The Prosecution of the Duke Lacrosse Team

This was very much like the Tawana Brawley case in 1988.  It included false accusations, a rush to judgement, unnecessary racial strife, rash presuppositions by self-appointed "leaders of the black community", and media coverage that concentrated on three-second sound bites rather than accurate assessments of the facts.

Note:  The newest material is at the bottom of this page.

Top 10 Examples of Leftist and Democratic Racism.  [#3] The Duke Lacrosse case — It's hard to believe, but this incident is now fifteen years old.  It earns a place on this list however, because it marked the beginning of America's widespread acceptance of anti-white racism, particularly from our media.  The storyline was as follows:  Three white players from Duke University's Men's Lacrosse Team raped a black woman who attended a nearby historically black college.  The story checked all the boxes for leftist racists.  Three rich white guys playing a sport they don't like at an exclusive school weren't the squeaky-clean smart kids they appeared to be.  They were sexual predators who targeted a black stripper trying to work her way through college.  The only problem?  It was all a lie.  Prosecutor Mike Nifong resigned in disgrace and was disbarred, but the mainstream media which helped propel the libelous story were never held to account, leading to their current behavior of reporting lies at will with impunity.

The Duke Lacrosse Scandal and the Birth of the Alt-Right.  [Scott] McConnell and his magazine had largely ignored the scandal; identity politics weren't top of mind for conservative media then, and most outlets weren't especially interested in defending a group of rich jocks who had hired a stripper.  But by January, the case was imploding.  The accuser had changed her story more than half a dozen times, one of the players had a well-documented alibi, and DNA tests found no match with any member of the team, a fact the prosecutors initially hid from the defense.  McConnell was reminded of The Bonfire of the Vanities, Tom Wolfe's novel about 1980s New York in which an overzealous prosecutor, the media, and the city's liberal elite rushed to condemn an innocent white man accused of killing a black man.  "There was this palpable yearning among the liberal establishment for guilty white people they could put on trial," McConnell said, of the lacrosse case.

Fantastic Lies: 10 Appalling Moments From The Duke Lacrosse Case.  On the evening of March 13, 2006, a fateful party at a house in Durham, N.C. plunged the nation and its media into a frenzy of assumptions, social crusading, and miscarried justice. [...] The story scratched every social-justice itch, and everyone seemed more than happy to scratch away, despite a lack of evidence.  A little more than a year after the alleged assault, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper took the unusual step of declaring the three accused men "innocent," after a "tragic rush to accuse and a failure to verify serious allegations," and prosecuting Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong was disbarred and convicted of contempt.

A New ESPN Doc[umentary] Exposes the Real Villains in the Duke Lacrosse CaseFantastic Lies, the latest entry in ESPN's 30 for 30 documentary series, chronicles the country's swift outcry over what appeared to be a textbook collision of privilege, racism, and rape culture in athletics at an elite university.  Duke had long had a strained relationship with its hometown of Durham, North Carolina:  The former fancied itself "the Harvard of the South"; the latter struggled with crime and poverty rates typical of a small Southern city.  When 28-year-old mother of two Crystal Mangum accused three white lacrosse players of raping her at a party where she'd been paid to strip, the town's tension snapped.  In Fantastic Lies, Ruth Sheehan, then a columnist for the Raleigh-based News & Observer, calls Mangum's allegation a "Molotov cocktail that landed in the community."

Duke Lacrosse Case: The Latest Outrage.  In a nauseating editorial this week in the Raleigh News and Observer, Duke University president Richard Brodhead is depicted as "used to working at elite levels," which allegedly qualified him to receive one of the four 2013 Academic Leadership Awards bestowed by the left-leaning Carnegie Corporation to "exceptional leaders in higher education."  Yet when Brodhead, who came to Duke in 2004 from Yale, was confronted with an opportunity to demonstrate genuine university leadership, he failed in dramatic style.  It was Brodhead in 2006 who threw his own students to the wolves and took the word of a prostitute in the infamous Duke Lacrosse case.

