by Sher Zieve
After pursuing an almost year long Don Quixote-like quest against three Duke University Lacrosse team players (a quest that had none of the honor associated with the mythical knight and included only the chasing of windmills), Durham, NC District Attorney Mile Nifong is kicking himself to the curb and throwing in his towel. He has finally, after requests from two North Carolina attorney associations (and an ethics’ complaint filed against him by one), asked to recuse himself from the case—a case that appears to have been fabricated at its beginning; first by the accuser and then by Nifong.
The stripper-accuser, Crystal Mangum, changed her story—again—last week. I think this is either the 12th or 13th time the woman has altered her account of what happened, the night she screamed that the Duke players had raped her. Then she said they didn’t rape her. Good call, Crystal, since NO DNA evidence from any of them appeared on your body and only evidence of sex with at least five other men did! Now, Crystal has now decided to, again, change her rendition of what occurred and keep the "sexual offense and kidnapping" portion of the accusation in the mix. Her latest alterations are: 1. She has decided to change her timeline to apparently contradict what has been called ‘irrefutable exculpatory evidence’ showing that one of the accused couldn’t have been there during her originally stated times; 2. She has changed her original description of one of the men she accused (which had no bearing on reality) to match the actual pictures of him she has now seen. D.A. Nifong went along with all of it—until Friday. Now he wants out!
Nifong, however, has some real battles ahead of him. In preparation for potential lawsuits against him (for gross misconduct—including suppression of exculpatory evidence and misuse of his office), to ostensibly be filed by his colleagues as well as those he falsely accused—and continued to accuse even after he knew there was no evidence against them and the accuser was, at best, unreliable—Nifong has hired an attorney of his own.
Note: This appears to be the only intelligent move Nifong has made, to date.
Nifong’s attorney David Freedman commented: "He deeply regrets having to get out of this case. He felt his presence would only take away from the story the prosecuting witness has to tell." To which "story" is Freedman referring? As she has had so many, to date all of them have been disproved, I’d at least like to know which version Nifong pretends to believe. Is it one of her past ones or an upcoming version? Realizing "the jig is up", Nifong is now begging to be released from the case. Of course, he’s had months to do so but, an inflated ego is tough to handle.
What’s tragic is that this politically-motivated district attorney made the conscious decision that his ambitions, his pension and his job were more important than the lives of three young men. What is unconscionable is that for far too long he was allowed to get away with skirting and, with full intent, consciously abrogating the law.
Sher Zieve writer is a staff writer for the New Media Alliance, Inc. The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets.