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"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." - John 8:32
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Author:  Michael J. Gaynor
Bio: Michael J. Gaynor
Date:  May 31, 2007
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Topic category:  Other/General

Duke Case: Combating Lies and Hate

Not being confident that "a sense of fairness and decency" rules at The Washington Post, I have quoted the letter in full, so that my readers can take note and perhaps email ombusman@washpost.com and let her know that there should be "a sense of fairness and decency' prevailing there as well as everywhere else.

Apparently, some at North Carolina Central University, where false accuser Crystal Gail Mangum was a student when she wasn't pole dancing or stripping, celebrated Johns Hopkins' 12-11 victory over Duke in the men's lacrosse championship.

Note to those silly (or sick) celebraters:

First, as Hero of the Hoax Bill Anderson put it: 'These young men [of Duke's lacrosse team] had their season cut short and the university did not even decide to field a team again until June [of 2006], which cost the team key recruits. Furthermore, lacrosse is both a physical and a skill sport, and these young men went almost a year without being involved in meaningful competition, and it is a wonder that these young men were able to put together a season that came up one goal short of a national championship."

Second, the Hopkins team was NOT playing for Ms. Mangum and/or Durham County, North Carolina District Attorney Michael B. Nifong.

Third, the Duke team acquitted itself magnificently in the way it came in second: playing in Hopkins territory after winning the tougher semi-final (and the second semi-final game), Duke fell behind by 2, came back to tie, fell behind by six, came back to tie, fell behind by one and was on the attack and shooting as time ran out. Those guys came out second best in that game, but they never quit and they showed lots more character than it takes to win. Also, although each team can only field so many players at a time, Hopkins had more players. If Duke had Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty to call upon, I doubt they would have fallen behind by six, or lost. So I credit Johns Hopkins for winning a great game and blame Ms. Mangum, Mr. Nifong and Duke President Richard Brodhead for Duke's loss.

Good News: The NCCA has mitigated some of the damage cause by Duke suspending its 2005-2006 men's lacrosse season by granting Duke's request for an extra year of eligibility for its men's lacrosse players following rape allegations that led to the cancellation of much of last season.

The decision affects 33 players who were not seniors during the 2006 season, and it grants them a fifth year of eligibility regardless of whether they play at Duke or another school.

What will Duke do for the players who lost a season and graduated in 2006, including indicted David Evans and unindicted teammates?

And will it shamelessly refuse to settle without a confidentiality agreement?

There is more to be done, starting with educating the educable about the wrongly maligned members of the 2005-2006 Duke University Men's Lacrosse team.

Durham, North Carolina's News & Observer's article on Duke almuni Bob Pascal's full-page ad in USA Toda is a step in the right direction. Running the ad nationally earned USA Today more than $100.000. (Given its reporting promoting the Hoax, USA Today should have run it for free.)

The text of Mr. Pascal's ad included an invitation ("For a team very few people stood by, how about a standing ovation?") and a list of the team's team's accomplishments in the wake of the Hoax that inspired Duke to cancel the last eight games of the 2006 season. (Given its reporting, The News & Observer should have listed all of them.)

Herewith the rest of the text of the ad:

"Here's something you haven't seen much of lately: Congratulatory praise for a team that has been the focus of one of the most unfair, unforgiving, and unfortunate media spectacles in sports history. But it's never too late to give a little credit where more than a little credit is due. Against all odds, this year's Duke Men's Lacrosse Blue Devils banded together as a team, kept their focus on the field and went 17-3 for the season. They took the ACC Championship, and even earned their place in the NCAA National Championship final game. Off the field, they scored pretty well, too: A team GPA of 3.4 and a 100% graduation rate for the fourth year in a row. Not to mention, over 570 community-service hours logged on behalf of worthy organizations like the Ronald McDonald House. On behalf of former Duke University athletes, friends, and supporters, we salute this outstanding -not to mention, upstanding- lacrosse team and their families for standing tall.

"Congratulations Duke Men's Lacrosse Team and their families.

"Bob Pascal (Duke class of '57) and Family"

Coincidentally, while Mr. Pascal was leading an education campaign, another Marylander was castigating me (privately) for criticizing Mike Wise of The Washington Post.

