Your intrepid correspondent went on record early criticizing Durham, North Carolina, prosecutor Thomas Nifong for his outrageous rush to prosecute three Duke lacrosse players accused of rape by a stripper. On May 3 I wrote my first words on the subject for the Reform Club site, as follows:
The recent case in North Carolina—in which a prosecutor rushed forward with indictments against two Duke University lacrosse players [a third would be indicted shortly after I wrote this] despite a complete lack of plausible evidence against them and openly disregarded undeniable exculpatory evidence regarding one of them, in order to court votes from people of the same skin color as the accuser during primary elections that were then just a couple 0f weeks away—was just one of the more blatant examples of prosecutorial misconduct in recent months.
Subsequently, I wrote in great detail about what I characterized as Nifong’s outrageous railroading of the Duke players, in light of two excellent articles on the subject in National Review Online a month later, available here and here. I returned to the story several times, continually pointing out that Nifong had no case and was pursuing it solely as a vote-getting measure, knowing that it would fall apart eventually but hoping he could hold the line until the November elections had passed.
That is becoming an increasingly dicey proposition, as is evident in light of last night’s 60 Minutes broadcast and several blistering recent criticisms of the press’s unquestioning acceptance of Nifong’s absurd claims, such as Kurt Anderson’s influential New York magazine piece on the New York Times’s obscenely credulous coverage of the case.
Instead of referring to it as the Duke lacrosse case or something of that sort, I continually referred to it as the "North Carolina false prosecution scandal." It is clear that events have continued to show this description to be the accurate one. On June 6 I called for Nifong’s impeachment, the resignation of Duke University president Richard Brodhead (who collaborated in the public pillorying of the innocent men), and the prosecution of the accuser.
None of these things have come to pass, of course, but it is increasingly obvious that these measures are called for (even though Nifong’s term is almost over), so I call for them once again.
The best coverage I’ve seen of the case is at Durham-in-Wonderland, where K. C Johnson, a history prof at Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Center has done yeoman work reporting regularly on the case since a couple weeks after its inception. I highly recommend it for those interested in all the sordid details of this prime specimen of prosecutorial misconduct.
For those who don’t wish to wade through a full retelling of the horror that was the Duke prosecution, I’ll summarize it briefly:
- A desperate prosecutor latched onto a non-case pregnant with racial, class, and sexual implications in order to boost his fading chances of winning his party’s primary nomination to keep his job, with the vote just a few weeks away.
- Slavering over the salacious and politics-packed nature of the obviously false accusation, the largely leftist U.S. press corps leapt to convict the innocent young men through a trial by media, to feed the left’s ongoing myth that powerful caucasian males continuously exploit women, "people of color," and those inclined toward unusual sexual practices in these here United States.
- Both the prosecutor and his bootlickers in the press were disgustingly wrong and should be horsewhipped and cast out of polite society.