The Lies of Duke:  "She was black, they were white, and race and sex were in the air."  That's how a Washington Post columnist described the atmosphere that led to the brutal gang rape of Crystal Mangum by a group of Duke University lacrosse players in 2006.  You remember, right?  That was the violent, racially motivated hate crime that never happened.

Playing the race card may inhibit true justice in Durham alleged rape case.  African-American groups in Durham have essentially convicted the two white Duke students without a trial.  Demonstrations have been held and District Attorney Mike Nifong, who is seeking reelection this year, has made condemning statements seemingly meant to appease his black constituency.  Nifong has come under considerable criticism from legal experts who say his actions have gone far beyond the fair search for truth.

Everyone Should Judge And Be Judged On Character, Not Color.  The prosecutor [in the Duke case] has refused to stop the prosecution even though it has become obvious that it was fundamentally flawed from the start, there is no evidence to confirm the accused's charges, there is plenty of evidence that the charges are false, and, for a plethora of reasons (including her criminal, medical and sexual histories) having nothing to do with race or color, the accuser is … NOT CREDIBLE.

The worst worsens.  After all this time, it finally came out in court last week that the DNA samples collected from the underwear and private parts of the alleged victim contained DNA from other men — but none from the Duke lacrosse players who were accused of raping her.

Fatty and Duke:  The alleged Duke lacrosse team accuser originally told police that 20 men had raped her.  Later she said it had been three men.  Raleigh-Durham station WRAL reports that a police report stated the accuser first said she was groped, not raped.  She repeatedly altered her account of how much she had drunk that night.  Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus says the accuser has changed her story six times now.

Convict, Correct, but Never Apologize.  Eighty-eight Duke professors and administrators published a statement that both implicitly convicted the lacrosse team of all the charges, and explained how the attack on the dancer was symptomatic of the racist, classist, and miscogynistic society in which we live, where this kind of thing happens all the time.  For the record (and clearly this would be news to the signers of the Duke letter), there are many more white women sexually assaulted by black men in America each year than there are black women sexually assaulted by white men (100 times as many in some years).

Prosecutor in Duke Case Faces Ethics Complaint.  The North Carolina State Bar filed a formal ethics complaint yesterday [12/28/2006] against the prosecutor in the Duke lacrosse sexual assault case, accusing him of making inflammatory remarks about the team to the news media and misleading the public about evidence.  The 17-page complaint took issue with a long list of public comments by the prosecutor, Michael B. Nifong, the Durham district attorney.

N.C. Bar Files Charges Against Duke D.A..  The North Carolina bar filed ethics charges Thursday [12/28/2006] against the prosecutor in the Duke lacrosse sexual assault case, accusing him of saying misleading and inflammatory things to the media about the athletes under suspicion.  The punishment for ethics violations can range from admonishment to disbarment.

Duke's Tenured Vigilantes:  The Duke University "lacrosse rape case" is all but over.  On Friday, January 12, the prosecutor, Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong, petitioned the North Carolina attorney general's office to be recused from the case, and the office complied, appointing a pair of special prosecutors to take over.

Orwell University — Duke Profs' P.C. Travesty.  Three Duke lacrosse players were falsely accused of raping a woman and charged unjustly with that and other crimes by a district attorney who suppressed evidence and committed perjury before recusing himself from the case.  This monumental injustice deserves a protest, especially since the trumped-up charges have not yet been dropped (though they soon will be).

More Ethics Charges Brought Against Official in Duke Case.  The North Carolina State Bar filed a second, more serious round of ethics charges yesterday [1/24/2007] against the district attorney in Durham, N.C., accusing him of "systematic abuse of prosecutorial discretion" in the sexual assault case against three former members of the Duke University lacrosse team.

The real issue at Duke.  Nifong's actions are inexplicable only if you assume that his purpose was to get at the truth about what actually happened at the party where the stripper claimed to have been raped.  That assumption has never been made in this column.  From day one, I have never believed that this case was about rape, about the Duke lacrosse players or about the "exotic dancers" or strippers.  District Attorney Nifong's actions are perfectly consistent and logical from start to finish, once you see that this case is about Nifong's own career.

