On March 13, 2011, The News & Observer published an op-ed piece titled “An Anniversary Duke will try to overlook.” It was authored by Bob Wilson, a Durhamian who reached the correct conclusion, but by using faulty reasoning. Yes, Duke University would like to forget March 13, 2006, and the events that transpired subsequently. However, the overriding reason they would like to forget the incident is because it was bamboozled out of sixty million dollars ($60,000,000.00) by three avaricious and crafty attorneys who represented the Carpetbagger families of the Duke Lacrosse defendants. Those attorneys (Joseph Cheshire, Wade Smith, and James Cooney) probably convinced Duke that it would have no problem being reimbursed by their insurance carrier after paying the Duke threesome. Duke realized, only too late that it had been snookered when their insurance company refused to simply fork over to them the sixty mil. Then, Duke threw good money after bad when it fought to force the insurance company to pay, ignoring the fact that it was Duke that breached its contract with the insurance company and not the other way around. After substantially wasting money on this ill-fated endeavor, Duke University eventually dropped its complaint with both parties agreeing to pay their own costs.
The misguided columnist, however, seems to feel, for some unexplained reason, that the Duke Lacrosse defendants are entitled to an apology from Duke University. My question is: Why? The Duke Lacrosse defendants, with their well-earned reputation for revelry and debauchery, held the beer-guzzling, stripper ogling party with under-aged drinking (and most likely illicit drug use) despite warnings by the university president to their coach to rein in the boys. Not only did the Duke Lacrosse player who arranged the night’s entertainment use a false name to procure it, but a false pretense as well… stating two exotic dancers were wanted for a small bachelor party of four or five, instead of a rowdy kegger sponsored by the Duke Lacrosse team. Now, add to the mix that the partygoers shouted out racial epithets using the “n-word” to the two African American female performers.
The Duke Lacrosse team members had a shady background when it came to legal matters to begin with, as nearly a third of the team had run-ins with the law for offenses ranging from public intoxication, driving with open beer containers, urinating in public, and other transgressions. Specifically Collin Finnerty was convicted of assault and battery against two men who he erroneously assumed to be gay… a hate crime. Dave Evans was cited for driving with an open alcoholic beverage in his car. And Reade Seligmann had a lien slapped against him for attempting to evade paying taxes of $6.7 million on his $20 mil windfall. Mr. Wilson obviously believes these are the types of citizens who are entitled to a payday of $20 million… while Duke University hikes tuition and cuts services and classes for its entire student body in order to make up for the loss of more than $60 million. Rest assured, that none of the make-up for the debt is coming from the hefty compensation packages that the Duke University bigwigs enjoy.
The columnist seems to feel that the Duke Lacrosse defendants suffered greatly because a protester against their reckless party-going ways held up a sign that read “Castrate.” Face it, the boys never spent one day in jail, and the media played them as victims from the git-go. The biased media, following the Carpetbagger Jihadist doctrine to destroy Mike Nifong and anyone deemed to be against the Duke Lacrosse defendants, crucified Mr. Nifong and the victim of the incident, Crystal Mangum. Every article written and broadcast aired spoke about how the Duke Lacrosse defendants were wrongly accused, that Mike Nifong was disbarred, and that the defendants had been declared “innocent.” The media types knew that they were misleading the public and that the Attorney General Roy Cooper had no legal right to make such an unprecedented innocent proclamation. (This promulgation of April 11, 2007, was engineered by Joseph Cheshire’s underling Brad Bannon). Books have been written in defense of the Duke Lacrosse boys, and HBO has been trying to make a movie about the incident… but they had to keep firing scriptwriters for creating a story that was uncomfortably too close to the truth. (Trying to make the Duke Lacrosse defendants appear like choirboys is a monumentally impossible task, if an attempt is made to retain any semblance of the truth.)
The fact is that the Duke defendants prospered, and not just financially, because of their involvement in the case. An admiring judge in Washington, DC, expunged all legal trace of Collin Finnerty’s assault and battery conviction, and they were all highly sought after and recruited by universities and Wall Street-type companies. Doors were open to them for all types of opportunities and ventures. The ones who truly suffered as a result of the aftermath of March 13, 2006, are Mr. Nifong and his family, Crystal Mangum, Nifong supporters, and others considered to be on the wrong end of the Duke Lacrosse case.
The treatment I received by Duke University was far worse than what the institution doled out to the Duke Lacrosse defendants, as I was kicked off campus and nearly arrested at a public event I attended in April 2010. Because I was a known supporter of Mike Nifong, holding thoughts, beliefs, and opinions favorable to him, I was humiliated, intimidated, and nearly arrested by a security guard who was unable to give an explanation as to why I was being kicked off campus. As he stated, he was merely doing his job, which was to get rid of me. Fortunately for me, I ran into James Coleman, a Duke law professor and friend, who interceded on my behalf. Had he not, I believe the Duke police officer who was called in for backup, without cause, would have arrested me.
Duke University does have hostility and animus as a result of the Duke Lacrosse case, but I submit that it is directed at the wrong targets. Mike Nifong was conscientiously performing his duties when he prosecuted the Duke Lacrosse case, Crystal Mangum was the victim of the Duke Lacrosse case, and Mike Nifong supporters are merely seeking justice… equal justice for all, which begins with justice for Mike Nifong. And, none of the above attempted to shakedown Duke for $20 million.
If Duke University wishes to vent its hostility, it should direct it towards the true culprits, the Duke Lacrosse defendants. Yes, Duke University, Mike Nifong, Crystal Mangum, and most everyone else involved in the case would like to forget the anniversary… everyone except the Carpetbagger families of the Duke Lacrosse defendants, the defendants themselves, their avaricious attorneys, and the Duke Lacrosse defendant worshippers (which probably includes Mr. Wilson) who want to brag about and laud before the masses their financial rip-off of Duke University.
Below is a link to the documents and audio of Nifong supporter Sidney B. Harr’s encounter with Duke University on April 14, 2010.