Paging Susan Lucci: Please Guest Star in "The Duke Rape Hoax"
More on the Duke case.
Fittingly, it was an independence day, Bastille Day (July 14): "An obviously concerned person anonymously posted this message to the family of Collin Finnerty on the Collin's DC Trial part of the Friends of Duke University website ():"To Collin's family: stop hiding him in the attic. IF he is innocent of all the charges let him hold his head high and face the courts and the cameras and the judges and proclaim to the world who he is. Time to grow up and face the charges like a man - even though you probably are guilty of nothing you need to jump off the speeding train or at least change tracks before they railroad you right into the BIG HOUSE. "
I didn't write it. I didn't ghostwrite it. But I fully agree.
A newspaper found it newsworthy that the Finnerty house (well, mansion) in Garden City, New York has nine bathrooms. It must have a great attic. Surely that mansion is among the best places to serve house arrest. But, house arrest even there is house arrest and cannot be enjoyable, especially when you are innocent.
Collin Finnerty is innocent of all the crimes of which he was charged in both the District of Columbia and Durham, North Carolina. Of that, I am confident. He's been an exemplary student and athlete. He is now one of America's three most known lacrosse players. (Unfortunately, all of them are known for being charged with vicious crimes instead of spectacular lacrosse play.) At least 6 feet 4 inches tall, more than 200 pounds and to be 20 within a fortnight, he needs a vote of confidence from family and advisers instead of an admonition to choose among "Yes, Your Honor," "No, Your Honor" and "I don't have anything to say, Your Honor" if he absolutely must speak. He is not mentally or physically challenged, and does not need to be overprotected, no matter how lovingly.
I think Collin must be of four minds these days: (1) appreciative of all that his family has done for him, (2) appalled over the terrible impact of he having been accused (unjustly) of crimes has had on his family and friends (as well as himself), (3) apprehensive about being framed in the Duke case and (4) eager to address the outrageous allegations against him and assure America that he is innocent, just as teammate David Evans did after he was indicted. Timidity is not a trait commonly associated with star athletes; overprotective is a trait commonly associated with caring parents and controlling lawyers.
In the DC case, the judge was obsessed with imaginary curfew violations. Even during the two-day trial, he publicly stated that he would check out an unconfirmed (and utterly erroneous) report of a Collin-citing in a blog. Given the judge's bizarre behavior (I wouldn't call it judicial temperament), it's understandable as well as unfortunate that he rejected the sworn testimony of four credible defense witnesses to the incident (the real culprit cleverly turned the tables in court and used Collin's indictment in the deplorable Duke case to do it) and instead embraced the self-serving and at least partly implausible story of a man who had to acknowledge that he had threatened a policeman in an earlier unrelated incident in order to find Collin guilty of assault (but not actually hitting anyone).
After Collin was indicted in the Durham case, the media often described him a looking angry and/or terrified. Lately, the preferred adjective seems to be meek. If I were Collin, I'd be ready to shriek.
Collin did not testify during his DC trial. Obviously that was his legal team's decision. Whether or not it was the right one, it was wrong that it was announced in advance that he would not testify. Newsday reported that Collin's father himself said on the first day of trial that he would not testify. I doubt that report, but I don't doubt that many people infer that people who don't testify are guilty, and infer it even more strongly when it is announced in advance that they will not testify (as though no matter what happens during the trial, their testimony could only make things worse).
Legal experts who agree that Collin should not have testified also believe that there was plenty of reasonable doubt.
Paging Susan Lucci, "Daytime's Leading Lady" and "The Queen of Daytime." What was initially referred to as the Duke rape case and is now generally realized to be the Duke rape hoax is America's current great soap opera. There is a great need for YOU to play a Belinda, the Good Witch of the North role. The sooner, the better.
You can be a fabulous character witness for Collin, your neighbor for many years, perhaps all of his still a bit less than a score of years. You know the whole Finnerty family and you know that the canards that Collin is a rapist and a racist are utterly false and contemptible.
Besides, people are tired of looking at the lacrosse players and lawyers.
