Inevitably so? Maybe not. As longterm readers will recall, we were early and vocal among those calling attention to the legal travesty that was the Nifong prosecution, but it’s quite a jump from there to the proposition that the taxpayers of Durham, the university and its president Richard Brodhead personally should fork over money for emotional distress damages to, say, students never prosecuted at all and family members, who comprise the plaintiffs in this new case. (Kristen M. Daum, Newsday, Feb. 21; Bob Van Voris, “Duke Lacrosse Players to Sue School Over Rape Probe”, Bloomberg, Feb. 21; Malkin). The plaintiffs have a website here. (Corrected to fix misstatement on identity of plaintiffs. And broken link now fixed).
*** QUOTE ***The latest Duke lacrosse suit got off to a big start Thursday with publicists, lawyers of national renown, a media blitz at the National Press Club and a lawsuit with its own Web site.
The 38 members of the 2006 Duke lacrosse team who filed the suit in federal court say their reputations were damaged by their association to an escort service dancer’s phony gang-rape allegations.
The players chose not to appear at the news conference, said Bob Bork Jr., the group’s hired publicist, because they don’t want to attract attention.
*** END QUOTE ***
If they didn’t want to attract attention, it might have made more sense not to call a press conference. Or, if they had already called it and felt they had no choice but to go through with it, maybe they could have created a diversion by having a stripper show up or something.
The News & Observer also notes at the end of its article:
Only three members of the 2006 team have not filed suit — Matt Zash, a former captain; Matt Danowski, the current coach’s son, and Kevin Mayer.
And more: Bob Bork, Jr. writes to say he was misquoted in the News & Observer report, and says the following is a transcript of what he did say about the players’ absence:
One final comment before we start. None of the 38 players who are filing this lawsuit are here today. They considered participating, but many have jobs and some are still students and lacrosse team members at Duke. One is in Army Ranger school preparing to deploy to Iraq.
Know this — the players are united behind this lawsuit. At the same time that they are understandably concerned about retribution and slanderous media coverage. Who can blame them after what they endured for 13 months in 2006 and 2007. They are walking a fine line between trying to live normal lives in the wake of an unspeakable trauma and at the same time trying to get answers to questions that remain unanswered by their university.