Nifong says he's innocent.  District Attorney Mike Nifong said in a response to the N.C. State Bar today that the rights of the defendants in the Duke lacrosse case were not violated because they and their attorneys knew of DNA evidence that could help their case before a trial date was set.

Report:  All Charges Against Duke Lacrosse Players to Be Dropped Soon.  The remaining charges against three Duke University lacrosse players originally indicted for rape may be dropped sometime within the next few days, according to a report.

US students cleared of stripper assault.  Three US student athletes accused of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a black stripper at a Duke University lacrosse team party have been cleared of all remaining criminal charges.

Prosecutors Drop Charges in Duke Case.  The Duke lacrosse rape case finally collapsed Wednesday [4/11/2007], with North Carolina's top prosecutor saying the three athletes were railroaded by a district attorney who ignored increasingly flimsy evidence in a "tragic rush to accuse."

Cleared Duke lacrosse players don't rule out lawsuit against DA.  Lawyers for three former Duke lacrosse players are considering suing the district attorney who pursued rape and sexual assault charges against the three men, who were declared innocent this week by the state attorney general.

Let the Liar be Named and Shamed.  Her name is Crystal Gail Mangum.  She is the woman who falsely accused three Duke University students of rape.  Yesterday, the attorney general of North Carolina came forward and flatly declared the three young men "innocent of these charges."  That means their accuser is a liar.

Hefty price for justice.  So what was the Duke lacrosse rape case anyway?  A hoax?  A failure to speak truth to power?  A journalistic breakdown?  Or was that year-long academic, civic, athletic and sociological trainwreck indeed what North Carolina attorney general Roy Cooper branded a "tragic rush to accuse"?  Take your pick:  All kinds of labels got tossed around in the wake of Cooper's dismissal Wednesday of all charges against the accused players.

Duke's sorry faculty:  The most remarkable fact about the Duke lacrosse fiasco is not that it took nearly a year for obviously flimsy charges to be dropped against the players.  That's a long time, but it was only in January that the North Carolina attorney general took over the case from the corrupt Durham County district attorney.

Duke Case:  Will the Times Apologize?  Reverse the races, change the sport, and you have the Kobe Bryant "rape" hoax all over again.  It frightens me that, in this day and age, three demonstrably innocent men can be dragged into the public square in chains and be unjustly accused, tried and convicted in the media — forcibly lynched — for a rape that never happened.

The Durham Travesty.  It's about time.  North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper yesterday dropped all charges against three for mer Duke lacrosse players accused of raping a stripper at an off-campus party — putting an end to one of the worst cases of legal railroading ever.

When Women Cry Wolf About Rape.  Now that the Duke "rape" case has been brought to its conclusion and the falsely-accused young men have been thoroughly exonerated, it is time for us — especially us women — to come down hard on the woman who cried "Wolf" and those who enabled her.

Media rehab and the Duke lacrosse case.  Much of the media are desperately trying to rehabilitate themselves in the wake of the Duke lacrosse exonerations.  This is not unlike the firefighter arsonist who sets a blaze and then arrives on the scene later — after tremendous damage has been done — to fight the fire and gain praise for his bravery.

Journalism's Hoax on Duke:  As the late commentator and editor Michael Kelly wrote, "most journalists learn to see the world through a set of standard templates into which they plug each day's events."  The most obvious templates concern race — whites are oppressing blacks, gender — men are oppressing women, and class — the privileged are oppressing the poor.  Since all three of these templates were in play during the Duke race case, how surprising is it that this triple high tide resulted in some of the worst journalism of the decade?

Duke of Injustice:  What a difference a year makes.  A year ago, there was a lynch mob atmosphere against the accused students — from the Duke University campus to the national media, and including the local NAACP and the ever-present Jesse Jackson.  These were affluent white male students and a poor black woman accusing them of rape.

Nifong's Ticket to Ride:  This column predicted in April a year ago that this case would never go to trial because it was obvious even then that discovering the guilt or innocence of the accused was not District Attorney Nifong's real goal.  What served Nifong's purposes was keeping this case alive long enough for him to win his election as district attorney.

