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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:  June 13, 2007
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Duke Case Truths

President Brodhead did not choose the "entertainment" for the party, but he encouraged the Hoax by acts and omissions as his scholar athletes were falsely accused by an ex-convict stripper, persecuted by a politically opportunist rogue prosecutor and terrorized by protesters praised by the notorious Group of 88, by (1) only giving lip service to the presumption of innocence, (2) treating the Hoax as legitimate instead of attempted framing in the first degree long after the truth was apparent and (3) terminating the men's (but not the women's) lacrosse season.

On November 8, 2006, Duke lacrosse defender (on and off the lacrosse field) Glenn Nick (Duke '06) rightly took offense at a Duke Chronicle article about Dean Sue and posted this comment:

"It is quite impressive that Dean Sue Wasiolek, a law grad and former lawyer, had not the slightest idea on how to handle the Duke Lacrosse situation in its infancy as indicated in earlier posts. After advising the captains not to seek their own counsel or to tell their parents because this would be swept under the rug, she went on to offer public statements all but condemning the innocent boys. [Note: Putting aside Dean Sue's erroneous prediction, I am outraged as an attorney that Dean Sue presumed to give such legal advice in view of the glaring possible conflict of interest between her employer, Duke, and the players, and as a parent that a dean would tell students not to consult with their parents and/or own attorneys.]

"With a bit more digging, (or actual journalism), this article could have exposed one of her finest moments at Duke; meeting with the entire team and staff to privately apologize for her actions and inactions early on in the hoax after her damage was already done.

"As with the rest of Duke, no statements or signs of support (privately or publicly) after this meeting have been made by Dean Sue to the team or the wrongfully indicted players and families. The exception to this being of course Kirsten Kimmel, Stephen Baldwin, and James Coleman.

"Congratulations Dean Sue. You are the antithesis of a role model for Duke students."

The next day an anonymous poster (mm) urged: "please, please write this as a letter to the editor that gets published...it's too important to appear in the online comments a day after the story was run".

Mr. Nick submitted, but The Chronicle chose NOT to highlight the comment.

A LieStoppers poster named Sarah chided me for being too quick to concede that there was a racial slur uttered at the infamous spring break party hosted (off-campus) by three co-captains on the 2005-2006 Duke University Men's Lacrosse Team.

Unfortunately, Sarah, it's true and pretending that what is true is false and what is false is true is a strategy that others besides Durham County, North Carolina District Attorney Michael B. Nifong come to rue.

It's reported in the co-captains' statements, I had them. the truth is the truth (and the persecuted players would not benefit from their defenders' pretending that there were no racial remarks).

What happened?

A stripper party finally turned out REALLY badly.

Hero of the Hoax Bill Anderson minimized the stripper party problem: "They hired strippers! Never mind that the team quickly apologized and that Duke’s vaunted basketball team just two weeks before had a party for which the team members hired strippers. For that matter, two years ago, feminists at Bucknell University, in 'celebrating sex workers,' brought male and female strippers to campus for them to show their wares – and other things. There were no objections from anywhere in academe."

That (and much more) is true. I share Bill's disgust with discrimination and persecution. Did I miss Duke condemning its women's lacrosse team for a stripper party and canceling its season. Or does Duke find stripper parties okay for women but not men?

My position is simple and non-discriminatory: stripper parties are wrong (albeit legal), and not only because a stripper might make a false claim.

BUT, the co-captains rented the house before Duke bought it and as a successor landlord Duke could not impose additional restrictions on the tenants under a term lease.

Yes, there were a few racially-charged remarks. Something of which those who made them should be ashamed, to be sure, but they were NOT entirely unprovoked and CERTAINLY NOT good cause to demonize anyone, much less a whole team.

Let's put the Duke Hoax in context: white strippers were ordered; a white and a Hispanic were to be sent; a black and a black/Korean showed up and the players went ahead without protesting to me that Allure had breached the contract by substituting. {Query? Will anyone find the temptation to sue Allure too...alluring...to resist?}

Dr. Anderson on the racial slurs charge: "Actually, according to Jason Bissey, the next door neighbor, the only thing that came close to a 'racial slur' came after one of the strippers, Kim called one of the players a 'limp-d*** white boy'' and he answered with, 'Tell your grandfather thank you for my nice cotton shirt,' which is a line from an act by Chris Rock, who is a black entertainer. Your sons did not 'bark racial slurs' at the 'dancers' while they performed, which is what the N&O told its readers in its March 25, 2006, article, an account that became increasingly magnified, as journalists raced to the bottom."

