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"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." - John 8:32
WEBCommentary Contributor
Author:  Michael J. Gaynor
Bio: Michael J. Gaynor
Date:  April 16, 2007
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Topic category:  Other/General

Duke Case: False Accuser Crystal Gail Mangum Should Not Get a Pass

The North Carolina Democrat establishment may find it helpful not to prosecute false accuser Crystal Gail Mangum and to pretend that the problem was just an individual--Durham County, North Carolina District Attorney Michael B. Nifong--failing to investigate properly, but that is revisionist history covering up the racist component of the prosecution and a deeper corruption problem.

From the LieStoppers message board:

"'I really don't feel in my gut any need to go charge Crystal Mangum,' lawyer Wade Smith of Raleigh said. 'I understand the philosophy that people shouldn't be able to just do this and get away with it. On the other hand, I'm not sure that it enhances our society any, our civilization any, to now bring the power down upon her.'

"Mangum, he said, 'is just one human being.' The reason the prosecution moved forward, he said, was because Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong failed to investigate the case. Smith said Nifong did not look into Mangum's history of alcohol abuse and psychological instability."

Mr. Smith represented Collin Finnerty.

Mr. Smith's law firm's online profile of him states in part: "In 1973 Mr Smith was elected to the North Carolina House of Representatives and was reelected in 1975. In 1977 he retired from politics to devote full time to the practice of law. In 1985 he was elected to a one-year term as chair of the North Carolina Democratic Party."

The North Carolina Democrat establishment may find it helpful not to prosecute false accuser Crystal Gail Mangum and to pretend that the problem was just an individual--Durham County, North Carolina District Attorney Michael B. Nifong--failing to investigate properly, but that is revisionist history covering up the racist component of the prosecution and a deeper corruption problem.

Do not be deceived: Mr. Nifong would not have prosecuted if Ms. Mangum was white or the defendants were black. He was playing the race card. He would not have concealed exculpatory DNA evidence and lied to both the court and defense counsel if he was not playing the race card and banking on a black bloc vote to elect him.

Ms. Mangum may or may not be deluded. She surely filled a false rape report. Ignoring it would be wrong.

There are racist blacks as well as racist whites, and that needs to be appreciated if racial progress is to be made.

It was appropriate of North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper to add that the evidence showed that Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and David Evans were innocent of the heinous first-degree felony charges on which they were indicted, but let's not idolize him for telling the truth and let's not forget that he did nothing to help the situation until Durham County, North Carolina District Attorney Michael B. Nifong asked him to replace him on the Duke case.

The disbarNifong.com website links on its home page to an article of mine posted on several websites in mid-June of 2006 entitled "Concerned Americans, let North Carolina hear from you."

I wrote in part:

"All Americans who care about the state of the criminal justice system have a stake in this case. Rapes should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and so should false accusations of rape by opportunists (including an opportunist who would hope to profit by a false charge and exacerbate racial tension by targeting people of a different color).

"Please write to North Carolina's Attorney General:

"The Honorable Roy CooperAttorney General

NC Attorney General's Office

9001 Mail Service Center

Raleigh, NC 27699-9001Fax 919-716-6750

NCAGO@NCDOJ.com"

Contact information for North Carolina Governor Michael Easley and Executive Director of the North Carolina State Bar L. Thomas Lunsford, II was also set forth, together with this suggested language that I received from a very concerned relative of a true victim in the Duke case:

"Share your thoughts with them. Let them know that knowingly prosecuting innocent people for political purposes is a no no (regardless of race, color, creed, national origin or sex).

"Use you own words, but feel free to make some of these words your own:

"Regarding the Duke University 'rape' case, it has come to my attention that an investigation into how the legal case developed and the actions of Durham County District Attorney Michael Nifong in particular is in order.

"It now appears that some of Mr. Nifong's actions were not only inappropriate, but an egregious abuse of the power entrusted to him for his own political/personal purposes.

"If so, his conduct has been grossly unprofessional and the State Bar needs to act.

"Much more than the futures and lives of three young men indicted on the basis of a misleading presentation of evidence is in your hands. The integrity of the criminal justice system and public confidence in it are in your hands.

"To be sure, the message must be sent that rape, sexual assault and kidnapping will not be tolerated.

"But messages also must be sent that a hoax will not be tolerated either, and the exposure of a hoax will not be delayed for political/partisan purposes.

