location of many of London's private clubs , including the prestigious The Carleton Club, whose membership has traditionally included the leaders and other important members of Churchill's Conservative Party. To this day it refers to itself as "The Conservative Club."

Churchill was given an eye-witness account of the club's destruction by a Member of Parliament:
He was in the club with about two hundred and fifty members and staff.
The whole of the facade and the massive coping on the Pall Mall side (fell into) the street obliterating his motor-car.
The smoking-room had been full of members, and the whole ceiling had come down upon them.
However, by what seemed a miracle, they had all crawled out of the dust, smoke, and rubble, and thought many were injured not a single life was lost.
While to Churchill the survival of his Conservative Party colleagues "seemed a miracle," Laborites had another explanation, which Churchill duly recorded:
(In) Cabinet, our Labour colleagues facetiously remarked, "The Devil looks after his own."
Winston S. Churchill, Their Finest Hour. (pgs. 346-348)

Video of KC Johnson

If you've not had a chance to see and hear KC Johnson in person or on TV, this may do it for you.

Below is a URL to an ABC News program video. There's an ad first. Then a news segement on the Nifong Hoax story begins; and KC comes on just over two minutes into it. He's on for quite a while.

Stunning admission at N&O

Some of you know that shortly before the late Ed Bradley’s 60 Minutes episode the Raleigh News & Observer, aware that Bradley would be interviewing the second dancer, Kim Roberts, admitted for the first time that in its infamous and discredited Mar. 25 “crying young mother brutally gang-raped” anonymous interview story, the women identified Roberts and made statements about her.

At the time the N&O decided to suppress the news that Precious had ID’ed Roberts and what she said.

The N&O made the admission at the Editors’ Blog. As far as I know the N&O’s never informed it’s print readers that it withheld part of the interview.

Ever since it made its admission, three N&O editors have been dissing off readers demanding to know more about the interview.

The editors have repeatedly said what the paper withheld wasn’t really important to the interview story.

The N&O has also refused demands from readers that it release a transcript of the interview.

Then on Christmas Eve, Asst. Mgr. Editor Linda Williams posted on a thread at the Editors’ Blog a jaw-dropping post in which she now makes a stunning claim:

If we had printed that utterance- an admitted speculation without the slightest foundation to suggest the possibility of truth-- it would have been a conscious act of libel.
Can you believe that?

I’ll have more to say tonight.

Meanwhile, go take a look at the post and thread. Williams’ comment post appears at 17:17 pm on 12/24.

Brodhead note – 12-26-06

In comments here, offline and in phone calls many of you have expressed disagreement with Friends of Duke University’s response to Duke President Brodhead’s press release issued following the dropping of the rape charges last Friday, Dec. 22, against three innocent young men – one a recent Duke grad; the other two Duke students still under suspension by the university following their indictments on multiple felony charges.

You can read both Brodhead’s comment and FODU’s response to it here at FODU.

I’ll comment on both statements late this afternoon.

For now I’ll just call attention to a few things I said in my Dec. 23 post, BRODHEAD’S FAILED. (If you haven’t already done so, please read the entire post.)

[…]It’s a plus for justice whenever someone goes from silence in the face of Nifong’s travesties to endorsing what Coleman and so many others have asked for.

But excepting that, I’m not cheering Brodhead’s statement. It’s too little, too late and obviously self-serving. […]

How tough was it back on May 18 to speak out against the racists attacking Seligmann; or to say supporting words to him and his family? And if for some reason Brodhead didn’t think May 18 was the right day to speak, why hasn’t he spoken since?

What kind of university president remains silent for seven months about events like those of May 18?

Brodhead’s failed Duke and Durham. He needs to move on. The sooner, the better.

Monday, December 25, 2006

The Churchill Series - Dec. 25, 2006

(This week I'm running "Amusing Oldies;" posts that have been "up" before but which may still make you smile, and give you a story or two to share with family and friends this holiday season. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. John)

Most people know horses were an important part of Churchill's life. He rode pony's as a child; trained in horsemanship at Sandhurst; was commissioned as a cavalry officer; rode as a lancer in the famous charge at Omdurman; played polo into his fifties; and kept and bred horses at Chartwell and other properties.

But most people don't know that for many years Churchill owned a racing stable. And he wasn't one of those celebrity owners who preen and eye the cameras while putting their feet in - oops - the wrong places. As with everything else he cared about, Churchill the race horse owner was informed and "hands on."

Churchill's most successful horse was a grey, Colonist II. He bought him against the advice of many racing experts. Churchill thought he saw something - a special determination - in Colonist that would make the horse "a winner."