When the strippers left, however, according to a co-captain, one player told the second stripper, "Well, we asked for whites, not niggers," and the second stripper replied, "That's a hate crime, I'm calling the police." That player was NOT Reade Seligmann, or Collin Finnerty, or David Evans (and none of them made any racial remarks). Irony: apparently there would not have been any false accusation, much less a cancelled lacrosse season and a persecution masquerading as a prosecution if that teammate had not used the N word (a really heavy burden to carry).

Dr. Anderson's advice to the lacrosse players and their families "You can take the best revenge of all: living well. While Nifong and his beloved pension and perhaps the future of his freedom are tied up in court, you will be living well and this sorry episode will be in your rearview mirror. That will be the best thing of all."

Great advice! But, for those who care about the opinion of others, more needs to be done before they can "live well."

Unfortunately, Duke is in cover up mode, not reform mode.

Example: Punitive grader, Duke visiting professor and 88er Kim Curtis is still scheduled to teach this fall and the Dowd family lawsuit against Duke and her was settled under a confidentiality agreement. Blog Hooligan Buddy attended a Duke event at the Philadelphia museum of Fine Arts recently and asked Duke President Richard Brodhead the following: "Last spring Visiting Assistant Professor Kim Curtis failed a lacrosse player due to her ideology and not his scholarship. Why is she still teaching at Duke." Buddy reported on LieStoppers: "The question was met with applause. His answer was that the matter had been litigated and he could not comment. Another non-answer."

Mr. Nick: "There are just so many terrible layers to this mess; many at Duke."

So terribly true.

Something about which there remains much to do.

Dr. Anderson's "Open Letter to the Duke Lacrosse Families" expertly explained how Duke had abandoned the families in favor of the political correctness agenda:

"Unfortunately, you lost something else that was dear to you, and that was your relationship with Duke University. Duke was special to you in a way that most college graduates simply do not understand, especially those that were graduated from large state-run institutions, as was my case."Almost all of you were financial contributors, and others served the university in fund-raising or other capacities. Most of all, you were loyal to Duke, not just loyal to the basketball and lacrosse teams. Duke University was in your blood; it was your university, the place where many of you met your spouses, and the place where you most felt at home.

"Your memories of Duke were not just about parties and sororities and fraternities and sports events, but something much deeper, something that one cannot easily explain. You did not change, but, unfortunately, Duke did.

"Because Duke is seen as an elite university – and, indeed, it truly is – it has followed the very regrettable path that many other elite American universities have gone – the way of postmodern thinking. I remember when Stanley Fish came to Duke in the mid-1980s, and how he changed the English department. Before Fish, it was a place where good literature was prized, and where things like Eternal Truths that were manifest in literature mattered. Shakespeare and Faulkner and Dostoevsky and others were studied because their works unveiled the conflicting patterns and currents of life.

"After Fish, the academic emphasis was dominated by postmodernism. It emphasized feminism. It emphasized racism, or how all whites were hopelessly racist. It was based on sexual identities and orientation. Literature was 'deconstructed' and now students were told of the latent racism and sexism and homophobia and the like which supposedly permeated the 'great books.' Students read the works of Zane Grey as literature, and professors concentrated their publications toward the cacophonous postmodern journals. Other departments and areas of 'study' were added, including women’s studies, and the various ethnic and racial identity 'studies' that were now in vogue in academe.

"You took that in stride. Yes, some of the professors tended to harangue their students – and especially those White Male Lacrosse Players Who Were The Bastions Of White Privilege – but everyone put up with it, since Duke was more than its radical faculty. They were like the crazy aunt in the closet as opposed to the one-ton beast sitting in the corner; or, at least that is what you thought was the case.

"Then came the rape charges. Suddenly, you found that the most radical faculty members – the people who despised your sons (whom Prof. Wahneema Lubiano called the 'perfect' suspects) and were overjoyed to think they could be charged with gang-raping a black female (whom Lubiano called the 'perfect victim') – became the Real Voice of Duke University. To this day, Duke President Richard Brodhead has not uttered one word against these faculty members who openly trashed your sons and encouraged a horrible rush to judgment.

"These faculty members were not just the one-ton beast in the living room; they were the one-ton beast that devoured what was good and decent about Duke. Here was their moment, and they immediately ran to the barricades, and the leadership of the university went with them. Furthermore, a black student, Chauncey Nartey, sent two threatening emails to Coach Pressler (before Pressler was forced to resign) and for that he was rewarded by being placed on prestigious campus committees and Brodhead himself championed this 'student' as being a 'star' at Duke. Oh, yes, when advised of the threatening emails, the Duke administration told Nartey not to do it again and suggested he send a letter of apology. Compare the treatment given Nartey with that of Ryan McFayden, who threatened no one and who still has to endure repercussions for his sophomoric email.

