Duke Lax Charges Dropped, Finally

Mary Katharine Ham
|
Posted: Apr 11, 2007 10:41 AM

There's a press conference at 2:30 p.m., but ABC has the scoop:

The office of North Carolina AttorneyGeneral Roy Cooper will announce that he is dismissing all chargesagainst three Duke Lacrosse players, ABC News has learned from sourcesclose to the case.

Cooper will announce his decision regarding the case at the NorthCarolina Attorney General's office in Raleigh, N.C., at 2:30 p.m.

"Cooper's decision follows a thorough reviewof the case by attorneys in his Special Prosecutions Division,"according to a release from the attorney general's office.

The three players, Reade Seligmann, David Evans and Collin Finnerty,were facing charges of first degree kidnapping and first degreeforcible sexual offense. The charges stem from an off-campus team partyheld on the night of March 13, 2006.

Thank God. 

At Durham-in-Wonderland, they're wondering what the statement will say:

"I think the critical thing could be the wording. It could simply saythe state can no longer prove its case, which would be a very harmfuloutcome for the community." A better outcome, he suggested, would be astatement that "could provide a full accounting of why the case shouldnever have been brought."
I sincerely hope the state attorney will elaborate on why the case should never have been brought. The state owes these guys at least that.

Of course, some will never stop believing that the lacrosse players got what they deserved. This, from a Wesleyan professor, as part of an essay on the Imus comments of this week (emphasis mine):

I think the comparison of this to the pattern of media representationthat we saw as the the Duke men's lacrosse team scandal unfolded overthe last year is instructive. When it became clear that Durhamprosecutor Michael Nifong had run roughshod over the investigation, andthat the exotic dancers may have made charges that were untrue orinaccurate, those nitwits down at Duke who have been wearing the"Innocent" bracelets claimed that their faith in the players wasvindicated.

This view has been tacitly, if not explicitly, supported bythe media as accounts of team behavior in general have dropped out ofthe news. But really -- although the lacrosse players may not be guiltyof a prosecutable crime, that does not make them innocent. Many playerswho were under legal drinking age spent the entire day of the incidentdrinking (illegal); the dancers were, it is clear, physically ifperhaps not sexually assaulted; and this behavior was part of a patternof ingrained, anti-social behavior that repeatedly led to people beingtargeted by team members for violence, either on the streets or at teamparties (and do we think that women have not been raped at Dukelacrosse team parties? that women under the influence of drugs andalcohol have not been coerced to have sex without their explicitconsent? Think about it.)

Be very afraid to send your children to college. H/t DIW.

Call your office, Mike Nifong:

Dropping the charges also would turn the focus of the sensational case toward the future of Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong, who has been charged by the state bar with ethics violations connected to his handling of the case.

Nifong, who could face disbarment over the ethics issues, was away from his Durham office Wednesday.

Good at avoiding the media, isn't he?

Well, the lacrosse players and their families will be getting in front of the cameras, unashamed:

Mr. Cheshire said the defendants and their families were allarriving and planned to hold a news conference of their own within anhour of the attorney general’s announcement.

“The truth of thematter is these boys are innocent,” Mr. Cheshire said. “They’ve beendemonstrably innocent since the beginning, and we don’t have any doubtthat a fair examination would find them innocent.”

Over at Our Hearts for You, the site for the "victim" of the Duke lacrosse case, there's now a long rationalization for why the site existed in the first place, and continued to exist after evidence overwhelmingly showed the "victim" was not a victim at all. Apparently, even though the victim was not raped and the three lacrosse players' lives were ruined, the entire case was actually an assault-- in part, by bloggers!-- on the African-American community of Durham:

In the meantime, the accuser, whethershe is telling the truth or not, has been the lightning rod for some ofthe most vile, vicious, racist, and disgraceful attacks and demagogueryimaginable from many, but NOT all, so-called “Duke Three supporters."

Someof these people, as documented in the past year, have also chosen,using the accuser and her troubled history as cover, to viciouslyattack the African-American community, accusing us of wanting the threedefendants convicted only because they’re white and rich, regardless ofwhat the evidence shows.

For the record, a consensus of thecommunity has voiced no such opinion. Still many Duke Three supportersuse the media and Internet blogsites to unceasingly slander and demeanAfrican-Americans in connection with the case.

I'm telling you, my hometown is a piece of work. The Duke lacrosse case was never a "Southern" problem-- a sweltering, Southern town, built on the backs of black discrimination and slavery , which had to face its racial demons when an underpriveleged black woman was assaulted by three rich, white males.

Nope. This was a progressive college town problem. A sweltering, Southern town populated by rich, white intellectuals and a vocal black community, all of whom must face the fact that in their zeal for pickets and moral outrage and the good ol' days of the 60s, they convicted three innocent young men, and put a dark stain on both the University and the town that it calls home.

Update: My dad, another Durham resident, explains the Durham condition quite nicely.

But to say Durham is a healthy place because of all of theirresponsible, racist and demagogic rhetoric of the left here is simplylaughable.

He may have video later today from the press conference.

Update: And, here's my old, trusty "Tour of Things That Didn't Happen in Durham"