During my September 14, 2009 interview on WPTF - 680's "Bill LuMaye Show," guest host Rick Martinez scoffed at my belief that a widespread conspiracy existed which conspired to successfully bring down former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong. However, thanks to the boastful statements made by Joseph Cheshire's firm's underling, Brad Bannon, a direct connection has been established between the Duke Lacrosse defendants and Attorney General Roy Cooper. In statements carried by WRAL 5 News's online website, Bannon affirms that he told representatives of the North Carolina Attorney General to: 1) proclaim the Duke Lacrosse defendants "innocent;" and 2) state that "nothing (criminal) happened." These demands by the attorney representing Duke defendant Dave Evans were made well before the mid-April 2007 promulgation by Attorney General Roy Cooper to the media at a press conference.
The chain of conspiracy between the defense and A. G. Cooper is irrefutable and is linked as follows: Dave Evans is one of three Duke Lacrosse defendants - Evans is represented by prominent defense attorney Joseph Cheshire's law firm - Attorney Brad Bannon is an attorney in Cheshire's law firm - Bannon meets with Assistant Attorney Generals Mary Winstead and James J. Coman - Bannon tells Winstead and Coman to instruct the attorney general to proclaim that the Duke Lacrosse defendants are "innocent" and to state that "nothing happened" (at the March 13, 2006 beer-bash Spring Break party hosted by Duke Lacrosse players noted for their raucous regalements and beer-induced disorderly conduct and public urination) - Winstead and Coman report to their superior, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper and pass on Bannon's mandate - Attorney General Roy Cooper goes before the media at an April 2007 press conference and proclaims that the Duke Lacrosse defendants are "innocent" and that "nothing happened."
It is also my understanding that Mr. Bannon represented Alan Gell, who was victimized by the North Carolina justice system when he was convicted of capital murder, despite being in jail at the time of its commission. After he wrongfully served more than nine years in prison (half on death row), exculpatory evidence which was withheld by Prosecutor David Hoke was uncovered and led to the judge throwing out Gell's conviction. Yet, Mr. Bannon never demanded that the attorney general proclaim Mr. Gell innocent. Why? (Hint: It has to do with selective justice based on Class.)
The carpetbagger families of the Duke Lacrosse players have sought, in addition to millions of dollars in out-of-court settlements, to have their boys declared "innocent" and an admission that "nothing happened" at the animal house on Buchanan Street. Attorney General Cooper gave them exactly what they wanted, and they used the threat of going to jail for criminal contempt of court to try and wring such statements from Mike Nifong. Despite the pressure from Judge Osmond Smith III, defense counsel, and the state, Mr. Nifong maintained his belief that something criminal did happen at the party. In order to navigate around this position that Mr. Nifong stubbornly held on to, the media took it upon itself to put words into Mr. Nifong's mouth. On the WRAL.com website, a story about the in-court apology Mr. Nifong made to the Duke Lacrosse defendants was headlined: "Nifong Apologizes, Admits Nothing Happened." (It is my understanding that ESPN.com also had a similarly titled headline.) Nothing could be further from the truth as the context of the story did not substantiate that he admitted that "nothing happened." Someone in the media must have made the deliberate decision to play a Jedi mind-trick on the public. To its credit, the wral.com general manager acted timely, responsibly, and appropriately in correcting the headline and including an editor's note. (espn.com apparently changed its headline, as well, since it no longer reads that Nifong "admits nothing happened.")
Now the conspiratorial link between the Duke Lacrosse defendants and the media exists, without a doubt in my mind. So far, no one has come forward to admit that dialogue took place between them, but that is usually the way things work in a conspiracy. I am not certain why Mr. Bannon came forward to brag about his law firm's role in prodding the attorney general to make two such unprecedented, inappropriate, overreaching, and misleading statements. Regardless of his motive, it clearly establishes that the two worked together behind the scenes in crafting the pronouncements made by Attorney General Roy Cooper, in mid-April 2007.
What I find particularly disturbing is that the Attorney General's Office is suppose to represent the interests of the people of North Carolina, not the special interests of the well-heeled families of defendants. The liaison between these two camps in the Duke Lacrosse case to quench the vindictive thirst of the vengeful families of the Duke Lacrosse defendants, with Mike Nifong in the cross-hairs, is a poke in both eyes of Lady Justice.