WEBCommentary Contributor

Author: Michael J. Gaynor
Date:  December 20, 2006

Topic category:  Other/General

Duke Case: Political Scandal and Opportunity

The expression “politics reared its ugly head” did not originate with the Duke case, but it does explain how an incredible gang rape claim made by an ex-convict stripper (Crystal Gail Mangum) against three members of the 2005-2006 Duke University Men’s Lacrosse Team (Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and David Evans, aka the Duke Three) was treated as true by the politically desperate Durham County, North Carolina District Attorney (Michael B. Nifong), even to the point of denying an outstanding lawyer whom he had known for more than a quarter of a century (Kirk Osborn) the opportunity to present evidence exonerating his client (Reade Seligmann) and instead obtaining indictments of three innocent young men attending Duke University in Durham from a compliance grand jury by presenting a story that he subsequently revised (by cutting the time of the alleged gang rape from about thirty minutes to ten minutes top to try to circumvent Mr. Seligmann’s irrefutable alibi evidence and withholding from the grand jury  DNA evidence contradicting Ms. Mangum’s claim that she had not had sexual relations for a week and showing DNA from multiple males in her and on the panties she had worn at the party at which she allegedly was gang raped).

Political scandal is bipartisan.  Republican politicians caught in scandal usually resign from office (examples, Congressmen Duke Cunningham, Robert Ney and Mark Foley), while Democrat politicians caught in scandal try hard to stay in power, sometimes successfully (examples: Congressmen Alcee Hastings, Gerry Studds, Charles Diggs and William Jefferson), sometimes not (example: Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney)

Political opportunity is bipartisan too.  Doing the right thing can be a boon for one’s political career.

In ancient Rome, the masses were placated with “bread and circuses.” [“Bread and circuses” was “coined [in Latin] in the Satire X by Juvenal, a Roman satiric poet of the 1st century to describe the practice of Roman Emperors who gave unlimited free wheat to the poor and costly circus games as a means of pacifying the populace with food and entertainment.” Wikipedia].  

Petty tyrant Nifong did not enough wheat to distribute to win an election, so he offered a circus.  We have come far from the days when Christians were fed to the lions in the Coliseum, but Mr. Nifong did the best (really, worst) he could: he offered up three young white men from wealthy families in the North for a trial he insists should be in Durham at which the three could be sentenced to thirty years in prison on bogus charges that many Durhamites believe.  He eschewed his duty to be a fair and impartial “minister of justice,” extolled Ms. Mangum as a rape victim whom he would champion and excoriated the entire 2005-2006 Duke University Men’s :acrosse Team as rapist.kidnappers/sexual offenders and teammates who cover up their crimes.

As with other political scandals, it is best that members of the scoundrel’s political party come forward to expose the scandal and set things as right as they can be set as soon as possible.

In Durham (indeed, in North Carolina), the powers that be have not taken the opportunity.  Mr. Nifong is a Democrat in a heavily Democrat county in a state in which Democrats (like Governor Michael Easley and Attorney General Roy Cooper) need a black block vote to win.  With the North Carolina NAACP having treated a bogus gang rape claim as bona fide (the accuser being black and the accused being white), the way North Carolina Democrats in significant positions of power who call the black block vote an important part of their political base have behaved is another scandal. 

In “The Duke case is a DEMOCRAT scandal,” posted on October 17, I wrote:

“60 Minutes’ never mentioned during is two-part segment on the Duke case broadcast last Sunday night that the Duke case is a Democrat scandal. But, IT IS! Durham County, North Carolina is a Democrat bastion; Durham County's appointed District Attorney Michael B. Nifong is a Democrat; the North Carolina Governor (Michael Easley) who appointed Mr. Nifong is a Democrat; and North Carolina Attorney General (Roy Cooper) who has not intervened in the interests of justice, is a Democrat.”

Then true, still true.

I continued:

“After the ‘60 Minutes’ Duke case expose, responsible (and smart) Democrats will stand for justice instead of stand with Mr. Nifong.

"’60 Minutes’ DID make it clear that (1) the Duke case is baseless (that is, none of the Duke Three committed any of the felonies on which Mr. Nifong had them indicted by a grand jury that was misled by Mr. Nifong), (2) Mr. Nifong engaged in egregious prosecutorial misconduct in the Duke case (that is, he refused to consider evidence of innocence before seeking indictments and he ordered a photo identification procedure that violated local, state and federal guidelines, to give two examples), and (3) Mr. Nifong, in Ed Bradley's words, ‘played up the racial aspects of the case’ while waging a ‘hotly contested election campaign...in a city with a large black population’ (that is, Mr. Nifong used the Duke case to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat to keep his job by playing the race card and manipulating enough black votes to win a plurality of the votes).”

