Let’s take a quick look at local media coverage of the suits filed yesterday in federal court, Greensboro, NC, on behalf of three Duke students and lacrosse players not indicted during the frame-up attempt.
Only WRAL/ABC Eyewitness News 11 reports on this matter which I know will interest all of you:
Sources tell Eyewitness News this is the first of two lawsuits expected to be filed on behalf of unindicted Duke Lacrosse players and their families.My sources tell me the same thing.
Sources say a majority of the players that are represented by a law firm in Washington D.C. intend to file a lawsuit as well.
The suit News 11 mentions is the one I’ve previously mentioned; not the one filed yesterday.
News 14 Carolina has a brief story which includes:
Robert Ekstrand, who is representing Archer, McFadyen and Wilson, says the way the University and city handled the case caused the boys emotional distress, and listed that as just one of 35 reasons that they brought the lawsuit.News 14 doesn’t mention Ekstrand’s filing states Duke officials who suspended McFadyen over the email’s content could have learned from any English Department member that “American Psycho” is assigned in a number of Duke courses. The other three local news organizations mentioned here don’t either.
McFadyen was suspended from Duke a month after the party when an e-mail he wrote to other lacrosse players surfaced. In that e-mail, he talked about killing the stripper and cutting her skin off. McFadyen said the e-mail was in jest and mirrored some of the language in the movie, “American Psycho,” a movie that was popular with many of the players.
All four news organizations also fail to report the filing states unequivocally that Duke President Richard Brodhead spoke with the press about aspects of McFayden’s case that required a privacy waiver from him; but McFadyen hadn’t signed one.
Our two local daily newspapers – the Durham Herald-Sun and the Raleigh News & Observer – give the story very different treatment.
It’s the H-S’s lead story across the front-page and above the fold; the N&O has a tag on it’s front page and runs the story on page 4 of the “B” section.
The N&O’s sure come a long way from the days when it would run on its front-page the names of Duke lacrosse players charged with carrying open beer cans.
What changed? I can't wait for the N&O to tell us.
Anne Blythe, one of the two reporters of the Mar. 24 and 25, 2006 N&O stories which did so much to poison the public’s mind against the Duke students, reports on the filing in a story which begins:
Three players not charged in the infamous Duke lacrosse case filed a lawsuit against Duke University, top administrators, fallen prosecutor Mike Nifong, the city and a long list of others. . . .Most of the rest of Blythe’s story is outline summary of other suits filed in the Hoax case.
The players have listed dozens -- from such high-ranking Duke officials as President Richard Brodhead down to a public spokeswoman for the Durham police department -- as defendants in the suit.
In a statement issued late Tuesday, Duke University described the lawsuit as "another unfortunate result of the misdeeds" of Nifong.
"(T)his suit is misdirected against the university. Duke University reasonably relied on the statements of a prosecutor whose path of destruction could be stopped only by the North Carolina Attorney General," David Jarmul, a Duke spokesman, said in the statement. "Duke made some mistakes when the allegations first surfaced in the spring of 2006. The cause of any harm felt by the players, however, clearly lies with parties other than Duke."
In effort to avoid putting the entire community through destructive litigation, Jarmul said in the statement, Duke offered many months ago to reimburse attorneys' fees and other out-of-pocket expenses to the unindicted players whose lives were disrupted.
"We were and remain disappointed those offers were not accepted." the statement said. "We will aggressively defend the university in this matter."
McFadyen was suspended from Duke in April 2006 after an e-mail he wrote appeared in a search warrant in the Duke lacrosse case. . . .
Far and away the best local reporting today comes from Ray Gronberg in the H-S. I read the entire filing yesterday and into today’s first hours. Gronberg appears to have read it as well. He provides a good overview of the filing’s content along with important background information. Here’s a sample:
The players' claims rested heavily on Ekstrand's argument that the Duke University Police Department should have taken the lead in investigating the lacrosse case because it stemmed from an incident at a Duke-owned house at 610 N. Buchanan Blvd.I'll be back with more later today.
Ekstrand noted that city and Duke officials in 2004 had signed a cooperation agreement assigning Duke police the "primary responsibility" to initiate and conclude investigations on Duke property.
The significance of that agreement is certain to be a major point of contention, as state law specifies that Durham police have jurisdiction throughout the city, including on the Duke campus and at off-campus Duke properties.
But it also set the stage for a number of new allegations, among them the claim that Duke police actually launched their own investigation of the stripper's charges soon after she made them on March 14, 2006. Duke police abandoned the probe two days later, a major setback for the players, because campus officers on the scene realized the stripper's charges were bogus, Ekstrand and his clients alleged.
They further alleged that Duke and city leaders conspired and lied to cover up the early involvement of Duke police, and that Duke officials violated federal privacy law in the course of serving up information about the players to Durham police. . . .
What are your thoughts about all this?