Saturday, May 05, 2007

INNOCENT: N&O “Reports” Pressler’s book

"... these three individuals [David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann,] are innocent of these charges."

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, Apr. 11, 2007
Readers Note: At the bottom of The Raleigh News & Observer’s May 4th “B” section’s first page there’s a story headlined:

Former Duke lacrosse coach tells his story

His book says university buckled
The story begins:
In an upcoming book about the Duke lacrosse scandal, former coach Mike Pressler accuses university officials of caving in to pressure from intense media scrutiny and protesters both within and outside of the school. ….

"It's Not About the Truth: The Untold Story of the Duke Lacrosse Case and the Lives It Shattered" offers Pressler's first extensive comments about the case. He recounts the meetings among parents, team members and university officials that took place between the night of the team party and his forced resignation….
The entire N&O story is here.

I sent the following email to the story’s bylined reporter, Jim Nesbitt. (

If I hear back, I’ll let you know.


Dear Reporter Nesbitt:

I have questions concerning your May 4 story reporting on Don Yeager’s book which details the monumental injustices inflicted on Coach Pressler, his wife and children, the Duke students who played on the 2006 Men’s lacrosse team and their families.

Why did you say so little about those injustices, and nothing whatsoever about the N&O's enormously significant contribution to them?

Fair-minded readers got their first sense of those injustices on March 24, 2006, when they read the N&O’s front-page story which repeatedly told them and news organizations learning about the story for the first time, that the woman making the gang-rape accusations was “the victim.”

N&O reporters and editors have never disclosed why they decided to repeatedly report the accuser was the “victim,” or why they deliberately cast the lacrosse players as her victimizers coached by Mike Pressler.

Surely the Yeager/Pressler book mentions the N&O’s March 24 story and the series of vicious N&O stories that followed it. Those N&O stories falsely framed the students and slimed Coach Pressler. But, Reporter Nesbitt, you make no mention of the N&O's frame-up stories. Why?

Did Pressler and Yeager forget to say anything about "Shut down the team" and "So dump him?"

Or did you and/or your editors just decide none of the N&O's frame-up stories were worth reporting?

You don't mention even one instance of Pressler and Yeager describing the N&O’s biased, racially inflammatory and often false Duke Hoax reporting last spring, or the N&O's thirteen month long cover-up.

Why is that? Your decision or an editors' decision?

Your story says nothing about the N&O’s cover-up for thirteen months of what Crystal Mangum told you in the “anonymous interview.”

The N&O's cover-up included not telling readers Mangum said the second dancer, Kim Roberts, was also raped at the party, but couldn't report it for fear of losing her job.

That claim and other critically important news the N&O deliberately withheld allowed the frame-up to go forward.

Reporter Nesbitt, did Yeager and Pressler really say nothing about the N&O’s framing of the players?

I’ll publish in full your response to my questions at my blog.

Thank you.


John in Carolina

Friday, May 04, 2007

The Churchill Series – May 4, 2007

(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

In October, 1942, Eleanor Roosevelt visited London and other parts of the south of England. Her trip was a great morale boost to the British people. Both Churchill and Clementine expressed to President Roosevelt their appreciation for her visit and their fondness for her personally.

But, as Jon Meacham tells us in Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship, there was one discordant note:

At a small dinner in London, Eleanor and Churchill exchanged words over Loyalist Spain.

“I remarked that I could not see why the Loyalist government could not have been helped, and the prime minister replied that he and I would have been the first to lose our heads if the Loyalists had won – the feeling against people like us would have spread,” Mrs. Roosevelt recalled. “I said that losing my head was unimportant, whereupon he said: ‘I don’t want you to lose your head and neither do I want to lose mine.’”

Then Mrs. Churchill leaned across the table and said: “I think perhaps Mrs. Roosevelt is right”

The prime minister was quite annoyed by this time and said: “I have held certain beliefs for sixty years and I’m not going to change now.”

Clementine, Eleanor recalled, “then got up as a signal that dinner was over.”
We’ve all been at dinner parties where the conversation has suddenly turned quite serious and contentious.

This episode is so revealing of important facets of Winston's, Eleanor's and Clementine’s personalities.

I hope you have a restful weekend.

Nifong’s "Discovery" & KBP’s Skepticism

Folks, to understand this post be sure you’re very familiar with the two Talking posts I put up May 1, here and here.

If you’re new to the story of Nifong's NTO "copier discovery,” be sure to follow the links to the Talking posts.

You'll read about Raleigh N&O’s Joe Neff’s report of how on Mar. 23 Nifong “discovered” the NTO requiring all 46 white Duke lacrosse players to submit to Durham Police DNA testing and face and torso photos.

According to Neff, Nifong only learned of the NTO when he discovered it sitting on his office copier.

Who would have believed that?

And, as our 5 year old grandson says, “Do you know what else?”

If you believe Neff’s story, Nifong didn’t even know it was his chief ADA, David Saacks, who requested the NTO or that his old pal, mentor and former boss, Judge Ron Stephens, had signed it.

That’s why, as Neff tells his story, when Nifong “discovered” the NTO he exclaimed: “Holy crap, what is going on?”

I’m very skeptical of Neff's report. So is citizen journalist kbp who very early on began questioning Hoax stories.

Kbp sent this comment that reminds us of some of the reasons why we need to be skeptical of Neff’s 3/23 “copier discovery” story:

We know Nifong signed for a subpoena to get the medical records of Crystal on 3/20. Sounds like a fairly standard process in a rape case, one that would not grab his attention, but it did involve 3 Dukies. Maybe he was making inquiries by then.

I still lean heavily towards the idea that Gottlieb and his team's action before the NTO indicates there was pressure before Mikey's involvement. We're seeing now how big Levicy's actions contributed to the frame, but I do not recall her "consistent..." comment being used in the 3/16 Affidavit for the SW, even though Himan had spoken with her that day.

The assignment of Gottlieb's team to be under Mikey's control is a topic we need more information on. It was sure getting busy during that 3/20-3/24 time span.

Still so many questions!
So many questions, indeed.

Kbp is right to keep us skeptical about the “copier discovery” story.

More tomorrow, including asking how Nifong could not have known about a case so many at the Courthouse and others working on his campaign were talking about starting at least a week before his NTO "discovery."

Maybe Judge Stephens would today sign a finding that Nifong knew nothing about the NTO before 3/23, but I wouldn’t.

What about you?

Right now, all we have reported about Nifong's "discovery" is Neff’s account which is based on what Saacks told him.


Thank you, kbp, for keeping us skeptical.

