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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:  July 18, 2007
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Duke Case: Newsday's Steven Marcus' Revolting Review

The miscarriage of justice that was the Duke case finally was dismissed and North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper declared the indicted players innocent, but corruption still needs to be rooted out, reforms need to be enacted and replacements need to be made for those who knowingly enabled prosecutorial abuse.

Publishers' Weekly on It's Not About the Truth: The Untold Story of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case and the Lives It Shattered, by Don Yaegar and Mike Pressler: "In this riveting book, sports author Yaeger (Turning the Tide) and Mike Pressler, then-head coach of the Duke lacrosse team, present a fast-moving account of the 13 months that tore apart the university and the town. Looking at all aspects of the case, including Durham's troubled racial history and profiles of the Nifong and Duke president Richard Brodhead, Pressler and Yaeger find plenty of blame to spread around-including the 'self-perpetuating monster' of media coverage, the university administration that took 'some of the worst actions...against the Duke lacrosse team'-but Pressler, the tale's sacrificial lamb, avoids a bitter or accusatory stance. Instead he adds color and insight to Yaeger's rigorous, efficient investigation; for anyone who got caught up in the story, this is a must-read."

Frankly, I thought that (1) the best part of the book was the letter that Coach Pressler's teenage daughter wrote to Duke University President Richard Brodhead, which is set forth at the end of the book, and (2) the subtitle--"The Untold Story of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case and the Lives It Shattered"--promised much more than the book delivered (although the book covered some of the untold story). But, the book is an available antidote for the poison peddled for so long by much of the mainstream media (including Newsday, my local newspaper) and Steven Marcus's review of the book in Newsday is a pathetic review, but a powerful reminder that Newsday's take on the Duke case was so very wrong. because Newsday is so addicted to political correctness.

Mr. Marcus entitled his review "Duke: The greatest story never told."

The allusion to the movie about the Bible is odd, but the review itself is downright offensive.

Mr. Marcus: "Beware of books promising to tell the ''untold story.'' Case in point, 'It's not about the truth,' subtitled 'The untold story of the Duke lacrosse case and the lives it shattered.'"

To be sure, the book does not tell the whole "untold story," but the only people who need to beware of it are the politically correct extremists who find exposure to some of the politically incorrect truth unsettling.

Mr. Marcus: "Author Don Yaeger, with surprisingly meager contribution from former Duke coach Mike Pressler, does not deliver the promise of the title and breaks precious little new ground in what largely turns out to be a reiteration of what already had been known about the case that captivated a segment of the country for about a year."

First, for people who get their "news" from The New York Times, the book identifies the false accuser, something The Times is loathe to do, and it presents in easily readable form pertinent facts that the mainstream media missed, ignored or minimized, especially early in the case.

Second, to say that the case "captivated a segment of the country" is to minimize the importance of the case, a mistake the authors did not make. Messrs. Yaegar and Pressler described "the perfect storm" that involved "the politics of privilege, race, sex, and money" and "devastate[d] a prestigious university and a proud city, changing many lives forever."

Third, Mr. Marcus's dubious disparagement of Coach Pressler's contribution to the book raises an obvious question: is Mr. Marcus aware of the pertinent facts or jumping to a self-serving conclusion like the bulk of the mainstream media did in treating false accuser Crystal Gail Mangum's lurid and ludicrous gang rape canard as credible, because those who worship at the altar of political correctness desperately wanted it to be true?

Mr. Marcus: "Yaeger chronicles the events anyone intrigued by the Duke case already knew: A team party goes way bad when player-arranged exotic dancers arrived and didn't deliver the show everyone was expecting. Then came the birth of the big lie by one of the dancers who claimed she was assaulted and the players (especially the three accused) burden to overcome the cliché of small town justice by a zealot of a prosecutor turned persecutor."