"You knew these things. You knew what Nartey did and how Duke handled it, and then it hit you; the leadership at Duke had written you off. They did not care what you thought of how they handled the situation, for you were less than dirt to them. They really did not care what happened to your sons that terrible month of April, 2006. Nor did they care when the legal bills started piling up. In fact, they decided that your sons had caused the whole thing, and Vice President John Burness made it a point in his off-the-record comments to reporters to say the lacrosse players were very bad kids, a bunch of bad actors."

Last November Mr. Nick boldly posted this message on the Friends of Duke University website:

" Though a letter to designate that a contribution be used for say Pratt (Engineering) or the athletics department (explaining why) sounds great at first glance, there is a glaring problem with this tactic. No matter where and how money is designated to Duke, President Brodhead and company will still possess the benefit of tallying this amount to their overall alumni contributions, thus painting his tenure as lucrative for the University.

"Much of a president's success is strictly measured by dollars, therefore I beg all interested to write your letters to the powers that be every time a donation request is mailed to you, but rethink where to send the check.

"The defense fund for the indicted players and their families is a drop in their legal fees' bucket. Please consider this donation alternative; it will serve the greater good for Duke by eventually shedding light on the University's mismanagement of the rape hoax, ultimately holding the enablers responsible by weeding them out. Duke University is not thoroughly terrible or evil, but as Professor Johnson tirelessly demonstrates, roughly 100 expendable actors there are just that."

Unsurprisingly, there were conflicting responses to Mr. Nick's smart suggestion.

"madderthanahornet": "Great point by Glenn Nick that the University will tout any dollars sent as evidence of the Administration's popularity and staying power. WE all are invested in a strong Duke with strong leadership. Brodhead is a weak leader and we all know it. Please help give him the pink slip by not giving a penny to Duke. Give to the legal defense fund for the players this year."

But an anonymous poster was furious that Mr. Nick had made that point: "I think it takes a lot of gall for Glenn Nick, a member of the Duke lacrosse team last year, to be urging people to withhold contributions from Duke on the ground that this is the best way to stick it to President Brodhead, as if Brodhead were the one responsible for creating this mess. I have a couple of questions for you, Glenn. First, what was your role in this debacle? Did you attend the party? Did you make the broom stick comment? Did you shout racial epithets at the two women? If not, do you know you did? If you do, maybe you could identify them for us because they certainly deserve far more criticism than Brodhead. Or do you prefer to circle the wagons and protect your guilty teammates while deflecting all criticism to Brodhead so that you and your teammates can avoid responsibility for what you did and get Brodhead to take the fall? Also, were you on scholarship at Duke? Are the guys who made the broom stick comment and shouted the racial epithets still on scholarship? If so, I would say that your position of taking money from Duke while urging others to withhold money from Duke so that you can stick it to a guy who basically got sandbagged by the irresponsible behavior of you and your teammates makes you look like a real jerk and as someone who apparently is too stupid to understand the idiocy of what you are doing. I would suggest that you just crawl back into a hole someplace and try not to compound the damage that you have already done to your alma mater."

Dr. Anderson answered for Mr. Nick:

"In a word, the answer to your hostile questions is 'no.' Mr. Nick is not responsible for the broomstick comment, the 'cotton shirt' comment, hiring strippers, or ordering the invasion of Iraq.

"He made the terrible mistake of being a member of the Duke University Lacrosse team, which the anonymous poster seems to be saying is a Crime Against Humanity."

President Brodhead did not choose the "entertainment" for the party, but he encouraged the Hoax by acts and omissions as his scholar athletes were falsely accused by an ex-convict stripper, persecuted by a politically opportunist rogue prosecutor and terrorized by protesters praised by the notorious Group of 88, by (1) only giving lip service to the presumption of innocence, (2) treating the Hoax as legitimate instead of attempted framing in the first degree long after the truth was apparent and (3) terminating the men's (but not the women's) lacrosse season (Note: Those ungrateful women had the nerve to put their faith in the men they knew instead of the false accuser and the rogue prosecutor! Good for them!).

Duke successfully petitioned for an extra year of eligibility for those players who did not graduate in 2006. (Lawyers call that wisely mitigating damages, while opposing coaches think of it as great news for Duke but terrible news for themselves).

For the scholar athletes who graduated in 2006, Duke did not even do that.

Does Duke have reason to worry that the betrayed lacrosse players may sue?

Blogger John Bruce explained why they should last December:

"...I'm not sure other commentators have noticed -- from the KC Johnson case narrative....When the police investigation of the 'rape' began,

'Multiple sources confirm that Coach Mike Pressler, apparently acting on orders from above, instructed the other players not to tell their parents about the police inquiry. Meanwhile, Dean Sue Wasiolek arranged for a local lawyer, Wes Covington, to act as a 'facilitator' in arranging for a group meeting with police.'