Colonist proved Churchill right. "This tough and indomitable grey horse has performed miracles," said one racing writer in 1950. "No horse in living memory has put up such a sequence of wins in good-class races in one season." Among the prestigious races Colonist won were The Winston Churchill Stakes and The Jockey Club Stakes.

As Colonist's racing days came to a close, his trainer reminded Churchill that Colonist would be very valuable as a stud horse. The trainer offered to arrange matters.

Churchill pondered a moment, then laughed and replied,

"To stud? And have it said that the Prime Minister of Great Britain is living on the immoral earnings of a horse?"
Churchill's official biographer, Martin Gilbert, does not say what ultimately happened to Colonist. We can wish the horse had a green old age.

I wasn't able to learn what Churchill’s racing colors were. Can anyone help with that?

[Update 12-26-06: Churchill's father had owned race horses. Lord Randolph's colors were pink and chocolate and pink; and Churchill selected those as his own.]
Martin Gilbert, Never Despair. (pgs. 488, 522, 524, 528, 563)

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Talking with JinC Regulars and Readers – 12-24-06

(A post in the “old” web log tradition: “notes at the end of the day” for others who know “what they’re about.” Don’t look for many hyperlinks; expect “shorthand.” JinC)

It’s Christmas Eve. So this will be short and in haste. Much more in a Talking on Tuesday.

I always with "thanks" to you who point out errors, say nice words and give “heads up.”

Tonight an Anon. gave a “heads up” saying go to N&O’s Editors’ Blog and look at what editor Linda Williams just said about the N&O’s decision to withhold some of what the false accuser said in the now discredited N&O’s interview.

Take a look when you have time. Williams' statement is on the thread at 17:17 pm 12-24 at this post.

I’ve printed a face copy and will save it. I hope many of you do too.

Williams says what the N&O withheld from its Mar. 25 story reporting what the false accuser said (Williams herself doesn’t use the FA term) wasn’t really important.

Then Williams goes on to say if the N&O had printed what Precious said instead of withholding it, it might have been a libel for the N&O to print it.

No kidding. That's what editor Williams said.

Take a look for yourself.

Then please do what I did: Print out a face copy. Somebody at the N&O might get to Linda and suggest that it would be better to …..

After Williams' comments, I hope you read some of the following reader comments. You’ll see those citizen journalists - God bless them – are at work even on Christmas Eve holding the N&O to account.

Another but related matter ---

The question of whether N&O libeled the Duke students when it published the “Vigilante” poster is discussed on the JinC thread of the Four Who Failed post.

Take a look at it. It’s a very “informed conversation.”

The question of N&O liability is a very complex one. I’ll post on it after Christmas.

Another item ---

Did I see what Friends of Duke University said following Brodhead’s “Coleman and I agree and Nifong owes us an explanation” press release?

Yes, I did.

Does FODU’s embrace of Brodhead post press release change my mind regarding my post welcoming Brodhead’s statement but saying he needed to move on in view of all he didn’t do that he so easily could have done; and that IMHO is was a Duke president’s duty to do?


I ask myself: “Do I want to say more about all of that tonight?”

Heavens, no.

I want to get back to my family and Christmas.

But before doing that I want to say “Thank you” for what you do to make this blog better and for what you are doing at other places in the blogoshere to speak up for justice and the things it depends on – honest police officers, fair prosecutors and media committed to reporting truth.

I wish every one of you a blessed holiday.



Nifong Hoax items 12 – 24 -06

Johnsville News leads a post with a headline from the New York Post: “Rape Rap KO’d”

That’s great headline writing.

BTW – JN remains one of my “visit daily” blogs. More about JN after the holiday’s

In yesterday’s Raleigh N&O editorial editor Steve Ford said [excerpts]

Then it turned out, as The News & Observer reported, that the D.A. had never interviewed the dancer about the events of that March evening, a puzzling fact given the certainty with which Nifong seemed to vouch for her truthfulness.

The photo lineup in which the woman identified her alleged attackers included photographs only of lacrosse team members, a violation of Durham's photo ID policy and clearly skewed against the players.
Hold on, Steve!

Actually, it was disclosed in open court Nifong said he’d tried to interview Precious but found her “too traumatized.” when they met

Give credit to the discovery process and the defense attorneys who forced the disclosure. Your paper just reported on what happened.

And, Steve, how about a little skepticism about what happened When Mickey met Precious.