Last April, right after it was announced that Collin and Reade Seligmann, then Duke sophomores, were indicted on charges of kidnapping, rape and sexual assault, a helicopter was flying over Garden City, but the purpose was not to get a peek at Collin, not you. (There's no accounting for the taste of those who send news helicopter pilots of their assignments.)
That day, the mainstream media did not interview you. Fortunately, another neighbor, whom I believe is a minority group member, did Collin a world of good by saying that Collin had babysat for his daughter and he would be pleased if Collin did it again. Won't you say a good word about Collin too?
Unfortunately, none of the Duke Three is a Kennedy. When William Kennedy Smith was accused of rape in 1991, his accuser passed TWO polygraph tests before charged were pursued against Mr. Smith and I do not believe Mr. Smith volunteered to take a polygraph test too. In the Duke case, each of the Duke Three has passed a polygraph test and it is the accuser who apparently is allergic to polygraph machines.
That accuser accused white men of the Duke lacrosse team of gang raping her (the number varied from 3 to 20, when she wasn't acknowledging that no one raped her); the accuser is black; the incumbent (appointed, never elected) Durham District Attorney (Mike Nifong) was about to lose the Democrat primary to a woman (Freda Black) unless he suddenly became a champion of Durham County blacks and he had never had a legal job except with the Durham County District Attorney's Office (where he initially volunteered to work for free and eventually was taken pity upon and paid).
Ms. Lucci, this soap opera desperately needs a touch of class.
Classy is NOT a word one would associate with either of the strippers hired to "entertain" at that raunchy lacrosse party (at least it was off-campus) last March. The accuser, Crystal Gail Mangum, is an ex-convict who made money as an "exotic" dancer and "escort." The other "dancer" at the party (Kim Roberts) is also an ex-convict and the opportunist who emailed a New York public relations firm two days after Collin and Reade were indicted that she was "at the center of one of the biggest stories in the country" and "worried about letting the opportunity pass...by without making the best of it...."
Interestingly. Ms. Roberts' lawyer is Mark Simeon. Mr. Simeon usually handles traffic violations and routine criminal matters in Durham courts. Mr. Simeon is black and he ran and lost in Durham County's race for district attorney in 2002. Mr. Nifong was the protege of the man who won in 2002 (James Harden), and he and Mr. Nifong were not friends. But in 2006 the candidates were Mr. Nifong, Freda Black (the favorite and white) and Keith Bishop, a black without prosecutorial experience. Mr. Nifong was not to proud to go to an NAACP dinner, cross the room and extend his hand to Mr. Simeon (who presumably would benefit if any of the Duke Three is convicted and his client sues lacrosse players civilly for mistreatment). On March 28, Mr. Nifong first spoke out on the Duke case. The next day Mr. Simeon agreed to support Mr. Nifong and invited Mr. Nifong to speak at his church (Ebenezer Missionary Baptist). Get this: On April 9, Mr. Simeon introduced Mr. Nifong as a man who had always been a "good prosecutor" and, behold, Mr. Simeon recently had learned that Mr. Nifong also was a "good man." God have mercy on those white Yankees, no matter how wealthy their families, when Messrs. Nifong and Simeon make common cause. A week later Mr. Nifong acceded to Mr. Simeon's request that MR. NIFONG ask the court to relieve Ms. Roberts (Mr. Simeon's client) of her obligation to pay bail-bond fees. The primary election was May 2. Mr. Simeon urged the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People to support Mr. Nifong. Mr. Nifong won more than enough black votes to overcome Ms. Black's advantage among the rest of the Durham primary voters.
Then there is Willie Gary, the "shark" in the background, His self-description at his own website suggests he fits snugly in the soap opera that is the Duke rape hoax:
"Willie Gary knows better than anyone that tough times never last but tough people do. Growing up in a poor migrant family, Gary beat the odds to become a multi-millionaire nationally renown[ed] attorney, who is known for giving back to the less fortunate.
"Gary keeps rising out of the shack he and his ten sisters and brothers shared. Gary was the first black male to go to college from the small town of Indiantown where his family labored in the cane fields. He still remembers the tiny shack where he lived in the Silver City settlement of Pahokee, Florida. Gary often drives by the shack with a clear vision of those times."