An invitation to Duke's Prof. Chafe

Readers Note: William H. Chafe is Alice Mary Baldwin Professor of American History at Duke University and a signatory of the faculty’s Group of 88’s “social disaster” statement that ran as a full-page ad in the Apr. 6 Chronicle. From 1995-2004 he served as Dean of the Faculty of Duke University and Vice-Provost for Undergraduate Education.

I just sent Chafe the following email with a link to this post. I’ll keep you informed.


Dear Professor Chafe:

I hold two degrees from the University and blog as John in Carolina.

My blog is not a Duke Hoax blog, but I post often on the witch hunt, the frame-up and their active enablement by many, including many in senior positions at Duke.

I read your extremely serious but unsupported charges in the Apr. 30 Chronicle:

"I am appalled at the way that bloggers who have targeted the 'Group of 88' have put words in our mouths, denied our individuality and racist and violent language to attack us-including sending us e-mails and making phone calls wishing our deaths and calling us 'Jew b-' and 'n-b-,'" Chafe wrote in an e-mail. "Most of us never presumed guilt."
Yesterday KC Johnson posted regarding an opportunity he gave you to clarify your unsupported charges. You were quoted as saying:
“There were repeated phone calls and e-mail messages. I never claimed they were from you, but they were concerted.”
To your unsupported Chronicle charges, it now appears you’re adding conspiracy.

Every decent blogger condemns those making physical threats to law abiding people. We also condemn those who make unsubstantiated charges that can often be false.

You surely know some people sending emails and making phone calls are not always who they claim to be and don’t necessarily believe what they say. What could you make of an email that said:
Dear Professor Chafe,

Thank you for never joining who’ve attacked us for our rally under the “CASTRATE" banner or for distributing “Vigilante” posters on campus and elsewhere.

We were all so encouraged last spring when you and the rest of the Group of 88 supported us in the “social disaster” statement: “to the protestors making collective noise, thank you for not waiting and for making yourselves heard.”


A Grateful Former Student?
Is the person really a grateful former student?

Couldn’t the email be from a former student scornful of your silence in the face of demonstrable threats to Duke students; and worse, your signing on, in the face of those threats, to a statement widely regarded last April and now as thanking those whose actions made an already dangerous situation even more dangerous?

Just a few days before the “social disaster” statement appeared, Vice President for Student Affairs Moneta took the necessary step of cautioning Duke students concerning their safety while at the same time Duke and Durham police increased patrols on campus, in Trinity Park and the Ninth Street area.

Shortly after the "social disaster" statement appeared, Durham Mayor Bill Bell, North Carolina Central University Chancellor James Ammons and President Brodhead took the unprecedented step of placing full-page ads in area newspapers calling for community calm.

In such a tense and dangerous time, whatever possessed you, many other Duke faculty and 15 academic departments and programs to issue your statement and go out of you way to say: “to the protestors making collective noise, thank you for not waiting and for making yourselves heard?”

If you don’t feel you can answer for the others, will you answer for yourself?

In the last year I’ve seen copies of many hundreds of civilly worded emails sent to you and other “88” faculty members. They’ve raised important issues and asked reasonable, fact-based questions.

But rarely have those emails received similarly civil and fact-based replies addressing the issues raised and the questions asked.

I hope you will respond to this email.

I’ll publish your response in full up to 1000 words. I’ll make no response for at least a day so readers can have a look at what you say free of my commentary.


John in Carolina

Thursday, May 03, 2007

The Churchill Series - May 3, 2007

(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

In his recent review of Lynne Olson’s Troublesome Young Men The Rebels Who Brought Churchill to Power and Helped Save England(Farrar, Straus & Giroux), Newsweek editor and author Jon Meacham writes:

[May 10, 1940, the day Churchill became Prime Minister,] was a hinge of history. It is neither sentimental nor simplistic to say that Churchill's ascension and refusal to surrender as he awaited America's entry into the war is one of the great achievements of this or any age. Things were one way before Churchill became prime minister, and another way afterward.

It is also true, however, that the story of appeasement and of Britain's slow path to war in the 1930s is more complicated than the usual narrative suggests. Churchill was not alone in his opposition to Hitler during what he called his wilderness years, and therein lies the strength of Lynne Olson's brisk, engaging new book, "Troublesome Young Men."

Olson, a former White House correspondent for The Baltimore Sun, has given us a fascinating snapshot of the Tory "rebels," as she calls them, who ultimately opposed Neville Chamberlain and helped elevate the then-unbeatified Churchill.

Olson's characters shared school ties, country houses, London clubs and, in at least one scandalous instance, a woman who was simultaneously the wife of one and the mistress of another. Their names have little resonance now: Harold Macmillan's is familiar, but those of the others - Robert Boothby, Leo Amery, Ronald Cartland, Robert Cranborne - have receded into the shadows.

Olson's book should help correct that, for these men were early defenders of freedom in the face of Nazism and English appeasement, often taking stands that put them at odds with men and women they had known all their lives and turned them into political targets. Neville Chamberlain - so seemingly upright and straitlaced in old photographs - tapped telephones, conducted surveillance and played dirty tricks on opponents within his own party. …

In the shadow of Churchill's leadership it can be difficult to recall just how ascendant Chamberlain was for so long, and how unlikely it seemed that Churchill, or anyone else, might dislodge him. Many Britons, if not most, viewed appeasement as a diplomatic, even moral, triumph. Memories of the carnage of the Great War were too fresh. …

This new book reminds us that there are others besides Churchill who deserve our thanks for seeing us through freedom's defining storm, those years when everything was at risk, when everything seemed lost, and yet light triumphed over darkness.
Olson’s book sound like it’s worth a read. I’ve ordered it.

Have any of you read it yet? Your assessments?

In a month or so I’ll post my “review” of the book; and again invite your assessmants.

This made me smile

A cartoon in the current New Yorker:

Inside the circus cage the lion-tamer with chair and whip has one lion on a pedestal standing on his hind legs.

Meanwhile, off to the side, another lion is seated at a small table talking on the telephone.

The caption: "How many times have I told you not to call me at work?"

Latest H-S and N&O circulation numbers

Audit Bureau of Circulations figures for the six-month period ending Mar. 31, 2007 are out. They show a 2.1% drop in circulation at the national level compared to the six-month period ending Mar. 31, 2006.

How about the two daily newspapers which circulate in the Duke/Durham area where the Duke Hoax, first called “the Duke lacrosse rape scandal,” has played out for the last thirteen months? How’d they do? (pdf table)

The Durham Herald Sun’s circulation dropped 17.1% (Sunday) and 17.6%(M-F).

The Raleigh News & Observer’s circulation dropped 0.4% (Sunday) and 0.5% (M-F).