So far we have only Nifong’s word for what happened. But he’s as reliable as Precious. Isn’t it possible Precious said some things Nifong didn’t want known before the election, and may never want known?

I’d be interested to hear what Precius says about the meeting even as I keep the salt sharer handy when she speaks. We may hear Precious’ account of their meeting as part of her testimony in an investigation into violations of the falsely indicted young men’s civil rights, or a State Bar hearing, or as part of a civil suit brought against Nifong.

Ford goes on to assert:
The accuser, if she can offer a coherent account and stand by it, deserves to have her allegations heard in court.

As KC Johnson says:
This assertion is absurd: police and prosecutors are supposed to exercise discretion, rather than pass on any and all non-credible accusations for a jury to decide. In this case, the accuser/Nifong have presented at least 10 versions of events, with the two most recent changes (a shortening of the timeline, elimination of the rape charge) blatant manipulations of the story to fit new, exculpatory evidence.
KC’s Durham-in-Wonderland is another of my Hoax “visit daily” blogs.

Chicago Sun Times columnist Gregg Couch today:
It's over now, no matter what happens in court. At one time, the stripper in the Duke lacrosse case accused three players of raping her vaginally, anally and orally. Now, she says she can't say for sure if there was any actual sexual intercourse.

What? I understand that moment in the bathroom at the team party could have been hell for her, if it happened at all. So maybe her head was spinning, the world was rushing. But that's an awfully powerful, heinous and specific accusation, if true. You can't come back from that and say you're not so sure.

This is a betrayal. If this rape allegation was false, then it is the lowest thing a woman can do to other women.
I don’t agree with everything Couch says but the column is worth a read.

One of the things Couch says I very strongly disagree with is that a false rape allegation is “the lowest thing a woman can do to other women.”

Much lower on my “lowest” scale are those things other woman do to “support their sisters’” false rape accusations. Those women (and men who go right along with them) encourage the false accusations thereby making other false rape accusations more likely. They put innocent people at great jeopardy. Victims of false rape claims face public censure, great costs to defend themselves, and are often jailed and sent to prison.

Don’t get me started, folks. I’ll be saying more about this subject soon.

A hat tip goes to Liestoppers where I found the link to Couch’s column. LS is my third hoax “visit daily” blog.

More after Christmas. A blessed holiday to you all.

Nifong Hoax items later today

Wow! There sure is a lot of news out there about the Nifong Hoax implosion.

I want to make a few brief comments on some of the news items before going into lite blogging mode for Christmas.

But family and friends will here at noon for a brunch.

So its dust those counter tops and slice that ham.

I’ll be back with a few comments and some holiday wishes by mid-afternoon.


Saturday, December 23, 2006

Nifong Roasting

There’s The Christmas Song Nat King Cole made famous:

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire,
Jack Frost nipping on your nose,
Yuletide carols being sung by a choir,
And folks dressed up like Eskimos.
The rest of the lyrics are here.

Citizen journalist and JinC Regular Locomotive Breath took those lyrics and has just produced this wonderful spoof:
A Christmas Song for Mike Nifong
With Apologies to Tradition

DA's burning in a hellish fire
Flames are licking at his toes,
Mournful chants sung by a choir,
Of tortured souls sent down below.

Everybody knows a false charge from a lyin' ho',
Will surely send you straight to hell,
Wicked fiends with their eyes all aglow,
Will make it hard to sleep too well.

They know that Nifong's gotta pay,
He's loaded lots of guilt and bad deeds on his way,
And every laxer Mom is gonna spy,
To see if Michael really knows how to cry.

And so I'm offering this simple gaze,
From now to time beyond our view,
Although it's been said many times many ways,
Immolation for you.
Message to Locomotive Breath: I don’t see how you can top this one. But I hope you try something with Auld Lang Syne for New Year’s Eve.

I hope others try too.


Four who failed

(This post is by now retired NC journalist Bob Wilson, former editorial pages editor of the Durham Herald Sun. JinC)

In "Brodhead’s Failed" JinC goes straight to the issue with Duke's President Richard Brodhead: moral cowardice. Now, who's really in the catbird seat at Methodist Flats, Brodhead or Duke's own Red Guards, the Group of 88? For Brodhead, who quoted Shakespeare as Mike Nifong trampled the civil rights of his students, we who hold Duke degrees say: “Exit, pursued by a bear.”

