Thursday, November 01, 2007

Feds, Durham & Duke

Tuesday evening I posted on a story headlined: “AG asks for federal investigation of lacrosse case.” The post contained the N&O’s story full text and my comments.

Yesterday, the N&O reported more on the same story.

What follows is first, the money grafs from Tuesday’ night’s N&O story and a bit of my commentary that night. Following that, there’s some of Wednesday’s news report after which I comment further.

The “money grafs” from Tuesday night’s story:

The state attorney general has asked federal prosecutors to help conduct a criminal probe into former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong and other government officials involved with the Duke lacrosse case, according to a lawyer representing one of the three exonerated players.

Charlotte lawyer Jim Cooney outlined the request in a three-page letter sent to three high-ranking U.S. Justice Department administrators.

The letter was copied to Jim Coman, a special prosecutor for the state who led the criminal investigation that led to the exoneration of the three lacrosse players, Dave Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann.

"On behalf of Reade Seligmann and his family, I respectfully request that the government of the United States grant the request of the North Carolina Attorney General and participate in a joint investigation into the events of this prosecution," Cooney wrote in his Oct. 9 letter.

The letter was addressed to Craig S. Morford, acting U.S. deputy attorney general in Washington; Christopher J. Christie, U.S. attorney for the district of New Jersey, and Anna Mills Waggoner, U.S. attorney for the middle district of North Carolina.
My comments Tuesday night included:
All of you who are justice seekers are happy knowing Roy Cooper, North Carolina’s Attorney General, has asked the Feds to finally come to Durham, and join with his office to investigate the attempted frame-up of three young men Mike Nifong, the DPD, Brian Meehan, the Raleigh N&O and Duke’s Dike Brodhead and Bob Steel all knew were innocent.

But before anyone breaks out the champagne, remember at this point it’s only a request.
Now part of Wednesday’s N&O report adding news to Tuesday night’s story:
[Cooney’s] letter also describes the mysterious cancellation of a meeting that had been set for early September with assistant U.S. attorneys from New Jersey, representatives from the Greensboro office and the N.C. Attorney General's Office.

On the eve of the meeting, Hardin, the interim Durham district attorney, requested an SBI investigation into the government officials involved with the Duke lacrosse case.

"Despite repeated inquiries by my clients, they are still unclear as to why these prosecutors -- after having traveled to Raleigh -- were denied permission to even meet with representatives of the attorney general of North Carolina," Cooney said in his letter.
Comments on Wednesday's N&O report:

The N&O made Cooney’s letter available online here. (pdf. form)

The N&O reported Cooney said he can’t comment on his letter but the N&O gave no reason why he couldn’t.

The N&O also reported it obtained the letter through a freedom of information request.

But it doesn’t say whether it made the request after it was tipped to the letter’s existence.

I’m guessing it was.

But that doesn’t mean I necessarily think Cooney or someone acting for him was the tipster.

Lots of people had to know about the letter; and there are many reasons why a person would want Cooney’s letter to become public.

One reason that comes to my mind: it’s right and proper for the public to know our attorney general had made such a request.

Who wouldn’t want the public to know about the request?

That reminds me of some other things I said in my commentary Tuesday night:
A word to [Duke’s President] Dick Brodhead: You said last December you wanted Mike Nifong to explain what he’d been doing all those months you were endorsing his plan to put David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann on trial.

How about you and Duke BOT Chair Bob Steel demanding the Feds investigate what Nifong and others were doing all that time?
Brodhead and Steel have so far refused to request a Department of Justice investigation.

Why haven’t Brodhead and Steel joined with law professors, attorneys, pundits and now North Carolina’s attorney general in calling for such an investigation?

Until they do, people can fairly ask whether Brodhead and Steel fear the consequences of a full and fair federal investigation into possible criminal violations of the civil rights of Duke students and others in Durham.

Wednesday's N&O story is here.

I plan to follow this story. I hope some of you will contact people at Duke and in the community to urge them to support a federal investigation into the attempted frame-up and its ongoing cover-up.


Anonymous said...

I find Mayor Bell's quotes to be preposterous, and offensive. How all of these people can lie and deny facts of massive corruption, just boggles the mind! The crimes of guilt exceed the LAX case, and goes back much further into Durham's notorious past.

These people deny the truths, then when forced to comment, always use excuses. I am sick of excuses! The "BULL" in Durm has existed far too long, and is beyond just having Washington leaders peer in and have a "Look-See."

My family has waited almost 3 years needlessly for an investigation to be done into my brother's murder. Other families have suffered the same cruel fate at the hands of the courts, officials, and law enforcement. There are no reasons big enough to convince us "THEY" care, and are "moving forward?!"

I have personally sent hundreds of FOIA requests, spoken to every department and official in legislature but the president, and have still been ignored. They know all about me, and am quite sure I have been a burr in their saddles.

WHEN, the FEDS finally decide to move to action, I am nationally requesting my own personal meeting to take my testimony of the abuses and abject denial of due process of law, and the numerous personal and civil rights violations.

THIS is why I have had to come forward into the blogosphere to have a voice. I have not made my quest a secret, and am not alone.

Far more than Duke University has been touched, actual lives have been destroyed. The respect and dignity of an entire city and state has been greatly tarnished, and most of all our leaders in federal government have failed us all immensely.

The clock on the wall has silently ticked away long enough, and is anxiously awaiting for the alarm. So are we!
Rhonda Fleming
You Know Where
You Have My Number

W. R. Chambers said...

I regret having to ask this question, but does anyone have a concern that if the DOJ were to get involved, its efforts would be manipulated by politicians?

It is at least fair to consider whether the DOJ is already taking orders.

There are lots of ways to get involved: the clock ticks towards the next election....and of course once an investitation begins, there will be no comment because there's an ongoing investigation...........and as time passes the public's interest will turn elsewhere until a new president is elected.

I am sure the vast majority of the people in the DOJ are first rate career professionals. Unfortunately, they are not in charge and will continue to operate under a cloud of suspicion as long as President Bush is in office.

If ever there was a case for the DOJ to take on, this one is it. That it hasn't is a direct reflection on the President's treatment of the DOJ.