Exoneration for players complete as Duke DA disbarred

Finding him to be a liar and an evidence withholder, a North Carolina bar committee found that resigned Durham district attorney Mike Nifong must be stripped of his law license for his handling of the now-discredited allegations that three members of the Duke lacrosse team raped a stripper.

The case had been closely followed in Charlottesville because the team was a perennial top competitor with UVA's lacrosse team (they beat UVA this year for the ACC title and missed the national championship by a single goal) and because there were at least two Charlottesville students on the team at the time of the incident.

In April, the two– Covenant School graduates Bo Carrington and Steve Schoeffel– gave an interview to the Daily Progress in which they talked about the stigma of living under such a cloud over their team. It later emerged that DNA exonerated every member of the team and that stripper Crystal Gail Mangum has a troubled history that includes taxi theft, substance-abuse problems, and even a prior instance of lodging questionable rape allegations.

But it was Nifong's duty to sift the fantasy from reality, and as state bar prosecutor Douglas Brocker was quoted in the New York Daily News, "Nifong did not act as a minister of justice, but as a minister of injustice."

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5 comments

I think Al Sharpton was not as over-the-top as Jesse Jackson. Jackson came right out and paid for her college education - even when things were unfolding and seeming that the students were innocent. Sharpton took a more - continue and we'll see approach. Which of coarse was wrong in this case - but that was because of Nifong.

To me, the one missing peace is that Ms. Mangum needs to face criminal charges. The reason she does is because when somone makes up a false rape allogation, it makes it more difficult for real rape victims in the future. Imagine if a black girl got raped by three white Duke students for real a month later - who would belive her? Probably no one. The real victim here is future rape victims who now will have a harder time coming forward and being believed because Ms. Mangum did not get punished.

It's obvious Ms. Mangum is a troubled soul indeed (I would be too after being locked and chained in a basement for a week some years ago and gang raped by multiple people - all true) and the real problem is the fact that, according to the FBI, only 5.5% rape reports are false. So, now, because of this ridiculousness, the other 94.5% of true victims, both male and female, will be doubted, DAs won't draw up arrest warrants and juries will be loathe to convict. I believe Ms. Mangum is so very delusional that she believed her own story and ergo, Nifong believed her. I honestly don't think that Nifong set out to win reelection or "get" the Duke students. I've read many of the transcripts and can see how this got out of control.

Jesse Jackson does need to pipe down - in general and in particular. His silence is now deafening. He made the racial angle even more sensational. What if a white sorority girl had claimed falsely that she had been raped by three black football players? Jesse, Al and company would be crowing and calling for heads when the charges were dismissed.

As for those innocent "boys" (hulking men in their twenties who scare the crap out of me), I've said it publicly and I'll say it again. Just because they are innocent - certainly - of rape does not mean the underage drinking, drunk and disorderly, gay bashing, etc. charges go away. I don't think these men behaved honorably that night, so this sainthood crap doesn't fly with me. Let's not forget, "Hey - thank your grandpa for my cotton shirt". I'll agree with Nifong on one point. Those Duke lacrosse players are indeed a bunch of "hooligans". Reade Seligmann wants to become a defense attorney to "free the thousands of accused men" just wasting away in prison? How about the millions of rapists who walk free? The Innocence Project notwithstanding (thank you, Barry Scheck), it's more of an aberration to have innocent people behind bars.

What will this case teach us? Sadly, it will teach us about racial tension, book deals and civil litigation while obscuring the entire issue of rape. Maybe someone in this mess can teach us something meaningful.

And now this - when will people learn:

http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=3296170&page=1

The disbarrment is a step in the right direction. However, the exoneration is not complete until a few more events take place.

Nifong faces criminal charges and goes to jail.
Crystal Gail Mangum faces charges for falsely accusing innocent men of rape, performs community service, gets counseling, gets a job and pays back society for the tax dollars wasted in prosecuting these innocent men.
The Duke 88 make a public apology and admission of their guilt in inciting the verdict of guilty before the evidence was examined.
Jesse Jackson makes a public apology, pays for Crystal's counseling and college education.
Al Sharpton makes a public apology.
Jesse and Al cease their bigoted behaviors and get a clue. At least drop the "Rev" as this is an insult in itself.

Only then will I feel justice has been served in this sad chain of events.

I agree with everything Barbara said -- great job. The only thing I would add is that the Black Panthers make a public appology to the Duke Lacrosse players.