Last Dance for Grace, Part X

mangum1-300x225March 13, 2006 – Part 2 — Continued

Crystal Mangum continues to claim that the press started to hound her. Camping out on her lawn, following her around, etc. She bitterly adds, “While the Duke boys and their attorneys brought and brought as much media attention as they could, I wanted no part of it.” (Mangum, page 175) However, Mike Nifong, the DA, was busy telling everyone about the virtuous black woman that had been brutally abused by evil, privileged white boys.

Until Proven Innocent states, “He [Nifong] spent over 40 hours that week giving at least 70 media interviews and press conferences.” (Taylor & Johnson, page 85) It wasn’t the accused’s lawyers that went into media overload. It was the very person that was supposed to be championing Crystal. If Crystal is so tired of the press, then why is she releasing a book while using the same media that she condemned to promote it? Two and a half years after the actual events, it’s now Crystal who is drawing attention to herself and the case.

Crystal writes that she moves to a safe house after the story broke. But then moves out suddenly, claiming that, “I felt too poorly to help out with chores around the house, which was a condition of staying.” (Mangum, page 175) And then, Crystal finds out that she’s pregnant with her third child. Who’s the father? Not any of the Duke lacrosse players as was proven by a DNA test after the child was born.

At one point, Cousin Jackie went on Fox News to discuss Crystal’s pregnancy. Even though she didn’t have a lot of information and she didn’t know who the father was. Crystal herself doesn’t say who the father is in her memoirs, although, from her version of events (where has has been in a monogamous relationship with her boyfriend) the father, should be Matthew.

And now, the illustrious video tape. Crystal states, “More than a few people from the Platinum Pleasure Club were produced to say that I danced at the club later in March 2006. Those allegations are not true.” (Mangum, page 175) They were produced? Is she trying to say that someone coached them to say this?

Crystal continues by saying, “The alleged videotape of me dancing at the club was from several months before the incident at 610 N. Buchanan. There is evidence that the tape was analyzed and verified something other than what some other people wanted to believe.” (Mangum, page 175)

Where do I start? First of all, the video that she was referring to is the one that was alleged to have been shot only a few days after March 13. There was a video clip on YouTube that allegedly showed Crystal dancing at the club. The username of the person who posted it was “trinifats” and the information underneath reads, “FOR ENTIRE VIDEO PLEASE CONTACT FATS AT BLACKVIEWTUBE.COM”.

Fats is the nickname for a former security manager at the Platinum Pleasure Club, who spoke with Yeager and Pressler in their book, It’s Not About the Truth. Is this clip part of the video of Crystal dancing shortly after her alleged attack, after which she claims that, “I did continue to bleed profusely for a few weeks after. It took nearly week before I was able to walk with my normal gait.” (Mangum, page 172) Also, who analyzed the video tape and decided that it was shot previous to March 13? Who was informed about this revelation and why didn’t this come up before? The Platinum Pleasure Club’s work records show Crystal, “Signing in for work on March 18 and 21-” (Taylor & Johnson, page 348)

This contradicts Crystal’s claim, “I never danced again at the club.” (Mangum, page 176) Crystal does admit that, “I did attend a CD release party for a local act during that time frame. But I was only there briefly.” (Mangum, page 176) However, this is exactly when the video was allegedly shot. Fats stated that cameras had been allowed into the club especially for the party. Then, “A camera man was supposed to tape the stage where the rappers were performing. But he misunderstood Victor’s (the owner) instructions and set up his camera in front of the dancer’s stage.” (Yeager & Pressler, page 87)

The videotape supposedly showed Crystal, “Grabbing a floor-to-ceiling pole and lowering herself into a squatting position, buttocks almost to the floor, stretching her right leg towards the ceiling and waving it to either side of the pole.” (Taylor & Johnson, page 73) Is this another case of Crystal vs. The truth?

Now the bouncer, presumably Fats, is under fire from Crystal, “Moreover, the bouncer was facing drug charges and was being represented by one of the attorneys on the lacrosse player’s defense team.” (Mangum, page 176) And Cousin Jackie was born a man!

Now, Crystal admits that she didn’t actually talk to Mike Nifong until nine months after the party (December 2006). But this just goes to show that the case was not about Crystal or the Duke lacrosse boys for Mike Nifong. It was about securing votes. Nifong didn’t even bother to interview the person he was painting as his victim of a terrible sexual assault. He just went with what was happening and was determined to ride Crystal’s victimhood home for supper.

