Michael Gaynor
Reverse racism and Democrat DA's in celebrity cases
By Michael Gaynor
July 14, 2011

If the maid gets a pass like Magnum and former New Yorker Tawana Brawley, Democrat district attorneys may not continue to receive the benefit of the doubt.

Do Democrat District Attorneys have a politically-based reverse racism problem in celebrity cases involving black female accusers and white male accuseds?

In the Duke lacrosse "no rape" case, a Democrat District Attorney apparently did and the major media disgracefully generally assumed that (1) accuser Crystal Gail Magnum was telling the truth (notwithstanding her criminal record and personal history) and (2) all of the members of the 2005-2006 Duke Men's Lacrosse Team were either gang rapists or willing to permit and cover up for gang rapists.

The despicable, now disgraced and disbarred Durham County, North Carolina District Attorney, Michael Nifong, a Democrat, had been appointed to his position and was about to lose the Democrat primary to a white woman. When opportunity knocked, he chose to ignore instead of to pursue the truth and shamelessly played the race card. He persecuted the accuseds until the truth finally prevailed and he became the one who was jailed (but only for a day).

In "The Duke case is a DEMOCRAT scandal" (www.webcommentary.com/php/ShowArticle.php?id=gaynorm&date=061018), I explained:

"'60 Minutes' never mentioned during is two-part segment on the Duke case broadcast last Sunday night that the Duke case is a Democrat scandal. But, IT IS! Durham County, North Carolina is a Democrat bastion; Durham County's appointed District Attorney Michael B. Nifong is a Democrat; the North Carolina Governor (Michael Easley) who appointed Mr. Nifong is a Democrat; and North Carolina Attorney General (Roy Cooper) who has not intervened in the interests of justice, is a Democrat."

The fact is that Attorney General Cooper did not become involved until after Nifong himself asked Attorney General Cooper to take over the prosecution. (The case had to be won in the courtroom of public opinion before Nifong could be forced aside and it was.)

Long before that, it had become obvious that (1) the Duke case was baseless (that is, none of the Duke Three had committed any of the felonies on which Mr. Nifong had them indicted by a grand jury that was misled by Mr. Nifong), (2) Mr. Nifong had engaged in egregious prosecutorial misconduct in the Duke case (that is, he had refused to consider evidence of innocence before seeking indictments and he had ordered a photo identification procedure that violated local, state and federal guidelines, to give two examples), and (3) Mr. Nifong, in the late Ed Bradley's words, had "played up the racial aspects of the case" while waging a "hotly contested election campaign...in a city with a large black population" (that is, Mr. Nifong had used the Duke case to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat to keep his job by playing the race card and manipulating enough black votes to win a plurality of the votes, first in a Democrat primary and then in the general election in 2006.

In "Duke case: Political scandal and opportunity," posted on December 20, 2006 (www.webcommentary.com/php/ShowArticle.php?id=gaynorm&date=061220), I wrote:

"The expression 'politics reared its ugly head' did not originate with the Duke case, but it does explain how an incredible gang rape claim made by an ex-convict stripper (Crystal Gail Mangum) against three members of the 2005-2006 Duke University Men's Lacrosse Team (Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and David Evans, aka the Duke Three) was treated as true by the politically desperate Durham County, North Carolina District Attorney (Michael B. Nifong), even to the point of denying an outstanding lawyer whom he had known for more than a quarter of a century (Kirk Osborn) the opportunity to present evidence exonerating his client (Reade Seligmann) and instead obtaining indictments of three innocent young men attending Duke University in Durham from a compliance grand jury by presenting a story that he subsequently revised (by cutting the time of the alleged gang rape from about thirty minutes to ten minutes top to try to circumvent Mr. Seligmann's irrefutable alibi evidence and withholding from the grand jury DNA evidence contradicting Ms. Mangum's claim that she had not had sexual relations for a week and showing DNA from multiple males in her and on the panties she had worn at the party at which she allegedly was gang raped)."

I acknowledged that "[p]olitical scandal is bipartisan," of course, but that fact did not diminish the disgrace referred to as the Duke case or the importance of the lessons from the Duke case.

Now there's a case in the North in which "Progressives" generally presumed that the black female accuser was honest and the whites male accused was guilty and, as in the Duke case, reveled in the perceived "political correctness" benefit of wishful thinking actually being true.

One might imagine that other Democrat District Attorneys would have learned from the Duke case, but the office of New York County District Attorney Cyrus Vance, a Democrat, somehow swallowed the suspect sexual assault story of a black maid and had Dominique Strauss-Kahn, then president of the International Monetary Fund and a favorite to be the Socialist candidate for President of France, arrested at an airport as he was about to leave the country, indicted based on her grand jury testimony and then jailed until a huge bail was paid and a very expensive form of closely monitored house arrest (at his expense) was permitted.