The late Ed Bradley would not have been surprised, I suspect, that it was even worse: Mr. Nifong had entered into an agreement with the director of the private laboratory hired to test DNA samples to conceal exculpatory evidence even before indictment!

I noted: “As Sports Illustrated reported, Mr. Nifong ‘polled 2 to 1 among African-American voters [as against Freda Brown], an advantage that more than accounted for his victory margin of 883 votes.’”

In the general election, Mr. Nifong won by a plurality because the anti-Nifong split (due to the egomania of Durham County Republican County Chairman and write-in candidate Steve Monks” and Mr. Nifong received better than 90& of the black vote.

I stated then and reiterate now:

”To his credit, a Democrat--Lewis Cheek, a Democrat County Commissioner, came forward to offer Durham County voters an alternative to Mr. Nifong. (Not all Democrats automatically back a rogue, because he's a Democrat rogue.)

I also quoted paert of a brilliant commentary on the “60 Minutes” expose by sportswriter Jason Whitlock, who is black: "The piece left you with two overwhelming beliefs: 1. Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and David Evans did not rape the accuser; 2. There's no possible way the district attorney can win a conviction.

"Either belief is justification for dropping the charges.

"When you toss in the players' claims that the prosecutor won't even grant them an audience to hear their exculpatory evidence and the racially charged nature of the investigation, the case rises to a level where people concerned about blind, equal and fair justice should get involved.

"Anyone who has been mistreated by law enforcement or had a friend or family member treated unjustly by our criminal-courts system should be concerned about what is transpiring in Durham.

"It is true that the Duke lacrosse players are from wealthy families and can afford attorneys who probably will win an acquittal or dismissal.

"But there is nothing to be gained and plenty to be lost by showing indifference to their plight.

"Had '60 Minutes' aired the same story about three black Duke basketball players being railroaded by a prosecutor pandering to white voters and a white accuser with zero credibility, we all know where Jackson and Sharpton would be — right where they should be today. In Durham, asking the prosecutor to do the right thing.

"It is in the best interest of all black people, especially poor black people, that black people with a voice and a platform call for an end to the persecution of the Duke lacrosse players and program.

"Speaking out in support of the wealthy Duke players enhances our credibility when we claim that someone poor and black is being treated unfairly. Poor people need that credibility because they can't afford to make bail, let alone a team of high-priced attorneys.

"By remaining silent about this obvious miscarriage of justice, black leadership looks as racist and cowardly as it paints white people who ignore obvious mistreatment of blacks.

"You follow?"

Nearly all of the blacks who voted in the Durham County district attorney general election did NOT follow.

We should pray, for their sake, as well as the sakes of everyone else, especially the Duke Three and their families and friends, that as a result of (1) the joint defense’s blockbuster motions to compel production of DNA-related evidence, to suppress an identification exquisitely explained as fundamentally flawed by Duke Law Professor James Coleman (who is black) and to change venue and (2) a hearing on December 15 that showed that Mr. Nifong had kept critical exculpatory evidence from both the defense and the grand jury that mistakenly indicted the Duke Three, that these people follow now.  Willful blindness is a sin, if not a crime.

These days the scope of support for the Duke Three is much great than it was on May 2, when Mr. Nifong won a plurality in the primary, and even November 7, when he won a plurality in the general election.  The tide turned.

Susan Estrich, a liberal Democrat who managed the Democrats’ presidential campaign in 1988, initially believed Ms. Mangum, like Ruth Sheehan, a News & Observer columnist.  As rape victims, their tendency to believe rape claims is understandable and makes their support of the Duke Three and/or criticism of Mr. Nifong’s actions all the more significant).

They no longer are hoodwinked by a false accuser and a rogue prosecutor.

They should join me in unqualifiedly endorsing these words of Mr. Whitlock: "Standing up for Seligmann, Finnerty and Evans would be standing up against injustice, and what we're learning is that injustice recognizes opportunity more than color. In America, there is more opportunity for injustice to visit poor people of color. Their best defense is standing against all injustice, regardless of race."

