WEBCommentary Contributor

Author: Michael J. Gaynor
Date:  January 5, 2007

Topic category:  Other/General

Duke Case: Time for New D.A. and Defendants!

"By now it should be plain to any person who has any objectivity that the charges against Reade are transparently false. Reade is absolutely innocent and we will continue to fight this injustice. We are not going to rest until Reade's good name has been cleared and those who have been responsible for this injustice have been held fully accountable."

So concluded the statement issued by Reade Seligmann and his proud parents, Kathy Seligmann and Philip Seligmann

The Finnerty and Evans families surely feel the same way about the same charges against Collin and David--rape, kidnapping and sexual offense--and the need to clear their good names and to hold those who have been responsible for the injustice done to them fully accountable.

The Seligmanns, the Finnertys and Evans are right, of course. 

Crystal Gail Mangum did not identify the wrong persons.

She was not raped, kidnapped or sexually assaulted by anyone at that party last March.

Durham County, North Carolina District Attorney Michael B. Nifong did not make a mistake in good faith.

He tried to railroad Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and David Evans on bogus felony charges for his own purposes

On December 29, 2006, North Carolina's Conference of District Attorney took the unprecedented action of disassociating itself from Mr. Nifong, by issuing a statement that concluded: "In light of all developments in the Duke Lacrosse cases, including the filing on December 28, 2006, of a formal State Bar complaint against District Attorney Mike Nifong relative to his alleged actions, the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys is of the opinion that it is in the interest of justice and the effective administration of criminal justice that Mr. Nifong immediately and recuse himself from the prosecution of these cases and request the cases be assigned to another prosecutorial authority."

The formal State Bar complaint, based on false, misleading and/or prejudicial statements made by Mr. Nifong before the May 2, 2006 Democrat primary for Durham County District Attorney, followed the public disclosure in sworn testimony on December 15, 2006 by Dr. Brian Sheehan that he had provided full DNA test results to Mr. Nifong and they then had agreed to conceal exculpatory evidence.

The next formal State Bar complaint against Mr. Nifong will be turned out much faster than the first.

Unfortunately, Mr. Nifong only can be removed from the case and from office and disbarred once, no matter how many of his instances of misconduct, judged separately, would justify it.

Unfortunately, the mainstream media bears responsibility for the injustice done to Reade. Collin and David, and not even their lawyers will be able to hold the mainstream media to account.

If the mainstream media has any shame, however, there will be an effort to mitigate the damage done in the rush to judgment and the depiction of the Three as racist/sexist/elitist monsters when they are not.

Peter Applebaum of The New York Times wrote a profile of Reade Seligmann that contradicted the monumentally mistaken misconception of him encouraged by The New York Times.

It was a good start.

Some newspapers in North Carolina have much for which to atone.

We will see if they even try.

Sharon Swanson wrote a most moving and revealing piece focused on the Finnerty family and titled "Caught in the Crosshairs."

It appeared in the January 2007 issue of Metro Magazine and is accessible at http://www.metronc.com/article/?id=1258.

Please read it carefully.   If you read it, and think that Collin Finnerty might have even thought about committing any of the felonies with which he was charged, please email me.

The article hardly includes all of the facts that show how ludicrous it was to believe Collin to be the type to commit any of the acts charged, but it is a good start.

Likewise, David Evans committing any of those felonies is an absurd thought.

Why was there a Duke case?

Ms. Swanson reported the opinion of Kevin Finnerty, Collin's father, under the caption "Perfect Storm of Events":

"Kevin made an effort to be philosophical about his son’s accuser, although there was clearly anger lurking beneath the surface of his words. 'My best guess is that this woman has had a hard life.' We talked about the fact that the accuser’s former husband has said that she told him she had been previously gang raped as a teenager. I am a former social worker and I suspect that no matter what happened the night of the Duke party, this woman must have felt threatened by this crowd of carousing young men, and the undeniable sexual and racial tones of the party. Kevin wouldn’t disagree with the fears this woman’s past has bred in her. But he doesn’t believe his son should have to pay for it.

"Then his anger came to the surface. 'You have a bully cop, who is so corrupt, he will say anything,' referring to investigator Sgt. Mark Gottlieb, who has been under scrutiny for an arrest record that appears to indicate a targeting of Duke students. He is currently on paternity leave from the police department.

“'You have Duke, which mishandled the whole situation. You have the media, the white guilt and years of injustices. It is the perfect storm of a lot of things."

That explains why the basic story that Crystal Gail Mangum told--that she, a black woman and mother of two out-of-wedlock children working for an escort service while going to North Carolina Central University, was kidnapped, raped and sexually abused by monstrous (white) lacrosse players (the number of attackers she claimed varied wildly and last March she asserted both that there was and was not raped before reverting in December to the not raped version)--was so appealing to Mr. Nifong and the liberal mainstream media.

But the reason that Mr. Nifong indicted and prosecuted the Three was that he desperately wanted to be elected to the position to which fellow Democrat and North Carolina Law School graduate Governor Michael Easley had appointed him in December 2005 and he was about to lose the Democrat primary to a female assistant district attorney whom he had sent packing after he was appointed (Freda Black) UNLESS he somehow suddenly became a champion of Durham County, North Carolina's black community.

Fortunately, despite what Mr. Nifong and his enablers did, the truth could not be suppressed.

Now, Duke wants Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty back, and it is Mr. Nifong who is depressed.

It's gotten so bad for Mr. Nifong that he was sworn in for a four-year term as district attorney privately, before the courthouse was opened to the public.

It is a term that Mr. Nifong will not complete.

Former President Bill Clinton had a good idea: rather than being disbarred in Arkansas for conduct amounting to perjury and obstruction of justice, he voluntarily surrendered his license to practice law.

Mr. Nifong should recuse himself from the Duke case, resign as District Attorney and retire from the practice of law.

That way Governor Easley can appoint a successor to wrap up the Duke case (by voluntary dismissal) and decide whether Mr. Nifong and Ms. Mangum should be criminal defendants while the Three decide whether to pursue civil actions against them and Durham County (and perhaps Duke University, which greatly contributed to their undeserved adversity).

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.

Copyright © 2007 by Michael J. Gaynor
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