The H-S reported an average Sunday circulation for the period of 37, 000 (rounded to nearest thousand); the N&O reported 213, 000.

I’ll say more about the H-S and N&O’s latest circulation figures in a day or so.

Meanwhile, here’s a Nov. 7, 2006 post, “The Herald Sun’s ABCs,” that begins:

Bob Ashley became editor of the Durham Herald Sun in late 2004. During the next 15 months, the paper’s circulation declined about 20%.
The post provides some background on the H-S and takes a look at its Hoax coverage up through the November, 2006 DA election, by which time the H-S, IMO, was campaigning for Nifong in its news columns and on its editorial page.

You should know that the H-S, in keeping with a practice in place for decades before the Paxton Company bought the paper and installed Ashley as “guy in charge,” does not formally endorse candidates for office.

However, there are ways to get around that and the H-S, IMO, did on its editorial page. It wasn’t for nothing that Nifong supporters here in Durham kept saying in Sept. and Oct.: “Did you take a look at that editorial in the H-S?”

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Churchill Series – May 2, 2007

(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

The next time you have a problem over what to wear think of Churchill, who often had that problem. In the story you are about to read from Sir Martin Gilbert’s In Search of Churchill: A Historian’s Journey, Clementine objects to Winston’s clothing choice for a ceremony in Paris.

We’ll read first about her objections made in a note to Winston, and then learn how the matter was finally settled. I typed her note as it appears in Gilbert’s book. Clementine’s reference to Churchill as “Pig” is her pet name for him. His for her was “Cat.”

Gilbert begins: In 1947, two years after the war, she learned that he had instructed his valet to take his wartime Air-Commodore uniform for the ceremony in Paris at which he was to receive the Medaille Militaire (a signal honour for an Englishman). Her advice was succinct:

I would like to persuade you to wear civilian clothes during your Paris visit. To me, air force uniform except when worn by the Air Crews is rather bogus. And it is not as an Air-Commodore that you conquered in the War but in your capacity & power as a Statesman.

All the political vicissitudes during the years of Exile qualified you for unlimited & supreme power when you took command of the Nation. You do not need to wear your medals to show your prowess. I feel the blue uniform is for you fancy-dress, & I am proud of my plain Civilian Pig.
Churchill didn’t wear the Air-Commodore uniform but …

Gilbert concludes: [Churchill wore] the uniform of the 4th Queen’s Own Hussars, his old regiment, certainly a more suitable uniform for a military ceremony and award, but still not a “plain Civilian Pig.” (pgs. 203-204)

Talking to Regulars & Commenters – May 2, 2007

(A post in the old web log form: notes for those familiar with the material. Don’t look for hyperlinks or background in this post.

That said, to understand this post you should be very familiar with the two Talking posts I put up yesterday, May 1, here and here.)

In the “Nifong & the copier discovery” posts I've said I’m very skeptical of N&O reporter Joe Neff's report that Nifong first learned about the NTO on 3/23 when he discovered it on his office copier.

“Holy crap, what is going on,” Nifong is alleged to have asked nobody in particular?

How do we go from Sgt. John Shelton finding Mangum in the Kroger parking lot shortly after midnight on 3/14 “passed out drunk” and evidencing none of the severe injuries a woman brutally beaten and raped for 30 minutes by three strong males would evidence to Nifong’s chief assistant DA David Saacks requesting on 3/23 a NTO for 46 citizens to submit to DNA and police mug and torso photos solely on the basis of their race and membership on a sports team? And all that without his boss Nifong knowing anything about the NTO?

There’s more but you get the idea.

Almost all of what DPD learned starting on 3/14 and through 3/23 suggested the story was, as Kim Roberts told DPD on 3/20, a “crock.”

Where did “the push” come from to go for a NTO NC attorneys tell me was unprecedented in their experiences? How did that happen without Nifong ever knowing about it?

Kbp, whose made many astute comments on the case, commented starting with my words in italics:

"Sure, there was SANE nurse Tara Levicy’s “findings” but what Durham Police officer really believed those finding? Inv. Himan? Sgt. Gottlieb?"

They believed they could use her enough to get the NTO, and that's quite a bit IMO.
It is “quite a bit” that DPD would use her to get the NTO, given all the evidence DPD had suggesting Mangum’s story was a false witness.

I don’t know whether they believed what Levicy was telling them but they certainly used it in the request for the NTO.

Did Gottlieb and Himan believe Levicy’s “findings” or were her “findings” simply a means to their ends?

I’m betting kbp, most of you and I agree we need more information before we can answer that question with reasonable certainty.

That leaves the question of how Nifong could not know about the NTO.

I spent time today at the Durham Courthouse. I drove from there to DPD headquarters (1 mile); then from DPD to the house on N. Buchanan Blvd (1.1 miles) where I parked my car around the corner on Urban St., and spent almost an hour and a half walking around the house and the neighborhood.

I’ll say more about all of that tomorrow. The short of it: Durham has 250,000 people but the “courthouse crowd” and DPD and Trinity Park people intermingle. On the morning of March 14 some of them began talking about “this woman who was raped last night at the lacrosse party. That’s why the police were there.” The talk spread, the “details” grew independent of facts, and feelings intensified. Literally hundreds of people heard about the case in the following days. Many of them know Nifong. Some of them are often at the courthouse where he has his office. Some of them were his campaign supporters.

And none of them told Mike anything about the case? Not even his chief ADA? Nifong had to “discover” the NTO at his copier?

Doesn’t that sound like something you’d read in the N&O?

AMac made a comment I want to respond to but the hour is late and that will have to wait until tomorrow.

I hope you’re back.


INNOCENT: To Duke’s A&S Faculty Dean

"... these three individuals [David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann,] are innocent of these charges."

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, Apr. 11, 2007

Readers Note: I've just sent the following letter to Dean McLendon and will keep you informed.

George L. McLendon, Ph.D.
Dean of the Faculty of Arts & Sciences
Duke University

Dear Dean McLendon:

I hold two degrees from the University and blog as John in Carolina.

I’m writing as both an alum and a Durham resident.

You no doubt recall that last May 18, then sophomore Reade Seligmann was subjected to shouted physical threats, including death threats. They were made first as he walked to the Durham County Courthouse with his parents and attorney, the late Kirk Osborn, and then again within the courtroom.

The threats were widely reported in media. Britan’s The Guardian's account said:

Reade Seligmann, 20, sat in a suit at a court hearing. From the gallery one onlooker shouted: 'Justice will be served, rapist!' Seligmann largely ignored the taunts, but as he left came the call 'Dead man walking!' and he blanched.
Among those threatening Seligmann were members of the racist New Black Panther Party.

