Wednesday, March 11, 2009

It’s Not About Lacrosse

Joan Foster is one of those outstanding people who’ve been called “lacrosse hooligans.”

Since Spring 2006 Joan and the other “hooligans” have spoken out in opposition to the lies of Crystal Mangum, Mike Nifong and many others at Duke, in Durham and media who worked - sometimes wittingly, sometimes unwittingly – to frame three transparently innocent Duke students for gang rape and other felonies and are now working to cover-up what they did.

Yesterday, Joan posted a request at Liestoppers Meeting. It follows in full, after which I respond below the star line.

Joan began - - -

I've been invited to give a program at a women's club. In the past, I have droned on about some poet which was well received. When asked THIS time, I indicated I wanted to speak about the Duke Lacrosse case.

There were a few deep breaths and then the comment was made. "Well, that's been OVER for so long. There isn't anything more to KNOW." I assured them that there was a LOT they did not know...precisely why I wanted to speak on the topic.

Well, they were fairly desperate and I was pretty Duke Lacrosse it is. I doubt anyone in this group was following every nuance of this case...but I want to surprise, shock them. I want them to understand the magnitude of this debacle.

My theme is "Ten things you DON'T know about the Duke Lacrosse Debacle."

Number one, of was a cold blooded Frame.

I want to address Elmo's trial....and, yes, I have my own temporary list.

But I value your opinions and know that many of you have a grasp on this case that is awe-inspiring. Will you give me your "selections in outrage."

What do we want to be sure the general public understands?

What shall I tell the ladies at lunch?


Dear Joan,

Start off with something like: “Weren’t the ice cream and strawberries delicious? But did you notice the chicken salad had an odd taste? I passed on it.”

Now seriously:

I’m going to work on the assumption you have 20 or so minutes to speak after lunch with a 10 or so minute Q&A following.

If I’m right about that, I think you should cut the “10 things” to 5 and change your title to something like: “Five important things I’ve learned about what’s called ‘the Duke lacrosse case.’”

Baldo suggested you begin with a reference to NC AG Roy Cooper’s public comments of April 11, 2007.

I agree and suggest you have a copy of it in hand and highlighted.

Set up for referencing Cooper’s comments by very briefly noting Nifong had to turn the case over to Cooper’s office once it was revealed in open court he’d withheld evidence exculpatory for the falsely accused and indicted Duke students; and when once again Crystal Mangum changed her story, this time saying she wasn’t sure she’d been raped, with the result Nifong dropped the rape charge while he kept in place the two other bogus felony charges of sexual assault and kidnapping.

With that explained, read these portions of Cooper’s April 11, 2007 comments:

During the past 12 weeks, our lawyers and investigators have reviewed the remaining allegations of sexual assault and kidnapping that resulted from a party on March 13, 2006, in Durham, N.C.

We have carefully reviewed the evidence collected by the Durham County prosecutor's office and the Durham Police Department.

We have also conducted our own interviews and evidence gathering. Our attorneys and SBI (State Bureau of Investigation) agents have interviewed numerous people who were at the party, DNA and other experts, the Durham County district attorney, Durham police officers, defense attorneys and the accusing witness on several occasions....

The result of our review and investigation shows clearly that there is insufficient evidence to proceed on any of the charges. …

We believe that these cases were the result of a tragic rush to accuse and a failure to verify serious allegations.

Based on the significant inconsistencies between the evidence and the various accounts given by the accusing witness, we believe these three individuals are innocent of these charges.

We approached this case with the understanding that rape and sexual assault victims often have some inconsistencies in their accounts of a traumatic event.

However, in this case, the inconsistencies were so significant and so contrary to the evidence that we have no credible evidence that an attack occurred in that house that night. …

In this case, with the weight of the state behind him, the Durham district attorney pushed forward unchecked....

And in the rush to condemn, a community and a state lost the ability to see clearly....

Today, we need to learn from this and keep it from happening again to anybody.
Joan, at this point give a “we all know” nod to your audience and ask rhetorically, “AG Cooper didn’t mention the word “lacrosse” in any of the excerpts I’ve just read, did he?”