How does Mr. Gary fit in?
He's laying in wait to bring the big civil lawsuit against anyone and everyone convicted?
[Message to Mr. Gary: There's no there there, Mr. Gary, and you aren't going to be able to convince a jury that there is after it all blows up in the faces of Ms. Mangum and Mr. Nifong.]
"ESSENCE magazine has learned that famed civil-rights attorney Willie Garymet with the mother of the young woman at the center of the controversial Duke rape investigation briefly this afternoon in Chapel Hill.
"Reverend Jesse Jackson told ESSENCE that during a conversation in whichhe called to pray with the parents of the alleged victim, he suggested that the family call Willie Gary and gave the mother the necessary contact information.The father of the 27-year-old alleged victim called Willie Gary’s office to followup on Reverend Jackson’s suggestion."
Details: "Today’s conversation between the alleged victim’s mother and Willie Gary took place at a Chapel Hill church where Gary was scheduled to speak.The 30-minute meeting occurred at the request of the mother, who toldESSENCE that she did it for the sake of her daughter. 'I think he would make a good lawyer,' the mother told ESSENCE. 'A very good lawyer.' She also saidthat she believed her daughter would like Gary if she had a chance to meethim."
Hopefully, THAT bit of news did not excite Mr. Gary's interest.
Mr. Gary's initial foray into the fantastic fray:
"When asked why he agreed to today’s meeting, Gary told ESSENCE, 'Itappears that a grave injustice has been done. And if I can help in any way tolevel the playing field, then I’m willing to do it.' This may come as good news to many in the alleged victim’s family as the defense attorneys in the controversial case have reportedly assembled an army of lawyers from some of the most prestigious law firms in Durham, Washington, D.C., and New Jersey.
"Gary also told ESSENCE that he had a great meeting with the mother. “She’s very much interested in my getting involved. However,' he added, 'I’ve only met with the mother today. At this particular time I have not spoken to the daughterand will not [speak with her] until such time as she calls.”
It is the Duke Three who are facing an unlevel playing field. Home fieldadvantage belongs to District Attorney Nifong. Crystal is a Durhamite; the Duke Three are white Yankees from wealthy families what would be helplesslywatching them being railroaded if they did not have the means to battle anout-of-control District Attorney.
Is Mr. Nifong really out of control?
Doesn't being out-of-control explain the way he has conducted the case:initially trying the case in the media and rushing to indict, ignoring exculpatory evidence and polygraph offers, harassing the black taxi driver who hadadmitted to giving Reade a ride at a time that refutes the charges against him,delaying a trial, etc.?
It sure looks like Mr. Nifong's office is out of control too.
Example One: C. Destine Couch, who was sworn in last December. His destiny doesn't look good today (his myspace.com posting was discoveredand partly cached before he closed it). He and Crystal graduated from high school together (isn't that...precious?) and his mother was one of Mr. Gary's clients (suing Duke Medical Center for $30,000,000--a nice number--andwinning a $2,500,000 verdict, only to have it overturned).Mr. Couch is very much into bodybuilding and this message was posted nearly four years ago under his screen name at http://forum.bodybuilding.com/archive/index.php/t-48821.html."1) Professional wrestling is very demanding. Although the outcome is pre-determined, the contact is real. You can read Mick Foley's book if you need proof. The level of cardio is very demanding as well. I guess some of you people think they throw water on, but that is actual sweat. Hell, you can see hard the cardio is by watching the contestants on Tough Enough."2) It is possible to get as big as some of those wrestlers without taking anything. What one lacks in genetics, you can make up with intensity and focus...for the most part."3) By the same token, some of those guys have to be juicing. I seriously doubt Stone Cold or Chris Jericho is. However, when you have a guy like HHH, who was a natural ectomorph, doing shows 20 days out of the month.... well, you get the picture. I am an ectomorph and I do zero cardio just to maintain my weight. If I I miss 1 meal, I lose a pound the next day. I have a friend who is the exact opposite. He is endo-metamorph. He went from a fat 6'1 300 to a scary 6'1 250. He takes fat burners and does cardio on the regular. (Damn him, and he's 3yrs younger than me!)"4) *Hmm, I wonder if HHH would have pulled his quad if he had spent more time doing squats rather than so much upper body work? I hate my calves, but damn, I wonder if he has ever done a calve raise."5) Ahem... I like WWE and DBZ! Anyone interested in getting free clips/movies of either, email me and I'll hook you up!"6) Ok, here is my 'before' pic. This was my senior year in high school (1996) when I was 6'2 165."
