Saturday, May 13, 2006

Update on the Duke lacrosse situation...

As you probably already know, one of the two accused players, Reade Seligman, has a potentially very strong alibi. Apparently the dancers arrived at the off-campus house at 10 to midnight and began performing. According to the timeline, they got upset and left but were then coaxed back into the house. Allegedly, the rape occurred after they returned, which puts it approximately 12:15 or so. Seligman called for a cab at 12:05 (this is documented), was picked up by a cab driver (who independently corrobates this story) at 12:10, and was brought to a bank. The ATM surveillance video shows Seligman withdrawing money at 12:14. If the timeline is correct, then it is virtually impossible for Seligman to have been one of the men who allegedly attacked the dancer.

Now the Durham police appear to be engaging in witness intimidation. The cab driver came forward as a witness and then Thursday was picked up on a 2 1/2-year-old warrant. Apparently he picked up a woman and her daughter in his cab and brought them to a store, waited for them to shop, and then returned them. Well, the woman and her daughter weren't shopping--they were shoplifting. Obviously, we don't know all the facts here, but on its face, it appears that the cab driver wasn't knowingly involved in the commission of a crime. Regardless, there was a warrant issued for him. When the police checked out his story in the present case, they found the warrant and brought him in. While this may be standard operating procedure, it wouldn't seem to be standard procedure to then turn to him while he's in handcuffs in the squad car and say "Now, do you have anything else to tell us about the Duke situation?"

Um, can you say witness intimidation? Come on. Say it with me, folks.

Even if that wasn't what was intended, the defense will most surely use this as a very clear opening to create reasonable doubt.

And if there's anything this case is, it's LADEN with reasonable doubt.

Re: the DNA found under the press-on fingernails of the dancer--it seems that we'll end up with a battle of the experts, with the prosecution saying it could only have gotten there if she was fending off an attack and the defense experts saying it could have gotten there when she was giving a lap dance. Given that it did not result in a conclusive match to either of the two currently indicted players, or to any of the remaining players, I wouldn't be surprised if the DNA ends up either being a total wash or even perhaps being more favorable to the defense.

We shall see...

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 8:34 AM :: 5 comments

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