How The Duke Lacrosse Rape Case Fell Apart


The Raleigh News & Observer dissected the collapse of the Duke lacrosse case collapsed. Early on, prosecutor Mike Nifong refused to talk to defense attorneys before charges were filed. The newspaper says that “behind the bluster was a crumbling case.: In March 2006, swabs taken from accuser Crystal Mangum’s body found no presence of semen, blood, or saliva. As the chances of a genetic identification dwindled, Nifong pursued an old-style tactic. He had Mangum view photos only of Duke lacrosse players, violating police policy that required five photos of “fillers” — people not associated with the case — for each picture of a suspect.

Nifong was smug and self-assured, defense attorney Bill Thomas said: “He said he had interviewed her, he discussed the details of the case, he believed her and that my view of her as perhaps being a call girl working for an escort service, running around making things up for financial gain, was absolutely false.” Nifong didn’t tell Thomas he knew Mangum and her family. In 1992, one of her uncles who owned a grocery store was slain in a robbery. The case dragged on for three years, but the killer was tried and convicted. Nifong was the prosecutor, and the case earned him the Mangum family’s confidence, which would have helped Crystal Mangum feel comfortable with Nifong in the Duke case.


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