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Criticisms Of The NYT Lax Article

Now that a bit of time has passed, the recent NYT article on the lacrosse
case has generated some blogged responses which are worth looking at.

Bloggers certainly aren't perfect, but they do perform a useful public
service by critiquing powerful media corporations, and by asking questions those
entities don't seem to ask anymore.

One of the
first and most obvious criticisms is of the rag and the DNA found on the
bathroom floor. To cut through the polite language a bit, the AV says she
was wiped with a rag after being raped, and that she spat semen out after being
orally assaulted.

So far, there has been no indication that her DNA was found either on the
rag, or in the semen which she allegedly spat out, which is fundamentally

A second point is this: who gave the Times the file? Presumably not the
defense attorneys; if they did, their spin on it was pretty poor. If they
didn't, then it had to come from the prosecutor's camp. So who gave it
up? And is this a violation of the gag order? Did Nifong know about
it? And if he did, how does this square with his mantra that he shouldn't
prejudice the case by discussing it?

KC Johnson notes:

"The Times reports, '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.) " The Glater/Wilson article--which says it reviewed the entire
discovery file--makes no mention of the authors having seen these photos. Did

Bull Dog Pundit argues:

The huge red flag here is that it appears that Sgt. Gottlieb does not
appear to have written his notes, or typed his report contemporaneously with
the events they describe. And the fact that these notes and reports
weren’t turned over until recently leads to the obvious conclusion that they
weren’t prepared until AFTER the first batches of evidence were turned over,
especially when those previous batches of discovery material contained
evidence very damaging to the prosecution.

Because I worked with cops on a daily basis for 3 years and know that
nearly all of them are honest people I’m going to give Sgt. Gottlieb the
benefit of the doubt and say that there was no attempt to “backfill” or
prop up bad evidence.

However, any rookie cop knows that you do your reports immediately after
the events they describe, and you only put down what you saw with your own
eyes, and if you need to rely on what you heard from other cops, or read in
other reports, you mention that in the report.

Why? Because if you don’t you’re going to get ripped apart on the
witness stand by any competent defense attorney. It’s common sense
that the the most accurate record of events will be one that is written
contemporaneously. Over time, the ability to recall events,
conversations and observations fades.

New “Evidence” Doesn’t Seem To Help Prosecution

William L. Anderson points out this paragraph from the Times' article:

"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."

"We need to
remember a few things here," Anderson argues. "First, Gottlieb
admittedly took few notes and wrote this report long after the defense had
begun to pick this case apart. Was there no evidence for rape? Well, now
Gottlieb remembers that the woman had suffered 'blunt force trauma,' something
missing from the original investigation".

makes several
salient points:

The article also contained the following discussion of the towel DNA:

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“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.”

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This passage omits two highly critical pieces information. First, it does not
specify whether the fact that the accuser said someone wiped her vagina with a
rag was contained in the SANE nurse’s report or whether that statement was
included in Gottlieb’s notes. This is extremely important because if the
former it was written before the Evans’ towel DNA was discovered and if the
later it was written after and could have been fabricated to conform to the

We find it odd that Susan Filan did not mention this when she
reviewed the medical reports with Dan Abrams of MSNBC. Second, the article does
not explain that none of the accuser’s DNA was found on the towel containing
Evans’ semen and in fact DNA from an unknown, untested person was found.

In addition, the article neglects to fully explain the boyfriend’s DNA. The
article states only:

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“She also told the police that she had last had sex about a week before
the party, with her boyfriend. His DNA was the only positive match with
samples taken from her body.”

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When did she tell police this?
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The article neglects to mention that the boyfriend and two other parties were
tested for DNA on May 3rd. If she only had sex with her boyfriend a week
earlier, why were two other people tested?

A brief note about some of the quotes above: we've been hesitant to
link some sites because they mention the AV's name. Our feeling has been
to leave that unmentioned unless and until the case is dismissed or the
defendants found guilty. At this point, with the AV getting her own
article in Wikipedia, we're still going to hold to that standard. But we
certainly can't control what the rest of the world does, and a lot of people
obviously disagree with our position on this.