Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Nifong “Holy crap” lie (Post 1)

CORRECTION: As first posted yesterday, this post reported there were for some hours on Mar. 15 police cruisers parked in front of the house where an attack was alleged to have occured. In fact, that happened on Mar. 16. I regret the error and thank the commenter whose query called it to my attention.

The post has now been corrected.


On the morning of Mar. 20, 2006 Duke University’s student newspaper, The Chronicle, reported:

Off-East house site of reported rape

Durham Police Department is investigating an alleged rape of a young woman by three males at 610 N. Buchanan Blvd. over Spring Break.

Duke recently purchased the rented residence from a local landlord.

The alleged assault was reported early in the morning of Tuesday, March 14.

The young woman arrived at the house for a party at around 11:30 p.m. Monday, March 13 and reportedly left after midnight, Sgt. M.D. Gottlieb of Durham Police District 2Investigations wrote in an e-mail to a community listserv.

He encouraged individuals in the area at the time to report to DPD if they "saw or heard anything unusual."
Duke’s President Dick Brodhead later said it was from that story he first learned of what became known as “the Duke lacrosse case.”

Duke University Police, including its director, and some senior Duke administrators knew of the reported attack on Mar. 14. Duke faculty and staff who lived close by the house where the reported attack, later proved to never have happened, and other faculty and staff knew of the alleged attack by Mar. 16 when Durham Police cruisers were parked outside the house for hours.

Duke’s Senior Vice President for Public Affairs and Community Relations John Burness knew of the alleged attack no later than Mar. 17, the day on which he’s said he read the email Sgt. Gottlieb sent out on the Trinity Park community listserv.

On Mar. 18 and 19, the Raleigh News & Observer published brief reports of the alleged incident.

But with all of that and much more circulating in the Duke and Durham communities, Brodhead says he didn’t learn about the alleged attack until he read The Chronicle story.


Then there’s Mike Nifong, now disbarred, but then Durham DA and locked in a tight primary race for the Democratic Party nomination which in heavily Democratic Durham is tantamount to election. (The Kerry-Edwards ticket received 67% of Durham County’s vote.)

When and how did Nifong first learn anything about the case?

According to N&O Investigative Reporter Joe Neff, Nifong didn’t learn anything about the alleged attack until late on the afternoon of Mar. 23. Concerning Neff’s report and links to it, see Nifong & The Copier: Be Careful (5/25/07) and Let’s flip “Nifong & The Copier (5/27/07).

Neff reports Nifong “discovered” a court order signed by his close friend and mentor, Judge Ron Stephens, sitting on his office copier. The order directed 46 white Duke lacrosse players to submit to Police DNA testing and face and torso photographing.

Nifong’s “discovery" of the court order, Neff says, was the DA’s first inkling that the Duke lacrosse case had been developing for ten days.

“Holy crap,” Neff reports Nifong exclaimed, “what is going on?”

In order to believe the “Holy crap/copier discovery” report, you must believe Nifong didn’t know anything about the case until three days after Brodhead and thousands at Duke and in Durham read about it in The Chronicle; until six days after the Raleigh N&O published its first story on the case; and until a week after Gottlieb sent his email out on the Trinity Park listserv and people in Trinity Park and people driving by the house saw at various times on Mar. 16 between five and seven police cars parked in front of it for hours.

All of that and more reverberated throughout the community. It was surely talked about by, besides the people I've already mentioned, Nifong campaign workers, reporters and people at the courthouse, including people who worked in Nifong's office.

But no one said anything to Nifong? Not even his friend and then Durham's Chief Assistant DA David Saacks (he's now the DA) who signed the request for the DNA testing and photographing?

And if his wife, Cy Gurney, a friend of many in Trinity Park and at Duke, and a familiar figure at the Durham Courthouse by virtue of her position as Regional Coordinator for the Guardian ad Litem program, knew anything about the case, we must believe she didn't say a word to her husband in order for the "Holy crap/copier discovery" story to be true.

Folks, the Nifong “copier discovery” story is an obvious lie.

Tomorrow I’ll post my thoughts about those whose interests are served by the lie.


Anonymous said...

Great post, John. Look forward to your theories, which are always excellent.

wayne fontes said...

I never believed that story because it's inconceivable that an order for the DNA of 46 people could have been issued with out Nifong's knowledge. I think the story was floated because Nifong had obtained Stephens agreement to allow it before it was submitted.

mac said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

How significant was the role of the North Carolina newspapers in setting the stage for the cold-blooded frame of the lacrosse players?

Anonymous said...

Thanks John

Someone refresh my memory here if they would please. I am lost on the details surrounding the "Mar. 15 when Durham Police cruisers were parked outside the house for hours" and "people in Trinity Park and people driving by the house saw at various times on Mar. 15 between five and seven police cars parked in front of it for hours".

I do not dispute it, but as I recall the sequence of events was:
3/14 - False claim reported;
3/15 - Jones closes rape case, hands robbery claim case off to Gottlieb;
3/16 - SW executed at 610, residents interrogated(!);
3/21(+/-) - Nifong signs subpoena for SANE Report;
3/23 - NTO secured to serve next day, "Holy crap" moment allegedly happens,

What had those police cars parked in front of 610 on 3/15?


JWM said...

To Anon @ 3:58,

Thanks for your generous and reinforcing words.

To Wayne Fontes,

I too find it inconceivable the order would have been sought without Nifong's knowledge.

I always appreciate your comments, Wayne.

To Mac,

I didn't see "Clue," but I agree Nifong's a darned good liar, or at least at practiced one.

To Anon @ 12:13,

The role of the Raleigh N&O was essential in setting the stage for Nifong and others attempt at "the cold-blooded frame."

We Nifong first spoke publicly about the case on Mar. 27, he followed exactly the script the N&O had been laying out since Mar. 24.


It is Mar. 16 and not Mar. 15.

I've corrected the post with an acknowledgement.

Thank you very much for suggesting I was off on the date.

I continue to appreciate your comments.

You've added a great deal to the search for truth and justice through your comments here and elsewhere.

Final words to all: Thanks very much.


mac said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Thanks John

It's so easy to produce a minor error occasionally in a case that has been around a couple years and has so many details.

Credit actually goes to good ol' Longtabber, his input is why I questioned the date. He often started discussions about the problem of the case being left completely unattended for two days, between 3/14 & 3/16, as it is not standard operating procedure for any investigator to leave the scene of an alleged gang rape unsecured for two days.