The lineups that weren't?  One flaw in the Duke lacrosse case pointed out by the attorney general's report Friday [4/27/2007] was that the lineup in which accuser Crystal Gail Mangum identified players as rapists was "of questionable validity."  Durham police violated their own policy by not interspersing photos of nonsuspects.  On Friday [4/27/2007], City Manager Patrick Baker, who oversees the Police Department, offered an explanation:  None of the three photo arrays Mangum viewed technically were lineups.

Trial this week for prosecutor in Duke case.  The prosecutor in the Duke lacrosse team rape case goes on trial Tuesday before the North Carolina State Bar for alleged ethical violations during the rape investigation.  The proceeding could result in his disbarment.

Duke Prosecutor Says He Will Resign.  Facing the loss of his law license, a tearful Mike Nifong said Friday he will resign as district attorney, more than a year after he obtained rape indictments against three Duke University lacrosse players who were later declared innocent by state prosecutors.

N.C. State Bar:  Nifong Guilty of Ethics Violations.  Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong has been found guilty by the North Carolina State Bar for a battery of ethics violations in the Duke Lacrosse case.  Nifong is expected to be disciplined as early as today [6/16/2007].  His punishment could range from a written reprimand to disbarment.  He already announced Friday his intention to resign as district attorney.

Panel says Duke prosecutor broke ethics rules.  Mike Nifong broke several rules of professional conduct during his disastrous prosecution of three Duke University lacrosse players falsely accused of rape, committing "deceit and misrepresentations," a disciplinary committee ruled Saturday.

Nifong surrenders license.  After 15 months of waging war in the Duke lacrosse case, Durham County District Attorney Michael B. Nifong surrendered his law license yesterday.  Nifong gave up minutes after a state panel ruled that he had intentionally and repeatedly lied and cheated as he prosecuted three former lacrosse players on rape charges.

Now what about those Duke professors.  Why would a seasoned prosecutor like Nifong flout the rules in so many ways in the Duke case?  Why would he publicly describe the Duke lacrosse players as "rapists" before that had been established in a court of law?  Why would he suppress DNA evidence that the defense was entitled to see?  Why, in short, did he go so far before the facts were in?

Tears Of A Clown.  Mike Nifong weeps at the consequences of persecuting three college kids for a crime they did not commit.  Meanwhile, Scooter Libby enters prison for a crime that never occurred.

The Duke Case's Unfinished Business.  Not only is [Michael] Nifong still liable to civil lawsuits from the three young men whose lives he tried to ruin, and criminal prosecution for his obstruction of justice and making false statements to a judge, there are many other people who disgraced themselves in hyping a lynch mob atmosphere when this case first broke last year.

N.C. Bar Issues Order Disbarring Nifong.  The North Carolina State Bar on Thursday [7/12/2007] issued a formal order disbarring former district attorney Mike Nifong for his handling of the now-discredited Duke lacrosse rape case.  Nifong must surrender his law license to the bar no later than 30 days from when he is served with the order.  He also must pay costs associated with his June ethics trial.

Duke, lacrosse players reach settlement.  Duke University has reached a settlement with each of the three former lacrosse players and their families.  The university made the announcement this afternoon.  According to a press release issued by Duke, the terms of the settlement will not be disclosed.

The Brawley Case of the South:  If anyone ever starts a museum of horrible explanations, the one-liner by Newsweek's Evan Thomas about his magazine's dubious reporting on the Duke non-rape case — "The narrative was right but the facts were wrong" — is destined to become a popular exhibit, right up there with "we had to destroy the village to save it."  What Mr. Thomas seems to mean is that the newsroom view of the lacrosse players as privileged, sexist, and arrogant white male jocks was the correct angle on the story.  It wasn't.

The University Has No Clothes.  To underscore its horror, the university adopted a new rule:  "Strippers may not be invited or paid to perform at events sponsored by individual students, residential living groups, or cohesive units."  So, some might be surprised to learn that on this year's Super Bowl Sunday, Duke University played host to a group of strippers, prostitutes, phone-sex operators, and others in a "Sex Workers Art Show" to display their "creativity and genius."

