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Lax Players Questioned, Time-Stamped Photos Viewed

As you probably know by now, the
Durham police tried to talk to members of the lacrosse team for reasons which
are still not entirely clear
, although obviously having to do with the investigation
and the expected indictments.  The defense attorneys had a cow, with one
suggesting that it was illegal since the questioned were represented by
attorneys.  Is that right? Well, ask an attorney.  There are a bunch
of you reading this.  Is that right?

On a secondary level, we weren't impressed by how they gained access: they
waited until someone used her card key and then stuck their foot in the
door.  Technically, that seems like it would  be trespassing, since
we're reasonably sure that Edens (and every dorm) posts the regulations about
who can and cannot enter.

Attorney Bill Thomas says it's not just illegal but that it suggests they are
not very confident in their evidence which will go to the grand jury, and that
it smacks of desperation.

More interestingly, the Durham rag has seen the time-stamped photos and
confirms what the attorneys generally said about them: the accusing stripper -
can we dispense with the idiotic title of exotic dancer? Strippers are about the
least exotic creatures on earth - is clearly bruised, according to the paper.
Here is what they saw in the photos:

  • 11:02: Students are hanging out in a living room, apparently waiting for the dancer to arrive.
  • Midnight: The dancer is sprawled on her stomach on the floor, as a second dancer stands over her. Students are watching the show but not grabbing or attempting to touch the women. Bruises are clearly visible on the legs and thighs of the alleged victim.
  • 12:01:16: The second dancer is lying on her back on
    the floor with the alleged rape victim kneeling over her.
  • 12:03:57: The dancers are leaving the room after
    performing for four minutes. The photo clearly shows that the alleged victim
    left one of her shoes behind as she departed.
  • 12:30:12: The alleged victim is on the back porch. She
    has a shoe only on her left foot as she appears to smile and apparently
    tries to get back inside.
  • 12:31:26: The alleged victim appears to be stumbling
    down the back steps of the house.
  • 12:37:58: A series of photos beginning at this time
    shows the woman lying on her left side on the back porch, seemingly passed
    out or asleep. Pink splotches are on a wrought-iron railing beside her.

There is speculation about the timeline and what could
and could not have happened given the times of the photos and the alleged
rape.  There were no photos between 12:10 and 12:30, during which time the
attorneys believe the woman was in the restroom, although if this was a digital
camera, certainly other pictures could have been deleted.  But that can be
easily ascertained if so.

The alleged victim is helped into the car at 12:41. 
At 12:53, the first 911 call about the racist comments was made.  At 1:22,
police respond to the call from Krogers and find the alleged victim "passed out drunk" and seemingly not in need of medical attention. At 2:31, she enters the Duke emergency room.

The players also allege that the second dancer made
racial insults about the manhood of the players.  If that's true, it
doesn't forgive their making racial comments in return, but it does put it in a
different context.

Clearly, time stamps can be manipulated, and probably
only a high-level expert could tell for sure.  But assuming for the moment
that they weren't, our first question would be: when did the strippers

The photos only document the strippers being there for 40
minutes.  We'll make a leap and assume the alleged rape didn't take place
before midnight.  The alleged victim said the men raped her for a
half-hour, but it's hard to understand how, if the photos are authentic, her
story could have happened the way she says it did, and certainly doesn't account
for her coming back in, smiling.

But if the photos hold up, and the secondary DNA tests
are also not conclusive, it's hard to see how, in the face of the time stamps,
not to mention other issues like passing out on the steps and then later being
able to identify your attackers successfully, and (according to a defense attorney) the second dancer saying the alleged victim never mentioned a rape as they drove away, how reasonable doubt could not be
found.  That doesn't mean the lacrosse team is filled with Boy Scouts and
Sunday School students, but even jerks can be innocent.