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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:  October 11, 2007
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Parsing The Duke Lacrosse Suit

To those Durhamites trying to assure themselves that the case is a legally baseless act of vindictiveness on the part of three Catholic families who should be grateful if the exonerated got fish sandwiches, bottles of YooHoo and bus tickets out of town (as suggested by a writer for Durham's News & Observer), take note: Mr. Taylor's Duke case track record is superb.

THIS time, pay attention, Durham, North Carolina: Stuart Taylor, Jr., legal columnist with National Journal and co-author of Until Proven Innocent, THE book on the Duke lacrosse case, is parsing the Duke lacrosse suit.

Mr. Taylor:

"The lawsuit filed on Friday by the three Duke University lacrosse players falsely accused of rape has been miscast by some critics.

"Some see the undoubtedly aggressive, if not unprecedented, lawsuit [PDF] against the city of Durham, N.C., disgraced former District Attorney Mike Nifong, and other officials as a pointless vendetta. Some might also see the suit as a cynical bid for self-enrichment, or even as a legally far-fetched effort to punish the good citizens of Durham.

"They're wrong on all counts, or so it seems to me. After spending the better part of a year working on a book about the Duke case and related matters, I have no doubt that Dave Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann will amply prove the heart of their claims, which are as follows:

The prosecution of the lacrosse players over the course of a full year was 'one of the most chilling episodes of premeditated police, prosecutorial, and scientific misconduct in modern American history.'

As many as 10 Durham police officers and two hired DNA experts along with Nifong 'knew that these charges were completely and utterly unsupported by probable cause, and a total fabrication by a mentally troubled, drug prone exotic dancer whose claims, time and time again, were contradicted by physical evidence, documentary evidence, other witnesses, and even the accuser herself. In their rush to accuse, Defendants willfully ignored and were deliberately indifferent to overwhelming evidence of Plaintiffs' actual innocence.'

'Instead, Defendants used the accuser's inconsistent and demonstrably false allegations as fuel for a media campaign to obtain indictments and win a hotly-contested election at the expense of the three innocent Duke lacrosse players. With a community and a nation thus inflamed and clamoring for indictments of Duke lacrosse players, but with no evidence that any players had actually committed a crime, Defendants set about to fabricate such evidence [and] conspired to conceal... exculpatory evidence in order to charge and convict Plaintiffs on "facts" they knew to be untrue.'

"Critics of the lawsuit ignore the mountain of evidence that is already in the public record supporting each and every one of these allegations.

"Is the lawsuit mainly an effort to further humiliate and bankrupt Nifong, the now-disbarred, jailed-for-a-day, rogue DA who was the chief orchestrator of the bogus case?

"Hardly. Nifong is the least important defendant, in the sense that everyone knows his career is finished. The other individual defendants have more at stake: 10 Durham police officers, up to and including the top brass, and two allegedly corrupt DNA experts whose private lab was hired by Nifong. None has been punished. All remain on the job.

"Is the lawsuit just a bid for self-enrichment by the three plaintiffs? Well, they do hope to recover a lot of money as compensation both for their ordeals and for the damage to their names; their now-spurned settlement offer reportedly included a demand for $30 million.

"But a large award of compensatory and punitive damages might also be the best way to get the attention of a city government whose criminal justice establishment the lawsuit alleges to be rotten from top to bottom. And it might help deter other police departments from similarly dishonest conduct.

"In addition, the lawsuit, like the spurned settlement offer, seeks to force Durham to submit to a very long list of court-supervised criminal justice reforms for the protection of all defendants, which in that area tend to be black and poor. And if the city ends up agreeing to such reforms, it will reduce the amount of money it has to pay the lacrosse players.

"The proposed reforms include putting the Durham Police Department into virtual receivership for 10 years, with a court-appointed monitor empowered to hire, promote and fire police personnel from the chief on down, as well as to set policies. More specific proposed reforms include measures to increase the reliability and prevent manipulation of: scientific evidence, including DNA testing; identification procedures, including lineups; the training of new officers; and the establishment of an independent citizens committee to review complaints of police misconduct.

"It's hard to think of another private lawsuit against a city that has demanded such sweeping reforms and so many millions of dollars. But it's also hard to think of another city whose criminal justice system has performed so execrably.

"Indeed, the ugliest aspects of Durham's administration of justice may not even come to light until dragged out into the open by the blizzard of subpoenas that the lacrosse players' high-powered lawyers, Brendan Sullivan and Barry Scheck, are itching to serve."

To those Durhamites trying to assure themselves that the case is a legally baseless act of vindictiveness on the part of three Catholic families who should be grateful if the exonerated got fish sandwiches, bottles of YooHoo and bus tickets out of town (as suggested by a writer for Durham's News & Observer), take note: Mr. Taylor's Duke case track record is superb.

Way back when the rest of the mainstream media was figuratively setting fire to the kindling on which the Duke lacrosse players were standing, Mr. Taylor wrote that "the available evidence leaves [him] about 85 percent confident that the three members who have been indicted on rape charges are innocent and that the accusation is a lie."

As a real alternative to the false rogues gallery created by political correctness extremists, feminuts and black racists, Mr. Taylor envisioned a Duke case rogues gallery that does NOT include the indicted players, but "does include more than 90 members of the Duke faculty who have prejudged the case, with some exuding the anti-white racism and disdain for student-athletes that pollutes many college faculties" as well as "former Princeton University President William Bowen and civil-rights lawyer Julius Chambers [who] went out of their way to slime the lacrosse players in a report on the Duke administration's handling of the rape scandal a report that is a parody of race-obsessed political correctness."

In the same article, Mr. Taylor flatly stated: "Something is rotten at Duke, as at many universities. I don't think it has much to do with lacrosse."

That was, and still is, true, AND THE SAME IS TRUE IN DURHAM.

In "The deplorable Duke political prosecutions," posted on May 23, 2006, I wrote: "Mr. Taylor has made a great contribution in helping the truth catch up to the lies. That's the first step toward rectifying a sad situation being exploited by opportunists and racists."

Dukies and Durhamites take note: More rectifying is still required, Mr. Taylor was right back then and he's right again.

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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