Friday, August 22, 2008

Mangum's forthcoming book: First thoughts

For some time now the best place to stay current with Duke lacrosse happenings has been Liestoppers Forum.

I skipped visiting there for a few days and missed important news many of you may have already heard: false accuser Gail Crystal Mangum's book is now due out in October.

At KC Johnson's Wonderland blog he's posted the book's press release interspersed with his comments.

At LF there's a very interesting conversation going on. I've read only the first 4 pages. I plan to read more Saturday afternoon.

Thanks to Walter Abbott's heads-up, I caught defense attorney Joe Cheshire tonight on WRAL at 5 and 6 PM. He was impressive as always. He said Mangum should not profit from her lies; and he hoped her victims would see that she didn't.

Tomorrow, Saturday, I'll post some thoughts about what Mangum might say in the book.

Right now I just want to call your attention to an Apr. 12, 2008 post: N&O still stonewalls on Mar. 25 frame story.

Apr. 12, 2008 was a year and a day after NC Attorney General Roy Cooper declared David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann innocent, and said there never was any credible evidence of their guilt.

Apr. 12, 2008 was also the one year anniversary of a Raleigh News & Observer story (Samiha Khanna bylined, with Joe Neff contributing) in which the N&O disclosed for the first time statements it said Mangum made during a Mar. 24, 2006 interview.

The N&O reported the next day on the interview in a story it said was about a frightened young black mother's "ordeal" which ended finally in "sexual violence."

That Mar. 25, 2006 story sent the Duke hoax national, launched the witch hunt and began the public part of a vicious libeling of the Duke lacrosse team and the frame-up attempt of three of its members for gang rape and other felonies.

The news the N&O withheld from that story was highly exculpatory for the lacrosse players.

Had it been disclosed at the time, the N&O and the now disbarred Mike Nifong would at the least have had to change the false story they shilled to the public in March 2006.

That would have increased the chances of more of the public and the honest media realizing a frame-up attempt was underway by March 25, 2006.

The N&O still stonewalls on Mar. 25 frame story is lengthy. But if you're seeking to understand how the framing occured and how the ongoing cover-up is being conducted, I think there's a good chance you'll find it worth your time.

The N&O has yet to answer a single question I asked in the post.


While researching for future posts I read at the Raleigh N&O’s Editors’ Blog a post by now senior editor Linda Williams titled "March 25 interview"

Williams posted on Oct. 5, 2006. She attempted to explain decisions the N&O made concerning its now discredited, deliberately fraudulent March 25, 2006 story headlined:

Dancer gives details of ordeal

A woman hired to dance for the Duke lacrosse team describes a night of racial slurs, growing fear and, finally, sexual violence
As you’ll see if you go to the post thread, readers immediately challenged Williams. They pointed out facts she’d misstated and inconsistencies between what she claimed were N&O journalistic practices and what the paper actually did.

Williams did not respond.

Instead, the then executive editor for news Melanie Sill began commenting.

While criticizing readers for their anonymity and praising the N&O for its Duke lacrosse coverage, Sill failed to provide data refuting the many reasoned, fact-based commenters who’d challenged Williams.

As an example of what I’m talking about and because it’s very relevant to today, I want to publish here a comment I made on the thread and then below the star line add some further comments.

Comment from: John [Visitor] •
10/16/06 at 16:01

Dear Melanie,

I've 10 questions for you:

At 10/06/06 at 15:40 above you say:

“We got the woman identified as the victim and interviewed her. As Linda notes, it wasn't an extensive or extensively planned interview -- it was boots on the street hustle to track down the key players.”

1) In the Durham community with 250,000 people, “boots on the street” didn’t lead you to the accuser.

Someone who knew who she was and where she was led you to her either directly or with address information. Most likely the person(s) was someone who could reach the accuser quickly and “arrange” for the interview. Who was that person(s)?

2) What was that person’s motive for leading your reporter to the accuser?

3) Was that person a member of either the Durham Police Department (I include as a member of the DPD Cpl. David Addison who, while assigned full-time to CrimeStoppers, is a sworn DPD officer) or the Durham District Attorney’s office, including DA Nifong?

4) Was the interview audio taped, which is common practice with an interview of such critical importance, especially as what was said could be relevant to a then ongoing police investigation and possible subsequent indictments and trials?

5) If the interview was audio taped, what can you tell us about the custody and condition of the tape; and whether there is anything about the technical nature of the tape that would prevent you from releasing it to the public with only the accuser and her family’s IDs removed?

6) If the interview was not audio taped, why not?

7) You say you didn’t publish those parts of the interview that concerned remarks made by the accuser about the second dancer, Kim Roberts, because the remarks were unsubstantiated.

But as many readers on this thread have demonstrated, you published a great number of unsubstantiated statements you say the accuser made about the lacrosse players.

Whose interests are you serving by refusing to inform the public of the parts of the interview you suppressed on Mar. 25?