I know of no member of the Arts & Sciences faculty who spoke out publicly to condemn those threatening Seligmann or to offer their compassion to Seligmann and his parents after what was a terrible ordeal.

The A & S faculty’s silence reflects very poorly on it and Duke University.

That’s especially so when we recall the faculty’s prompt, clear and strong response almost exactly a year earlier to the anonymous and still unsolved cross burnings in Durham.

Here in full for your reference and JinC readers information is the Academic Council’s June 1, 2005, statement as posted for media distribution at Duke News:
As representatives of the Duke University faculty, the Executive Committee of the Academic Council wishes to add our collective voice to the recent events in Durham.

Cross-burning in the United States is a history we all hoped had ended. Such acts have been an extreme symbol of racial violence and of one group's desire to deny civil and human rights to another group. Cross-burning has re-emerged as a practice of intimidation in the present, still carrying the taint of white supremacist, segregationist, and other demeaning policies associated with a not-so-distant time in the life of Duke, Durham, and the surrounding region.

Intimidation and threats of violence against any group are anathema in both university contexts and in society at large. We condemn the cross-burnings that have disgraced our community -- and we renew our commitment to liberty and justice for all.
In June 2005 I was very glad the Academic Council made its cross burning statement as were fair-minded alums and Durhamites who learned of it.

Since May 18, 2006 I’ve been very troubled by the faculty’s silence regarding the threats made to Seligmann.

Why has there been no faculty statement that intimidation and threats of violence against Reade Seligmann or any other peaceful citizen are anathema in both university contexts and in society at large?

I don’t believe the intimidation and threats Seligmann, his parents and Kirk Osborn were subjected to last May 18 by two small groups of hate-filled people disgraced either Duke or Durham. But the wall of silence the University and the City have collectively thrown up since May 18 certainly has.

That wall of silence needs to fall.

I’m told that as Dean of the Faculty of Arts & Sciences you are the proper administrator to place the matter of a faculty response to the events of May 18 before the A&S faculty for consideration of a request to the Academic Council.

That request would, I hope, ask the Academic Council to issue on behalf of the Duke faculty a statement as clear and strong in its condemnation of the threats made to Seligmann as was its June 2005 condemnation of the cross burnings.

I look forward to your response, which I’ll publish in full at my blog.

Thank you for your attention to this letter.


John in Carolina

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The Churchill Series – May 1, 2007

(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

Many have forgotten that on the eve of WW II public opinion was divided as to whether there would be a war.

Churchill’s principal bodyguard for many years, Scotland Yard's Detective Inspector Walter Thompson, recounts an incident that occurred just before the war when Churchill, accompanied by Clementine, took a brief working vacation in France.

At the time, other than his seat in the Commons, Churchill held no public office. PM Chamberlain and his appeaser supporters had kept Churchill out of the Cabinet despite growing and strong public support for his inclusion in the government.

In his account Thompson mentions “corn,” the British word for what we call “wheat.”

My saying anything after Thompson’s account would detract from the post, so I’ll end here. Now Thompson:

During the tense days of August 1939, Miss Mary Shearburn (later to be my wife), in her secretarial capacity, accompanied Mr. and Mrs. Churchill to St Georges Motel where they stayed at the home of Madame Balsan.

The international situation fluctuated from day to day, and the British and French press alternated between optimism and pessimism about the possibility of war with confusing frequency.

On the outward journey, my wife traveled part of the way in Mr. Churchill’s car, taking notes for him. When he had finished his work he lapsed into silence, and she sat looking out of the window at the beautiful and peaceful country through which they were passing. The corn was ripe and, in its heaviness, it looked like the golden waves of a gently undulating sea.

Mr. Churchill grew graver and graver as he sat wrapped in thought, and then said slowly and sorrowfully, “Before the harvest is gathered in, we shall be at war.”
Walter Thompson, Beside the Bulldog: The Intimate Memoirs of Churchill’s Bodyguard. (Apollo Publishing) (pg. 76)

Talking to Regulars & Commenters – May 1, 2007 (Pt. 2)

(A post in the old web log form: notes for those familiar with the material. Don’t look for hyperlinks or background in this post.)

This post continues the Talking post begun here.

In that post we looked at the N&O’s excuses for its March 25, 2006 story which the N&O said was about a night that ended in “sexual violence.”

How did DA Mike Nifong feel about the N&O’s “sexual violence” story when he read it that Saturday morning either on the net, where it appeared a few minutes after midnight, or when he picked up and read his print copy of the 3/25 N&O?

Whenever and wherever Nifong read the N&O’s “sexual violence” story, he must have been very happy.

Before the N&O’s 3/25 false story, Nifong didn’t have a case he could present to the public.

Just consider what Nifong had for “evidence” before the N&O created its false 3/25 story.

No one else at the party that night, including the second dancer, agreed a 30 minute long gang-rape, beating, chocking, and robbery of a frightened young black mother by three white male Duke lacrosse players had occurred.

The players denied it all from the moment police first contacted them on March 16. The second dancer, Kim Roberts, told police on March 20 Mangum’s wildly improbable claims were “crock.”

And where were the massive injuries to attackers and victims that would result from even a 5 minute life and death struggle in a small bathroom. No one had them.

Sure, there was SANE nurse Tara Levicy’s “findings” but what Durham Police officer really believed those finding? Inv. Himan? Sgt. Gottlieb?

Veteran DPD officer Sgt. John Shelton took a good look at Mangum and said she was passed out drunk.

Shelton saw no signs of the massive injuries Mangum would have suffered as she “battled for her life” during that “terrible 30 minute ordeal.”

Today, even DA Mike Nifong and Durham City Manager Patrick Baker won’t say Shelton “missed the call.” They know he was right. And they know intelligent people know Shelton was right.

And then there was the extraordinary cooperation and evidence the lacrosse players provided police.

The players’ cooperation and evidence to police beginning on March 16 was so strong and so exculpatory that neither the N&O nor Nifong could rebut it.

So they both were forced to promulgate the deliberately false story of the “wall of solidarity.”

All that said, Nifong and the N&O both still have fans who’ll say their handling of the case wasn’t perfect, but it was still pretty darn good.

Stay tuned.

Talking to Regulars & Commenters – May 1, 2007

(A post in the old web log form: notes for those familiar with the material. Don’t look for hyperlinks or background in this post.)

Thank you to those who’ve pointed out spelling errors.

A special thanks to the Anon who linked me to the NTO. It's helped me in some important ways I'll be posting about.

I need post a link and will do that later today.

