May 25th, 2006

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Daddy's got to watch his stories

The Duke lacrosse case is like a soap opera. If I stop paying attention to it for even a few days, I feel like I've been left behind in what's happening and it takes quite a while to catch back up. The news cycle spins at a pretty incredibly speed considering the fact that a trial likely won't occur for close to another year.

So what's been happening lately?

Well, the DA has turned over some 1,200 pages of evidence over to the defense and I imagine there were quite a few put out interns and junior associates who had to dig through the mess. Discovery usually results in the kitchen sink. Even small cases suffer from a tremendous information dump and then it's usually some grunt's job to go prospecting through the mess looking for the stray gold nuggets. As was predictable, the defense claims to have struck paydirt and if true....well, lets just say that if what they're claiming is in the documents is true, Nifong must be certifiably insane.

1) No toxicology report was submitted.

Nifong, through his associates, has stated that if a toxicology report were avaliable, the defense would have it. No surprise, the defense has filed motions to make sure that nifong isn't playing a game of 3-card monte. It seems likely that no such test was conducted however which is near criminal. Everyone who saw the accuser from the 2nd stripper to the first police officer on the scene reported she seemed intoxicated. That they didn't run a tox screen is just idiocy beyond belief.

2) Rape exam showed no "abrasions, tears or bleeding". There was however "swelling in the vaginal area along with tenderness in the accuser's breasts and lower right quadrant".

This is obviously problematic. When the information that the nurse had found damage consistant with rape, almost everyone assumed that meant some heavy damage. Now, I have absolutely no clue what level of damage is usually caused by a 30-minute forced sexual assault, but I'm certain someone will be arguing that at trial that 'swelling' seems a bit mild to fit what was described.

3) Accuser claims to have had sex with 3 men, including her boyfriend in the night or two before the incident.

The two other individuals, who were also asked to submit DNA samples, were her drivers to her escort events. This is obviously a problem when linked to #2. Multiple sexual encounters in a close timeframe could probaly explain the swelling, or at least that's the way the defense will spin it. The drivers also claim in statements to police that they drove the accuser to 5 seperate events the weekend before the claimed attack. There's some floating evidence that she was not just stripping, but it's iffy.

4) The accuser told police her alleged attackers did not use condoms.

Erf. Well, that could be a problem considering the only DNA on her, and more specifically, in her, was from her boyfriend. This also explains why Nifong thought the DNA tests would clearly pick out the guilty parties. In retrospect, it explains a lot of his actions though god knows why he didn't take another look at the case when those results all came back blank. Blinders or something more sinister?

5) The accuser originally claimed that the second dancer was inside the bathroom during the alleged rape. Said by the 2nd stripper to be "a crock" in her statements to police.

Mix that with reported inconsistancies in her initial statements about number of attackers and you've got a huge problem brewing.

No clue how much of this will actually pan out, but I'm sure we'll find out in the days ahead. If any of this is true, it just sort of boggles the mind. Nifong would have to be out of his freaking gourd to push ahead, though it's not like he has much of a choice at this point. Some have started floating conspiracy theories now that he's always meant to tank the case after it bought him his political victory. He obviously can't just drop it now after coming out so strongly for it, so instead he'll just let it go to trial and let the evidence drop it like a hot potato. I had always assumed that Nifong really believed that a crime occurred but with the turn of's hard not to wonder if he's playing some sort of machiavelian game.
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Tidbits of insanity

So I've been reading Glen Cook's The Black Company books, a noir look at fantasy where everything is shades of grey more than black and white. It's a series that I started quite a while ago, but never finished and I'm working my way back through it. The first novel starts with the company working for the ruler in a city called Beryl.

At the same time that I've been working my way through that series I've been also going through The Know It All, which I picked up a few weeks ago. It documents one person's attempt to read the encyclopedia britanica from A to Z in order to become 'the smartest man in the world'. The book features interesting trivia facts intermixed with information about his personal life and we are told that his sister is named Beryl.

These two instances of Beryl had been bothering me for days now. I kept getting this persistant and nagging sensation that the name was familiar from somewhere else, but I couldn't figure out from where. It seemed ecspecially familiar as 'Queen Beryl' but for the life of me I couldn't place it and it was driving me nuts. Of course, that's when the internets came to my rescue. I pumped the term 'Queen Beryl' into google and this is what I found.

Queen Beryl is a fictional character in the Sailor Moon media franchise. She has appeared in the manga, anime, and tokusatsu versions of the storyline, and is always the first major villain who challenges the protagonists. Beryl has immense magical power, but she uses most of it to channel the life energy harvested by her servants to the enity Queen Metallia (known as the Negaforce in the DiC dub).

Christ. I've been having sailor moon flashbacks all this time. I haven't seen an episode in around 10 years now but it's nice to know that pointless facts about the series are still kicking around in my subconscious somewhere.