Brodhead's failure is by no means the only example of moral cowardice
and corruption in the seediest rape hoax since the Scottsboro Boys
trials in the early 1930s. The Raleigh N&O, the Durham H-S, and, of course, Mike Nifong have all been weighed and found wanting:

-- Steve Ford, editorial pages editor at the N&O, could have moderated the great harms inflicted on the Duke players and their families over the past nine months. Yet, Ford was essentially silent until, like Brodhead, it was safe to come out following Nifong's decision to drop the rape charges.

Now with today's lead edit, the N&O is finally asking serious questions about the validity of Nifong's case, questions that the paper should have asked months ago. Stalin said silence gives consent. Was the nine months of editorial silence the N&O's consent?

-- Bob Ashley's H-S has been complicit in the hoax from the beginning.

Ashley made a fundamental mistake when he came to Durham in January 2005: He sided his newspaper with a powerful interest group, the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People. Coupled with Ashley's own stated pro-prosecution views, the H-S became part of the problem. It should have been part of the solution.

Now that Nifong and the hoax are going down in flames, Ashley must find a way to save his hide. Both he and his newspaper have shredded their credibility. Moral cowardice doesn't come cheap.

-- Of the four who failed, Mike Nifong alone wielded state-sanctioned power. He used it recklessly and ruthlessly to upend the lives of the players and their families. Even with the rape charges dropped, Nifong brought up his “reserves” -- charges of kidnapping and sexual assault -- to keep the case alive. This abuse of power is Nifong's lifeline, but as events of the last week revealed, his lifeline is fraying.

If there were an award for moral corruption, Nifong would rate an Oscar. For the moment, however, disbarment and disgrace will do nicely.

--Bob Wilson


Back on March 25 Duke’s President, Richard H. Brodhead, refused to meet with the parents of 46 students under investigation for multiple felonies, including gang rape. He hasn’t met with them since. He’s never said why.

On May 18 racists outside and within the Durham County Courthouse shouted threats, including death threats, at Duke sophomore Reade Seligmann.

Brodhead said nothing then and has said nothing since critical of racists threatening one of his students.

Duke News Service recently confirmed Brodhead’s silence on May 18 and since. But it said I needed to call his office to learn why he’s been silent. Calls to Brodhead’s office in which I identified myself and my purpose have not been returned.

On June 13 the Raleigh News & Observer published a letter from Duke Law School professor James Coleman in which he said Nifong had “undermined public confidence in the case” and should step aside.

For the next six months and nine days Brodhead declined to support Coleman’s request.

Instead, Brodhead urged us all to, like him, do nothing about Nifong’s conduct; and thus enable Nifong to bring David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann to trial in Durham where Brodhead said they would have their chance to be “proved innocent.”

Now, a week after a disgraced DNA expert admitted in court he teamed with Nifong to withhold evidence favorable to Evans, Finnerty and Seligmann, Brodhead announced he can support Coleman’s position after all.

What’s more, Brodhead is demanding Nifong “explain to all of us his conduct in this matter.” Excerpt from Duke News Service:

“The district attorney should now put this case in the hands of an independent party, who can restore confidence in the fairness of the process. Further, Mr. Nifong has an obligation to explain to all of us his conduct in this matter.”
It’s a plus for justice whenever someone goes from silence in the face of Nifong’s travesties to endorsing what Coleman and so many others have asked for.

But excepting that, I’m not cheering Brodhead’s statement. It’s too little, too late and obviously self-serving.

Brodhead’s demand that Nifong “explain to all of us his conduct in this matter” would have been very helpful last spring or even a few weeks before November’s election which Nifong won with less than 50% of the vote.

By speaking out last spring, Brodhead might very well have helped prevent a witch hunt and the massive injustices it’s spawned.

Even if Brodhead had delayed speaking out until October, he might have helped defeat Nifong at the polls. In that case, Nifong would now have just over a week left in office.

Brodhead has often said the job of president of Duke University is a very tough one. He’s right. But there are matters and events that come a Duke president’s way that are very important and not really so tough. Yet Brodhead’s managed to fail at many of them.

What was tough about condeming the "Wanted" and "Vigilante" posters that circulated on campus and in Durham last spring? But Brodhead said nothing. Those posters endangered the lacrosse players most but they also endangered the rest of us.

How tough was it back on May 18 to speak out against the racists attacking Seligmann; or to say supporting words to him and his family? And if for some reason Brodhead didn’t think May 18 was the right day to speak, why hasn’t he spoken since?

What kind of university president remains silent for seven months about events like those of May 18?

Brodhead’s failed Duke and Durham. He needs to move on. The sooner, the better.