Do you folks see the "Nifong & the copier discovery" story as being very important?

If Nifong wasn't on to the case before 3/23 where did all "the push" to frame the kids come from? And what was the motive(s) for "the push?"

Mind, I'm not saying it all didn't happen through the NTO on 3/23 with Nifong
knowing nothing.

But if it did happen that way, who was directing it and why? It must have been someone very important to get police officers to go against so much evidence other officers had that indicated no such crimes were committed.

Let me hear from you.

A commenter wrote I’ve said the most important thing in the Hoax has been the public silence of Duke trustees, administrators and almost all faculty as well as Durham’s leaders when and since Reade Seligmann was targeted with threats, including death threats.

I’ve never said that was the most important event of the Hoax.

But I do believe the threats were despicable actions that good citizens and good communities condemn. Duke and Durham’s silences are as disgraceful as they are revealing.

I’ll continue to speak out about the events of May 18. I hope all of you do, too.

Another commenter picked me up for saying the N&O had not explained its thirteen month long cover-up of the exculpatory statements Crystal Mangum made during the Mar. 24, 2006 anonymous interview.

Folks, I know Editor Sill and others at the N&O have said it was “a story on deadline;” that the N&O withheld “only details;” and that the N&O was “handicapped during the first week” by what the N&O says was the failure of the players and parents to cooperate with it.

Those are not explanations; they’re deceptive excuses.

You don’t explain a thirteen month cover-up of critically important and exculpatory news the public and other media should have had with “a story on deadline.”

If “on deadline” was the explanation for the exculpatory news not being in the March 25, 2006 story, there was nothing stopping the N&O from reporting it the next day, was there?

The only value I find in the N&O “on deadline” excuse is that it reveals the N&O’s contempt for its readers’ intelligence.

“Only details” an explanation?

The N&O’s “anonymous interview” story reported Mangum was a mother of two, a human interest detail but not important to the accusations the story was supposedly about.

I use “supposedly” because the N&O’s Mar. 25 story was in fact a fraud contrived to present Mangum as the victim while it framed the lacrosse players as her victimizers.

That’s why the N&O had to withhold such a critically important and extremely relevant detail as Mangum claiming the second dancer was also raped at the party.

Reporting that detail and other critically important details the N&O withheld would have broken the frame the N&O was working so hard to hang around the players’ necks.

And how would DA Mike Nifong have explained a second “rape victim” when he first began talking publicly about the case on March 27?

Folks, I’m out of time right now. I’ll continue this tonight.


The Churchill Series – Apr. 30, 2007

(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

From Lynne Olson’s just released “Troublsome Young Men” (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), the first chapter of which the NY Times has online here :

When the Palace of Westminster, which contains the Houses of Parliament, was rebuilt after a disastrous fire in 1834, its architect and interior designer viewed it more as a setting for royal ceremonial occasions than as the center of a democratic government.

While the scarlet and gold House of Lords chamber was outfitted with stained glass windows, a magnificent throne, opulent furnishings, and frescoes depicting medieval sovereigns, the Commons chamber was small and austere, with terrible acoustics and tiny galleries for visitors and the press.

Unlike the Lords' quarters, it was not intended as a theater of state. Yet the anger, passion, and drama displayed in the little oak-paneled hall over the past century had at times bordered on the operatic. In the view of David Lloyd George, one of the Commons' most accomplished showmen, nothing could compete with the excitement and electricity of the House.

When the young son of a parliamentary colleague told the former prime minister that he planned to go into the Royal Navy, Lloyd George frowned and shook his white-maned head. "There are much greater storms in politics," he declared. "If it's piracy you want, with broadsides, boarding parties, walking the plank, and blood on the deck, this is the place."
Churchill didn't need a Lloyd George to tell him where to seek “much greater storms.” At age twenty-five he resigned his Army commission and launched his first race for a Commons seat. That try was unsuccessful, but he won election in 1902. With the exception of a few brief periods, he remained in the Commons for the next sixty-two years.

Churchill, who certainly enjoyed the highlife and pomp, could have obtained a peerage and sat in “the scarlet and gold House of Lords chamber … outfitted with stained glass windows, a magnificent throne, opulent furnishings, and frescoes depicting medieval sovereigns.”

But, as you know, Churchill choose to remain in the “small and austere [Commons chamber], with [its] terrible acoustics and tiny galleries," from where he captained his nation through its greatest storm.

Monday, April 30, 2007

INNOCENT: Three “Musts” at Liestoppers

"... these three individuals [David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann,] are innocent of these charges."

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, Apr. 11, 2007
Three “must reads” at LS and it’s only Monday.

Joan Foster starts off with “Sleeping with Snakes.” Her son’s at college and his roommate has a snake.

Somehow that reminds Joan of Duke and its head, Dick (“Whatever they did was bad enough”) Brodhead and the 43K a year that parents shell out to a school that says it treated Reade Seligmann just fine.

At least “just fine” according Dick Brodhead and Duke’s trustees.

Come to think of it, the A&S faculty Group of 88 members have made no complaints about Duke’s treatment of Seligmann, have they? And we all know how much they complain.

So maybe Duke did do “just fine” by Seligmann, although not many of us think so.

In fact, we think Duke’s trustees helped to drive Seligmann away while thet held onto Dick Brodhead and “Dick’s senior team” with salary and benefit packages that in many instances exceed $500,000 per year.

Joan ends with a message for Brodhead and Duke that brings us back to a snake.

There is a Snake in the Prosecutor's Office in Durham. His name is Michael B. Nifong.

Nifong, the 27 yr. assistant DA, "shed his skin" as soon as he was given the reins of power. Like all snakes, Nifong depended on his sense of smell, and he immediately smelled the race-pandering opportunity in the Hoax. He cannot shed his scales at this late date and ask a nation to forget or these families to forgive.

City Manager Baker could have been Saint Patrick and acted to rid Durham of this poisonous snake. Instead, Baker currently seems to have chosen to play Cleopatra and clutch the venomous asp to his city's bosom. This is unacceptable to decent people everywhere.

We need, Mr. Brodhead, to "await" NOTHING. We demand some leadership.
Joan’s post is followed by Phillip Wood’s “The Jilted Cheerleader.”

That would be Rev. John Fitzpatrick, president of the Durham Criminal Defense Lawyers Association and pastor of One Love Ministries.