"Gentleman, you did not ask for it, and you surely did not expect it, but the Duke University 'rape' case has become your responsibility. It is vital that you deal with it responsibly and expeditiously, for everyone's sake.

"Thank you for your anticipated attention to this now monumentally important matter.

"For your convenience, an incisive commentary by Nicholas D. Kristof (New York Times, June 11, 2006) is set forth below.

"Jocks and Prejudice

"By Nicholas D. Kristof

"As more facts come out about the Duke lacrosse scandal, it should prompt some deep reflection.

"No, not just about racism and sexism, but also about the perniciousness of any kind of prejudice that reduces people yes, even white jocks to racial caricatures. This has not been the finest hour of either the news media or academia: too many rushed to make the Duke case part of the 300-year-old narrative of white men brutalizing black women. That narrative is real, but any incident needs to be examined on its own merits rather than simply glimpsed through the prisms of race and class.

"Racism runs through American history African-American men still risk arrest for the de facto offense of 'being black near a crime scene.' But the lesson of that wretched past should be to look beyond race and focus relentlessly on facts.

"So let's look at facts. Time-stamped photos show the accuser dancing at a lacrosse team party at 12:04 a.m. and slumped outside the house where the party was taking place at 12:30 a.m., so the alleged beating, gang rape and sodomy would have had to occur during that interval. Stuart Taylor Jr., the legal writer once for this newspaper and now for National Journal, has noted that the later photo shows her looking relaxed, with her clothes in good order.

"Mr. Taylor, who has covered this case meticulously, told me he was more than 90 percent confident that the defendants were innocent.

"One of the defendants is Reade Seligmann, whose cellphone made at least seven calls between 12:05 and 12:14. The last was to a taxi driver, who picked up Mr. Seligmann at 12:19. That's a pretty good alibi.

"Meanwhile, no DNA evidence has turned up to confirm that the accuser had any sex with the lacrosse players (she said no condoms were used). It also turns out that the accuser is herself a bundle of complexities: a Navy veteran and full-time university honor student but one who moonlights for an escort service, has a criminal record and in the past has accused three men of gang-raping her.

"I've been poring over a half-dozen police reports and witness reports filed in court in dribs and drabs, the latest just a few days ago. The initial police report by Sgt. J. C. Shelton shows that the accuser didn't raise the issue of rape until she was about to be locked up in a mental health center. Then when she said she had been raped, she was transported instead to a hospital, where the same police report says she recanted the rape charge, and finally reinstated it.

"A different report by a police investigator says that the other dancer at the party initially scoffed that the allegation of rape was a 'crock.'

"Granted, traumatized victims and witnesses can be terrified and confused. We don't know what happened, and we should avoid stereotyping the accuser because of her job but we should also avoid stereotypes of lacrosse players as 'hooligans.'

"That's what the district attorney, Mike Nifong, called the Duke athletes. As I see it, he may be the real culprit here. For starters, his many public statements seem to violate the North Carolina rules of professional conduct; Section 3.8f bars prosecutors from 'making extrajudicial comments that have a substantial likelihood of heightening public condemnation of the accused.'

"Mr. Nifong may have had a motive for prosecuting a case that wouldn't otherwise merit it: using it as a campaign tool. Heavily outspent in a tough three-way election race, he was the lone white man on the ballot, and he needed both media attention and black votes to win. In the end, he got twice as many black votes as his closest opponent, and that put him over the top.

"Unfortunately, many in the commentariat started by assuming that the lacrosse players were thugs. Prof. Houston Baker, who is now leaving Duke, demanded that the university dismiss the coaches and players as a response to 'abhorrent sexual assault, verbal racial violence, and drunken white male privilege loosed among us.'

"Look, we have a shameful history in this country of racial prejudice. One of the low points came in the 1930's when the Scottsboro Boys were pulled off a train in Alabama and charged with rape because of the lies of two white women. The crowds and media began a witch hunt (one headline: 'Nine Black Fiends Committed Revolting Crime') because they could not see past the teenagers' skin color.

"So let's take a deep breath and step back. Black hobos shouldn't have been stereotyped then, and neither should white jocks today."

I faxed a copy of my article to General Cooper too.

Better late than never, General Cooper, but you prolonged the agony.

Michael J. Gaynor

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Biography - Michael J. Gaynor

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.

Gaynor's email address is gaynormike@aol.com.


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Copyright 2007 by Michael J. Gaynor
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