More on the Duke-Lacrosse Rape Case

I have to say that after reading this article, plus all the other stuff I’ve read on the case, the second dancer, Kim Roberts, strikes me as a completely unreliable wittness. Apparently Roberts has characterized the case differently to different people.

On March 20, when police first contacted her a week after the alleged attack, she called the rape allegation a “crock” and said that she was with the woman for all but “less than five minutes.”


A month later, in an Associated Press interview, she indicated that she believed there had been an attack.

“I was not in the bathroom when it happened, so I can’t say a rape occurred — and I never will. … In all honesty, I think they’re guilty. … Somebody did something besides underage drinking. That’s my honest-to-God impression.”


Then, on June 14, in an interview with National Public Radio, she said she was “unsure” of how much time had passed when the alleged victim got out of her car and went back into the house to get her purse.

“I can never say a rape did or did not occur. That’s for the courts to decide. I didn’t see it happen, you know? But what I can say is that there was opportunity, and it could have happened.”

So let me see, first we have the “It’s a crock,” follwed with “I don’t know, but I think they are guilty,” and then “I don’t know, but there was an opportunity.” Coupled with the new revelations that the accuser was behaving very erratically and when Ms. Roberts tried to get the accuser out of the car she said, “Go ahead, put marks on me. That’s what I want. Go ahead.”

I’m no lawyer, but all this waffling and nonsense strikes me as bad for the prosecution and good for the defense. Ms. Roberts is now starting to look like an attention seeker, and I wouldn’t be surprised if she tried to get some sort of book deal or some other money making nonsense.

Fairstein told ABC News she was shocked to learn last week that Nifong had yet to interview the accuser.

“That is just against the progress that’s been made in this very specialized field,” she said.

“It belies anything a prosecutor would do before making charges. There was no need to rush to the charging judgment in this case. … This whole train should have been slowed down and everybody interviewed before charging decisions. To have witnesses appear on a media program revealing information that the prosecutor doesn’t know is stunningly inappropriate,” she said.

Of course, Ms. Fairstein is right, but what she is leaving out of her calculus here is that Nifong was facing a tough primary and still if facing re-election. It looks very much like Nifong has used this case to help his re-election bid. As I noted, I’m not an attorney, but this whole thing looks so smarmy it is unbelievable.

FILED UNDER: Law and the Courts, Race and Politics, US Politics, , , ,
Steve Verdon
About Steve Verdon
Steve has a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles and attended graduate school at The George Washington University, leaving school shortly before staring work on his dissertation when his first child was born. He works in the energy industry and prior to that worked at the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Division of Price Index and Number Research. He joined the staff at OTB in November 2004.


  1. Triumph says:

    So let me see…

    So let me see…who gives a damn about this entire case? Some overprivileged college atheletes and strippers?!?!? It has about as much relevance as an episode of Survivor.

  2. David Harris says:

    It has relevance if 3 innocent (of these charges) young men are put through the wringers so Nifong can look good to his constituents. This is the same case in which the accuser was shown pictures to identify her attackers, only she was shown ONLY pictures of Duke lacrosse players. I won’t be surprised at all to see this case disappear quietly in January or so.

  3. madmatt says:

    so why should one strippers words be worth more than anothers…why don’t you mention the players previous run ins with the law?

  4. tilson says:


    good point. Dave Evans was convicted of playing music a little too loud one night. Collin Finnerty was convicted of taunting a guy in a bar once that guy had started with his freind. Reade Seligmann was…well, hopefully he’s gotten a traffic ticket at one point in his life.

    They’re obviously rapists.

    And if you’re going to weight the value of testimony then please let me know why the word of the 35 players or so at the party is more circumspect than one accuser’s. Especially since every single shred of evidence (or lack of evidence) points to the honesty of the players and the dishonesty of the accuser.

  5. RayDay says:

    Madmatt: to my knowledge, one of the players (Seligmann) had no previous “run ins [sic] with the law”, and Evans’ rap sheet merely consists of a couple of violations of Durham’s noise ordinance. And Finnerty was convicted only of threatening to hit (not hitting) another student in a D.C. bar. Contrast that with the Accuser’s conviction of, among other things, stealing a vehicle and attempting to run over a police officer with it, and I simply don’t understand your point. If you are attempting to convict the defendants (or disparage them) based on their past records, they indisputably have a much better history with the law then the accuser — assuming that even mattered in this case.