There Mr. Whitlock is calling for the fulfillment of Dr. Martin Luther King's dream: "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

Even rich whites are entitled not to be framed by a prosecutor.

After  reading Ms. Sheehan’s article titled “Turning the Tide in Durham,” dated October 30, I wrote “D.A. Nifong, Ruthless; Ruth Sheehan, Repentant,” posted on October 30. I observed that “rape victims like Ms. Sheehan and Susan Estrich were predisposed to believe and each of them eventually realized that there was no rape” and noted that “Ms. Sheehan has been trying to make amends (UNlike Durham County, North Carolina District Attorney Michael D. Nifong, who shamelessly, but skillfully, exploited the situation from the start for personal and political reasons and is still doing so).”

Ms. Sheehan:

"At a rare news conference (since he shifted from blabbermouth Mike to mute Mike), Nifong noted that 'this case remains a Durham problem, and it demands a Durham solution.’

"I just hope the voters of Durham understand that the general election is not, in fact, a referendum on their loyalty to Durham. In many ways, it is not even a referendum on Nifong.

"Much as they might wish it were otherwise, this DA's race is a referendum on the Duke lacrosse case.

"If Nifong wins, how can he do anything but take this case to trial?

"That is what's so scary.

"At this paper, and in this column, my colleagues and I have written plenty about prosecutors with tunnel vision, who press forward with flawed cases at any cost.

"Here's a chance for voters to say, 'Not here. Not in Durham.' Durham voters can set this case before new eyes.

"If only they would."

Unfortunately, the Durham voters missed the boat when they went to vote.

Fortunately, Judge Osmond Smith can end the persecution.

The sooner he does, the better.

The sooner Mr. Nifong is removed for his office and the North Carolina state bar, the better.

Fortunately, there IS a suitable ground for pre-trial dismissal under North Carolina’s Criminal Procedure Act.

North Carolina General Statutes Section 15A-954(a)(4): “The court on motion of the defendant must dismiss the charges stated in a criminal proceeding if it  determines that…[t]he defendant’s constitutional rights have been flagrantly violated and there is such irreparable prejudice to the defendant’s preparation of his case that there is no remedy but to dismiss the prosecution.”

That happened in the Duke case: the defendants’ due process and equal protection rights were flagrantly violated and they have been irreparably prejudiced.  That’s now clearer than ever.

The Fourteenth Amendment provides; “No State…shall…deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

In North Carolina, that “irreparable prejudice” standard is not high.

To the Duke case, Judge Smith should say "Goodbye!"

Ms. Estrich’s December 18 article, “Duke Justice Demands Nifong's Removal,” is most welcome.

Ms. Estrich:

”This  is not the way the system is supposed to operate.  Prosecutors are supposed to be out for justice, not blood; committed to the truth, at all costs, not winning, without more.

“Prosecutors aren’t just morally obliged but legally required to turn over exculpatory evidence to the defense.

“Prosecutors aren’t just one side in a battle.

“You can’t come across the smoking gun covered with fingerprints on it – come across it because you have the power of the state to collect all the evidence – and then decide to ignore it because they don’t match the fingerprints of the guy you’re prosecuting for the crime. You certainly can’t file the report from the lab for your eyes only.

“You have to tell the defendant that the smoking gun has someone else’s prints on it. He has a right to know that, and the prosecutor has a duty to tell him.

“There is a reason that the rules are such. The prosecutor represents the people. The people’s goal is winning, which doesn’t have to mean a perfect conviction rate.

“The goal is supposed to be to convict the guy who did it, not frame the guy you’ve got.

“Somebody should tell that to Mike Nifong. Or to the judge who is in a position to do something about who prosecutes the Duke lacrosse players charged with rape.

“What is going on in the prosecutors’ office in Durham North Carolina is disturbing in ways that go beyond the ugly allegations that started this case.

“The District Attorney has clearly lost sight of his mission, and with it the last remnants of any ethical compass. The case has been characterized, since the outset, by a clear failure to follow the office’s own procedures and practices.

“The identification procedures were unduly suggestive, limiting the universe from which her selections were made to men who were members of the team, thus ensuring that she would pick someone who had been at the party, where a line up with true third parties would not, and rightly so.

“As if that weren’t enough, there was a rush to indict, that turned appropriate timing of an investigation on its head, with the decision to indict made before the DNA evidence was even tested.

“Wait and there might well have been a different decision. The more important the case, the more important it is to follow the rules.