Friday, December 22, 2006

The Churchill Series – Dec. 22, 2006

(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

Today I’d like to fill you in on my plans for the series during the holidays. I’ll also say a few things about series posts in 2007.

Next week’s posts will be what I’ll call “Amusing Oldies.” They’ll be posts that have appeared here before and which I hope will contribute to your enjoying the holiday season. They’ll be the sort of posts that are easily shared with family and friends.

On New Year’s Eve, I’ll have a special post on Churchill and - what else - champagne.

On Jan. 1, 2007 the “Amusing Oldies” continues until Jan. 3.

On Jan. 4, it will be “back to work” and new posts.

I’ll use some of my holiday time to plan and research new posts. I’ve promised you I’d learn more about Nazi propaganda specifically targeting Churchill. I’m planning to post on that subject in early January.

In 2007 I’ll be doing more short series similar to the ones I did this year. For instance, the one on Churchill and his brother Jack.

One of next year's short series will deal with Churchill’s automobile accident in New York in 1931, including his long and difficult recovery.

As always I’ll be keeping my eye out for the telling and/or amusing anecdotes; not such tough work when your subject is WSC.

I want to end with wishes to each of you and your families for a blessed holiday season.


To the three families

Friends of Duke University has posted a brief holiday message to the three falsely indicted young men – David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann – and their families.

FODU’s message says just what many of us want to say to the families. So I’ve copied it below and encourage you to comment with a few words; and then "sign it" with your name or, if you're Anon., with your street's name, hometown or other identifier.

All together, our signings will make something good and deserved for the three families. I don’t have or seek direct connections to the families, but many who stop by JinC do communicate with the families. So we can be sure our messages will get "delivered."


To the Evans, Finnerty and Seligmann families:

Today, we share your joy and look forward for the dismissal of the remaining two charges soon.

We are absolutely confident those charges are also false and cannot wait to see them dismissed at the soonest.

You have handled these hard times graciously and won our hearts and admiration.

We wish you a very happy holiday season.

I join FODU in its support, admiration and holiday wishes.

John in Carolina

Def. Attorneys' news conference: CNN 3 PM eastern

Nifong drops rape, keeps other charges: Comments

[UPDATE at 1:41 pm, 12/22/06 --- An Anon commenter noted an error in this post: "The dropping of the rape chares doesn't let Nifong off the hook on the motion to supress the identification. The issues raised therein are just as relevant to the remaining charges."

The commenter's right. Please bear that in mind when you get to the relevent portion of the post.

I'm sorry for my mistake and thank the commenter for pointing it out.


This just in from WRAL TV:

Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong moved Friday to drop rape charges against three Duke University lacrosse players.

Nifong filed paperwork to dismiss forcible rape charges against Reade Seligmann, 20, Collin Finnerty, 20, and David Evans, 23. The players were indicted last spring after a North Carolina Central University student told police she was beaten and raped by three lacrosse players while performing as a stripper at a March 13 team party.[…]

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 said he plans to proceed with kidnapping and sexual assault charges against the three players.
I’ll comment in more detail later today.

For now this: While the dropping of any charge against the falsely indicted players is welcome, Nifong action is likely intended to get himself off some conflict of interest hooks, reduce the chances he and his co-conspirators will be help to account , and avoid having to face the courts all but certain dismissal of the rigged ID procedure.

Prediction: If Nifong thought his latest action would make things easier for himself and his fellow framers, he’s wrong. His action will backfire. It will only make his illegalities more searingly obvious. It will surely energize the justice seekers whose numbers grow every day.

More later. I want to get the news out now.

H-S Publishes Collins’ Letter

In this season of kindness the justice seekers who support the three young men framed by DA Mike Nifong and certain Durham Police officers will be able to say at least one nice thing about Bob Ashley’s Herald Sun. Joan Collins, who writes the outstanding Profiles in Courage series, has written a fine letter which the Durham Herald Sun published today.

The H-S has an unusual policy regarding the length of time letter remain ‘up’ at its online site, Some letters stay up only for a few days; others are there for weeks, To assure people six months down the road will have a chance to read Joan’s letter, I’m publishing it in full here.


Lacrosse case erodes trust in justice system

Recently, U.S. Rep. Walter Jones of North Carolina wrote to U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales requesting the Department of Justice review Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong's actions to determine whether they constitute prosecutorial misconduct and whether the rights of Duke lacrosse players Collin Finnerty, Dave Evans and Reade Seligmann have been violated. Jones was the first congressman or senator to have the courage to do this and I commend him.

I can think of no better time for government to help three families, namely the Finnerty, Seligmann and Evans families, than right now. It does not just take a village to raise our children. It takes a nation.

What is going on in Durham is not just a North Carolina issue. It is a national issue and a national disgrace. It affects all Americans who treasure our liberties and have faith in our justice system. If we lose that, we can lose everything. What will become of our country?

In this season of peace and hope, I am praying that other political leaders will have the courage to join Jones in requesting an investigation by the Department of Justice. Our nation is watching and waiting.

Joan M. Collins
Garden City, NY
December 22, 2006

Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Churchill Series – Dec. 21, 2006

(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churhcill.)

Yesterday’s post described Churchill’s arrival on Dec. 22, 1941 at Washington’s National Airport (now Reagan) where he was greeted by President Roosevelt. Churchill had just flown up from Hampton Roads, VA following a stormy Atlantic crossing aboard a British warship.

Roosevelt and Churchill, together with their staffs, would in the following days and weeks engage in intense, complicated and critical war planning. But they would also take some time for Christmas.

In the 1940s the White House Christmas tree was lighted by the President on Christmas Eve. So Churchill was there late on the afternoon of Dec. 24 as Roosevelt was getting ready to make some brief remarks to the nation and light the tree. He invited Churchill to join him on the White House’s South Portico where the ceremony would take place. Roosevelt also invited Churchill to say a few words to the American people, which Churchill readily agreed to do.

This link will take you to a photo of Roosevelt standing before the microphones with Churchill standing to his right and rear at a column base. I don’t know who the third man in the photo is but assume he’s a technician.

The photo is part of a site the White House Historical Association has put together. It has many photos of Presidents and their families centered on Christmas themes. I hope you enjoy looking around the site.

Law Prof: Nifong has “conflict of interest”

In an op-ed in today’s Raleigh News & Observer UNC School of Law professor Joseph E. Kennedy explains “Why the D.A. should be off the case.”:

Whether the defendants in the Duke lacrosse case are guilty or innocent, Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong should disqualify himself, or be disqualified, from the case.

On Friday, Nifong's own witness essentially accused him of breaking the law. An actual conflict of interest now exists between Nifong's need to defend himself against possible charges of misconduct and his obligation to prosecute the case fairly and effectively.

In court Friday, the head of a lab that Nifong retained to analyze DNA samples testified that he and Nifong intentionally decided to exclude from the expert's report the fact that DNA analyzed from the clothes and body of the accuser did not belong to any of the defendants but came instead from unidentified males.

N.C. General Statute 15A-903 requires that a prosecution expert provide a report of
the results of any tests performed and that the prosecutor furnish that report to the defense. Deciding to exclude these results is deciding to violate this law.

A prosecutor also has an obligation under the U.S. Constitution and under N.C. Rule of Professional Conduct 3.8 to disclose to the defense evidence which tends to suggest the innocence of a defendant -- including evidence that calls the credibility of a state witness into question.

DNA results showing the absence of DNA material from the accused and the presence of DNA material from other men goes to the credibility of the accuser's account and therefore needs to be disclosed.

In addition to these disclosure requirements, a prosecutor has an ethical obligation not to ignore evidence which suggests the innocence of the accused.

A comment to Rule 3.8 provides that "a prosecutor should not intentionally avoid pursuit of evidence merely because he or she believes it will damage the prosecutor's case or aid the accused." It is not clear that Nifong has ever followed up on the DNA evidence described.

North Carolina law provides for the disqualification of a prosecutor from a case only in the event of an actual -- not just potential -- conflict of interest. An actual conflict of interest appears to exist in this case because Nifong must either challenge the credibility of his own DNA expert's testimony or he must admit to intentional misconduct. […]
Kennedy makes a powerful case. You can read the rest of what he says here.

Kennedy’s brief for Nifong’s disqualification will strengthen those opposing what is clearly a frame-up of three innocent young men by Nifong and certain Durham Police officers. It will also weaken whatever public standing Nifong has left.

Those are two important consequences.

But I believe Kennedy’s speaking out in the N&O will have an even more important consequence: by tomorrow morning NC attorney general Roy Cooper will most likely have read Kennedy’s op-ed; and surely most assistant attorneys general and NC State Bar leaders will have read it, too.

They’ll recognize that what Kennedy has laid out is law and fact-based, carefully reasoned and undeniable. They very likely will not act on it soon. Many of them may not want to act against Nifong at all.

But Kennedy has just very publicly stated why NC’s elected attorney general, his office and its state bar charged with protecting the public from its members’ malfeasance must act.