Phillip notes Fitzpatrick:
“has been a loyal and vocal supporter of Durham County’s rogue District Attorney, Mike Nifong. [However, the Attorney General’s Nifong/Mangum Hoax Summary of Conclusions appears to have finally brought some clarity to the once ardent Hoax apologist. …
Fitzpatrick, the jilted cheerleader, expressed his disillusionment to the Herald Sun:
"It's kind of deflating to think he could prosecute someone when the evidence was so insurmountably lacking," lawyer John Fitzpatrick said of Nifong, who has declined comment…"I would love to hear why [Nifong] chose to proceed on this case," he said.
Wouldn’t we all, Reverend.

Phillip continues:
To understand the totality of Rev. Fitzpatrick’s turnaround, we’ve prepared a chronology of his encouragement, support, and apologies for Defendant Nifong and his hijacked Hoax.
And then, Good Lord, do we ever get a chance to appreciate Fitzpatrick’s support for Nifong this past year. No wonder the poor man is “deflated.”

Philip put together a great post with lots of help from the quotable Fitzpatrick. My favorite quote is from Dec. 23, 2006. That was after Nifong requested dismissal of the rape charges because the false accuser “was no longer sure a penis had been used:”
Fitzpatrick said the dismissal conceivably could strengthen Nifong's case on the kidnapping and sex-offense charges.

"He no longer has to explain away the lack of semen," Fitzpatrick said. "If a penis was not used, it would automatically explain the lack of semen. Mike [Nifong] doesn't need the semen part now."
Phillip didn’t make that up. Fitzpatrick actually said it. Read the post.

The third post is not easily summarized although the title lets you know just what it’s about: “Durham City Manager Baker Approves of Corrupt Police Practices, Again.”

This from the post (another outstanding Phillip Wood effort) provides the post”s main points:
In the Nifong/Mangum Hoax, a demonstrably unstable false accuser was encouraged by Durham police to randomly identify three innocent young men for a crime that the independent investigation by the NC Attorney General’s Office proved never occurred.

Acting as willing accomplices of a politically motivated prosecutor determined to seek fraudulent indictments vital to his election campaign, Durham police then presented those “identifications” to a grand jury in order to gain indictments of factually innocent men.

An ethical city manager would investigate and publicly explain the departmental failures that resulted in the Durham PD docilely complying with the malicious whims of a rogue prosecutor willing to sell his soul to win an election.

For [Durham City Manager Patrick] Baker, it appears that absolving the Durham Police Department of responsibility outweighs ensuring that similar injustice is avoided [“the next time”] in Durham.
Phillip has written one terrific post. I plan to send links to Durham Mayor Bill Bell and every member of the Durham City Council.

The information and commentary Phillip provides are the kinds of public information and service we used to find in quality newspapers.

It’s a lengthly post. Some of you may want to do what I did: print it out and read it in bed and then again the next day.

Thanks, Liestoppers for three “musts.”

INNOCENT: Reade Seligmann's letter

"... these three individuals [David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann,] are innocent of these charges."

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, Apr. 11, 2007
Reade Seligmann sent the following letter to KC Johnson who published it at his blog. Since Seligmann's letter is meant as a "thank you" to everyone in the blogoshere who's helped in the justice fight; and since very many of you who visit this blog have helped in the fight, I'm reproducing Seligmann's letter.

The letter speaks for itself so I'll say nothing further now except this: we have a lot of work to do yet on the Hoax case. We must also keep in front of us the vision and challenge with which Seligmann ends his letter: justice for all.

I look forward to your comments.

Dear Everyone,

I have been meaning to write to all of you for quite some time. I want to thank you for your relentless dedication to uncovering the truth and your unwavering commitment to defending the innocent. I also want you all to know how appreciative I am for your concern for our well being and for your diligent dissection of this case.

I have closely followed all of your commentary over the past year and I think that you are extraordinary individuals, not to mention incredibly clever. Tuning into the case-related blogs became a daily ritual for my family and me, especially my mother.

Your posts, poems, and videos (thanks Tony S.) were so important to her that she had to learn how to operate the computer all by herself.

The encouragement and compassion we received from the blogs helped us get through some of our darkest times. We were able to seek comfort in the fact that there were people out there interested in hearing the truth—people who were not going to prejudge us because of where we lived, the schools we attended, and the sports that we played.

Thankfully, there were people like you who knew better than to view this case through a racial and political lens and chose to focus on the facts, rather than engage in unfounded speculation, to arrive at a decision. You have all done a great thing not only for Collin, David and me, but for the integrity of our legal system.

While you have all worked so hard to help the three of us clear our names, I ask that you continue your pursuit of justice in other cases. Our case, while certainly an outrageous instance of an injustice, is just one small link on an entire chain of injustices that take place in our country everyday. You have all done a wonderful thing by drawing attention to the situation we have faced, but please don’t stop here.

I know that with the support of my family and a great deal of hard work I will be able to restore my reputation and achieve the goals I have set for myself. However, I now know that it is my responsibility to use this experience to help those who will not have the chance to see the other side of their prison walls.

You have all waged a war against prosecutorial misconduct and exposed Mike Nifong, Crystal Mangum, the Durham Police Department as well as all of the other peripheral characters involved. We must continue to fight for those who do not have a voice and will never have the opportunity to sit in front of a national audience to declare their innocence.

You have all done so much for our families and we can never truly express to you how thankful we are. Now is the time for you to put to use all of the same passion, thoughtfulness, and resolve you have demonstrated on our behalf and help others who are in much more helpless situations.

INNOCENT: A Conversation with Susan Pressler

"... these three individuals [David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann,] are innocent of these charges."

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, Apr. 11, 2007
One of writer Joan Collins' many contributions to the fight for justice for David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann has been her Profiles in Courage series.

Joan's series has given us a deeper appreciation and respect for some of those most victimized by Nifong's frame-up, media distortions and the indiffernece of so many at Duke to the mistreatment - very possibly criminal mistreatment - of its students.

Joan's latest profile it titled: "A Conversation with Susan Pressler.


For some time now, several Duke Lacrosse mothers have spoken to me about Susan Pressler, wife of former Duke Lacrosse Coach, Mike Pressler.

They described a woman who not only has supported her husband and children through difficult and painful times, but has continued to be an inspiration to them and their sons. Some of the words used to describe her were “amazing, “a rock”, and “the wind beneath Mike Pressler’s wings”.

Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with Susan Pressler.
Joan's profile provides a lot of detail about what life was like for the Pressler's after Mangum made her false witness and Duke President Dick Brodhead started acting like - well, Dick Brodhead.

Much of what we learn is inspiring; but some of it is painful. For example:
After receiving threats and out of fear for their children’s safety, they sent their eldest daughter to live with friends in another city, while their youngest was sent out of state with family for a time.
What a price the Pressler's and their children have paid and will continue to pay for other people's self-rightousness, racism and rush-to-judgment!