“But withholding exculpatory evidence moves the impropriety to a whole new level. This is not simply best practices, but basic constitutional criminal law.

“According to testimony given under oath this week, the head of a private DNA lab said he and the District Attorney together agreed not to release evidence that there was DNA from other men, but not from any of the defendants, in the woman’s underwear and on her person the night of the alleged incident.

“Together, they decided not to release it. Imagine. One of those people is supposed to be an officer of the court and the representative of the people, not head gladiator.

“How could the District Attorney keep that information to himself, or try to?

“What is he out to do here?

“Enough is enough.

“What will it take for Mike Nifong to be replaced on this case?

“If ever a prosecutor had shown himself to be no longer capable of exercising the sort of judgment required of him to be fair, it would be this prosecutor in this case.

“Whatever the outcome, it will not be accepted if this man continues to be the one pursuing it. If there is any chance of guilt, much less of innocence, it must be on someone else’s shoulders.

“It is an extreme measure for a court to replace a prosecutor on a case. But this appears, increasingly, to be an extreme case of lawlessness by the prosecutors if not the defendants. To Ms. Estrich:

In the words of that Virginia Slims commercial, “you’ve come a long way.” But there’s still aways to come.  When I wrote “Susan Estrich: Out of Control” this summer, it was because you were calling for another prosecutor because you thought the defense team was too much for Mr. Nifong against and his Nifong's “early comments and subsequent silence” [made] “whatever he does now…suspect.”

You had written:

"The only way all sides will ever be convinced that this case has been handled fairly is if someone other than Mike Nifong handles it. The defendants deserve that; the accuser deserves that; and most important, the people deserve that." The case has NOT been handled fairly.

"Let Nifong pick the prosecutor; if his handpicked choice believes there is no case, or no case against one or more of the defendants Nifong has indicted, then so be it. Nifong should have no reason to complain if his own choice disagrees with him.

"But if one or more of the finest lawyers in North Carolina decides to go forward, and does, then at least we can stop hearing about how this whole thing was just an effort by Mike Nifong to keep his job. And for that alone, the special prosecutor will have earned his or her pay."

The Duke case was a hoax from the start.  It would be a travesty of justice for the prosecution to continue, no matter who did the prosecuting.  It’s time to dismiss the case and to proceed against Mr. Nifong and Ms. Mangum, in accordance with law.  Violations of constitutional rights are not cured by switching prosecutors.

The Duke case represents a political problem, especially for Democrats, and a political opportunity, especially for Republicans.

When a rogue prosecutor cannot be removed within his fiefdom, for whatever reason, it behooves the persecuted to appeal to higher authorities.

That’s what Collin Finnerty attorney Michael Cornacchia did long ago, as The News & Observer recently reported:that he had written “to the U.S. attorney general, the FBI director, the congressional delegations of North Carolina and Long Island and others, saying Nifong had violated the civil rights of the three players.”  He was right about that, and right to write to all of them about it.

Federal officials are reluctant to become involved in state prosecutions, of course.  But, as Justice Potter Stewart pointed out (Hat tip to Michael McCusker, Esq., the Notre Dame lacrosse player/Marine/ attorney who dug out the case) in a concurring opinion in the United States Supreme Court Case (Younger v. Harris) setting forth the exceptions to which is known as the Younger abstention doctrine:

“The Court confines itself to deciding the policy considerations that in our federal system must prevail when federal courts are asked to interfere with pending state prosecutions. Within this area, we hold that a federal court must not, save in exceptional and extremely limited circumstances, intervene by way of either injunction or declaration in an existing state criminal prosecution. Such circumstances exist only when there is a threat of irreparable injury ‘both great and immediate’ A threat of this nature might be shown if the state criminal statute in question were patently and flagrantly unconstitutional on its face (citation omitted), or if there has been bad faith and harassment - official lawlessness - in a statute's enforcement (citation omitted). In such circumstances the reasons of policy for deferring to state adjudication are outweighed by the injury flowing from the very bringing of the state proceedings, by the perversion of the very process that is supposed to provide vindication, and by the need for speedy and effective action to protect federal rights.”

The “official lawlessness exception” not only permits, but demands, federal intervention in the Duke case.

Of course, there are political ramifications that politicians take into account and both Democrats and Republicans court the black vote (though Republican success has been relatively minimal).