Convicted Without Trial:  You've read about the stripper who carried DNA from multiple sex partners but none from the accused.  You've seen the exonerated players on TV.  You've watched the career of Durham, North Carolina, district attorney Mike Nifong collapse into a heap of reckless ambition.  But there's one character in this uniquely American passion play about whom you still know very little:  Mike Pressler, the former head coach of the Duke University lacrosse team and the only university employee to lose a job over the scandal.

Dozens of Unindicted Lacrosse Players File Federal Lawsuit Against Duke.  More than three dozen current and former Duke lacrosse players plan to file a federal lawsuit against the university, the city of Durham and others involved in the case.

Obama's accidental gift on race.  Much of America is petrified to bring up race, especially in public forums — the media, in particular.  But for exactly the opposite reasons Mr. Holder, the Obama administration and the brain trust of modern liberalism assert.  Americans, especially nonblacks, are deeply fearful that the dynamic is predicated on an un-American premise:  presumed guilt.  Innocence, under the extra-constitutional reign of political correctness, liberalism's brand of soft Shariah law, must be proved ex post facto.  Think not?  Ask the Duke lacrosse team...

Years later...
Duke lacrosse accuser charged with attempted murder, arson.  Durham police arrested Duke lacrosse accuser Crystal Gale Mangum, 33, late Wednesday [2/17/2010] after she allegedly assaulted her boyfriend, set his clothes on fire in a bathtub and threatened to stab him.

Duke lacrosse figure charged.  Crystal Gail Mangum, who falsely accused three Duke University lacrosse players of rape in 2006, now is accused of attempting to murder her boyfriend and is being held in the Durham County Jail on a $1 million bond.

Another year later...
Judge lets former Duke lacrosse players pursue civil lawsuit against prosecutor, investigators.  Three former Duke lacrosse players falsely accused of rape five years ago can pursue a lawsuit against the ex-county prosecutor and police investigators who handled their case, a federal judge in North Carolina ruled Thursday [3/31/2011].

Duke lacrosse accuser arrested again.  Authorities say former Duke Lacrosse accuser Crystal Mangum was arrested overnight Sunday [4/3/2011] for stabbing her boyfriend in the chest. ... Mangum is charged with assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury.

Where are Crystal Mangum's liberal supporters now?  Being held on a $300,000 secured bond, 2006 Duke Lacrosse rape accuser Crystal Mangum sits in a Durham County jail cell after being charged with assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill.  The man Ms. Mangum allegedly stabbed on April 3 died of his injuries on Wednesday [4/13/2011].  The charges against Ms. Mangum have yet to be upgraded to murder.

This pretty well sums it up...
Mike Nifong's Crime:  This despicable career government employee seized upon a completely selfish, self-serving opportunity to heighten racial tensions in our nation so that he could get elected to a minor office and get a good civil service pension.  In a disunited country at war, ridden with racial problems, he pandered to invidious racial stereotypes to drive a wedge between the races in America.

Ken Burns: Duke Lacrosse Team 'Mildly Inconvenienced' by False Rape Charges.  [Documentary filmmaker Ken] Burns brought up the 2006 Duke Lacrosse case, in which three students were accused of sexually assaulting a stripper, during an interview with The Phoenix in Boston.

Most of Duke lacrosse players' claims dismissed by U.S. Appeals Court.  Though five years have passed since North Carolina's attorney general exonerated three former Duke University lacrosse players of phony rape allegations, the lawsuits they filed against the prosecutor, the city of Durham, its top administrators and law enforcement officers remain open in federal court.  But on Monday [12/17/2012], the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling that takes the heft out of much of the former players' claims.  The three-judge panel rejected their claims for damages filed under federal law against the City of Durham and its police department.

The Top 50 Liberal Media Bias Examples.  [#19]  Duke La Crosse Rape:  The Old Media did a similar thing with the Duke La Crosse rape story that it did with Giffords' shooting.  As soon as this story became national news the media pushed the meme that it was a "race" thing, that privileged, white college kids raped a poor black exotic dancer because they thought they could get away with the crime.  A full investigation eventually proved that the African-American woman that made the accusation was lying about the whole thing.

