Professor and columnist William (Bill) Anderson has been there and done it throughout the Duke Hoax.
Bill was there last Spring calling readers attention to Nifong’s frauds. He’s been with the case since, relentless and elegantly arguing for justice.
Recently, he reviewed Until Proven Innocent by Stuart Taylor and KC Johnson.
Bill likes the book. No surprise there. And I like the book. No surprise, either.
So how do I post on Bill’s review without falling into cheerleading, something that’s fine at times and in certain places, but not here and now?
The answer’s easy: Let Bill speak for himself.
Here are some particularly informative and, I think, important excerpts from an outstanding review:
Lest anyone think that this case was pushed by an "overzealous" prosecutor who simply was seeking justice for a poor, black prostitute who was brutalized by some rich white boys, the following incident will put it all into perspective, and Johnson and Taylor do a very good job here.Bill goes on to note some disagreements he has with Taylor and Johnson but he makes clear he thinks the book is a buy, read and re-read.
On March 27, 2006, Police Investigator Ben Himan told Nifong that the case pretty much was at a dead end, with no real evidence existing of a rape. Nifong replied, "We’re f**ked."
However, instead of packing it in right there, Nifong went out that day and began an out-an-out media barrage in which he would tell one news organization after another that there "definitely" was a rape, and that it was racially motivated.
In other words, after he realized that he did not have a case, Nifong at that point began his media offensive.
The timing here is important, as Nifong claimed in his response to charges filed by the North Carolina State Bar (which would take away his law license) that his public statements to the press and to citizens’ groups were done because of a "lack of experience" with his job.
As the authors point out, Nifong’s media offensive was done precisely to create the impression he had a strong case when, in fact, he had no case. This was not an act of inexperience; instead, it was an exercise in legal cynicism.
However cynical Nifong’s actions were, they did work in that he secured two indictments on April 17, 2006, against two people, Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty, who were not even at the party when the alleged rape took place, and could prove it.
(Nifong secured another indictment in mid-May against David Evans, who told a press conference that day that the case was based upon "fantastic lies." Nifong’s indictment of Seligmann and Finnerty resulted in his winning the early May primary. His indictment of Evans ultimately would lead to the destruction of his career, as Evans’ attorney, Brad Bannon, managed to uncover the DNA information that Nifong illegally withheld from the defense.)
Much of the book deals with the Duke faculty members, the infamous "G88," that gave the green light to Nifong that he could go after the lacrosse players. And it was not just the radical faculty members who joined in the chorus of condemnation.
The "Triangle" area of North Carolina, with its close proximities of universities, is notorious for its political radicalism, and the hard-left protest machinery that is eternally well-oiled kicked into gear.
This was the "perfect case," and just because the facts did not add up – and the DNA tests came back completely negative – did not discourage these radicals from their morally-satisfying protests and accusations. Even if the truth was otherwise, they did not want to hear it.
The Duke campus exploded with protests led by faculty, radical students, and employees like "sustainability coordinator" Sam Hummel, who coordinated much of the attack machinery. Not only did the protesters openly call for the "castration" of the lacrosse players, but they effectively succeeded in driving many of them away from the university altogether, with some athletes having to sleep in their cars, endure death threats, and generally live in fear because police and prosecutors were lying and faculty, administration, and staff at Duke chose to believe the lies, despite the fact that they were obviously outlandish.
Johnson and Taylor are especially disdainful of Duke’s administration and its weak-kneed president, Richard Brodhead. They lay out just how craven the university administration really was, beginning with the "don’t tell your parents" meeting that the administration scheduled with the players and the police – the players supposedly "represented" by a lawyer who had been disciplined more than once by the state bar. (When parents did hear of the meeting to be scheduled, they immediately demanded that their sons have competent legal representation, and the meeting was cancelled.)
There is much more to dislike from the Duke administration, and Johnson and Taylor lay out in detail the dishonest way in which Brodhead and his top administrators carried out their activities.
While giving lip service to "due process," Brodhead made sure that the players would stand condemned, first by firing the coach and cancelling the season, to his infamous "whatever they did was bad enough" remarks to the Durham Chamber of Commerce.
Bill's review is here.