Without strong evidence of “offical lawnessness” by a state prosecutor, neither the United States Justice Department or federal or state officials will act.

Therefore, it is highly significant that on December 6, Congressman Walter Jones, Republican of North Carolina, stepped forward, by writing to United States Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and requested an inquiry into Durham County, North Carolina District Attorney Michael B. Nifong’s prosecution of Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and David Evans (aka the Duke Three) on bogus rape, kidnapping and sexual assault charges in order to determine whether Mr. Nifong engaged in prosecutorial misconduct and denied the three white student athletes their civil rights as United States citizens under federal law.

Congressman Jones stated in his letter:

“Over the past several months, many of my constituents and a growing number of mainstream media outlets have raised serious questions about the accuser’s allegations and Mr. Nifong’s prosecution.”

Congressman Jones highlighted two particularly troubling matters:

“First, Mr. Nifong directed the Durham Police Department to knowingly violate suspect identification procedures for police personnel in North Carolina. These procedures require that during any suspect identification process, a suspect’s photo must be shown with those of non-suspects. Mr. Nifong not only directed that this not be done, he also directed the police to tell the accuser that she would only view photos of Duke lacrosse athletes who were at the party. By doing so, Mr. Nifong ensured that the accuser could not make a mistake no matter who she identified because she would inevitably identify Duke athletes.”

“Second, throughout the investigation Mr. Nifong repeatedly made prejudicial statements to the media. His statements clearly violate the North Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct which prohibit a prosecutor in a criminal case from making extrajudicial statements that ‘heighten public condemnation of the accused’ or, if disseminated via public communication, have the ‘substantial likelihood’ of prejudicing the proceeding.  Mr. Nifong’s statements ranged from labeling the Duke players 'hooligans' to falsely stating that they refused to cooperate with his investigation. Mr. Nifong also continually proclaimed his personal opinion that a sexual attack had occurred and that he believed the accuser. Furthermore, what is perhaps most concerning is Mr. Nifong’s public admission and representation in court that he’s never had the accuser tell him what she alleges occurred that night; Mr. Nifong has stated it was unnecessary to hear her version.”

Congressman Jones' position: "Mr. Attorney General, many of my constituents have expressed concern to me that the facts outlined in this letter are indicative of prosecutorial misconduct. I urge you to look into these matters to ensure that Mr. Nifong’s actions have not illegally denied the accused of their civil rights as American citizens. After all, if the American people cannot trust those who they’ve empowered to pursue justice fairly, then hope for this democracy is lost.”


After the December 15 hearing in the Duke case, Congressman Jones reiterated his request, because what had transpired at the hearing made his request all the more justified.

Congressman Jones, in a December 18 letter to Attorney General Gonzales, Third District asked the Attorney General to review new evidence that Mr. Nifong withheld exculpatory DNA results from the defendants to determine if his conduct has illegally denied the students their civil rights as U.S. citizens under federal law.

Congressman Jones stated in his letter:

“In a December 7th letter I asked you to look into Durham County, North Carolina District Attorney Mike Nifong’s prosecution of three Duke University student athletes accused of an alleged sexual attack on a woman earlier this year in Durham.

“New evidence of potential prosecutorial misconduct emerged during court proceedings last week when it was revealed that Mr. Nifong withheld exculpatory DNA results from the defendants. These findings reinforce the appearance of a pattern of misconduct that may have denied these students their constitutional rights as U.S. citizens under federal law. This matter cries out for oversight, and I again urge you to launch a federal investigation.

“In an article on the court proceedings in last Saturday’s Raleigh News and Observer – a copy of which I’ve attached for your review – it is reported that the ‘head of a private DNA laboratory testified Friday that he and District Attorney Mike Nifong agreed last spring not to report DNA results favorable to Duke lacrosse players charged with rape. The article states that the lab’s testing showed DNA material collected from the accuser just hours after the alleged attack did not come from any of the defendants. But lab director Brian Meehan testified that he and Mr. Nifong decided not to include that evidence in their report to the defense despite the fact that ‘North Carolina law requires Nifong to hand over all evidence.’

“Mr. Attorney General, I was encouraged to see that on Fox News yesterday you confirmed that you ‘received’ my December 7th letter and that the Justice Department is evaluating the facts it presents. The new revelations of potential prosecutorial misconduct exposed in last week’s court proceedings also require the Justice Department’s attention.”

