We started trying to organize a more thorough timeline of the lacrosse case
about a week ago. However, Robert KC Johnson had the same idea and
has done a better job than we have, including a solid conclusion which we hadn't
put together yet. So here's ours (thus far), with a tip of the hat to his,
which we used to an extent to fill in some gaps. More to the point, here's
his conclusion. Read it, along with his entire timeline, and see if you can
argue with his logic:
This timeline reveals an investigation whose basic evidentiary goal
veered dramatically whenever findings contradicted the district
attorneyâs public theories and political needs... As a result, the
inquiry divided into three, distinct, segments.
- First, from March 14 through March 21, the police employed standard
tactics, showing the accuser a photo lineup that, more or less...conformed
to the spirit of city guidelines. The accuser identified no one; her
descriptions of at least two of her alleged assailants did not resemble
anyone on the team.
- The second stage began sometime between March 21 and March 23, when
Nifong seized control of the case. The district attorney argued now that
DNA, not results from a photo lineup, would provide the key evidence, and
obtained an extraordinarily broad court order to get the evidence he
- Then, no later than the morning of March 31, Nifong completely reversed
himself: a photo lineup, not DNA, would supply the key evidenceâeven
though, just 10 days earlier, he had gone to the court on the grounds that
DNA, not photos, would make his case...
The transition from phase one of the investigation to phase twoâi.e.,
from reliance on photo IDs to the mass gathering of DNA evidenceâwas
irregular: the courts generally frown on demanding DNA solely on the basis
of group membership....
There can be, however, no benign explanation for the transition from
stage two (DNA as the inculpating evidence) to stage three (back to
photos, but with a lineup that violated all procedures). The question,
therefore, becomes when, and especially why, Nifong made this decision.
The Soucie memo confirms that the district attorney had word of the
negative DNA results at least six days before they were publicly revealed.
How much earlier had he gained access to this information? Did he know of
the likely negative outcome on March 29, when he inexplicably started to
downplay the significance of DNA in his public statements?
Regarding the negative DNA tests, the question is: what did Nifong
know, and when did he know it?
Specifically, why, on March 31, did he order the Durham police to
orchestrate a second lineup that violated their own procedures in
virtually every way, even though they had already conducted a lineup whose
results he ignored? Did he do so in response to a heads-up that the DNA
tests he had promised would âshow conclusive evidence as to who the
suspect(s) are in the alleged violent attackâ instead produced no
matches? If so, he dangerously abused his authority, in a manner well
beyond his (by now routine) violations of the state ethics code...
Perhaps, in any case, the questions of what Nifong knew and when he
knew it are more appropriate for federal authorities to ask. Itâs high
time they did so.
Okay, now here's ours. Roberts' is superior in that he does a
tremendous job of tying things together, but ours may have more details about
various aspects of the case.
- Jarriel Johnson has sex with AV, which he originally dated incorrectly.
- Johnson drove AV to "an appointment" at the Wakefield Holiday
Inn Express, then later to Platinum Strip Club in Hillsborough. Then he
drives her to the Millennium Hotel for "a job," arriving at 5:15
A.M. Call them appointments or jobs, they were sexual
encounters. If they were sexual encounters as a job, draw your own
- AV "performed" for a couple in a hotel using a sex toy (as far
as we can tell, this happened on the 13th).
- The alleged assault took place at the lacrosse party.
- At 1:22 a.m. on March 14, Sgt. John Shelton of the Durham Police
Department was called to a Kroger supermarket, and he found the woman passed
out in a Honda Accord.
- He ordered his officers to take her to Durham Access, a 24-hour mental
health facility where intoxicated people can be held. She was checked out by
the supervisor, a staff nurse and a security guard.
- "During the check-in process, the victim was asked if something had
happened to her and she said yes," Officer Joseph Stewart wrote in his
report. "She was then asked if she had been raped and she stated
yes." A registered nurse at Durham Access said the woman was incoherent
and her responses appeared "as if she were psychologically hurt,"
Stewart wrote. The nurse said the accuser's answers were "more of a
traumatic response rather than a drunk response, because her thoughts were
broken but logical, due to her trying to hold on to reality."
- Officer Willie Barfield then took the woman to the Duke Hospital emergency
room, Barfield wrote in his notes. At the Duke emergency room, Sgt. Shelton
met again with the woman, and according to Shelton's notes, the woman said
the men groped her, but that no one forced her to have sex.
- The woman, however, also spoke with Officer Gwendolyn Sutton and told her
that she'd "ended up in the bathroom with five guys who forced her to
have intercourse and perform sexual acts."
- A registered nurse at Duke examined the woman for injuries, swabbed her
for DNA evidence and wrote an account of her story.
- The woman told the nurse that she was taken into a bathroom where three
men - Adam, Brett and Matt - raped her anally, vaginally and orally, using
racial and sexual slurs while they assaulted her. They didn't use condoms
and threatened to kill her if she didn't comply, the woman said, according
to the nurse's notes.
- The nurse's report noted diffuse swelling of the vaginal walls, but it
made no mention of bruises, tears or abrasion to either the vagina or the
anus. The nurse noted a non-bleeding scratch on the woman's right knee and a
cut on her right heel. A doctor at Duke noted a scratched heel, but no other
signs of physical assault.
- The Durham Police Department knew the identity of the 911 caller by the
- The [AV] saw two doctors at University of North Carolina Hospitals,
where she'd gone for health care before. Her primary complaint was neck pain.