And now, “I do need to say something about the DNA evidence in the case.” No prizes for guessing what she writes next. “I have seen reports implying that I had multiple sex partners in the days or maybe hours before the incident. This was not proven in the DNA samples that were taken at the hospital. There have been wild reports that semen was found in various orifices of my body. The forensics test done by the State Bureau of Investigations and the DNA lab did not show any semen.” (Mangum, page 177)

But Crystal concedes that, “It would be irresponsible for me to try and explain DNA reports that I have not seen and could have no real way of interpreting.” Yes, it would be. However, “-What I can say is that others have exaggerated their unscientific assessments of the DNA reports.” (Mangum, page 177)

Here Crystal is most likely referring to Brad Bannon, a defense lawyer for the Duke players, who taught himself about DNA and countered the director and founder of the private DNA lab that Nifong used to process the evidence. Using his own research, Bannon was able to prove that the tests were done irresponsibly and incorrectly. (Taylor & Johnson, page 308-309)

But Crystal is now back on the attack. “It is clear to me that the people who have defamed me by suggesting that I was covered in semen all over my body knew what they were doing. It was and still is a part of the attempt to call me a prostitute.” (Mangum, page 177) For all of her claims that she wouldn’t attempt to talk about the DNA evidence that she neither saw nor would be able to understand, Crystal sure does seem to be willing to argue with it.

But wait! “If the DNA confirms that none of the people charged left DNA on me, then the test performed their function. I cannot and will not argue with that.” (Mangum, page 177) This doesn’t even make sense though. Is she saying that the people who were charged are not the people who raped her? Is she saying that they cleaned her up so well with that towel that there was no DNA left? Is she saying that there shouldn’t be DNA evidence left from a brutal gang rape? I’m really not sure what she’s getting at here.

And now, she delves into sheer paranoia, “-I believe there are DNA tests in the case file that may tell a different story… I am calling for Attorney General Roy Cooper to release all of the records to the public. Perhaps once and for all it would clear up any misconceptions about what DNA really exists.” (Mangum, page 178)

It seems strange that Crystal believes there are people hiding evidence and trying to make her look bad when the reality of the matter is that she had the District Attorney, Mike Nifong, doing everything in his power to keep her case going. At one point Nifong claimed that the DNA evidence was the key to the entire case, then he proceeded to sit on negative DNA results. He then claimed that the DNA didn’t matter after all.

Crystal continues her triad, “Unfortunately, I do not believe there will be any clarity in the case unless everything is finally exposed.” (Mangum, page 178) For someone who just claimed that she wanted privacy and did everything possible to avoid to avoid the media spotlight, she sure wants a lot more information available to the public. But if she demands to have all of these tests and information public, is she going to release her medical records and past mental health treatment all in the name of getting the truth out there?

And then, a chilling accusation. Kind of. Crystal writes, “I am willing to take that risk. Can everyone at the party on March 13, 2006 say the same thing?” (Mangum, page 178) But the answer to this question is yes. The Duke lacrosse players never had anything to hide to begin with and they were completely compliant with Durham police during the entire investigation. Right from the beginning, their stories were consistent, not only with each other, but with logic.

But Crystal’s not done yet. She insists that, “Little, if any, real information about what was said and done at the party has ever been made public. Instead the discussion have always been about what did not happen.” (Mangum, page 178)

Perhaps because a rape didn’t happen. But really, there was no shortage of information available about that night. From eyewitness accounts to photographic evidence. It’s been made very clear what happened in that house and it was not a sexual assault.

Crystal wonders, “Would people feel different about things if they realized that a hate crime was committed against me?” Once again, Kim Roberts and the party goers both attest to the fact that there were racial slurs used against the two strippers, but only after Kim admitted to provoking it by using a racial slur against the young men. The real hate crime here is what happened in Crystal’s imagination.

“If nothing else, there is ample enough evidence to prove that racial slurs were used during my time in that house.” (Mangum, page 178) No, actually, there isn’t. The racial slurs that were used where spoken outside of the house, not in it. Not to mention that using racist language isn’t exactly on the same level as a brutal gang rape. It’s not like Crystal can say, even if they didn’t rape me, they used foul language. Which is just as bad.

Crystal then writes, “The only thing I stand to gain now is some dignity.” (Mangum, page 178) Uh, really? By continuing to lie and obscure facts and paint herself as a helpless victim? I don’t see how this is going to help her recover any of her lost dignity.

Crystal once against casts herself as the ultimate victim, “I will be forever labeled “the accuser.” I cry sometimes and cannot sleep because I think about how others have profited from my pain and suffering.” All she had to do was not falsely accuse three people of rape and all of this could have been avoided.

