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Herald-Sun with a bombshell:

Scratches and bruises on the body of the accuser in the Duke lacrosse rape case might have occurred when she was dragged out of a nightclub onto a gravel parking lot not long before the alleged sexual assault, a former club manager told The Herald-Sun.

Yolanda Haynes, who stopped working for Hillsborough’s adults-only Platinum Club in July, said the woman had to be dragged and carried from the nightspot because she passed out inside.

Haynes also said it wasn’t unusual for the exotic dancer to pass out during her stint at the club from January until March.

“It was just constant, every night,” she said. “I don’t know how many times she fell out on stage.”

Haynes said she was telling her story because she felt sorry for three young men who may have been falsely accused in the rape case: Collin Finnerty, Reade Seligmann and David Evans.

“I hate to see those boys get railroaded for something they possibly didn’t do,” she said.

Wednesday’s New York Times reports on the most bizarre race for district attorney in Durham’s history, one that members of the Duke community are all too familiar–and fed up–with.

A week before Election Day, the race for Durham County district attorney is as odd a political campaign as anyone here can recall. The controversial lacrosse case looms over the incumbent, Michael B. Nifong. The opposition, under the banner of Anyone but Nifong, is fractured.

“The whole thing is very strange,” said Joseph H. Collie, a retired businessman and supporter of the write-in Republican, Steve Monks.

Mr. Nifong’s campaign director, Julie Linehan, remarked: “We have a saying here — O.I.D. Only in Durham.”

Perhaps. That doesn’t make it an acceptable state of affairs.

And that doesn’t mean Nifong shouldn’t be held accountable, either.

Here’s where it gets interesting:

Out-of-state money from Duke supporters has also entered the campaign. Parents of two unindicted lacrosse players donated $5,000 to establish a group called Duke Students for an Ethical Durham, aimed at registering Duke students to vote against Mr. Nifong. The group’s treasurer, Stefanie Anne Sparks, a paralegal in a law firm that has represented unindicted players, said the group had registered more than 1,000 new voters.

And if you’ve been paying attention to The Chronicle at all, you’ll be aware that there has been a debate as to whether or not Duke students who are from out of state should be registering in North Carolina for the purpose of unseating Nifong.

(Of course, the University has fully supported Duke students registering and voting in North Carolina for whomever they choose).

The Times, which has been criticized vehemently in some corners for its coverage of the imbroglio, asserts in this news story:

Mr. Nifong has been under attack for months by the defense and supporters of the lacrosse players for aggressively pursuing a case based almost entirely on the account of the accuser, which he acknowledges he has heard only from police reports and written statements, and not directly by speaking to her.

The flaws and gaps in the evidence have mounted. No DNA from the defendants was found on the dancer. At least one of the accused appears to have a strong alibi. A second woman hired to strip at the party has said she saw no evidence of an attack. And the array of photographs that led to the identification of the three defendants was not presented according to federal, state and local police guidelines for lineups.

The straightforward–and very incomplete–list of the major flaws of Nifong’s Nifonging of the lax case is, to put it mildly, nice to see in the country’s most influential newspaper.

Regardless, would a Nifong loss change the legal situation for Duke’s indicted trio?

Even if Mr. Nifong loses, it is unclear how the case will be affected. Mr. Cheek said that he tried twice this year to get Mr. Nifong to hand off the case to the state attorney general, and that he allowed the anti-Nifong campaign to put him up as a candidate when the district attorney refused. But because he has decided that he does not want to leave private practice, a victory by Mr. Cheek would mean that Gov. Michael F. Easley would have to pick a successor to Mr. Nifong. The governor, a Democrat, has not made his views on the case known publicly.

Mr. Monks, the Republican candidate, who is running on the slogan “It’s Your Choice. Not the Governor’s,” said that if elected he would review the evidence carefully to make his own determination, but that “this case might very well have to go to trial.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Nifong’s supporters are trying to cast him as an experienced prosecutor and a neophyte politician. He has been a prosecutor for 28 years and says he has handled about 300 felony cases, but he is engaged in his first political race, having been appointed acting district attorney in April 2005.

TDD for one hopes that Nifong loses resoundingly. But all indications are unfortunately pointing toward a victory for Nifong, and a loss for justice, a loss for Durham, and most importantly a loss for the three indicted individuals.