Wrong again. Mr. Nifong was not a zealot. that's a myth to which politically correct extremists still cling. Mr. Nifong was a rank opportunist desperate to win a Democrat party and ready to refuse to do his duty as district attorney and to pander to and manipulate misinformed and gullible black voters.

Mr. Marcus: "For those who did not know, major culprit Mike Nifong ascended to his lofty role of prosecutor by being elevated from his stern work in not dismissing traffic tickets. It was a good job by Yaeger to point out not only the malfeasance of the man himself, but of the unsaid role in those who appointed such a man to handle a case that got out of hand from its very first steps."

There's plenty that people need to know about how the criminal justice and political systems work in Durham County in particular and North Carolina in general. Mr. Nifong was appointed as interim district attorney by fellow Democrat Governor Michael Easley, not as a special prosecutor in the Duke case. That case did not "g[e]t out of hand from its very first steps"; it was an example of deliberate prosecutorial abuse even before indictments were requested and became more egregious thereafter.

Mr. Marcus: "After a tedious history lesson into the origins of Duke and its importance to the Durham economy and fabric of the area, Yaeger makes sure everyone knows just how low the life was of the dancer who falsely accused the players. Again, this is piling on. Stipulated, as they say in court, that this woman had many problems."

No sale. People should know the details. Duke's origin and its importance to Durham, as well as the role of the black bloc vote in Democrat politics, are essential to a complete understanding of what happened in the Duke case. Mr. Marcus is shamelssly peddling the Crystal-is-troubled line that became the fallback position of the political correctness extremists, but that too is wishful thinking. Ms. Mangum is an ex-convict with mental problems, but the fact that the Democrat powers in North Carolina declined to prosecute her for filing a false report is proof that they did not want to prosecute her, not that she was not responsible for her actions or aided by persons with dishonorable motives.

Mr. Marcus: "In his line of fire, Yaeger admonishes the Durham police, the Duke president and segments of his faculty and of course, the media. That Nancy Grace was exhibit A throttled his case. Never once did Yaeger, a former associate editor for Sports Illustrated, consider himself a member of the media in this work, which becomes its major failing. The players and Pressler are portrayed solely as victims, and to a large extent they certainly were. However, Yeager glosses over the match that lit the incendiary situation: That athletes from such a prestigious institution could do nothing better with a free spring night than engage in (mostly) underage drinking and sleazy entertainment more befitting the hard-up members of the population. Can't Duke lacrosse players do better? Kids being kids doesn't cut it. Yaeger also gives short shrift to a vile e-mail sent by one of the players as a pop culture reference that the un-hip didn't understand. It was no more inexcusable than a Columbine joke."

Mr. Marcus refuses to put things in context. Example: the vile e-mail, a private communication that Mr. Nifong had made public and the media then pretended was evidence of a desire to "skin strippers" instead of thoughtless sophomoric humor based on material studied at Duke. More importantly, although Mr. Marcus obviously doesn't like it, the media deserved the authors' criticism and more and Mr. Yaegar's previous relationship with Sports Illustrated is not even part of the story, much less the book "major failing." (THAT is not telling the whole story (probably at least in part the result of the book having being written too soon).

Mr. Marcus: "Also, one player was quoted saying to a black dancer, 'Tell your grandfather I said thanks for my cotton shirt.' A deplorable line that was left unexamined."

Not a line of which I approve, but, again, something taken out of context to insinuate racism NOT exhibited by nearly all, if not all, members of the 2005-2006 Duke University Men's Lacrosse Team.

Mr. Marcus: "As for Pressler's pre-publication promise to tell the untold story, it doesn't happen here. He is very much a bit player in the book and his role, it appears, is to have provided access to Duke players. Yaeger paints Pressler as heroic, having one former Duke official calling him 'great.' It just doesn't seem to fit. Pressler said he enjoyed the fact that h[is] players hung out together and didn't think it was his place to monitor their activities off the field. That is his lasting failure as Duke coach. Bet he keeps closer tabs on them now at Bryant College. Yaeger cites Pressler's 100 percent graduation of Duke players as his crowning achievement. Someone, I don't think he'll be remembered for that. It is highly irrelevant to the issue."

