Crystal: Crystal Gail Mangum, complainant in the Duke case. Quandary: state of perplexity or doubt. Crystal's Quandary: to admit, or not to admit, that she wasn't raped at the party BEFORE the collapsing Duke case finally collapses (and risk the wrath of Durham County, North Carolina District Attorney Michael D. Nifong, including prosecution for making a false charge), or waiting for the collapsing Duke case to completely collapse (and risk prosecution for making a false charge and NEVER doing anything to mitigate the horrendous damage resulting from it).
Crystal: Crystal Gail Mangum, complainant in the Duke case.
Quandary: state of perplexity or doubt.
Crystal's Quandary: to admit, or not to admit, that she wasn't raped at the party BEFORE the collapsing Duke case finally collapses (and risk the wrath of Durham County, North Carolina District Attorney Michael D. Nifong, including prosecution for making a false charge), or waiting for the collapsing Duke case to completely collapse (and risk prosecution for making a false charge and NEVER doing anything to mitigate the horrendous damage resulting from it).
Sometimes the challenge is to choose the least hurtful alternative, not to pick among pleasant choices.
Ms. Mangum's situation is very difficult, but what is right is very clear.
"What Youth deemed crystal, Age finds out was dew.
Morn set a-sparkle, but which noon quick dried."
Robert Browning, "Jochanan Hakkadosh, Stanza 101 (1883).
To Ms. Mangum, it probably seemed like a good idea at the time: avoid incarceration by crying rape.
"Oh, what a tangled web we weave,
When first we practice to deceive."
Sir Walter Scott, "Marmion," Canto VI, Stanza 17.
For Ms. Mangum, opportunity still beckons, but the path is not smooth.
Yet, it must be clear to her what the right thing to do is and time is running out (tick, tick tick, tick).
Fortunately, America loves a redemption story and young mothers with young children.
As Sir Walter Scott opined, in "The Lay of the Last Minstrel,: Canto VI, Stanza 17:
"The wretch concentred all in self,
Living, shall forfeit fair renown,
And, doubly dying, shall go down
To the vile dust, from whence [s]he sprung,
Unwept, unhonour'd, and unsung."
Choosing to be such a wretch would be...a wretched choice.
Interestingly, Ms. Mangum cut down the number of her alleged attackers all the way down to three (from twenty) and was very slow to identity two and even slower to identify a third (it wouldn't have been a gang rape without a minimum of three).
Was Ms. Mangum's spur-of-the-moment plan just to cry rape, to avoid incarceration, and then NOT identify anyone? Was she subsequently pressured to pick at least a couple of white guys to be prosecuted?
Did Ms. Mangum decide she had to pick two and Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty become the unlucky duo, because Reade sort of met one of her three made-up descriptions and Collin reminded Ms. Mangum of the fictional Opie Taylor on the old "Andy Griffith Show" (or perhaps because someone mentioned that Collin's father had really deep pockets), even though Collin does not remotely match any of the three descriptions Ms. Mangum gave to Detective Himan?
When it was realized that Reade had a solid alibi and Collin did not match any of Ms. Mangum's descriptions, did David Evans become the third defendant because he lived at the house, he at least was still there when Ms. Mangum left and just maybe some of his DNA might be found in the bathroom, somewhere?
There's a BIG problem with targeting the son of a fellow with really deep pockets (even if he's not a lawyer)? That father is not about to let his son be railroaded on heinous felony charges, even if the entire state of North Carolina is in on it. And, of course, the entire state isn't in on.
Yes, it's hard to turn state's evidence when the district attorney is a bad guy.
There will be some (and not all of them will be lawyers) who will tell Ms. Mangum that, having claimed rape, she better stick to that claim for the rest of her life.
But, this is still America, right is still right, wrong is still wrong, the Duke Three are NOT going to be convicted and it behooves Ms. Mangum to become part of the solution to the Nifong problem (and the problems with the criminal justice system in Durham highlighted by the Duke case).
Maybe Mr. Nifong would reluctantly drop the charges to spare Ms. Mangum cross-examination. AFTER Election Day, not before, of course. But, if he survives on Election Day, somehow, don't bet on it, Ms. Mangum.
Whether the trial is televised or not, it will be apparent that Ms. Mangum lied long before the cross-examination ends and her culpability (and punishment)will be far greater than it will be if she tells the truth now.
Cash Michaels has reported "strong speculation" that Ms. Mangum tried to stop the Duke case from proceeding. If she did, she obviously did not succeed.
NOW, however, for the sake of herself and the sake of her children, if not for the sakes of the Duke Three, their families and friends and the people of Durham County, Ms. Mangum needs to succeed instead of waiting for "60 Minutes" to expose Mr. Nifong next month and hoping to be ignored.
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.