The potential silver lining, of course, is that the trio could have the opportunity for complete and utter vindication in the court of law. Of course, one suspects that even a resounding victory in court would be met with cynicism from certain corners who would claim that the system is rigged, and so on and so forth.

And so it goes.

WTF, mate?

The second dancer in the Duke rape case has said for the first time that the accuser told her to “go ahead, put marks on me” after the alleged attack.

Dancer Kim Roberts made the new allegation — which she has not shared with authorities — in an interview with Chris Cuomo that aired today on “Good Morning America.”

Roberts’ allegation comes after Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong’s admission in court last week that he has not yet interviewed the accuser “about the facts of that night.”

A trio of pieces to peruse from the Duke Chronicle were published on Tuesday:

1) Lax players may be permitted to return to Duke if charges are dropped

2) Experts Say Trial Location Unlikely to Change

3) Professor Steven Baldwin takes administration to task on handling of lacrosse situation

This column has ruffled a few feathers.

His take home message: “Duke has disowned its lacrosse-playing student athletes. Their treatment has been shameful.”

ESPN, which has sent a reporter to Durham for the Miami-Duke matchup, reported that Duke students would be working on signs and t-shirts to mock the Hurricanes in the wake of their brawl from a week ago.

Kirk Herbstreit than noted that “Duke has some issues with its other sports programs, so it may not want to throw stones.”

That’s called journalistic sloth.

Unfortunate, but something we’ve all become accustomed to from television “journalism.”

Held at Duke Law School, this panel seemed to be torn on examining the coverage.

Fortunately, the publication that covered the imbroglio the best–the Duke Chronicle–was represented on the panel.

Seyward Darby, editor of Duke’s student newspaper, The Chronicle, said that when news of the lacrosse case broke, portrayals of a campus split along racial lines amounted to assumptions made for sensationalism’s sake.

“That was really troubling to us,” she said, adding that she told TV crews at the height of the coverage that “the only thing that’s truly dividing our campus right now is your power lines to your satellite trucks.”

Darby, who is now the paper’s editorial page editor, is no slouch. She was named Phi Beta Kappa as a junior, is an AB Scholar, and is as fair-minded and hard-working as they come. Throughout the media madness, she became the face of the University, as she was in high-demand on television interviews for at least a month. And she was usually more articulate than the “reporters” trying to interrogate her.

Her remark as published by the Herald-Sun from yesterday is just as respectable.

Provided by a website called “Liestoppers.”

Not very subtle, are they?

Regardless, they’ve done a terrific job of compiling reactions to the 60 Minutes story if you’re at all interested.

Courtesy The Chronicle:

“It’s hard to say whether [the program] helped the defense…. But I can tell you that if you’re a prosecutor and this segment just came on you’re probably not excited.”
> Richard Meyers, an evidence and criminal law professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law and former federal prosecutor.

Here’s DBR’s take on the 60 Minutes story.

While the piece in general was tremendous, there were a few things we wish 60 Minutes had pursued more closely. First of all was the question of the 911 calls, specifically the first. Roberts went to great lengths to cause trouble, allegedly because someone (perhaps more than one someone) used the N word. She admits throwing the first racial insult, calling someone a “limp-dick white boy.” The terms are not equivalent, but if you toss out a racial/sexual taunt, surely you can’t be too surprised if it comes back at you. Dumping the AV semi-anonymously at the Kroger’s is perhaps understandable – who wants a passed-out stranger (basically) in their passenger seat? – but the first call is still a mystery.

We also wish they had taken a closer look at Sgt. Gottlieb and his attitude towards Duke students in general, and in particular his written statement, which raised eyebrows, not least of all because it conflicted with Benjamin Himan’s account, taken at the same time.

We also wish he had taken a closer look at how Nifong took control of the investigation and the lineup.

But all those things aside, 60 Minutes eviscerated the prosecution’s case. After the DNA came back negative, after the outrageous lineup, after Roberts punched numerous holes in Nifong’s case, after the revelation that she was performing when she was too traumatized to speak of the case and too sore to sit down, after James Coleman calmly charged prosecutorial misconduct, here’s what’s fair to say now.

Something else to remember from tonight’s 60 Minutes report: Kim Roberts said that after the accuser had allegedly been raped, it was HER idea to re-enter the house because there was more money to be made.

One could fairly contend that the accuser adhered to that opinion well after that night concluded.