All that Susan Pressler and her family have been through has tightened the bonds that exist between her family and the players - those on the 2006 team and those on the 15 previous Duke teams Mike Pressler coached.

About Evans, Finnerty and Seligmann, Susan Pressler said:
“I am so proud of these three young men and how they handled themselves in the face of the most unbelievable adversity. As the ones picked, it would ultimately be them and their families that the world would focus on.

No one would represent Duke Lacrosse with more class and dignity. After their innocence was announced to the world, they spoke at a press conference, their poise and presence could make every Duke alumni proud again. It showed anyone willing to see, that these are great kids from great families, who were falsely accused.
I urge you to read the entire profile which is here.

A "thank you" to Friends of Duke University for publishing the Susan Pressler profile as well as Joan's earlier profiles.

Nice work, Joan

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Hoax News Items – Apr. 29

KC Johnson ALERTS Readers in the Berkshires:

Tomorrow, [Monday, April 30] Group of 88 stalwart Grant Farred will give a talk on the lacrosse case entitled, “Public Secrets, Public Scandals: The Event of Duke Lacrosse.”

The talk is scheduled for 4.30pm, at Griffin Hall, Room 3, Williams College.

One “public scandal” of this case, of course, was Farred’s behavior—the Literature professor published a pre-election op-ed accusing hundreds of Duke students of “secret racism” for the offense of . . . registering to vote in Durham.

Given that Farred’s talk seeks to expose “Public Secrets,” it would seem that he would be eager for as much publicity as possible. Yet it is my understanding that he rejected a request for his talk to be taped.

I would invite anyone who attends the talk to take notes, which I will post.

Thanks, KC. I hope people also come with questions:

“Professor Farred, where did the money for your group's full-page 'listening statement' ad come from? University funds?”

“Can you recall where you were when you first realized it was all a hoax?”

“Is there any chance you could be lured away from Duke?” (full disclosure – I’m a Duke alum with fingers crossed on that question. – JinC)

From Joan Collins who’s written the powerful Profiles in Courage series comes this news:

A small, dedicated group of individuals made a great contribution in establishing [Friends of Duke University.]

Interestingly enough, it was started in May of 2006 because they saw a blog devoted to supporters of Crystal and they realized Collin, Reade and Dave and their families deserved one dedicated to them.

Many thanks to Jason Trumpbour and the other hard working FODU organizers. A small, well organized, well intentioned, but not-well funded group of individuals truly did make a difference. Well done FODU!

Here is the new discussion board link.
All justice seekers join with Joan in a “Well done FODU.”

Thank you and please stay at it. You’ve made a critical difference in the struggle for “Justice in Durham.”

Question: Is anyone keeping count of the number of excuses Durham City Manager Patrick Baker is offering for his failures and those of certain Durham Police officers and their supervisors?

About this time last year The Johnsville News and Liestopppers were both trying to keep track of the number of lies Mike Nifong was telling. Well, at least the public ones.

I said Nifong’s lies were coming so fast and numerous that even skillful bloggers couldn’t keep count of them. That turned out to be the case.

We may find that’s again the case with Baker’s and DPD’s excuses: 1001, 1002, ziss, ziss, click, click, 1994, 1995 …..

One thing we can all count on: When it’s time in Durham to settle the lawsuits and pay up, the money won’t be coming out of Baker’s pocket or from underneath whatever mattresses DPD Chief Steve Chalmers says he’s been sleeping on these last thirteen months.

No, the money will come from Durham taxpayers.

Mayor Bill Bell and the Durham City Council have worked hard to arrange things that way.

Even Durham Herald Sun editor Bob ("Anything goes") Ashley knows that.

More soon.

N&O’s Hoax Rowback Editorial

Did you know there’s a dictionary called The Double-Tongued Dictionary? It focuses include the slang and jargon of various professions.

Journalists’ jargon includes “rowback” which the Double-Tongued Dictionary defines thus:

rowback n. a reversal (of opinion, policy, or stated fact), esp. when intended to be surreptitious.
The Raleigh News & Observer was the first newspaper to frame the Duke lacrosse players in the public’s mind as a group made up of three white gang-rapists and their white teammates who were covering up for them.

The N&O also withheld for thirteen months excupatory news that would have stopped the frame-up. The N&O only released the critical information it had withheld after the NC Attorney General had declared David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann innocent.

The N&O has so far refused to explain why it withheld such critially important information as the false accuser's claim during an interview on March 24, 2006 that the second dancer was also raped at the party but didn’t report it for fear of losing her job.

Last Friday the N&O gave readers a big-time rowback editorial. Here’s its conclusion
With state Attorney General Roy Cooper deciding that all remaining charges against the three athletes should be dropped (Nifong himself had dismissed charges of rape after first obtaining indictments), the spotlight has been on Nifong's mishandling of the case.

But the police department bears some of the blame. Chief Steve Chalmers now should offer an accounting of his department's professional lapses; explain what, if any, discipline has been meted out; and detail what safeguards have been put in place to keep such lapses from occurring again. If Chalmers balks, his bosses, City Manager Patrick Baker and the City Council, should insist.
Bob Wilson, who was editorial page editor of the Durham Herald Sun years back when the H-S was a respected newspaper sent me this email:
I assume you've seen the N&O's lead edit today. This is an astonishing piece, a form of rowback.

First, though, why has the N&O's edit page waited a year to demand that DPD Chief Steve Chalmers account for his department's wretched performance? Chalmers has enjoyed a free ride from the N&O, the H-S and other papers.

Second, the N&O now says Nifong was "determined to prosecute what seemed a shaky case from the start."

Good God, the N&O was the prime mover in the hoax for several weeks.

If [editorial page editor] Steve Ford and his people thought the case seemed “shaky from the start,” they should have said so, firmly and clearly.

I honestly wonder, does Ford think people have flash memories, easy to fill and quick to erase?

If not for you and the other bloggers, Ford and other editorial page editors would get away with their revisionist history.
Thanks, Bob, for your comments on the N&O's rowback edit and for your nice words about the Hoax bloggers.

Folks, I sent Ford the following email:

Dear Editor Ford:

Asking Chief Chalmers for an accounting of what happened is a lot like asking Rip Van Winkle for an accounting of what happened during those 20 years he slept.

What’s needed is an investigation by a special prosecutor at the state level with subpoena powers. We need to know about possible criminal violations of state laws.

We also need a federal investigation into possible civil rights violations of the lacrosse players, other Duke students, and people such as Moezeldin Elmostafa.
The N&O ought to demand those investigations.

Then you need to provide readers some explanations they are owed.