“At the request of a growing number of my constituents, I again urge you and your staff to fully investigate these matters to ensure that Mr. Nifong’s conduct has not illegally denied these students their constitutional rights to due process.”

Due process AND equal protection.  [There would not have been an attempted framing in Messrs. Seligmann, Finnerty and Evans were white.]

There is an opportunity for principled politicians to set themselves apart from the unprincipled ones. 

Mr. Nifong violated basic constitutional rights and created and exacerbated racial tension for his own purposes.

Other members of Congress should join Congressman Jones’ temperate request.

There is an opportunity for Attorney General Gonzales to do what is right to stop prosecutorial abuise in the Duke case and discourage it generally.

There is an opportunity for Judge Smith to grant the suppression and change of venue motions made last week, invite a motion for pre-trial dismissal and to call for investigations of Mr. Nifong and Ms. Mangum.

These opportunities should be seized, not set aside, as earlier meritorious motions by Reade Seligmann attorney Kirk Osborn to remove Mr. Nifong from the case and to suppress identification were set aside by Mr. Nifong’s former boss, Judge Ronald Stephens, and Judge Kenneth Titus, who granted an outrageous gag order desired by the North Carolina NAACP to keep all potential witnesses, including the Duke Three, from communicating with the media about the case.

Congratulations to Mr. Osborn for putting the joint defense on the path to victory by detailing his client’s provable alibi, filing those early motions and even trying to avert Mr. Nifong’s indictment request against his client (at a considerable loss of potential income to himself) by presenting Mr. Nifong with evidence of his client’s innocence.

Mr. Nifong responded by showing the kind of man he is, refusing to meet with Mr. Osborn, persecuting (unsuccessfully) a black cabbie and finally changing the prosecution’s timeline for the imaginary gang rape, allegedly resisted physically but futilely, from thirty minutes to ten minutes tops (making Ms. Mangum’s story even more ludicruous and reversing the tide of media criticism and public opinion that was inundating the Duke Three and setting the stage for the tsunami that will drown the malicious prosecutor and the false accuser (figuratively speaking).

The end is near. 

The Three and their families and friends no longer should fear.

Eventually there must be accounting by the ones who really did wrong, the false accuser, Ms. Mangum, and the pernicious prosecutor, Mr. Nifong.

Michael J. Gaynor

Biography - Michael J. Gaynor

Michael J. Gaynor has been practicing law in New York since 1973. A former partner at Fulton, Duncombe & Rowe and Gaynor & Bass, he is a solo practitioner admitted to practice in New York state and federal courts and an Association of the Bar of the City of New York member.

Gaynor graduated magna cum laude, with Honors in Social Science, from Hofstra University's New College, and received his J.D. degree from St. John's Law School, where he won the American Jurisprudence Award in Evidence and served as an editor of the Law Review and the St. Thomas More Institute for Legal Research. He wrote on the Pentagon Papers case for the Review and obscenity law for The Catholic Lawyer and edited the Law Review's commentary on significant developments in New York law.

The day after graduating, Gaynor joined the Fulton firm, where he focused on litigation and corporate law. In 1997 Gaynor and Emily Bass formed Gaynor & Bass and then conducted a general legal practice, emphasizing litigation, and represented corporations, individuals and a New York City labor union. Notably, Gaynor & Bass prevailed in the Second Circuit in a seminal copyright infringement case, Tasini v. New York Times, against newspaper and magazine publishers and Lexis-Nexis. The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed, 7 to 2, holding that the copyrights of freelance writers had been infringed when their work was put online without permission or compensation.

Gaynor currently contributes regularly to www.MichNews.com, www.RenewAmerica.com, www.WebCommentary.com, www.PostChronicle.com and www.therealitycheck.org and has contributed to many other websites. He has written extensively on political and religious issues, notably the Terry Schiavo case, the Duke "no rape" case, ACORN and canon law, and appeared as a guest on television and radio. He was acknowledged in Until Proven Innocent, by Stuart Taylor and KC Johnson, and Culture of Corruption, by Michelle Malkin. He appeared on "Your World With Cavuto" to promote an eBay boycott that he initiated and "The World Over With Raymond Arroyo" (EWTN) to discuss the legal implications of the Schiavo case. On October 22, 2008, Gaynor was the first to report that The New York Times had killed an Obama/ACORN expose on which a Times reporter had been working with ACORN whistleblower Anita MonCrief.

Gaynor's email address is gaynormike@aol.com.

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