Thursday, August 28, 2008

Profiting From A Lie?!? The Duke Rape Case Revisited.

I'll be completely and totally honest with you here. I really do not know what to make of this story from my home state.

Since three former Duke Lacrosse players were declared innocent of rape and assault charges, the alleged victim in the highly publicized Duke Lacrosse case has remained out of public view until now.

In a press release, Crystal Mangum's manager has announced plans to release a tell-all memoir entitled "The Last Dance for Grace: The Crystal Mangum Story."

According to the book's co-author Vincent Clark, the book will be released in October.

"It is "the only definitive account of the life and struggles of the woman at the center of the Duke Lacrosse case, the alleged accuser," said Clark in a press release. " Were it not for the Duke Lacrosse Case, she likely would be described as a bright, young woman from Durham, North Carolina, who has had a difficult life."

Mangum plans to donate $1 from each book sold to help battered women. Former Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong was disbarred and jailed following the collapse of the Duke Lacrosse Case. Nifong is among several defendants named in at least three federal lawsuits stemming from the case.

Mangum is accused of falsely accusing David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann of raping and beating her at a team party in March 2006. After a review by the State Attorney General's Office, all charges were dismissed.
As I stated last year when the Duke Lax kids were cleared of all charges, nobody should have to suffer through what they experienced. I could only imagine the fear of being accused of something so heinous as rape, knowing you did nothing of the sort. The guys have been exonerated, but I will personally remember all three of their names for the rest of my life. That's an unfair scar for anyone to have to carry. I don't really agree with their pending $30M lawsuit against the cash-strapped city of Durham, but I guess I understand.

Then again, the real villain here isn't Mangum, who reportedly suffers from some sort of mental illness, but disgraced District Attorney Mike Nifong, who actually did some time as a result of his lazy and opportunistic job of handling this case. He never even bothered talking with Mangum in the first place, and instead saw a way of manipulating the Black community in Durham to his advantage. Why he was so dumb that he thought white folks with money wouldn't lawyer up and "beat them charges like Rocky"[1] is beyond me. Nifong has since been disbarred, was sued by the Lax players, filed for bankruptcy, and is now working at the Sizzler off I-540 near RDU airport. No, really, I saw him there a few weeks ago and he ruined my baked potato (no sour cream, you idiot!). He's a douchebag par excellence, and he got what he had coming.

I don't really know how to feel about Mangum writing this book though. If she was indeed experiencing some mental issues during the time of the allegations, you can't totally write her off as ruining those players lives, especially when the people (namely Nifong) who could have short circuited this whole thing didn't do their jobs. The book is supposedly about her life, not necessarily the Duke case, thus I suppose it's fair for her to write a book and profit from it. She says some proceeds are going to charity, which is always an iffy proposition, but to each her own. On the flipside, wouldn't any proceeds made from this book be fair game for the Duke Lax kids in a civil case? I'm sure my armchair attorneys in AverageNation™ will break this one down for me.

Question: Should Crystal Mangum be allowed to write a book that profits indirectly from the misfortune of others? Are the Duke Lax kids entitled to some of those proceeds?

Duke LAX accuser pens memoir [ABC 11 News]

[1] Yeah, I know. For a guy who supposedly doesn't care much for Jay-Z, I sure quote him a lot. Spare the comments, please.

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