On the night of March 13, 2006 the telephone rang at the Durham headquarters of Bunny Hole Entertainment (aka Allure Escorts). A young man’s voice ordered “two white strippers” for a party at 610 North Buchanan Boulevard, across from Duke’s East Campus. That order was filled incorrectly. “Incorrect” became the norm in the hours, days, weeks, months and years that followed. …..
Happy 7th Anniversary To The Journalistic / Judicial Train Wreck Known as “The Duke Lacrosse Case”.
Where were you when you first heard the word “Nifong”….. or that memorable phrase “honor student and single mother of two….”?
Seven years later when you hear the term “rich white boys” what do you think of? …… what about “Ho #1 and Ho #2”? If you drive around the circle at Duke Chapel can you still hear “the potbangers” and whatever became of “the Gang of 88”?
Seven years and we’re all still waiting for delivery of: (1) that check Reverend Jesse Jackson said he was sending for Crystal Mangum’s tuition; and (2) that Pulitzer Prize that The News & Observer’s Executive Editor Melanie Sill (now long gone) and News Editor Linda Williams (also long gone) could already “taste” back in March 2006. Excuse me for being cynical but it don’t look like Jesse’s check nor that Pulitzer is ever gonna arrive.
When you read/heard the very first sketchy reports of “Duke Lacrosse” what scenario popped into YOUR mind? “A Time To Kill” or “Tawana Brawley”?
“A Time To Kill” was a movie adapted from John Grisham’s first novel. Set in small town Mississippi, some white rednecks brutally rape a young “colored girl”. The girl’s father (Samuel L. Jackson) exacts vigilante justice on her attackers leading to an explosive trial. It was the kinda black vs white story that AgentPierce’s nemesis “BELO” lives for – all about “da Klan”.
“Tawana Brawley” was the race-bait scam that propelled the incomparable Al Sharpton to national prominence? In 1986 Reverend Al was just a small time capo aka “community organizer” (uh oh!) in Jesse Jackson’s organization. Sharpy (just 32 at the time) took “some liberties” with the Truth (i.e. Al made up 99% of it!) and, despite overwhelming evidence that he did so, Al became a celebrity in the race-baiter Hall of Fame. Ain’t it amazing how “community organizers” with a sycophant media can make it big in America!
Either scenario could have been the case…. or some mutant combination of bits and pieces of each.
I recall A LOT about the series of events that followed that phone call to Bunny Hole Entertainment. My memory is helped by the 26 columns I wrote about “Duke Lacrosse” over the year or so that followed. I do recall considering the “either – or” and playing Devil’s Advocate for both scenarios.
I could imagine “rich white boys” fueled by alcohol and typical Duke student arrogance perpetrating such a horrible crime. I could imagine it all being a hoax too. After the first week I saw it was much much closer to the latter than the former. Several years later The News & Observer kinda figured that out too….. but seven years later still won’t admit it.
When the initial police report hit The N&O’s newsroom only ONE scenario was considered. That’s when the runaway train left the track.
My vividest personal memories are these two:
(1) A former N&O columnist, who was to be “thrown under the bus” by the cowardly McClatchy executives, telling me – “BobLee I really thought exotic dancers just danced exotically”. Yeeee Haa!
(2) In April 2006 Malik Zulu Shabazz brought his New Black Panther stormtroopers to Duke to support Crystal Mangum (aka the insane lying Ho #1). No way BobLee was gonna miss THAT. Malik was/is a dashing figure 6’4 or so decked out in Saville Row threads and custom Eye-talian shoes…. surrounded by a cordon of two dozen Ray Lewis-esque bodyguards wearing combat fatiques, jack boots and those walkie-talkie thingys that real LEOs wear…. oh, and jaunty maroon berets too.
The token black guy on the Duke Security force is trotted out to tell Malik that he cannot invade Duke because “it’s exam time and you might stress out our students”. He actually said that. I was standing 6’ away when he did.
So Malik goes to Plan B. He leads his entourage (now augmented by a sizable herd o’ media and assorted curious onlookers) on a street march from the main gate at Duke to “the rape house”….. about a two mile trek. With Malik at the point of the marching spear flanked by the bereted thug troopers and a dozen token “white supporters” (aka Duke faculty potbangers) the circus parade set out. Where is yours truly?
I’m about 30’ ahead of Malik and walking backwards while cell-phoning live reports from the scene to “an internationally reknown radio talk show icon” who is telling his 20,000,000 listeners whazzz happenin’. The Duke PR guy is beside me and overhears my conversation. “Are you taking to who I think you’re talking to?” I just grinned. “Oh my lord,” he exclaimed, ”can this get any crazier?” I just kept on grinning and reporting.
My 3rd favorite memory occurred months later when the NC Bar Association disbarred the idiot DA Mikey Nifong. A Durham County sheriff’s deputy was dispatched to Casa de Nifong to confiscate Mikey’s law license. Wife de Mikey answers the door and informs the deputy – “He’s not here. He took his guitar and left.”
I theorized that “the world’s most disgraced lawyer” (this was several years BEFORE John Edwards and Rielle) was sitting on the banks of the Eno River strumming Froggy Went Acourtin’ on his geetar and wondering how his Grand Plan had gone oh so wrong.
No one seems to know what ever happened to Mikey. I like to imagine Mikey Nifong, Matt Kupec, Uncle Julius, “Black Santa” and Jennifer The Tutor all living in a cave of the southern rim of the Palo Duro Canyon in West Texas. Their days spent squatting by the side of the road signaling passing 18-wheelers to blast their air-horns. That’s just my guess.
Crystal , of course, has moved on with her career. She has baby mammed a coupla more youngans over the ensuing seven years and…… oh yeah, killed a boy friend with a butcher knife after burning his clothes in a bath tub. Her trial is coming up soon. She has notified the court that she will serve as her own attorney in her murder trial.
“They” oughta hold that trial at the Durham Performing Arts Center and sell tickets to it. …. and maybe hire Marvin Austin to be on-site tweeting live reports to Dan Kane.
Am I the only one who sees these marketing opportunitues?
The “not-a-rape house” at 610 North Buchanan has been torn down. For reasons undetermined, grass will not grow on the site. The Derm Visitors & Tourism Bureau (yes, they actually do have such) still get calls from visiting crime-enthusiasts asking “where did it not-really happen?”.
I’ve left out a lot of the other memorable moments in the interest of time and band width BUT GUESS WHAT! Here’s a link to one my most memorable commentaries during the thick of the whole gory mess.
It’s a bit long but well worth your time. Some “killer lines” in it.
Oh…. several years later the “suits” at The N&O figured a whizbang way to make their readers forget how they so botched “Duke Lacrosse”.
To wit….. they instructed their award-winning (??) political reporter – Rob Christensen (who was embedded in the John Edwards Campaign) to TOTALLY IGNORE the overwhelming evidence that Johnny Boy and his new-age video-wench were playing “horny candidate & air-headed bimbo” on the campaign trail. Luckily for the American public, every other media outlet in America WAS reporting it. Yours truly only did nine columns on THAT one.
And then…. in May 2010, Young Marvin tweeted. The 3rd Anniversary of THAT is still two months away.