But she goes on, “I am now being abused by people who don’t even know me. A good number of people have even been able to profit from the case by writing books, selling movie scripts, and having advertisements on their website.” (Mangum, page 179) Clearly tired of other people profiting off of her story, Crystal has made sure that she’ll be the one cashing the checks from her wild tales.

Crystal continues to complain about the media, which again makes me wonder why she is releasing this book to even more media scrutiny if she just wants to be left alone. But anyway, Crystal starts to entertain her conspiracy theories again. She writes that the police didn’t go to the house to collect evidence until two days after the party. She states, “People would have plenty of time to clean the house of evidence.” (Mangum, page 180)

The reason why the police weren’t immediately dispatched to the house after she cried rape was because her stories were so wildly inconsistent that some were convinced that she had made up the entire thing in an intoxicated haze. Also, the police aren’t dim. They know when there’s been a clean up and they can tell if someone had used bleach or other cleaning agents to try to destroy evidence. Either there was no evidence to be found or the three indicted players did such an amazing cleanup job that there was no evidence from the rape and no evidence of a cleanup.

And now, more DNA. Semen was found on the floor of the bathroom, near the sink. This is the area that Crystal claimed she spat seminal fluid after she was forced to perform oral sex on one of the rapists. There was DNA found on the floor, however, it was Matt Zash’s and he was never indicted for the crime (Taylor & Johnson, page 314).

Also, Matt Zash lived in the house, so there’s nothing suspicious about his DNA being found in the bathroom. Crystal goes on to state, “Again, we will never know unless the case file is made public.” (Mangum, page 180) If this is true, then this is one incredibly well-orchestrated conspiracy. But it’s not a conspiracy at all. The facts just don’t line up with Crystal’s version of the truth.

And now, for all of the protesters who demonstrated on her behalf, along with her advocates and defenders, you get one paragraph worth of mention. That’s right, out of a 210 page book, you get a slight nod from Vincent Clark and 10 sentences from Crystal. Sadly, it’s not even a good paragraph.

-I was amazed as what I saw – a slew of people protesting on my behalf. They were marching on campus at Duke and carrying signs. In the days ahead, people would be banging pots and pans on the lawn of the house at 610 North Buchanan. Who were these people and why were they there? I did not know a single person who had organized the protest. I just stood in stunned silence. (Mangum, page 180)

Stunned silence is all that she can muster for the group of people who were willing to believe her story despite all of its flaws? She continues, “Besides being stunned, I was also embarrassed. If protesting was going on, it meant people knew that something had happened to me at that house. My story had gotten out and grew larger than anything I could have ever imagined.” (Mangum, page 180)

Next she writes, “I really started to worry when none of them [the protesters] actually came to my house to talk to me and offer assistance. If they were so concerned, why had I never met any of them? Everyone had something to say about me, even my so-called supporters, but all of the support was from a distance.” (Mangum, page 181)

And that’s it. That’s all she has to say about the people who protested on her behalf and supported her story even though it made no sense. The protesters stunned and embarrassed her. They worried her and made her suspicious. You’re welcome!

But one has to wonder what the protesters were supposed to have done. If they had showed up at her house, asking to take out her garbage and wash her car, I’m sure she would have found them as creepy and invasive as the media. But when they kept a distance from the young mother, in an effort to probably give her some space and privacy, she becomes suspicious of their motives. There’s no winning with Crystal.

As she continues her writing, she veers off into self-pity again. “All of the media attention felt as traumatizing as being raped. To see people speculate about your credibility, talk about your private medical records, and openly accuse you of lying was incredibly difficult.” (Mangum, page 181) A lot of rape victims face these same problems when trying to get justice. But the big difference there is most women who face these issues were actually raped.

Crystal wants to talk about the media intrusion some more now. She writes, “There were people openly arguing the case in public without the one person who could answer most of the questions. That was me!” (Mangum, page 182) But she just said that she wanted no part of the media. So why would she complain that she wasn’t included in media interviews and discussions about the case?

Crystal finishes off this chapter by complaining about the media using her family. She’s particularly upset with her father and states, “What my father did say only helped to perpetuate the story that I was somehow so mentally disturbed that I was making all of this up to gain attention.” (Mangum, page 182) I can’t imagine why.

That’s all for this chapter. In the next installment, Crystal discusses how the case was closed without going to trial and how she suffered so much that no one will ever understand the depths of her victimhood. Don’t miss it.

To read all of the articles in the Last Dance for Grace series, click here. Blogs are in reverse chronological order.