Our leaders charged to protect us from district attorneys like Nifong and police officers like Sgt. Gottlieb and Inv. Himan can continue to duck their responsibilities. But after today they can't hide.

Kennedy’s op-ed gets a big Hat Tip from me and I’m sure most of you.

One other big Hat Tip is due today. That’s to historian KC Johnson who as far back as June told us Nifong’s conduct raised very troubling conflict of interest questions. Here’s part of what Johnson said then:
The appearance of a conflict of interest regarding Nifong’s electoral prospects has been well-documented: there seems to be no motive other than political for his decision to seek pre-primary indictments before the second round of DNA testing was in, given that he had earlier affirmed to the court that DNA evidence would identify the guilty parties. (The results of the second round of testing, which ultimately contained no match to the two players Nifong had earlier indicted, were not due until after the primary.)

There’s also a lesser-covered apparent conflict of interest: In the primary campaign, Nifong won the backing of an influential African-American attorney, Mark Simeon, who represents the second dancer, Kim Roberts a/k/a Pittman. Roberts a/k/a Pittman first made news in the case with an email to a New York publicity agent asking for help in how to “spin” affairs to her financial advantage, and Simeon has expressed interest in representing both Roberts a/k/a Pittman and the accuser in a civil suit.

Quite beyond the fact that Nifong’s pursuit of criminal charges seems to assist Simeon’s intended civil action, an appearance of a conflict of interest certainly exists: Roberts a/k/a Pittman told a dramatically different version of events, one favorable to Nifong’s preferred tale, shortly after the district attorney secured for her a favorable bond settlement on an unrelated arrest—and Simeon endorsed Nifong’s renomination.
In their different ways Duke President Richard Brodhead and Durham Herald Sun editor Bob Ashley continue to prop up Nifong.

Then there are people like Professors Kennedy and Johnson trying to get Nifong off the case.

Vote Kennedy/Johnson.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Churchill Series – Dec. 20, 2006

(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

Actor Robert Hardy, who memorably played Churchill in The Wilderness Years and War and Remembrance, recalled:

I was filming for the historical contributions to the series for television, "War and Remembrance," and on this day we were to shoot scenes around the meeting of Franklin D. Roosevelt and WSC aboard the British warship Duke of York. That ship, like so much of our past, has long been broken up, so the mighty USS New Jersey, a battleship of the same vintage, stood in for her, loaned by the U.S. Navy to the film company.

My make-up for WSC took anything up to five hours. It was marvelously done and once finished, perfectly comfortable, though the ordeal of such a long operation, so intimately interfering with one's concentration and relaxation, is pretty taxing. But it was done, and I was carefully padded to represent WSC's rather nobler embonpoint than my own, and then dressed in an authentic reefer jacket with Trinity House buttons and cap, and given a large cigar to put into my reconstituted face. (I have seen the stills and the makeup achievement is remarkable.)

I was ready to go, and the call came, and I was escorted to the gangway of the great ship, at the top of which stood a small party of U.S. Navy people; genuine people, not actors. A lieutenant stepped forward, saluted smartly and said "Well. sir! No need to ask who you are! Welcome aboard, Mr. Roosevelt!"
It’s an interesting recollection ending with an amusing anecdote.

A word of caution: I’m fairly sure Hardy is wrong about Churchill and Roosevelt meeting aboard HMS Duke of York. In Dec. 1941, Churchill and some of his chief war planners sailed for America on board Duke of York. They arrived off Hampton Roads, Virginia on Dec. 22. Churchill then flew on to Washington’s National Airport (now Reagan) where Roosevelt met him. (See Conrad Black, Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom. (p. 703)

Other than the Dec. 1941 crossing, I’m not aware of Churchill ever sailing on Duke of York. He returned to England in early 1942 by what in those days was called “a flying boat.”

Is WRAL mocking Brodhead?

At we see the headline:

DA's Handling of Duke Rape Case Attracts More Criticism
And we read:
A University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill law professor said Monday he also believes there should be an investigation of Mike Nifong's management of the Duke lacrosse rape investigation.

"I think the best course of action, at this moment, is for Mike Nifong to remove himself from this case or for him to be removed," said University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill law professor Joe Kennedy.
That’s a powerful statement. How often has a law professor in NC said a prosecutor should step aside or be removed from a case?

Kennedy’s gone further than Duke law professor James Coleman who in June called on Nifong to step aside.

WRAL next reports:
The statement comes after Rep. Walter Jones, R-North Carolina, last week, sent a letter to the Department of Justice asking for a federal investigation into possible prosecutorial misconduct and to determine whether the defendants' civil rights were violated.