8) On what day did the N&O first learn of the extensive, voluntary cooperation the three Duke lacrosse captains provided police on Mar. 16, including signed statements, going to DUMC for “rape kit” testing, helping police ID and locate others who were at the party, etc?

9) On what day and in what detail did the N&O report to readers the cooperation the captains provided the police and the fact that the court order for 46 lacrosse players to submit to DNA testing and “mug photos” could have been appealed, but that not a single one of the 46 exercised his right of appeal (not even the ones who weren’t in Durham the night of the party)?

10) What’s your definition of news suppression?

Yes, Melanie, some of the questions are repeats I first asked months ago. It's time you answered them.





Editor Sill never responded.

Eighteen months after I posted that comment and more than two years after I and many others began asking those question, they remain unanswered by anyone speaking for the N&O on the record.

With regard to Question 7 - “Whose interests are you serving by refusing to inform the public of the parts of the interview you suppressed on Mar. 25?” – I want to say the following:

On April 12, 2007, the day after AG Roy Cooper declared the three wrongly indicted young men innocent, the N&O ran a story, Contradictions tore case apart, reporting, among other things, statements it said the accuser made in her Mar. 24, 2006 interview with N&O reporter Samiha Khanna. The Apr. 12 story under Khanna’s byline and with Joe Neff listed as a contributor included this:
…She did not give details but maintained that she had been raped. Mangum said that although she did not witness it, she thought the second dancer was sexually assaulted but didn't come forward because she would lose her job as an escort.

"I got the feeling she would do just about anything for money," Mangum said of the second dancer, Kim Roberts. …
The N&O withheld that critically important news, exculpatory for the players, from its Mar. 25, 2006 framing story about an “ordeal” which ended in “sexual violence.”

In it’s April 12, 2007 finally reporting that news, the N&O offered no reason for why it had withheld it for thirteen months. In fact, the Khanna/Neff story makes no mention that Mangum's statements were withheld from its Mar. 25 story and that N&O readers were reading about them for the first time. (That's slick, yes; disgusting, too)

Why did the N&O withhold for thirteen months such important news? Whose interests did that serve?

Why did the N&O only disclose what Mangum had said the day after the players had been declared innocent? Whose interests did that serve?

Why hasn’t the N&O answered any of the questions I asked Melanie Sill on the March 25 interview post thread? Whose interests does it serve for the N&O to keep silent on those questions.

And, finally, why do some people keep saying the N&O’s Duke Hoax coverage has been wonderful except for a few days in March 2006?


Anonymous said...

This is an important post by John in Carolina and deserves attention at Liestoppers and Durham in Wonderland. The 10 questions are excellent and it's easy to figure out why Sill didn't attempt to answer them. John understands the N&O's role in setting the table for the disgraced Nifong. Until the N&O's top brass answers these question truthfully, the newspaper has little moral authority. It was a sorry journalistic performance and extraordinarily damaging to all the lacrosse players, but especially to the three who were wrongly indicted on the basis of police department lies. The N&O needs to come clean and beg for forgiveness.

Anonymous said...


The N&O continues to seal its own doom. It's a fascinating study of self destruction.

A quick review of McClatchy Co balance sheet indicates they have $1.944 billion recorded as goodwill and intangible assets. I suspect the company has destroyed any value those assets once had. Without those illusionary assets to bolster the balance sheet, the company is technically insolvent. I suspect the markets will soon take care of McClatchy and the N&O.

Keep up the good work.


Anonymous said...


You've given us a very insightful post. The N&O didn't just "make a few mistakes." They helped Nifong and the players went through a year of hell as a result.

The gushing at DIW about the N&O's coverage doesn't look so good today. We need you to remind us of the N&O's role in the frame. Keep at it.

Duke Mom

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why commenters don't go over and comment on the N&O's editors' blog. I check it daily and this is where the top brass will see your comments about their role in the lacrosse case.
Many want to move on and hide what took place. Keep exposing their nasty deeds. Although Melanie Sill is gone, she still needs to be exposed. I suspect Linda Williams played a big part as well.

Anonymous said...

Professor Johnson at the Wonderland blog did terrific work. He missed the importance of the late March 2006 coverage in the N&O and he was blinded by the excellent reporting done by Joe Neff. One can praise Neff and still see the awful, destructive and fundamentally disingenuous coverage provided by the Raleigh newspaper in the early days of the criminal frame/hoax. Publisher Quarles, Sill, Drescher and Linda Williams owe the lacrosse families and readers an explanation and an apology.

Anonymous said...


That's a fact.

Anonymous said...

If the N&O is covering up things it did that helped frame the players, can you call its coverage "outstanding?"

Anonymous said...

When ever John suggests there is a reason to link to DiW, he demeans himself. That page presents itself as impartial. DiW writes pro-Obama dialogs However if you suggest anything anti-Obama to DiW, rest assured that DiW will not allow it in it's comments. Sadly professor KC continues with a "Meta-History" of his own.

Anonymous said...

John and others are correct to give Professor Johnson tremendous credit for running an excellent blog on the Duke lacrosse frame.