Strauss-Kahn claimed that the sexual assault was consensual, and his wife fully supported him.

AFTER hastily securing the indictment, the New York District Attorney's office discovered that the maid's credibility was a huge problem. She had lied to the grand jury as to what she had done after the sexual encounter and her history made her a cross-examiner's dream.

I disapproved of that stripper party that the Duke Men's Lacrosse Team, but supported the players against bogus charges, because hosting or attending such a party does not make a person a rapist, or a sexual assaulter, or a kidnapper.

Likewise, I disapprove of marital infidelity, but it does not follow that marital infidelity involves sexual assault and so I believe that (1) Strauss-Kahn was wrongly indicted as well as enormously inconvenienced, (2) the charges against him should be dropped and (3) the accuser should be investigated for possible prosecution.

The case against Strauss-Kahn is falling apart, like the Duke case finally did, but even the Wall Street Journal isn't touching the important reverse racism conclusion-jumping aspect of the story.

Dionne Searcey and Michael Rothfeld, in "Rift With Strauss-Kahn's Accuser Puts Prosecutors' Next Move in Doubt" (July 9, 2011) (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304793504576434310792571574.html?mod=fox_australian ), reported:

"A growing rift between prosecutors and a lawyer representing the woman who accused former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexual assault could stall investigators seeking further details about her background and personal relationships, according to a person familiar with the matter and legal experts.

"Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. and his team are trying to decide how to proceed after they themselves raised questions about the credibility of the accuser, a maid at New York's Sofitel hotel who claims Mr. Strauss-Kahn assaulted her in his suite in May.

"The most serious charge carries a potential penalty of 25 years in prison. The 62-year-old Mr. Strauss-Kahn, who had been a contender for the French presidency, has pleaded not guilty.

"Kenneth Thompson, a lawyer for the woman, a 32-year-old Guinean immigrant, has said that her mistakes notwithstanding, she 'from day one has described that sexual assault many times,' and done so consistently.

Mr. Thompson demanded in a letter to Mr. Vance that he recuse his office from the case, blaming it for leaks to the media to "undermine her charges against Mr. Strauss-Kahn" and claimed that New Yorkers "have a right to a fair and impartial prosecution of such an important case."

No, Mr. Thompson. Prosecutors have a duty NOT to prosecute cases that are without merit or unwinnable, because an accuser wants the District Attorney's office to do so (and thereby facilitate a civil suit), and the charges are being undermined by his client's false testimony and lack of credibility.

Vance has not rushed to apologize for a rush to judgment that obviously is a great embarrassment, an international political problem and a Democrat political problem.

The Wall Street Journal article portrays Vance's predicament about how to proceed sympathetically, stating:

"Part of Mr. Vance's decision likely will rely on further investigation of, among other things, the woman's ties to a man incarcerated in Arizona and transactions involving tens of thousands of dollars deposited to an account in the woman's name made by men in different states, according to people familiar with the situation.

"'They'll be pulling phone records, conducting witness interviews, looking into her finances,' the person who described the rift [between Thompson and Vance's office] said, 'There are a lot of things that take a fair amount of time.'

"The relationship between prosecutors and the accuser's attorney appears to have soured since the credibility issues arose. A spokeswoman for Mr. Vance said no decision has been made on how to proceed and that the investigation is continuing. Mr. Thompson, through a spokesman, declined to comment.

The dam began to break when Thompson called Vance's office to say that his client wanted to describe inaccuracies in her political-asylum application, according to Thompson and the prosecution team.

Thompson now claims that prosecutors yelled at his client when he allowed her to be interviewed outside his presence in early June. But, if Thompson was not present, how would he know? The prosecutors deny it. Why should his client be believed?

So far Vance's office rush to indict in a so-called one-witness case has resulted in Strauss-Kahn resigning as head of the International Monetary Fund and French novelist Tristane Banon, making an attempted sexual assault claim based on a 2003 encounter that Strauss-Kahn called "a figment of her imagination" and French prosecutors are now investigating preliminarily.

Further interference by Vance's office with Strauss-Kahn's political plans seems highly inappropriate.

In the Duke case, the North Carolina Attorney General, a Democrat, took over the case and declared the accuseds innocent on the charges on which they had been indicted, but gave false accuser Crystal Gail Mangum a pass on being prosecuted.

If Vance's office prosecutes the maid, that will help to dispel the suspicion of reverse racism.

BUT...If the maid gets a pass like Magnum and former New Yorker Tawana Brawley, Democrat district attorneys may not continue to receive the benefit of the doubt.

© Michael Gaynor


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Michael Gaynor

Michael J. Gaynor has been practicing law in New York since 1973. A former partner at Fulton, Duncombe & Rowe and Gaynor & Bass, he is a solo practitioner admitted to practice in New York state and federal courts and an Association of the Bar of the City of New York member... (more)


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