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NYT With More Detail On The Lax Case

New York Times has a long article up on the lacrosse investigation
several important points, some of which will be challenging for the defense.

At the heart of the article are the case notes by Sgt. Mark Gottlieb of the
Durham police. The defense argues that the notes, a late addition to discovery,
are a desperation tactic:

"Joseph B. Cheshire, a lawyer for David Evans, one of the defendants,
called Sergeant Gottlieb’s report a 'make-up document.' He said Sergeant
Gottlieb had told defense lawyers that he took few handwritten notes, relying
instead on his memory and other officers’ notes to write entries in his
chronological report of the investigation.

"Mr. Cheshire said the sergeant’s report was 'transparently written to
try to make up for holes in the prosecution’s case.' He added, 'It smacks of
almost desperation.'” (NYT)

If Cheshire's suggestion that the notes were written after the fact is
proven, the case is done. But what if they weren't?

Consider what is reported:

  • From Sgt. Gottlieb's March 16th interview with the AV: “The victim was
    at home alone with her two young children,” the sergeant wrote, noting she
    walked slowly and in obvious pain. “Her facial expressions conveyed her
    pain as she ambulated.” She sat so neither hip touched the sofa.
    “Anytime her bottom touched the sofa cushion while repositioning during
    our interview, she groaned and had a facial expression consistent with
    pain.” (NYT)
  • During that interview, the woman, who is dark skinned, said bruises were
    beginning to show from the attack. A female officer took photographs and
    confirmed that “she had the onset of new bruises present,” Sergeant
    Gottlieb wrote. (The female officer’s report does not mention bruises.) (NYT)
  • The police recovered semen from beside the toilet — about the same spot
    where the woman said she had spat out semen from someone who orally raped
    her. It matched the DNA of Matt Zash, a team captain who lived in the house
    and has not been charged. His lawyer said the semen had come from other,
    innocent sexual activity. (NYT)
  • Investigators also found a towel in the hallway near Mr. Evans’s bedroom
    with semen matching his DNA. The woman had told the sexual assault nurse
    that someone had wiped her vagina with a rag. Mr. Evans’s lawyer said that
    this towel had nothing to do with her accusation, and that the semen came
    from other activity. (NYT)
  • The accounts of the rape test at DUMC are more detailed as

Of these things, the most difficult to us are the more detailed hospital
report, the bathroom DNA, and the rag, which corresponds to the AV's

The DNA in the bathroom though comes from Matt Zash, who was not charged and
who says it came from other sexual activity. If you believe the Rolling
Stone story from earlier this summer, lacrosse players were getting their ya-yas
out whenever they felt like it, so it's no great surprise. The rag is
going to be a major feature of any trial.

One question on the bathroom semen: if it were spat out, as the AV
says, wouldn't her DNA be there as well?

The article also revives the suggestion that the AV was date-raped. We
think this is highly unlikely, and we'll tell you why.

First, she admits to having taken Flexeril and then drinking. Depending
on what account you read, she had as much as two .22 ounce beers and a mixed
drink. Put that on top of a powerful muscle relaxant and you're lucky to
be walking. Add a date rape drug to that, and you might sleep for 24

Secondly, if you were drugged in this manner, having consumed two depressants
voluntarily and a third unsuspectingly, and the third being designed to render
you unconscious, you wouldn't remember anything from an assault or
anything else. It would be difficult to orally assault someone who is
unconscious though, perhaps, not impossible. Someone with more sinister
expertise will have to answer that question.

And third, almost 50 ounces of beer and a mixed drink - again, take your
choice of accounts of drinking - and a Flexeril - would be hard enough to
overcome by the time you got to Kroger's at around 1 a.m. Toss a date rape
drug on top of that and you're out cold.

So we're not buying the date rape suggestion.

There are still several other significant issues to overcome:

  • Kim Roberts' initial statement about the alleged rape: "It's a crock
    -" and her origina assertion that she was never far from the victim.
  • Seligmann's alibi and his early departure from the party seem difficult to
    disprove, since it's backed up by witnesses and digital data. And
    certainly he wasn't' calling his girlfriend while participating in a
  • The lack of DNA. If the lacrosse players didn't use condoms, it
    seems very difficult to sexually assault someone and leave no DNA behind
    except for someone who wasn't even in on it.
  • The lack of bruising seen at Duke. Bruising did show up later, but
    after the fact. The Duke exam showed no evidence of the sort of
    beating that Nifong and the AV allege took place.
  • 12:05 and 12:13, Mr. Seligmann made eight brief calls, of 36 seconds or
    less, six of them to his girlfriend’s number, and then phoned a taxi at
    12:14 a.m. and left the party shortly after.
  • Dr. Manly, the sexual-assault specialist, found the woman’s head, back,
    neck, chest, nose, throat, mouth, abdomen, arms and legs all normal. The
    only “signs of physical trauma,” she reported, were three small,
    nonbleeding scratches to the knee and ankle.(NYT).

The details are very interesting, not least of all the rag, but the pattern
of behavior exhibited by the D.A. and Durham Police, from the irregular lineup
procedures to the DNA cull, to the difference in treatment of the witnesses for
the prosecution and defense, and to the blatant ignoring of exculpatory evidence
are certainly equally troubling, to say the least, and to say the worst, makes
it very difficult to believe what they say about anything.