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The truth will set Crystal Mangum free. That is a proposition of which I have been a proponent for some time. Durhamians and Tar Heelians would put a kibosh on the baseless and vendetta-driven criminal charges against Crystal Mangum (the Duke Lacrosse victim/accuser) if they only knew the truth about events of April 3, 2011, that were responsible for Mangum’s current entanglement with the law. But the masses are ignorant of the truth… in the dark, left standing amidst the shadows of a moonless night. The reason for the misguided opinions and sentiments surrounding this injustice is due to actions and inactions of the mainstream media… all acting in concert with one another and their fellow co-conspirators. Media’s main contribution to the conspiracy against Mangum is to keep the truth hidden… buried deep beneath diversions, misstatements, selective omissions, misinterpretations, and outright lies. Instead of acting as a torch of enlightenment in the Mangum case, it has been functioning as a shroud to strike the death knell for justice.
For the prosecution to be able to bring such bogus and baseless charges against Ms. Mangum, with a straight face, requires the devoted participation of four additional center-stage actors: (1) the medical examiner (to provide the fraudulent autopsy report upon which to base the prosecution); (2) extremely pliable turncoat defense attorneys (to look the other way, pull punches, and advise against Mangum’s best self-interests); (3) enablers (individuals and organizations [NAACP, ACLU, etc.] who are in a position to do or say something to positively impact the situation, but elect to remain silent… mostly out of fear, having learned their lessons from the persecution of former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong); and (4) the mainstream media. Of the aforementioned four, the media is one of the crooked prosecution’s most valued allies because of the influence it has over the public… a public that for the most part places a great deal of trust in the media to provide honest and accurate reporting.
Although the mainstream media has been charged with being a public watchdog, to expose corruption in government and business that adversely affects the civilian citizens, when it comes to the Duke Lacrosse case or any of its participants, all bets are off. The driving force behind the remarkable unity of all media outlets stems from the fact that Rae Evans, mother of one of the Duke Lacrosse defendants, was an executive at CBS News for more than a decade. Afterward, she founded a highly successful Washington DC public relations firm of which she is president and CEO. In addition, her husband is an attorney in a prestigious DC law firm. As strong as her ties are to the other media outlets, there is no doubt that she possesses sway as to how stories are spun, and she has not kept her feelings hidden. During an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes” show, Ms. Evans stated that she wanted Mr. Nifong to “pay every day for the rest of his life” (as retribution for his having the audacity to prosecute her son and the other lacrosse players). Defying journalistic codes of good standards, CBS never disclosed Ms. Evans’ ties to the station during any of its programs which featured its biased stories about the Duke Lacrosse case.
Another factor which drives the selective, skewed, and one-sided reporting of the Crystal Mangum case is the media’s desire to protect Duke University’s reputation and to mitigate the civil liability which Durham has self-inflicted upon itself with its unjust treatment of Mangum. The quandary at the root of the murder charge against Mangum is the fact that Reginald Daye’s death was not caused by the stab wound inflicted by Mangum. An unrelated botched intubation by Duke University Hospital staff, which resulted in brain death, led to Daye’s elective removal from life support… the proximate cause of his death. The media, through the prosecution’s charge against Mangum, has done its best to shift blame for Daye’s death from the Duke hospital, where it truly belongs, to Crystal Mangum.
Shortly after the stabbing of Reginald Daye by his live-in companion Mangum, the mainstream media flourished with articles about the stabbing, ABC-11 even falsely stating that Daye was repeatedly stabbed by Mangum. Lacking a lot of specifics, especially Mangum’s side of the story, the media devoted little attention to the incident itself, and focused much on the so-called “2010 arson” incident involving Mangum, and her role in the Duke Lacrosse case… never failing to misleadingly mention that the Duke Lacrosse defendants were declared “innocent.” Mangum was represented by media as emotionally unstable, mentally ill, and a perpetual prevaricator with a penchant for being physically violent with her boyfriends… none of which is true. On the other hand, the media hid from the public Reginald Daye’s criminal history (which included assault on a female), the fact that he was an alcoholic, and that he was highly intoxicated at the time of the incident. The media never bothered to mention that Mangum sustained physical injuries, including a swollen lower lip and a cut around her left eye. Nor did the media report findings at the scene of the incident which included clumps of Mangum’s hair, and a bathroom door that had been kicked in by Daye. In fact, the media, at all times, painted Mr. Daye in the most positive light.