He emailed:

"I actually felt that Mike Wise's column was not only the middle ground but perhaps the most fair synopsis of the Duke case in its entirety. After reading your trashing of Mr. Wise, I feel the need to respond. Before I do, let me make clear, that I believe the three boys are innocent, Mike Nifong is a scumbag and that the parents of the boys should sue Mr. Nifong. However, it is columns like yours that leave the wounds open in this case. I will take your own words and respond to each fairly. I hope you will contact me and at the very least acknowledge that my points are well taken. If any of what I say is false, please tell me why they are false and cite the source:

"Mr. Wise's agenda is obvious: (1) trash the Duke lacrosse scholar athletes for 'a poor entertainment choice' (hiring strippers and stripping for hire are legal in North Carolina, even though I wish they were not).

"What you leave out that has many upset is that these boys specifically asked for African American strippers and not only that they said that they were members of the Duke baseball team. If this is not true, then I stand corrected. If it is sir, and you don't find this to be a problem, please tell me why it is not.

"(2) extol the false accuser as a loving parent whose only mistake was 'a poor career choice' (nothing about her criminal history, mental history or her prior claim to have been gang raped);

"I agree with you to an extent on this point. However, you say 'nothing about her criminal history.' What about Colin Finnerty's history. I am willing to say that her history is a problem if you will say Mr. Finnerty's history is a problem. Let me make it clear, my heart goes out to Ryan Seigleman [Intended to be Reade Seligmann] who was not even at the party [actually, he was] and to David Evans. However, don't tell me Colin Finnerty is a good kid and more importantly don't lump him in with the good kids on that team like former Coach Pressler's wife foolishly does. In fact, the hat she wore in Baltimore yesterday that reads 'DUKE LACROSSE INNOCENT' should read 'DUKE LACROSSE INNOCENT OF RAPE.' Mike Wise is on the money when he says that this is not 'To Kill A Mockingbird Two.' In fact, I have heard many of your colleagues make a comparison to Don Imus' comments on the Rutgers women's basketball team to that of the Duke players. Sir, let me make this clear, the women's team was coming off a miracle season when Imus made his comments. What exactly were the men's lacrosse team coming off of when they were falsely accused?? In fact, if I were a parent of one of the women on the Rutgers team, I would find the comparison insulting.

"(3) whitewash the white guy who shamelessly played the race card to win a Democrat primary by suddenly becoming a hero to Durham County, North Carolina's blacks (District Attorney Michael B. Nifong) as 'bungling' (as though his grossly prejudicial, pre-primary pretrial public statements, refusal to consider exculpatory evidence and to question Ms. Mangum, agreement with Dr. Brian Meehan to exclude exculpatory evidence from a report on DNA testing and various misrepresentations to judges and defense counsel and threats to defense counsel were simple clumsiness instead of contemptible calculation);

"Mike Wise went after Nifong. I totally agree with you on Nifong! I hope this was an oversight on your part.

"(4) excuse the media's rush to misjudgment as the result of overzealousness;

"I don't think he did that and in fact, I think you are guilty of the same selective facts you choose to include as well as exclude in your article.

"(5) make 'everyone' victims.

Well, in fact I think Mike Wise included the team and Mike Pressler as victims.

"Speaking of Coach Pressler, I need to ask you something that you failed to mentioned in your article:

"Coach Pressler was aware of what happen two days after the party and three days before the next scheduled game. You don't think he should have dealt with it internally? You don't think he should have taken accountability and suspended the team captains for a game or two? I hope Coach Pressler addresses this in his new book. If he does not take accountability then I think it would be unfortunate and if that is the case, then the only thing Duke did right was to force him out. If you disagree with this, I would love to hear why?

"Thank you"

The writer used his own name (full credit for that) and his email address was a business one that permitted me to find his website.

I discovered, no kidding, among other things, that the writer is a political analyst who has appeared on programs such as Fox-Television in Washington D.C., National Public Radio, WMAL Radio in Washington D.C. and CNNíS "Inside Politics," is an on-air analyst for a radio station and is quoted in The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, and USA Today, not to mention The News & Observer!

I emailed back:

"I suggest you read Coach Pressler's book, out next month. The one person who called Allure to order strippers did NOT ask for African American strippers. The North Carolina AG's office so stated. And I have it on other authority too. The orderer was told a white and a Hispanic would be sent. Neither of the two who came is white or Hispanic. I do not reveal my sources, but I do check them. I don't approve of hiring strippers, regardless of color or race, but the story that African-American strippers were specifically ordered is as bogus as the gang rape claim.

