If you want to find an example of a writer who gets an argument and then
tries to make the facts fit the argument, Cash
Michaels is a pretty good place to start.
He has championed the alleged victim (AV) in the Duke rape case from the
beginning, and was the source - quoting "Cousin Jakki" - of the notion
that there were Duke supporters who were offering hefty bribes to make the case
As it turns out, the AV denied the story to Durham police, a revelation which
caught "Cousin Jakki" off-guard: âI donât, I donât
understand this. I guess this whole thing is just to discredit me. My
family asked me to be the spokesperson for my cousin, and when I talked to my
cousin [she asked me too].â
If that's the case, then her cousin is the one who is discrediting her,
because Michaels is backtracking pretty quickly here.
The police quote the AV as saying her "cousin is out of the loop &
doesn't know where cousin is getting it from."
Police spokesperson Kammie Michael verified the document's authenticity.
But after verifying those facts, Cash starts wandering all over the outfield
in the rest of the article.
He claims - again - that bribes were offered (now said to be through
Black intermediaries) to Black community leaders who might help the problem
"go away." Again, there is no proof.
He tries to slant the comments of Duke spokesman Sam Hull to somehow squeeze
out the idea that Hull supported the general idea of bribery by alluding to
rumors. Hull told The Wilmington Journal that âI told you that we had
heard nothing about any hush money, other than rumors from the outset of the
case that some members of the Durham community were saying that eventually Duke
would try to buy its way out of this case. So I was not speaking to the
specific rumor you called about at all. I thought I was quite clear in making
Still, finding little to nourish his thesis there, or to cover his backside,
Michaels moves on to the Durham Police, pointing out that Sgt. Mark Gottlieb and
Det. Richard Clayton are under investigation for an alleged racial assault at a
Raleigh sports bar in late July.
Minimal connection to the lacrosse case, though.
However, he transitions from the alleged racial assault (hereafter A.R.A. -
you need a scorecard for all this?) on to Benjamin Himan, who is the lead
investigator in the lacrosse case.
Himan is the one who reported that â[m]edical 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."
Then there's a discussion of when the medical records were released, the
alleged requirements (A.R.!) of the Heath Insurance Portability and
Accountability Act, and when D.A. Mike Nifong issued the subpoena (March 20),
which was served the next day, and supposed to be fulfilled by March 30, but
Himan didn't get to the hospital to get the report until April 5th.
And even then, the records, according to defense discussion of discovery
documents, didn't support Himan's assertions, which leads you to wonder:
what was he talking about? Or at least: what did he base his allegations
He was also the guy behind the slanted lineup(s), where AV was only offered
photos of lacrosse players.
At the end, we have Cousin Jakki (who earlier said she had no first-hand
knowledge of any bribery attempts), and her cousin AV, who has in essence called
Jakki a liar, and an apparently angry Cash Michaels, who went out on a limb with
Jakki and got it sawed out from under him. We also see Michaels forced to
acknowledge significant holes in the case, even as he tries to hang on to his
But more importantly, comedic value of this epsiode aside, we also see a
continued pattern from the AV where her accounts to different people, or at
different times, well, differ.
We first saw this when one paper said her father learned of the allegations
from a newspaper; in another, she said she told him herself.
More importantly, her accounts immediately after the incident were all over
the place: she said she was raped, said she wasn't raped, said there were
three, five, or 20 rapists, said she had taken a muscle relaxant and then chased
it with a significant amount of alcohol, said they didn't use condoms, said
David Evans had a mustache when Evans says he has never had one. There was
no DNA from any of the lacrosse players found on or in the victim, although
there was semen found on a towel.
However, these are young boys in college (normally we hate that people are
calling them boys, but in this context, it is correct). If you
searched every laundry basket and every bathroom in American dorm rooms, you'd
find a significant amount of DNA evidence. Ejaculation is not exactly a
rare event in dorm rooms, whether the residents are engaged in connubial bliss
or onanistic futility: young, dumb, and all of that, don't you know.
Michaels has invested a lot in this story, and he's not quite ready to let it
go. But still, it's clear that Cousin Jakki and AV's conflicting accounts
have shaken him. Must be a real drag.