As the media became more aware of the weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, its coverage of the case markedly diminished. On the third postoperative night, after Duke University Hospital staff intubated the esophagus rather than the trachea which resulted in Daye’s comatose state, the media went into a self-imposed news embargo on the subject. For a week, while Daye lay in a coma, the media kept the public in the dark as to the serious and significant turn of events in Daye’s medical condition. It was not until after Daye died a week later that the people were even informed about the fact that Daye had been in a weeklong coma. A suddenly apathetic media all of a sudden had no curiosity as to how Daye’s condition dramatically evolved from “expected to make a full recovery” to “irreversible brain-damaged induced coma.” Instead, the media placed the blame for Daye’s death on Mangum… never mentioning the botched intubation and, with the exception of only one media source, not mentioning that Daye was even on life support and that his elective removal from it preceded his death.
There was a flurry of media activity when the autopsy report was released to the public four months after it was written by Medical Examiner Clay Nichols. The media falsely proclaimed to the people that the stab wound inflicted by Mangum perforated “six” organs… the left lung, the diaphragm (not an organ, but a muscle), the left kidney, the stomach, the spleen, and the colon. As I revealed online in the operative report I procured from prosecution discovery, only the spleen and colon were damaged by the knife wound. In addition, other medical reports from prosecution discovery contradicted that Daye sustained any lesions to his left upper extremity which Dr. Nichols interpreted as being “defensive injuries.” Although the lack of credibility of the autopsy report by Nichols was brought to the attention of the mainstream media, they never attempted to question its accuracy or to set the record straight. Instead, the media chose to let their readers and viewers continue to believe that Daye’s death was due to the perforation of six organs by a single stab wound to the torso with a steak knife.
Specifically, I made contact with WRAL and its investigative team (including manager Randall Kerr), and ABC-11 at its downtown Raleigh studio, to enlighten them about the problems with the Daye autopsy report by Dr. Nichols. I even hand-delivered a letter to Jim Goodmon, the president and CEO of Capital Broadcasting Company which owns WRAL and FOX 50 among other media holdings. Per the usual response I have received from the media, I was ignored. As I was aware, the problem was not that the media did not know that what they reported regarding the autopsy report was incorrect and misleading, but that they did not want the general public to know. Such is still the case as the media continues to ignore the injustices in Mangum’s plight.
Another tactic utilized by the media is to not so subtly defile supporters of Mangum by presenting them as being lawless, unstable, and irresponsible. The headlines may blare that “Mangum supporter is being investigated by the State Bar,” but it is that which is underlying that story that is concealed. When approaching her one year anniversary of incarceration with no activity by her attorney of record, Mangum requested my assistance in drafting motions for her. I innocently drafted three motions based upon prosecution discovery that she sent me. She signed the motions and I filed them with the court. According to the State Bar, more than one journalist complained about me practicing law without a license… which propelled the Bar to investigate me. In order to conceal the identities of the journalists, the Bar itself assumed the role of the complainant in the action against me. Although the alleged wrongdoing against me was trivial and petty, the media, and the State Bar both made a mountain out of this tiny molehill. Diversion ruled the day, as the media brought attention to the alleged unauthorized practice of filing the motions (even questioning whether or not Mangum knowledge or consent for their filings), while disregarding the issues addressed by contents of the motions.
The selective and biased reporting by the media is not without severe consequences with respect to the administration of justice. Its role in the conspiracy against Mangum has helped keep a person innocent of committing a crime (and actually being a victim of crimes against her by Daye) incarcerated for 505 days as of today’s posting… and counting. The media is doing a disservice to Ms. Mangum, to Lady Justice, to the cause of “equal justice for all,” and to the public which reads its reports and views its broadcasts. In all fairness I do not fault reporters, news anchors, managers, and editors on the lower rungs of the media business, as the policies regarding how stories about Mangum are to be presented are determined by those at the top. Mr. Goodmon, as president and CEO is to be held accountable, rather than anchor David Crabtree, for example. Presidents and CEOs of ABC-11 and NBC-17 are guilty of failing in their duty to the public, as well. The media conspiracy in this Mangum criminal issue is long on fidelity and ubiquitous throughout the country.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t help persuade the mainstream media to do the right thing when enablers, such as politicians, retired judges, the governor, the Attorney General’s Office, civil rights leaders and organizations, including the North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence, sit on their hands and allow their mouths to be muzzled. Only the Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong is speaking out against the injustice towards Crystal Mangum… and as would be expected, the media has gone out of its way to minimize the group and discredit it whenever possible.
The media’s handling of the Crystal Mangum case has been disgraceful, and its subscribers and the public at large deserve better.