Our Truest Lies.  In more recent days, from Tawana Brawley to the Duke lacrosse team, the theme remains disturbingly the same:  The original progressive untruth proves far stronger than subsequent pedestrian correction.  The point was not that the Duke players did not rape a black stripper and commit a "hate crime," but that they were the sort who in theory could have, and she was the sort who in theory could have been raped by virtue of her race and gender — a virtual truth that trumps a known lie.

Black Skin Privilege.  When three white members of the Duke lacrosse team were accused of rape by a black prostitute, on no evidence whatsoever, the campus not only did not defend the presumption of their innocence, but rushed with intemperate haste to punish them as though they already been tried and convicted.  The university expelled them, the Lacrosse coach was fired, the Lacrosse season terminated, their names were published and 88 members of the Duke faculty signed an open letter condemning their racist deed.  The cloud of suspicion and presumption of guilt that engulfed the students, ruined their reputations and put their lives and careers on halt.

Duke Lacrosse Case Reveals the Judicial System's Flaws.  The Supreme Court this week refused to hear an appeal from the Duke lacrosse players stemming from the false accusations of rape in Durham in 2006.  Effectively, that ends their civil rights lawsuit, and precludes their ever having a day in court in which their full stories may be told.  And that in itself provides a paradigm of the state of justice in America today.  Perhaps no case presents such an obvious example of abuse of the legal system.

Lying Duke Lacrosse Accuser Convicted of Murder.  On Friday [11/22/2013], Crystal Mangum, the woman most famous for falsely accusing members of the Duke lacrosse team of raping her in 2006, was convicted of second-degree murder. Mangum killed her boyfriend by stabbing him in 2011.

Aftermath of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case.  A few days ago, Ms. Mangum was convicted of second-degree murder in the death of her boyfriend who died from wounds she inflicted with a kitchen knife.  That hasn't made too many headlines, but its is a sad, if ironically apt, coda to the whole sorry story.

Duke Rape Accuser Got 160 TV News Stories on Accusation, 3 on Murder Conviction.  When Crystal Mangum falsely accused several Duke lacrosse players of rape in 2006, there were 160 major television news stories in the first five days after the players were arrested, but in 2013, when Mangum was convicted of murder and sentenced to 14 years in prison, there were only 3 major television news stories, a difference in coverage of 5,233%.

A Dishonest Rewrite of the Duke Lacrosse Case.  In the outpouring of praise for William D. Cohan's new book "The Price of Silence" — a work, remarkably enough, being celebrated as a model of evenhandedness, scrupulous objectivity, etc. — one essential has gone overlooked.  Namely, the central point of this tale about the Duke lacrosse case and accusations against three players of rape and assault at a house party.  It takes no close reading to see that the book is meant to recast the story so as to nullify the outcome Americans thought they knew — that the players were exonerated and had been falsely accused.  In Mr. Cohan's portrayal, the workings of decency and justice were undone by malign forces — among them, it would seem, the ability to hire defense attorneys.

The Top 50 Liberal Media Bias Examples.  [#19] Duke La Crosse Rape:  The Old Media did a similar thing with the Duke La Crosse rape story that it did with Giffords' shooting.  As soon as this story became national news the media pushed the meme that it was a "race" thing, that privileged, white college kids raped a poor black exotic dancer because they thought they could get away with the crime.  A full investigation eventually proved that the African-American woman that made the accusation was lying about the whole thing.

They Made the Case Against Kavanaugh 11 Years AgoUntil Proven Innocent:  Political Correctness and the Shameful Injustices of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case, co-authored with distinguished historian K.C. Johnson in 2007, should hit us between the eyes as a prediction of the horror of Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearings.  It is a textbook account of how to stir up a lynch mob against a target — and how such an injustice was not only averted but punished.  Their book shows how corrupt — not just shoddy — the 2006 rape charges against the Duke Lacrosse players really were.  Now more than 10 years old, Taylor and Johnson's exonerating study provides an outline of how to frame campus jocks for rape, defame the innocent for allegedly raping a black female stripper, assemble a mob (including students and professors), and almost succeed.

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Updated July 1, 2021.

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