Topic category: Other/General
Duke Case: The Sore Losers
As a result of the exposure of the Duke Hoax, most embarrassed political correctness advocates who treated it as a golden opportunity to promote their political agenda have had to switch to their fallback position (it was plausible) and continue to criticize the real victims in order to make themselves look a bit less ridiculous. (Wicked Witch of the Hoax Wendy Murphy is risking incarceration for her own good, the fate that imminently awaited false accuser Crystal Gail Mangum before she claimed to have been raped, by insisting that the declaration of the innocence of the Duke Three--Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and David Evans--was undeserved.)
My article ("Duke case: an even greater NCCU disgrace") on North Carolina Central University student Solomon Burnette's "Death to All Rapists" diatribe in the NCCU student newspaper described it as "profoundly and patently disturbing," "dangerously delusional vigilante ranting" and "insane and incendiary"; pointed out erroneous factual assertions that demonized the 2005-2006 Duke University Men's Lacrosse Team; asked whether NCCU was teaching something that Mr. Burnette had written (specifically, ""History has shown us that the (in)justice system cannot and will not address these issues because it is built upon them"); asked whether "there was nothing better for the NCCU student newspaper to publish"; and called upon the Durham County Police Department to "take note."
Durham, North Carolina's News & Observer recently reported good news: the editor-in-chief and faculty adviser of North Carolina Central University's student newspaper regret the decision to publish Solomon Burnette's furious fulminations following the dismissal of the Duke case.
Better late than never!
News & Observer:
"In the April 18 column, Burnette, a Durham native, made reference to the recently concluded Duke lacrosse case, in which three white athletes accused of sexually assaulting a black stripper were declared innocent.
"Burnette wrote that blacks cannot get a fair shake under the current American justice system and should thus stand up and fight, 'whether intellectually, artistically or physically.'
"'I am not surprised at the outcome of this case. As a son of Africa, I know that American law is not worth the paper it is written on,' he wrote, adding later in the column: 'White people still murder us with impunity. White people still beat us with impunity. White people still rape us and get away with it.'
Editor-in-Chief Rory Camille: "It was important to set the record straight and not have people misled about our school."
My own article prompted a Durhamite to write:
"Dear Mr. Gaynor,
I read your article concerning the article written by brother Solomon a NCCU student. I myself attended NCCU and have lived in Durham all of my life. I have worked at Duke Hospital and as a member of a local band have performed for Duke Students at there parties. I do agree with you that brother Solmon' comments were a bit over the top and that these young men did face injustice by being wrongly accused. But I also can't ignore the multitude of black men who have been accused by white women and due to lack of wealth have been sentenced to prison. You cited 'ONE player asked if the strippers had brought sex toys and stupidly suggested that one of them should use a broomstick he had (and that player was NOT indicted).' So should we ignore his comment do you think that is what they are teaching at Duke or is it how his parents raised him. You also cited 'Tell your Granddaddy thanks for making my cotton shirt,' they were reported to have said. 'ONE player said it.' Should we ignore that comment also. The player that made that comment made racist remark did any of the other players speak out against it or just remain silent or laugh at his comment. I agree Solomon's comments were over the top but lets not try to paint a halo over these players head they do bear some responsibility for the actions that placed them in the situation that they found themselves in."
I responded: "The Solomon comments were incendiary, not a bit over the top. When I say ONE person, I am NOT suggesting his action be ignored, just that others not be blamed for it. I disapprove of strippers stripping AND being hired, but I don't agree that attending a stripper party makes the attendees responsible for MORE than attending. It doesn't mean they share responsibility for a bogus charge. I happen to have publicly defended Kobe Bryant and Michael Jackson against unproven charges and out-of-control prosecutors with personal/political agendas. I am disgusted with failures of the criminal justice system regardless of color or wealth."
The Durhamite responded:
"Dear Mr. Gaynor,
Thanks for replying to my email.
I find your comment about the teaching ethics of NCCU to be incendiary to suggest that they teach anything that might have moved brother Solomon to write what he felt. You being an attorney should be well verse in the freedom of speech. The relationship that exist between the Durham community that have reported numerous problems concerning these young men living in there area and the lack of respect for the community as well as the unstable relationship between the to schools did not gain as much ink as it should have. I attended NCCU and have lived in Durham all of my life. I am not saying all of the Duke students carry themselves in a manner that these men did but there are issues that exist between the city and the two schools. I feel that some of the anger displayed by Solomon is reflective of this situation. The one common thing that you both as well as I can agree upon is disgusted with failures of the criminal justice system. Unfortunately I have to concern myself with the color of people that it fells being that it is that color that has a greater statistic for being imprisoned and falsely accused and being pulled over for being black and driving a certain car or in a particular neighborhood. But I do look forward to reading your comment or hearing about you defending a person who isn't a Kobe or Michael both who fit the wealth category. I will research your writing and see what you had to say about police who shoot the black woman in Atlanta or the young man who was killed before his wedding day. Surely you will speak about the outrage that should accompany those incidents. Or maybe you could find the time to look into way there exist a tension between the two schools and the city before passing judgement on a young man and his writing and making comments about NCCU who actually is responsible for a number of students who attended Duke as undergrads then achieved there law degree at NCCU go onto passing the bar and became lawyers. I again want to thank you for taking the time to write me back and hope that nothing of this nature concerning the young men and a young black woman who worked as a stripper but reached for higher goals by attending school and keeping a high grade point average. While you may not like her profession she did not come from a wealthy family so she became a stripper which is a legal profession in this country and should not be looked down upon she wasn't a prostitute just a stripper. I am sure there are several other cases that you as a lawyer come across where the color of the accuser is white and the young man is black and he is sentenced to jail. Where is the out cry then. Where is the press then. Oh I forgot just another black man fulfilling a statistic nothing to see here lets all just move on."
