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Fantastic Lies Documentary Revisits Duke Lacrosse Case, Mike Nifong's Waterloo

Even a decade later it's incredible to realize how devious the former District Attorney was.

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Director Marina Zenovich, second from right, has made a riveting documentary about the Duke lacrosse case.
Director Marina Zenovich, second from right, has made a riveting documentary about the Duke lacrosse case.
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

After the announcement show Sunday night we watched ESPN's latest 30 For 30: Fantastic Lies.

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This was a look back at the Duke Lacrosse case with a decade's perspective.

Nothing looks much better but it's remarkable how much you can forget.

We remember realizing relatively quickly that the initial account offerd by Kim Roberts (the woman who worked with Crystal Mangum that night at the lacrosse party) changed.

That set off alarms for us and as things unfolded, we saw how the Durham police, aided and abetted by D.A. Mike Nifong, had no intention of seeking the truth.

There were, as it turns out, valid reasons to criticize the lacrosse team and its culture, but Mangum accused them of raping her and, critically, of not using condoms. And as defense attorney Brad Bannon proved conclusively, while there were multiple DNA samples from multiple men, there was no DNA found from anyone on the lacrosse team.

Nifong knew this yet continued to prosecute these guys when evidence made Mangum's account impossible.

The documentary didn't have time to hit on everything - for instance the cab driver, Moezeldin Almostafa, who helped to provide an alibi for Reid Seligmann.

The Durham P.D. soon picked him up and used a minor issue to harass him and threatened him with deportation.

It's really a fairly chilling thing to watch. You know where it's going but it's so hard to believe that Nifong was willing to do this.

There were two things at the end which were new to us: first, former Durham police Sgt. Mark Gottlieb committed suicide in 2014. While we found his work in this case disgusting, it's sad to hear. We wouldn't wish it on anyone and certainly not his family.

And second, all three accused players, having been given a glimpse of how the justice system treats people of limited means, have been working with the Innocence Project.

And actually there is one more thing: there's a move, which makes total sense to us, to review all of Nifong's convictions.

Given his behavior in this case, we can only imagine there are others and almost certainly people who don't have the resources to fight back. And if that's the case, then every day they rot in jail is another crime.

If anyone else is found innocent, Nifong should spend as much time in jail as they have.

If you haven't seen Fantastic Lies, you really should watch it. It's still beyond belief.