Why in you March 28, 2006 (“Lacrosse time-out.” (pay req’d) editorial did you tell us Mangum was “the victim?”

Why did you tell readers in that same editorial Mangum’s false witness was “an act of courage?”

If you thought the case “shaky from the start,” why were you silent when the first round of DNA evidence came back negative on all 46 Duke students?

You were also silent when Reade Seligmann was subjected on May 18 at the Durham County courthouse to physical threats, including death threats. Why?

You were also silent when hate-filled people rallied under a “CASTRATE” banner and circulated the “Vigilante” poster? Why?

On June 13, 2006 Duke Law Professor James Coleman called for Nifong to recuse himself from the case. You never called on Nifong to do that. Why not?

In November you castigated Durham voters who were seeking to turn Nifong out of office. You supported his plan to put Evans, Finnerty and Seligmann on trial. Why?

Will the N&O ever explain to the players, their families, and the community why it withheld for thirteen months the critically important and exculpatory statements the false accuser made to you on March 24, 2006?


John in Carolina

Liestoppers posted on the editorial here. They raise some important points I didn’t mention.

Quasimodo rings N&O’s bell; Duke silent

Say “Quasimodo” and most people think of the bell-ringer of Notre Dame de Paris in Victor Hugo’s novel, The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

But many of us who’ve followed the Duke Hoax case closely know another Quasimodo, the one who comments often and astutely at Liestoppers forum.

This morning Liestoppers’ Quasimodo rang the Raleigh News & Observer’s bell.

Here’s what happened.

The N&O ran a story this morning: “D.C. escort case ends first career.” Under NY Times’ reporter Eric Lipton’s byline the story began:

Deborah Jeane Palfrey has not been shy about it: For more than a decade she ran an escort service that catered to upscale clients in the nation's capital, sending women to men's homes or hotel rooms.

For about $300, she promised 90 minutes of what she has described as a discreet "legal high-end erotic fantasy service." But the discreet part is over, after federal authorities charged her with operating a prostitution ring.

"The tentacles of this matter reach far, wide and high into the echelons of power in the United States," Palfrey wrote in a court filing last month, as she prepared to release a list of her clients' telephone numbers and vowed to subpoena her customers -- some of whom she described as prominent Washington officials.

It is a defense strategy that had its first casualty Friday.

Randall L. Tobias, the top foreign aid adviser in the State Department, became the most prominent person on the list to be identified when he resigned after acknowledging to ABC News that he was among Palfrey's clients.

ABC News reported that Tobias told the network on Thursday that he had called Pamela Martin and Associates -- Palfrey's business -- for massage services, not for sex. …
The story reported nothing else about Tobias other than he’d declined through his attorney to comment further.

Liestoppers’ Quasimodo, however, tells us more about Tobias with an excerpt from Tobias’ Wikipedia biography:
Tobias also has served on a number of corporate boards, including AT&T, Eli Lilly and Company,... and for 13 years as a trustee of Duke University, including 3 years as chair of the board.(emphasis added)

How did the Raleigh News & Observer, which gave us the assessed tax value of Reade Selimann’s home in New Jersey, miss “the local connection” in the Tobias story?

Will the N&O be seeking quotes from Duke’s President, Dick (“Whatever they did was bad enough”) Brodhead or any of the many faculty at Duke who’ve been expressing their “moral outrage” at 18 and 19 year olds who watched strippers and engaged in underage drinking?

Tobias did the right thing by resigning.

We need to implement at Duke and other schools effective means to punish and reduce underage drinking as well as encourage students to find more worthwhile activities than watching strippers.

And we shouldn't forget all those at Duke who've fallen victim to the hypocrisy epidemic that's been sweeping the campus for the last 13 months. Does anyone have a "recovery plan" for those people?

INNOCENT: Duke Prof & the “I” word

"... these three individuals [David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann,] are innocent of these charges."

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, Apr. 11, 2007
In 1943 the musical Oklahoma gave us the wonderful song "I Can't Say No!"

"I'm just a girl who can't say no,
I'm in a terrible fix.
I always say 'Come on, let's go!
just when I oughta say nix. ...
In 2007 we’re learning some Duke faculty members can’t say, “They’re innocent,” just when the AG does.

One of them appears to be Biology professor Sherryl Broverman.

Not too long ago, Broverman wrote a lengthy email to KC Johnson claiming she’d been misquoted in a newspaper story. KC posted on it here and included her email in full.

The newspaper story reported on the innocence of the three young men framed while they were Duke students, and while Duke trustees, its head, Dick Brodhead, his “senior team,” and almost all members of Duke’s A&S faculty either said nothing critical of what Nifong and others were doing or expressed confidence in his “investigation.”

Here’s some of Broverman’s email to KC explaining her position regarding the Duke students’ innocence:
In science, if the data doesn't support the hypothesis, you drop or modify the hypothesis.

However, if the data doesn't exist because the experiment didn't work, one can't conclude anything. Looking at how Nifong handled the case, "the experiment didn't work" and one can't conclude anything.(emphasis added)

Listening to AG Cooper this afternoon, I accept that the data does not support the hypothesis, which in real life means that charges should be dropped.
There’s a lot more to Broverman’s email, but you get the idea.

It seems Broverman sees herself as just a scientist who can’t say, “They’re innocent.”

I posted about it here and here. Scores of commenters weighed in at KC’s post and the JinC posts, many IDing themselves as scientists.

Just about all the commenters had no problem saying, “They’re innocent.”

Most of those IDing as scientists rebuked Broverman for what they said was her misunderstanding and/or abuse of science. If you haven’t read the threads, I hope you do.

I emailed Broverman a copy of each of my posts and each time invited her to respond. I said I’d publish her response in full.

My question to Broverman: Why can’t you say, “They’re innocent?”

No response.

Perhaps my third email to Broverman will be the charm. It will certainly be my last attempt to give her a chance to say what even Brodhead now feels he can say.

A copy of my email to Broverman follows. I’ll keep you informed.

Dear Professor Broverman:

On the chance my previous emails (here and here) “fell off the radar screen,” I’m sending this link to a post I’ve just put up.

The post links to your email to KC Johnson regarding what you said was Newsday’s misquoting you on concerning the innocence of David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann.

The post notes you failed to acknowledge anywhere in your email that, like NC Attorney General Roy Cooper and President Dick Brodhead, you believe the three young men are innocent.

The post gives you an opportunity to do so in a statement I’ll publish in full at JinC.

Something as brief as “I believe David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann are innocent” will do it.

Of course, if you don’t believe that or wish to say something else, I’ll publish that in full up to 600 words.

Thank you for your attention to my request.


John in Carolina