Kennedy said that Jones' request seemed overblown to him until allegations later arose that Nifong and a lab director purposely withheld DNA results showing none of the charged players' DNA was found on or in the accuser's body.

He said the allegations create a serious conflict of interest.

"I think his actions with respect to nondisclosure of this DNA information needs to be investigated," Kennedy said.[…]
A congressman from the political right is requesting a Justice Department investigation of a DA's conduct and a law professor from the political left looks at that same conduct and says it “needs to be investigated.”

Those are powerful blows to Nifong and "his case," regardless of what Durham Herald Sun editor Bob Ashley and community activist Victoria Peterson might tell us.

But wait, there’s more.
According to Garry Frank, president of the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys, however, other district attorneys have also expressed concerns about Nifong's conduct.

"It's premature to comment while the court is still contemplating," Frank said. "I think the conference will address this at some point."

U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said Sunday that a Nifong probe is possible but declined to comment any further on the matter.
Could it get any worse for a DA?

Then we read:
On Monday, Duke University President Richard Brodhead said that the case "will be on trial just as much" as the defendants.

In a statement released by the university, Brodhead said the defendants should be presumed innocent as the case pushes toward a possible spring trial date.
Yawn! Of course the defendants should be presumed innocent. We all learned that by sixth grade.

Maybe there’s a little bit of news value in Brodhead’s statement since he’s been so harsh on the players. But surely his statement is little more than a soggy noodle dropped amidst sharpened axes.

Yet WRAL goes on and characterizes Brodhead’s statement thus:
It was the latest blow to Nifong's case against Reade Seligmann, 20, Collin Finnerty, 20, and David Evans, 23.[...]
The latest blow?

Is WRAL mocking Brodhead or was "the latest blow" unintentional?

Ashley didn’t learn

Readers Note: Here’s another post by now retired NC journalist Bob Wilson. Bob was editorial pages editor of The Durham Herald Sun in the pre-Paxton/Ashley days when the H-S was a respected community newspaper.

Thank you for all the welcoming comments that followed Bob’s first post.


When I was a student at the University of Missouri School of Journalism in the late 60s, the Sam Sheppard case was still raw enough for plenty of back-and-forth in the classroom. I wonder today how many journalism students know the difference between
Sam Shepard, the playwright, and Sam Sheppard, the Cleveland osteopath accused of killing his wife in 1954.

What the now defucnt Cleveland Press and other newspapers did to destroy Sam Sheppard’s chance for a fair trial before an impartial jury marked one of the low points of American journalism. It was screaming headlines, biased news reporting, inflammatory editorials, and facts be damned. In such circumstances, Sheppard was tried. It's little wonder he was found guilty.

But in 1966, after Sheppard had served more than a decade in prison, the U.S. Supreme Court, citing the hideous newspaper coverage, overturned his conviction and ordered a new trial at which he was acquited. To see just how reckless the Cleveland
newspapers were visit here.

For America's newspapers, the Court’s decision was a stinging lesson ending with the
admonition to “go and sin no more.”

Now fast forward to The Herald-Sun and its editor, Bob Ashley.

Reading the defense motion for change of venue in the Duke lacrosse
debacle reminded me that not every editor and newspaper learned “the Sheppard lesson.”

In pages filled with vivid examples of biased coverage and
editorializing, the defense motion lays out The Herald Sun’s willfully distorted
portrayal of David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann as rich, privileged white-boy miscreants who deserve a good thumping at the hands of District Attorney Mike Nifong.

KC Johnson’s outstanding “Change of Venue” post includes specific examples from the motion of The Herald Sun’s Cleveland Press style Hoax coverage. Here are a few of them:

“In its first significant editorial on these cases, the Herald-Sun stated that not only had a crime occurred, but that those present during the crime were guilty of an additional ‘outrage’ by not confessing to the crime.”
--Repeated claims “that the District Attorney must have compelling evidence that has not yet been revealed, evidence that justifies its positions.”
--A pattern of having “consistently and openly mocked any claim of innocence made by the Defendants and repeatedly claimed they are privileged persons with expensive lawyers.’
--Editorial suggestions that “it is up to the Defendants to prove their innocence.”
But the players don't have to prove their innocence. That burden rests on the prosecution, which, as most people in this part of the galaxy know, is running on fumes.

As for Ashley and some others at The Herald Sun, if Scotty beams them back to 1954 and Cleveland, they’ll feel right at home.