Then add that nowhere else in his entire statement did Cooper use the word “lacrosse.”

Mention that media referenced Cooper’s comments much the way WTVD Raleigh did: “Statement from North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper on the Duke University lacrosse rape case.”

Tell your listeners they can see that at WTVD’s Web site where it hosts Cooper’s statement.

But let your listeners know Cooper himself
did not refer to his comments that way.

At his official Web site your listeners can view a copy of Cooper’s statement
which bears the heading:
Comments by Attorney General Roy Cooper
State vs. Finnerty, Evans, Seligmann
April 11, 2007
As you know so well, Joan, and as Cooper understood and make clear, the case, still ongoing, is not about lacrosse.

It’s about “a tragic rush to accuse and a failure to verify serious allegations.”

It’s about police and a prosecutor's office falsely accusing and indicting three young Americans and working very hard to send them to prison for decades when there was “no credible evidence” of a crime.

It’s about many in "a community and a state [and the nation losing]the ability to see clearly."

All that and more happened because many of us failed to keep before us and treasure the great gifts bequeathed to us in The Constitution, while others among us simply care more for their personal agendas and conceits than for justice and a system based on respect for law.

Joan, that’s the most important message you can share with your listeners. It's why the case is important for all Americans and not about lacrosse.

I won't say I hope I don’t sound like I’m telling you what to say because that's just what I'm doing.

But you know best; and you know I respect that.

I’ve some other thoughts about what I think are important matters you should mention.

But I’ll wait to hear from you before going forward.

I often think back with appreciation and respect to the “old days” when you and others took the lead at The Editors’ Blog in exposing and skewering the N&O’s disgraceful Duke/Durham hoax, frame attempt and cover-up case “coverage.”

You’re probably one of the few people who
now could name any of the many outright lies some editors told to justify the N&O’s coverage which included its withholding for 13 months critical information exculpatory for the players.

Or that the N&O didn’t publish that information until April 12, 2007, a day the N&O knew its disgraceful news suppression in support of the frame-up would get little attention because Cooper’s exoneration of the students was the major story that day.

All Good Wishes,



Anonymous said...

You are right in that it is not about lacrosse - it is about how professors at an institution that is supposed to foster critical thinking and open-mindedness shirked their duty. It is about how a college administration and its BOT was willing to throw its students under a bus to appease members of the academy who desired to appear oh so pc. It is about the desire of a district attorney to assure that his own private nest was feathered in retirement and so used what he saw as a sure-fire way to win an election - facts be damned as minor inconveniences. Finally it was about improper procedures on the part of the police, the prosecutor, the DUMC, the Duke administration, as well as the news media to railroad three young men into what would have been certain death had it not been for those who stood fast, saw through the chicanery, and vowed that justice should and would prevail.

Anonymous said...


You're always good.

But this one's one of your best.

Duke '81

Anonymous said...

Well said.

Thank you, John.


Anonymous said...

Great post.

Is there any chance KC Johnson will stop hustling his own hoax about the N&O really doing a "fantastic" job after "the first few days?"

What say you, John?

Anonymous said...

You can't find a better example of deliberate violations of defendants' civil rights and massive injustice than the Duke case; and the Duke law school won't utter a collective peep.

That causes me to lose all respect for that institution (especially its constitutional and criminal law divisions).

What if Scottsboro had a law school and all the faculty kept their lips sealed tight, then and thereafter?

Anonymous said...

A great post but please do more to expose Brodhead and the N&O's roles in the frame-up?

Duke Parent '10

Anonymous said...

Good post, I'd recomend that Joan should talk about the three guys who were charged, who had their life turned inside out, who will have this hanging over the heads for the rest of their life.

Then ask the women, how they would feel if it was their sons, borhters or husbands who were fasley accused.

Also mention how good the team actually was, 100% graduation rate, did charity work, had no charges for violence against women or racism etc. Disprove the myth that they were racist thugs.

Scott S.

Anonymous said...

Dear god, I feel sorry for the members of the club.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:58

Is that you, Mike Nifong?

Anonymous said...


Are you always so silly?