APPEAL TO HILLSDALE HIGH SCHOOL, DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA GRADUATES: Anything the people should know about Mr. Couch and Ms. Mangum (was it Janette Rivers then?), Class of 1996? I wonder what's in their high school yearbook.Mr. Couch should have just stayed with bodybuilding instead of taking up prosecuting too. Example Two: Mr. Nifong's investigators in the Duke case. This is some soap opera, Ms. Lucci, so now the investigators are in trouble with the law in another jurisdiction (Raleigh, North Carolina) for, believe it or not, being in a bar fightand using racial epithets!.
On July 22, 2006, Associated Press issued this report:
"Raleigh police are investigating an alleged assault outside a nightclub that involved Durham police officers, authorities said Saturday.
"No police report of the incident was on record at the Raleigh police department Saturday.
"Chalmers said no criminal charges have been filed against anyone from his department and that the names of the officers allegedly involved in the incident aren't being released because of confidentiality issues."'We have a strict code of conduct and we expect every member of our department to conduct themselves in a professional manner at all times,' Chalmers said in a statement."A Raleigh police spokesman did not immediately return a message Saturday seeking comment. Calls to Durham's city manager were also not returned."What did not appear in the report is much more interesting: Sergeant Mark Gottlieb, supervisor in the Duke case, was assigned to administrative duty with pay Friday, and Investigator Richard Clayton (who assisted Sergeant Gottlieb) was placed on administrative duty with pay on the same day. The Durham police declined to comment on the reason for the change in the status of the two men or whether it was related to the assault complaint made by Rene Dennis Thomas, 29, a restaurant cook, made to Raleigh police.Mr. Thomas is black. He has claimed to have been smoking a cigarette about 11:30 p.m. when he saw a black Nissan truck speed out of the parking lot, tires squealing. He allegedly shouted mockingly at the driver’s raucous display. A passenger in the truck, whom he described as white, yelled a racial slur at him, Thomas said. Thomas allegedly retaliated with a different racial epithet.Mr. Thomas' claim: He found himself surrounded by at least three more cars; several men got out of the vehicles; one of them charged at him; he dropped to the ground to protect himself; someone hit him and a shoe grazed his face, leaving him with minor cuts and bruises.Mr. Thomas told a manager about the incident, who called Raleigh police at 11:58 p.m., according to a police report.
The manager and several employees told Raleigh police that the men were regular customers whom they believed were Durham police officers.
Durham Police Chief Steve Chalmers acknowledged Saturday that some Durham officers were the subjects of a Raleigh police criminal probe and also are the targets of an internal review in Durham.Messrs. Gottlieb and Clayton apparently are not talking. (Not talking is the usual legal advice, and really good when the person being advised is guilty.)
That doesn't mean they are guilty and it surely doesn't mean that they are innocent. Many people, including innocent people, are advised not to speak and meekly accept that advice (which may turn out to be good OR bad).
Americans tend to expect the innocent to vigorously proclaim their innocence and to look them in the eye, unflinchingly, and so speak in a firm, forceful, yet controlled way. Much like one of the Duke Three--David Evans--did after he was indicted. (David's luck is mixed. The son of a prominent attorney father and lobbyist mother, he hosted the party and was responsible for the "entertainment" (shame on you, David!), but he was impressive, even indignant in professing not only his innocence, but the innocence of all the members of the Duke men's lacrosse team and the malignant nature of the charges and the prosecution (make that, persecution). David lost the great job he would have started but for his indictment. That was ample punishment for egregious judgment, but the indictment itself was completely unwarranted and a personal and political abuse of prosecutorial power.