"As a lay observer, it's nevertheless fairly plain to me that this fellow Wes Covington had a conflict of interest, should have known he had a conflict of interest, and should have refused to get involved. Covington was working for Duke, but Duke, telling the students not to tell their parents (thus keeping them from knowing they should have their own counsel), was fooling the students into thinking they were Covington's clients. While Dean Sue Wasiolek's name is mentioned here, it's hard for me to think a decision to hire an attorney for this purpose wasn't made without the participation of Duke's General Counsel who, all together now, should have known Covington had a conflict of interest, and should have refused to get involved in something like this.

"It may be that everyone involved has been too busy to file ethical complaints against Covington and Duke's General Counsel, but after all, there are 40-odd sets of parents involved here. . . (Just for fun, by the way, if the facts as outlined in the case summary are correct, we may be very close to having the elements of a conspiracy to deprive certain Duke University students of their civil rights, viz., their right to counsel in a criminal matter.)

"I suspect the Dean and the General Counsel will be out of work soon, too. My wife, an attorney, holds out some hope that Covington can retain his law license."

The choice of Mr. Covington seems odd, since the biography of him posted at his firm's website describes him as follows: "Wes Covington's practice focuses on trial work in the negligence and the medical malpractice areas. Mr. Covington was admitted to the North Carolina Bar in 1981. He received his undergraduate education at Duke University and his law degree from North Carolina Central University. Mr. Covington has been very active in the representation of businesses, medical practices, and nonprofit organizations. For a number of years prior to joining the firm, Mr. Covington was an Assistant District Attorney in Durham County. An active scuba diver, he has been involved in dive accident litigation across the United States."

The same Wes Covington mentioned in this excerpt from a 2003 Indy (the independent news weekly) article:

"...beneath DAN's tranquil surface, its depths are roiling. Unbeknownst to all but a handful of the 450 people in the ballroom that night, the nonprofit's board forced Bennett to surrender the helm long before he was ready. In an 18-month legal battle that ended just weeks before the big banquet, a majority of the directors accused their CEO of mismanaging corporate funds and spending them extravagantly on himself and his supporters, including Durham attorney Wes Covington, DAN's corporate counsel for most of its 22-year history. The board also alleged that Bennett tried, with Covington's help, to secretly gain control of DAN's lucrative Cayman Islands insurance subsidiary, engaged in favoritism and nepotism, and generally ran the nonprofit like a for-profit autocracy. Meanwhile, he collected three salaries--from DAN, its subsidiary, and Duke University, where he holds a professorship--totaling well over $200,000 a year, plus travel and benefits."

How intertwined are Duke, Dean Wasiolek, Mr. Covington and Crimestoppers (source of the notorious Wanted Poster)?

Brooklyn College History Professor and Durham-in-Wonderland blogger Robert K.C. Johnson offered this sunmmary:

"On March 25, Dean Sue was one of four Duke administrators who met with the lacrosse parents to explain the administration’s rationale for the last-second cancellation of the Georgetown game. Her own behavior, in turn, generated pressing questions from the parents. She had, after all, set the stage for the captains to meet with Wes Covington, the lawyer whose basic approach to the case appeared to be ensuring that no Duke students hired attorneys. At the meeting, she defended her actions by preposterously asserting that she—an attorney herself (NCCU J.D.)—would have no problem with having her son be interrogated, without counsel present, by Sgt. Mark Gottlieb.

"At the time, Wasiolek told the parents that her sources said the accuser wasn’t credible—that the accuser’s story kept changing, the Durham Police knew she was a prostitute. It seemed hard to believe that a dean of student life would have such contacts. But a CrimeStoppers advisory board member certainly would.

"Wasiolek’s dual Duke/CrimeStoppers role reveals an obvious conflict of interest: what happens when the interests of CrimeStoppers and Duke students do not coincide?"

Answer: the same thing that happens when the interests of the forces of political correctness at Duke and Duke scholar athletes conflict--Duke students suffer.

I say: Duke, the State of North Carolina and the County of Durham should be paying not only the expenses incurred by the Duke lacrosse families as a result of the bogus prosecution, but compensation for the "agony" (that was Duke Chairman of the Board Steel's word and a helpful admission) through which they were put and, in the case of the graduates, the loss of their season.

Friends of Duke University's Jason Trumpbour recently noted: "It is worth noting that, to date, the players are the only actors in the entire saga who have expressed any genuine regret for inappropriate behavior on their part and who have been willing to examine themselves with an eye toward improvement. They are better people for this experience and will use what they have learned to make a difference in the world. Who else in all this can say that?"

Not the people in charge at Duke, especially President Brodhead and Board, or the unapologetic 87 of the 88 members of the notorious Group of 88 so filled with hate.

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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