Duke Lacrosse Case: No Comment

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Jun 14, 2006 1:17 PM

La Shawn Barber takes care of all the comment in her Townhall column today, even though Durham D.A. Mike Nifong has clammed up:

Now we learn that Nifong had loads of exculpatory evidence. According to a defense motion filed last week , the stripper-accuser couldn’t get her story straight. Sgt. J. C. Shelton, who responded to Kim “Second Stripper” Roberts’s 911 call, took the stripper-accuser to a mental health facility where she first made the rape claim. At Duke University Medical Center, she changed her mind and decided she hadn’t been raped after all. A few minutes later she told a nurse she’d been raped.

The defense contends that contrary to information contained in a probable cause affidavit by Durham Police Investigator Benjamin Himan, the medical exam showed no signs of rape. The stripper-accuser told the examining nurse she hadn’t been choked and that no condoms, fingers or foreign objects were used during the alleged rape. The nurse noted that her arms, legs, head, neck, etc., were normal...

To top it off, Roberts told Himan the rape allegations were a “crock” and that she’d been with the accuser the entire time except for a five minute period when she wouldn’t leave the party.

Nifong used the hype from this case to win the Democratic primary for D.A. against a black opponent in a heavily black city. Now that the case is such a big deal, he can't back down.

Ann Althouse has thoughts on that kind of approach:

What do you have to lose? It's frightening to think of a prosecutor taking that attitude. And it seems that hell is already demanding payment.

Nifong would have been free and clear without a Republican challenger in the general election, but I was in Durham this weekend, and heard tell of a possible write-in candidacy to knock the D.A. out of his spot.

County Commissioner Lewis Cheek, who has never lost an election, is thinking about it:

The 55-year-old Cheek, a veteran civil attorney with no recent criminal experience, confirmed he's thinking about running but said he doesn't expect to make a decision immediately.

"I got contacted by a couple of different people and asked if I would give it some consideration," Cheek said. "I am doing that. That's about as far as it's gone right now."

As the holes in this case become more obvious, the city of Durham and the national press needs to do some soul-searching about just what it was that made them so enamored of the narrative they chose. It seems more and more likely that narrative will prove false, and that three young men will pay the price for it as the case remains in limbo.