Unfortunately, the previously indicted sophomores--Collin and Reade--seem to have been pretty much gagged by their advisers. Ironically, they are not even to blame for the "entertainment." I'd wager that they didn't stay for or focus on the "entertainment" and wish they would speak up for themselves. Reade's alibi evidence seems incontrovertible, and Collin's father has publicly stated that Collin can account for every minute (but, after Mr. Nifong tried to move the timeline after Reade's astounding alibi evidence was made public, has not presented a minute-by-minute account).
But for the Duke case, the DC fight in which Collin was involved last November (he was the one hit in the back of the head and contented himself with fake punches according to even the most unfavorable account) would not have resulted in a trial. One should give the DC prosecutor (a black female) the benefit of any doubt as to whether she opted to void the plea deal and prosecute based on Collin's undeserved arrest in Durham, even though the judge who convicted Collin seemed to have forgotten that even a simple assault case is supposed to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt and Greta van Susteren found the conviction "stunning."Sadly, many people erroneously believe that (1) anyone who takes a plea deal must be guilty of something (and deserving of at least as much punishment as provided under the deal), and (2) Collin had pleaded guilty in the D.C. case instead of simply agreeing to do 25 hours of community service as part of a group plea deal that two of his friends preferred to take).
Ms. Lucci, what Collin needs is for the facts to come out. The "hired priest" libel needs to be exposed as the pernicious Catholic-bashing it is. America needs to learn that Collin is a superb young lacrosse player from a wealthy Catholic family who enjoyed the benefits of an excellent pre-college Catholic education and was admitted to Duke University on both academic merit and athletic ability, NOT a kidnapper, a rapist, an assaulter (sexual or otherwise), or a homophobe.
Waiting until a trial next year is wrong. Justice delayed is justice denied (whether it is denied by a prosecutor, a judge or even a lawyer). Say what you can to help, Ms. Lucci. You are like the GEICO gecko: people trust you!
Michael J. Gaynor has been practicing law in New York since 1973. A former partner at Fulton, Duncombe & Rowe and Gaynor & Bass, he is a solo practitioner admitted to practice in New York state and federal courts and an Association of the Bar of the City of New York member.
Gaynor graduated magna cum laude, with Honors in Social Science, from Hofstra University's New College, and received his J.D. degree from St. John's Law School, where he won the American Jurisprudence Award in Evidence and served as an editor of the Law Review and the St. Thomas More Institute for Legal Research. He wrote on the Pentagon Papers case for the Review and obscenity law for The Catholic Lawyer and edited the Law Review's commentary on significant developments in New York law.
The day after graduating, Gaynor joined the Fulton firm, where he focused on litigation and corporate law. In 1997 Gaynor and Emily Bass formed Gaynor & Bass and then conducted a general legal practice, emphasizing litigation, and represented corporations, individuals and a New York City labor union. Notably, Gaynor & Bass prevailed in the Second Circuit in a seminal copyright infringement case, Tasini v. New York Times, against newspaper and magazine publishers and Lexis-Nexis. The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed, 7 to 2, holding that the copyrights of freelance writers had been infringed when their work was put online without permission or compensation.
Gaynor currently contributes regularly to www.MichNews.com, www.RenewAmerica.com, www.WebCommentary.com, www.PostChronicle.com and www.therealitycheck.org and has contributed to many other websites. He has written extensively on political and religious issues, notably the Terry Schiavo case, the Duke "no rape" case, ACORN and canon law, and appeared as a guest on television and radio. He was acknowledged in Until Proven Innocent, by Stuart Taylor and KC Johnson, and Culture of Corruption, by Michelle Malkin. He appeared on "Your World With Cavuto" to promote an eBay boycott that he initiated and "The World Over With Raymond Arroyo" (EWTN) to discuss the legal implications of the Schiavo case. On October 22, 2008, Gaynor was the first to report that The New York Times had killed an Obama/ACORN expose on which a Times reporter had been working with ACORN whistleblower Anita MonCrief.