"As for Collin: see http://www.theconservativevoice.com/article/16107.html [my article entitled 'Collin Finnerty's D.C. Assault Conviction Is the Disgrace').

"I will comment on Coach Pressler after I read his book. If you think I don't have some criticism of him, you're mistaken. But I want to read what he says before commenting. The stripper party was not on campus and during spring break and such things are legal in NC, so it's not as simple as I wish it were.

"Calling Nifong a bungler is excusing his moral culpability.

"I found Imus' comment good reason to terminate his contract if he did not have a special contract, but apparently his contract has a 'warning clause,' so I wonder whether he will win his lawsuit.

"As for who suffered more--the lacrosse guys or the basketball gals, it's no contest. Everyone realized Imus was a fool. None of the gals was indicted. They were insulted by a jerk. The guys lost a season, the Hoax was largely believed and therefore they were subjected to abuse based on false charges, and three were indicted and legally persecuted for about a year by a rogue prosecutor with a personal political agenda."

The writer apparently is educable. He replied: "Thank you for your quick response. I think you make some excellent points and there are things that I was not aware of that you brought to light. Let me just add that in fairness to Mike Wise, he is not aware of your source that refutes that the boys asked for African American strippers. So, I think you should cut him some slack. Overall, I think your points are very well taken."

Meanwhile, a parent of one of the unindicted players tried to persuade The Washington Post to do the right thing, by writing to The Washington Post's ombuswoman as follows:

"Dear Ms Howell,

"I am writing concerning Mike Wise's article 'Continuing Confilicts' which appeared in the paper on May,26,2007. The article deals with the Duke lacrosse incident. Mr. Wise's article is yet another example of inaccurate, biased and lazy reporting. His libelous attack on the lacrosse players' characters is consistent with the Post's biased reporting on the lacrosse incident and the players.

"Below are some facts and statistics which Mr. Wise conveniently failed to mention in his article. These are based on student misconduct statistics prepared by Duke's Judicial Affairs dept. and presented on their website. These facts more accurately portray the lacrosse players' characters than Mr. Wise's misleading representation.

"1) In the six most recent academic years ending in 2006, there were a total of 377 incidents of academic dishonesty ( cheating, plagiarism etc.) by all Duke students. None were lacrosse players.

"2) In the six years ending in 2006 there were a total of 46 incidents of physical abuse, fighting and endangerment. None were lacrosse players.

"3) In the six years ending in 2006 there were 20 incidents of sexual misconduct. None were lacrosse players.

"4) In the six years ending in 2006 there were 96 incidents of drug related misconduct. Only one was a lacrosse player (smoking marijuana in his room in 2001 and he was not on last year's team).

"5) In the three years ending in 2006 ( earlier years not available) there were 171 alcohol related medical calls to the Duke police/ EMS. None were lacrosse players. It's likely that these are the most serious, and dangerous, alcohol related violations.

"6) About 60% of the lacrosse players, based on last year's team, had GPA's of 3.0 and higher.

"7) The lacrosse players have a 100% graduation rate.

"8) Per the Report issued by the Coleman Committee (formed last year to review the lacrosse players' behavior) the lacrosse players' 'conduct has not involved fighting, sexual assault or harassment or racist behavior'.... 'By all accounts, the lacrosse players are a cohesive, hard working, disciplined and respectful athletic team.'

"The vast majority of the lacrosse players' incidents of misconduct were minor and involved underage and/or public drinking, not abusive or dangerous use of alcohol. Their behavior, in this regard, was not atypical of most college students. If one focuses on the more important measures of character, integrity and responsible behavior, as listed above, the lacrosse players have behaved better, on average, than other Duke students.

"These lacrosse players, and their families, went through agony for over a year as they were the victims of one of the worst miscarriages of justice in recent memory .Irresponsible reporting, such as Mr. Wise's article, contributes to this agony. I would ask you, from a sense of fairness and decency, to set the record straight, issue a retraction, and publish these very relevant facts about the players which Mr. Wise omitted from his article."

Not being confident that "a sense of fairness and decency" rules at The Washington Post, I have quoted the letter in full, so that my readers can take note and perhaps email ombusman@washpost.com and let her know that there should be "a sense of fairness and decency' prevailing there as well as everywhere else.

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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