Obviously the end of the Duke case did not end the racial problems in Durham and Durham County, North Carolina District Attorney Michael B. Nifong played the race card because he correctly calculated that it would win him a Democrat primary (tantamount to election in Durham County). Last year Newsweek reported that NCCU student Chan Hall said with respect to false accuser Crystal Gail Mangum's phony gang rape claim, "It's the same old story. Duke up, Central down," and the Duke students should be prosecuted "whether it happened or not" as "justice for things that happened in the past."
Then and still, hatred blinded people to the need to be fair to individuals.
North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper (a Democrat) decided not to prosecute Ms. Mangum. That exacerbates the problem posed by the likes of Ms. Mangum and Mr. Burnette, but helps Democrats with the black vote.
It is disappointing and distressing, but not surprising that (1) Ms. Mangum still claims she was gang-raped, (2) there are those who either really believe or pretend to believe it and (3) many of those who obviously were wrong about the charges have just fallen back to the position that the charges could have been true.
The Durhamite put it this way: "lets not try to paint a halo over these players head they do bear some responsibility for the actions that placed them in the situation that they found themselves in."
Please correct me if I am wrong, but isn't that team party held last March 13 the only stripper party that resulted in indictments of mere attendees for kidnapping, rape and sexual offense?
And didn't Attorney General Cooper acknowledge that white strippers were ordered, contradicting the assumption that the players plotted to exploit, humiliate and gang rape at least one young black woman?
The Durhamite views Ms. Mangum as a "young black woman who worked as a stripper but reached for higher goals by attending school and keeping a high grade point average" and reminded me that "[w]hile [I] may not like her profession she did not come from a wealthy family so she became a stripper which is a legal profession in this country" and added she "should not be looked down upon she wasn't a prostitute just a stripper."
You want to have it both ways, sir. Yes, stripping is a legal profession (and I don't have to approve of every legal profession). So too is it legal to hire and to watch strippers. So the hiring of strippers surely did not make any of the players responsible in any way for the false charges or the politically opportunistic district attorney's decision to pursue them and to conceal exculpatory evidence.
I'm not going to accuse Ms. Mangum of prostitution (although I have read the three co-captains' written statements and I know that the DNA results showed Ms. Mangum to be a multiple male DNA depository when she was tested).
I AM going to assure the Durhamite and anyone else that the white members of the 2005-2006 Duke University Men's Lacrosse Team are not members of the Ku Klux Klan and the black team member (whose black father was a team member when he went to college) was not a favored house slave.
Did a couple team members make racially insulting remarks after hiring strippers proved to be a really bad idea?
But they were not indicted and the suggestion that the indicted players were racist is foolish defamation?
Reade Seligmann, racist? The fellow who had a standing breakfast date with a black female athlete and was the only white in a class of blacks? NOT!
Collin Finnerty? No way. The Finnerty family provided money for a hospital--in Africa!--because a childhood friend of Collin's dad became a priest and felt called to Africa to do God's work. Catholic bashers in the media referred to that priest as "a hired priest." A despicable lie. The children of Kevin and Mary Ellen Finnerty were taught NOT to be racists. Their very charitable parents have contributed generous to other charitable causes, including some which disproportionately benefit blacks, like Covenant House, and Mr. Finnerty would have been a Covenant House "Man of the Year" if he did not think charity should not be publicized. Perhaps it's fair to call father and son shy, but calling either one a racist is a blatant lie.
David Evans? If there's evidence that he's a racist, I haven't seen it. His written statement certainly did not suggest it.
The fact is that no one has come forward with evidence that any of the so-called Duke Three is guilty of racial insensitivity or sexual harassment (much less sexual offense or rape).
So let's not indulge the baseless thought that the Duke Three really are bad guys whose parents had enough money for them to "beat the rap."
They were innocent.
They were the real victims.
They did not do anything to deserve the ordeal through which they and their families, teammates and friends were put through, because Ms. Mangum and Mr. Nifong opportunistically decided it was a helpful thing to do.
They have been vindicated, at last.
Yet, by some of those who should be abjectly ashamed, they are still, in part blamed, to make the some appear less culpable than they really are.
Finally, as to the suggestion that I defend wealthy defendants, evens black, because they are wealthy, it's ridiculous. I write for free. I have not been paid by Kobe Bryant, or Michael Jackson, or any of the Duke Three. Yes, I criticized Kobe Bryant for adultery, Michael Jackson for oddity and the Duke Three for attending the stripper party (and David Evans for co-hosting), but it does not follow that I ever will wink at prosecutorial abuse, much less an attempt to convict and imprison anyone on bogus charges.
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 email@example.com.