She told doctors she was dancing at a bachelor party and wanted to leave, but
the other girls wanted her to stay. She said she was pushed into a bathroom and
raped by three men.McClatchy Washington Bureau 08092006 Duke Lacrosse rape case full of contradictions
- Search warrant issued. Also, first photo lineup
attempted, w/ AV looking for Matt, Adam, and Brett. For every suspect,
five "filler" photos were used. AV could not identify her
- Nifong issues subpoena for AV's medical information after the alleged
- Kim Roberts interviewed. Denies a rape took places and calls AV's charges
- Nifong's subpoena served.
- Five days after she'd tried and failed to pick her assailants out of a
photo lineup, the accuser showed up at the police station again. She met
again with investigators Benjamin Himan and Richard Clayton. "I asked
her questions trying to follow up on a better description of the
suspects," Himan wrote in his notes. "She was unable to remember
anything further about the suspects."
- Police showed the accuser two more sets of photos, 12 players in all.
- "She could not identify any of the pictures in the photo array,"
Clayton wrote in his notes. "She again stated the photos looked the
- Police had shown the accuser photos of 36 of the 46 white Duke lacrosse
players. She hadn't identified any of them as her assailants.
Washington Bureau 08092006 Duke Lacrosse rape case full of contradictions
- Investigator Himan (under the supervision of Nifong) included the
following (false) sworn statement in a probable cause affidavit issued March
23 in support of an Identification Order that compelled 46 members of the
Duke lacrosse team to give DNA samples and submit to being photographed:
"Medical records and interviews that were obtained by a subpoena
revealed the victim had signs, symptoms, and injuries consistent with being
raped and sexually assaulted vaginally and anally. Furthermore, the SANE
nurse stated the injuries and her behavior were consistent with a traumatic
experience."newsobserver.com The Editors' Blog - Error in Duke lacrosse story Sunday
- The district attorney's office asked a judge to order all 46 white players
to sit for mug shots (for their current hair styles and complexion), upper
torso photographs (for evidence of scratches from the accuser) and mouth
swabbings (for DNA testing).McClatchy Washington Bureau 08092006 Duke Lacrosse rape case full of contradictions
Sheehan rips lax team in N&O
- Nifong's first public comments - interviews w/ MSNBC, WRAL, and NBC-17 -
confident DNA would identify assailants.
- In a probable cause affidavit, Det. Himan writes that AV showed clear
signs of being sexually assaulted.
- More comments from Nifong on the case.
- MSNBC:âThe circumstances of the case are not suggestive of the
alternate explanation that has been suggested by some of the members of the
situation. There is evidence of trauma in the victimâs vaginal area that was
noted when she was examined by a nurse at the hospital.ânewsobserver.com The Editors' Blog - Error in Duke lacrosse story Sunday
- AV's Medical records related to the alleged assault are printed, dated,
and stamped for compliance with the Heath Insurance Portability and
- Nifong now suggests that DNA is not necessarily the end-all and be-all,
and suggests that a condom may have been used. However, on March 14,
AV told medical personnel that no condoms were used, a fact which either
Nifong should have known, or which he deliberately obfuscated.
Incompetence or simply a liar?
- District Attorney Nifong sat down with Himan and Sgt. Mark Gottlieb,
another investigator, to discuss a new lineup. According to Gottlieb's
notes, Nifong suggested that instead of a lineup or photographic array,
they'd ask the accuser to look at each picture and recall if she'd seen the
person at the party.
- The lineup Nifong suggested violated the Durham Police Department
guidelines, which call for photographic arrays to include at least five
non-suspects for every suspect in the lineup. Police and prosecutors had
named all 46 players as suspects. The guidelines also call for an
independent administrator to conduct the lineup, not an investigator in the
- McClatchy Washington Bureau 08092006 Duke Lacrosse rape case full of contradictions
- With the deck stacked thusly, the accuser had no chance of identifying a
"filler picture." In starker terms, the D.A. was assured that if
she picked anyone, she would pick lacrosse players.
- Nifongâs Mar 31 videoed âchokehold demonstrationâ after the
complainant, in at least one medical exam interview, had indicated that she
was not choked and after Nifongâs Mar 30 CBS video interview where he did
not list the charge of Felonious Strangulation (that charge was previously
dropped by Nifong).newsobserver.com The Editors' Blog - Error in Duke lacrosse story Sunday
- Michelle Soucie wrote her memorandum which told Nifong how much a second
round of DNA tests would cost at the private Burlington facility, thus
suggesting that he knew he had no match and would have to try again.
- Lineup photos perused at Northgate Mall. The AV identified four
suspects, something she had not done in any of her previous versions of the
alleged rape (she had said various numbers of men raped her, but not
four). She said Reade Seligmann "sort of" looked like
someone who had attacked her, and said that after seeing a photo of David
Evans, that it resembled someone with a mustache had had participated in the
alleged event. As we understand it, Duke lacrosse, as a policy, did
not allow facial hair.
- Det. Himan finally obtains medical records
- Jarriel Johnson statement confirming sex w/ AV & saying he had driven
her to "appointments" at hotels.
- Nifong turned over the DNA results to the defense attorneys, who went
public with the apparent results. We're assuming of course that they
weren't lying, but if they were, they could lose their licenses.
- Kim Roberts' bond personally reduced by Nifong
- Reade Seligmann and Colin Finnerty indicted
- Kim Roberts e-mail to P.R. firm
- District Attorney Democratic Primary results -
Mike Nifong- 11,168 45%
Freda Black- 10,269 42%
Keith Bishop-- 3,288 13%
- Nifong released the second round of DNA test results to
defense lawyers. No DNA connected with any Duke player was found in or on the
accuser, and no DNA from the woman was found on the floor, rugs or towels in the
bathroom where the rape allegedly occurred.McClatchy Washington Bureau 08092006 Duke Lacrosse rape case full of contradictions
- Judge Titus issues sua sponte ruling (gag order)