Saturday, December 16, 2006

Mystery Man

The thinness of the Democratic stable is illustrated by the fact that the two most talked about candidates for their party's nomination for president in 2008 are a one term senator, Hillary Clinton, and a two year senator, Barack Obama. Neither has ever been a governor and neither has really explained why voters should pull the lever for them. Yet they have been all but canonized by the media.

Bob Gorrell depicts how peculiar this phenomenon is:

Staring at the End of a Career

This should just about do it for the Durham District Attorney who refuses to drop charges against three Duke students accused of raping an "exotic" dancer:

The head of a private DNA laboratory said under oath today that he and District Attorney Mike Nifong agreed not to report DNA results favorable to Duke lacrosse players charged with rape.

Brian Meehan, director of DNA Security of Burlington, said his lab found DNA from unidentified men in the underwear, pubic hair and rectum of the woman who said she was gang-raped at a lacrosse party in March....Meehan said the DNA did not come from Reade Seligmann, David Evans, or Collin Finnerty, who have been charged with rape and sexual assault in the case.

Meehan struggled to say why he didn't include the favorable evidence in a report dated May 12, almost a month after Seligmann and Finnerty had been indicted. He cited concerns about the privacy of the lacrosse players, his discussions at several meetings with Nifong, and the fact that he didn't know whose DNA it was.

Under questioning by Jim Cooney, a defense attorney for Seligmann, Meehan admitted that his report violated his laboratory's standards by not reporting results of all tests.

Did Nifong and his investigators know the results of all the DNA tests? Cooney asked. "I believe so," Meehan said.

"Did they know the test results excluded Reade Seligmann?" Cooney asked. "I believe so," Meehan said.

Was the failure to report these results the intentional decision of you and the district attorney? Cooney asked. "Yes," Meehan replied.

Meehan's testimony differed from a statement Nifong made at the beginning of today's hearing. "The first I had heard of this particular situation was when I was served with this particular motion" on Wednesday, Nifong told the judge. After court, Nifong clarified his remarks to say that he knew about the DNA results.

"And we were trying to, just as Dr. Meehan said, trying to avoid dragging any names through the mud but at the same time his report made it clear that all the information was available if they wanted it and they have every word of it," Nifong said.

Joseph B. Cheshire V, a lawyer for Evans, said he was troubled by today's testimony. "If any of the lacrosse players were excluded, they simply wouldn't put it in the report," he said. "It raises some troublesome questions about (Nifong), who has an obligation to disclose exculpatory evidence and turn it over to the defense."

So Mr. Nifong had strong reason to believe that the alleged victim was concocting the whole story of her sexual assault at the hands of the Duke students, but chose, against the obligations of his office, not to make exculpatory evidence public.

If the events of this prosecution are as they seem then Mr. Nifong is one despicable human being. He has made these boys' lives a living hell for the past year, he has harmed them financially, caused their and their teammates' lacrosse season to be forfeit, and allowed their reputations to be completely ruined while all along knowing that he had no case against them. We may sincerely hope that when the charges against the Duke students are eventually thrown out, as they will be by any judge with even the slightest trace of human decency, these young men will be able to sue Nifong for every penny he owns.

Beneath Tasteless

Joy Behar gives us a glimpse of what passes for humor among a certain kind of liberal by suggesting that the Republicans somehow caused senator Tim Johnson's brain hemorrhage.

It's beneath tasteless, of course, to try to squeeze a cheap laugh out of a man's misfortune, but it's evidently not so far beneath as to be too low for Behar and her audience.