When a reviewer thinks the graduation rate of a college coach's player is not only irrelevant, but "highly irrelevant," and the coach is responsible for what his players do off campus during Spring Break, that reviewer is straining mightily to "get" that coach. Did Duke fire Coach K because the Duke Men's Basketball Team had a stripper party in 2006 too? No. Did Coach K approve of the party? No. Was Coach K to blame for the party? No. I am critical of Coach Pressler for doing the bidding of the Duke administration and telling his players not to contact their parents or lawyers (a mistake for which the Coach owes those players a bigger apology than they owe him for having a party of which he disapproved, in my view), but Mr. Marcus' attempted hatchet job of Coach Pressler is contemptible.

Mr. Marcus: "The Duke case does not need profiteers but an objective look back by someone, say, of Bob Woodward's ilk. Presumably, he would offer a dispassionate rendering of the facts."

God have mercy! The media profited greatly from savaging and vilifying the players and Coach Pressler, and Mr. Marcus sanctimoniously says that Messrs. Yaegar and Pressler are "profiteers." Unless he's writing for free, he's profiting from the Duke case.

If Bob Woodward wants to write about the Duke case, so be it. But, as a person who has written extensively on the Duke case, pro bono, and therefore cannot reasonably be defamed as a "profiteer," I highly recommend Until Proven Innocent: Political Correctness and the Shameful Injustices of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case, by Stuart Taylor and Robert K.C. Johnson, available September 4, 2007, for the kind of "look back" that objectively sets forth facts and passionately discusses the significance of those facts in a potent and professional way. (It won't be as critical of stripper parties, underage drinking and some problematic self-help as I am, but I expect it to be the best book on the Duke case.)

Mr. Marcus: "There is a blogger out there who has deftly put together all things Duke in an almost obsessional fashion and it goes deeper than anything this book has to offer. However, K.C. Johnson's blog is an often-lopsided ode to the players and his sycophantic devotion to them. Alas, he too has written a book."

Mr. Marcus is right that Professor Johnson focused on the Duke case, went "deeper" than the book by Messrs. Yaegar and Pressler and wrote a book (the one I just mentioned, with Stuart Taylor). I have been more critical of some players than Professor Johnson, to the consternation of many, but the unsubstantiated charge that Professor Johnson is "sycophantic" toward the players strikes me as attempted character assassination and, notwithstanding Professor Johnson's support of Senator Obama for President and lack of appreciation of Justice Clarence Thomas, way out of bounds.

Reality: educators like Professor Johnson and Dr. William L. Anderson were especially outraged by the way Duke University and many members of its faculty abandoned, abused and assailed the scholar athletes on Duke's men's lacrosse team; lawyers like Stuart Taylor and me were especially infuriated by the egregious prosecutorial abuse that corrupted the criminal justice system in the Duke case; forensic nurses like Kathleen Eckelt were incensed by the way forensic evidence was misrepresented in the Duke case; feminists like Wendy McElroy (white) and La Shawn Barber (black) were not willing to substitute a presumption of guilt for a presumption of innocence in rape cases; and LieStoppers and Friends of Duke University as well as other individuals rallied to defend the players who were being maliciously maligned and even framed on bogus felony charges that suited the private agenda of Mr. Nifong and the public agenda of the political correctness extremists.

Good News: We prevailed!

The miscarriage of justice that was the Duke case finally was dismissed and North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper declared the indicted players innocent, but corruption still needs to be rooted out, reforms need to be enacted and replacements need to be made for those who knowingly enabled prosecutorial abuse.

Let that be done, the whole truth be told, all criminals be prosecuted, all entities and individuals civilly liable be sued, all people at Duke who should be replaced be replaced, justice be dispensed fairly and due process and the rule of law prevail.

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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