  6. madmatt says:

    Why don’t you just admit that you are pre-disposed to believe jocks over strippers. I can think of dozens of professional and college sports players who have been accused and convicted of crimes after the “fans” said they couldn’t possibly of done it. Why don’t you let the system work…because they are white kids? I notice you mention only the individual crimes they were accused of…how about the # of times police have been called to the house they live in?

  7. Steve Verdon says:

    Why don’t you let the system work…

    Because the system doesn’t appear to be working. Seligmann was reportedly caught on camera miles away from the scene of the alleged crime getting money from an ATM machine.

    Then there was the final “photo line-up” where the only photos were of Duke lacrosse players. The accuser couldn’t make a “wrong pick” in that case. The three she picked, whether guilty of anything or not, were going to be the ones facing charges. Standard police procedure is to include some “false images” in the line up to make sure that the accuser is picking the right people.

    I notice you mention only the individual crimes they were accused of…how about the # of times police have been called to the house they live in?

    Oh well then, they are obviously guilty…oh wait Seligmann didn’t live at the house. So can the charges against him be dropped?

  8. tilson says:

    [quote]Why don’t you just admit that you are pre-disposed to believe jocks over strippers. [/quote]
    no, i’m inclined to believe the eyewitness testimony of 35 jocks, 1 stripper, and 1 disinterested neighbor over the multiple testimonies of a drugged-out stripper that was trying to avoid the drunk tank.

    but i’m fair enough that if there was even a shred of physical evidence that anyone on the team did anything to her then i’d be willing to discount the players’ testimony as lying for a buddy.

    of course, there isn’t a shred of physical evidence against anyone on the team, let alone the three guys that had the tail pinned on them.
    Why don’t you let the system work…because they are white kids? [/quote]
    no, because they’re demonstrably innocent. if the system had worked in the first place, the players would have been arrested before being indicted (as is the case almost always) – Nifong couldn’t do that because it would have meant he’s have to present evidence at a probable cause hearing. did the system work after Nifong promised that DNA results would show who’s innocent? is the system working when the DA’s office indicted three men without ever talking to the accuser, never even interviewing 2 of the 3 accused, refusing the players’ offer to take polygraphs, refusing to hear evidence of their alibis, and never following up with the 2nd dancer to confirm Crystal’s writeen statement (given a full month after the party)?

    btw, i formally accuse you of raping me. the funny thing is that there’s actually more evidence to my charge than Crystal’s since at least i have only one version of my story, and there’s not 37 eyewitnesses to dispute my account. there’s exactly the same amount of physical evidence backing my charge as backing Crystal’s. so i expect you not to complain when you have your mugshot plastered on every paper in the country and are branded a hooligam rapist. my identity will of course be protected. and you will have to sell your house to pay for a year’s worth of lawyers, and you will be fired from your job. but at least you have principles — you will allow the “system to work” and never raise your voice in your own defense.

    [quote]I notice you mention only the individual crimes they were accused of…how about the # of times police have been called to the house they live in?[/quote]
    just out of curiousity, is the duke lacrosse team on trial in durham, or is it three specific people? and by “they live in”, who’s they? only 1 or 3 defendants lived there. and as i mentioned previously, i believe dave evans should be imprisoned for life because he played some music too loud one wednesday night. good thing “the system” is working and they might get 30 years for drinking while 19.

  9. per says:

    “Why don’t you just admit that you are pre-disposed to believe jocks over strippers.”

    the thing is that there is a great amount of physical evidence that contradicts the accuser’s story. She was gang-raped in three orifices, and they didn’t wear condoms, and they ejaculated in her. Yet the DNA test only picked up her boyfriend’s sperm. A finding which is just not possible.

    According to the accuser, it was a violent assault, with physical restraint, scratching, and anal rape; yet she had no bruises, no bleeding or laceration, and none of the player’s DNA under her fingernails. Again, this is simply not possible.

    there are numerous timed photographs that paint a comprehensive picture of what happened when. These photographs prove that at least one of the accused simply could not have taken part, and tightly constrain what is possible with the others.

    Oh, and there are a couple of policemen who can testify that one witness was “passed-out drunk”.

    Just guessing you won’t want to address the objective evidence either…