Breaking news: Nifong drops (rape) charges against Duke lacrosse players

Of course this happens on a day I’m busy! Wanted to post the link though – be back to comment on it later:

DURHAM, N.C. — A prosecutor dismissed rape charges Friday against three Duke University lacrosse players accused of attacking a stripper at a team party, a defense attorney said.

Joseph Cheshire, an attorney for one of the three players, said charges of kidnapping and sexual offense remain in place. District Attorney Mike Nifong did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

The accuser is a 28-year-old student at North Carolina Central University. She has said three men raped her in a bathroom at a March 13th team party where she was hired to perform as a stripper.

Attorneys for players Dave Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann stressed for months that no sex occurred at the party. They have often cited the lack of D-N-A evidence in the case

Update: Sorry, in my rush to post the link I didn’t see that the kidnapping and sexual offense charges still stand. The rape charges are the charges that were dropped.

Evening Update: The reason the sexual offense charges weren’t dropped is that the accuser is now saying she doesn’t know if she was penetrated by a penis during the attack!

KC Johnson is on top of the latest developments, as usual, and tells us in a nutshell what Nifong now expects us to believe.

Duke University president Richard Brodhead has finally grown a pair and has called for Nifong to step down from the case.

I said this about the Duke lacrosse rape case back in August, and I think it bears repeating today:

What’s becoming more and more evident, if what’s being reported is to be believed, is that there is no ‘case’ against any of the lacrosse players. Nifong has little to nothing to go on in the way of concrete evidence against any of the accused players, and the accuser in the case has zero credibility, thanks to her own varying stories on the alleged incident, as well as statements from others who contradict what she alleges happened.

This is frustrating on multiple levels, one of them being the needless waste of time, money, and manpower for local law enforcement and our judicial system in general. The other frustration level, much higher, has to do with the racial divisions this case has stirred up not just in North Carolina, but all over the country as well. It’s bad in and of itself to falsely accuse someone of rape, because if the accuser is exposed as a fraud, it casts the shadow of doubt on other more legitimate claims of rape happening. But when race is also at play in the false accusations, that makes it worse on a different level because it opens old wounds best left alone.

Remember Susan Smith, the South Carolina mother who drove to John D. Long Lake in South Carolina, put her car in drive, got out of it while leaving her kids strapped in the backseat, and watched it roll into the lake, where the kids drowned? Before she confesssed to what happened, she described the person who ‘carjacked’ her and ‘kidnapped’ her children as a shady looking black male. Once it was revealed that she confessed to the crime of murdering her children, of course there was outrage over it but the level of rage at her falsely accusing a black man who didn’t exist of the crime was almost the same as the rage directed towards her for killing her kids. Here she was, a Southern white woman, accusing a black man of a crime he didn’t commit.

Will we see a similar degree of outrage if it’s proven in a court of law that this racially-tinged case has no legs to stand on? I won’t hold my breath.

Of course, it’s looking more and more like we won’t need a court of law to determine that this case has no legs to stand on.

How much longer does this state – heck, this country – have to deal with this utter insanity?

La Shawn Barber provides additional commentary and an extensive link roundup of blogger reax.

Friday open thread

Hey ya’ll,

Havin’ a crazy morning here at the 8-5 … I’ll be back later today to blog when it’s a little less hectic.