Friday, April 20, 2007

Nifonged in Nicaragua: Taking a Page From Cash & Wendy

Nicaraguan Attorney Erick Cabezas: US media campaign proves
Volz family tried to bribe mother of victim


In the first post of our "Nifonged in Nicaragua: Eric Volz" series we noted several similarities between the wrongful conviction of Eric Volz and the Nifong/Mangum Hoax.

Among the many parallels, we cited the fake "bribe" stories present in each case. As efforts to bring attention to the plight of Eric Volz, an American wrongfully imprisoned in Nicaragua for the rape and murder of his former girlfriend, Doris Jimenez, grew louder, the local press responded by resurrecting the bribe story in a nonsensical attempt to discredit Volz and the US media. The efforts by La Prensa are reminiscent of the Wilmington Journal’s use of innuendo and rumor to buoy a sagging Hoax last summer and the desperate attempts of Wendy Murphy to resurrect the Hoax as it began its death throes in December.

In the Nifong/Mangum Hoax, the Wilmington Journal “broke” the story of a fictitious two million dollar bribe, supposedly offered by unknown people to the false accuser, Crystal Mangum, in June. In its “exclusive” interview with Clyde Yancey, speaking under his assumed name “Jakki,” the Wilmington Journal told of this phantom payoff. To support its claims, the Wilmington Journal cited unnamed "sources" whose information came from unnamed “Black leaders.”

Cash Michaels, Wilmington Journal, 6/22/2006

COUSIN SAYS $2 MILLION 'HUSH MONEY' OFFERED, WEEK OF JUNE 22-28, 2006
EXCLUSIVE
Cousin: Duke alleged raped victim turned down money to drop case

The cousin of the alleged victim in the Duke University lacrosse rape case says “alums of Duke” quietly offered the accuser lots of money - a staggering $2 million – early on to drop the charges, and go on with her life.

“She told me they wanted her to make the case go away,” Jakki (she will not reveal her last name in order to protect her family), the designated family spokesperson, told The Carolinian and Wilmington Journal newspapers in an exclusive interview June 19.

However Jakki adds that her younger cousin, the Black woman at the center of the nation’s most controversial criminal case, refused because she insists that she was indeed beaten and sodomized by the three indicted white Duke lacrosse team members - Colin Finnerty, Reade Seligmann and David Evans - each charged with first-degree rape, first-degree sexual assault and first-degree kidnapping.

“It’s not about the money to her,” Jakki says. “It’s about her [being] brutally raped, sodomized, called a ‘******.’ Can you imagine being choked and held down? The thought of it – it reminds me of slavery days when the women were brutally raped by the masters - makes me furious because they want to make these [Duke players] out to be golden boys.”



However other sources have confirmed to The Carolinian and Wilmington Journal newspapers that early in the case, Black leaders, whose names cannot be revealed, were also allegedly approached by persons concerned about the fallout of the Duke rape controversy, and offered sums of money for themselves, NCCU and the alleged victim, if they could influence her to retract her allegations.

Those sources told The Wilmington Journal that those leaders flatly refused the offer. It is not clear whether this was an alleged attempt separate from what the alleged victim told her cousin, Jakki, or if the alleged attempt was one in the same.



“I’m privy to more information than people on the other side of [this are]. They haven’t released the pictures of her…the bruises, the black eye. Where did she get that?” Jakki rhetorically asked.



Jakki and the family of the alleged victim are well aware of the high stakes, and “are very concerned,” she says.

“These people have money [and] they want to make this go away. They want to make my cousin look like a harlot, a Jezebel, and they want this to go away.”

Given tremendous opposition from the major media and the blogs, thanks to defense motions releasing prosecution documents that reportedly call into question the alleged victim’s claims, it seems as if there is almost a united front in the white community that she is not to be believed, though there have been a few Black conservatives like Thomas Sowell, LaShawn Barber and Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson who have joined the crowd.

But there is evidence that the African-American community is, for the most part, fairly united on the premise that something very wrong did happen to the woman that night in March at the hands of several Duke lacrosse players, and it wants to see the criminal justice process proceed, unabated, so that a judge and/or jury can make a final determination.



Jakki, who would only say she’s “thirtyish,” identifies herself as an actress and standup comedian who has performed in several clubs, various commercials, and even in the movies, appearing in “Do Not Disturb” starring D. L. Hughley, scheduled for release later this year.
In the case of Eric Volz, the preposterous bribe story was put forth by Mercedes Alvarado, the mother of the victim. Mrs. Alvarado’s story of a one million dollar payoff offered by the the family of Eric Volz was eagerly broadcast by El Nuevo Diario and La Prensa, the two major daily newspapers in Nicaragua. Alvarado was also permitted to testify at Volz's trial to the unsubstantiated and impossible claims.
“In Nicaragua, Mercedes Alvarado would use her close ties to local journalists to wage a media war against Volz that included a tale of an $1,000,000 offer, allegedly made on behalf of the defendant, incredibly, by the attorney of an uncharged and unrelated suspect. Alvarado used the rumor to incite a courthouse mob and was allowed to testify to the unsubstantiated offer at trial.” Nifonged in Nicaragua: Eric Volz
In the Nifong/Mangum Hoax, the Durham police, likely hoping the bribe story was true, performed a rare case investigation. Their findings debunked the fake bribe story and demolished the media myth of Jakki" as either an "insider" or a credible source.
“The attached page of discovery (BS 1850) appeared in the last handful of documents we received from the State [prosecution] on 7-17-06. It’s a copy of an e-mail sent by [Durham police Investigator] Richard Clayton to [Detective] Mark Gottlieb on 6-25-06 about your article in The Carolinian, which was apparently picked up by NBC 17 [television news website], regarding Jakki’s claim of a hush money payment offer to [her cousin]. You will see handwritten notes on the copy. That’s Gottlieb’s handwriting. It memorializes a conversation he had with [lead Duke rape case Investigator] Ben Himan on 6-30-06 in which Himan told him (Gottlieb) that he (Himan) had spoken to [the alleged victim] about Jakki’s claim, and [the alleged victim] denied that she had ever received such an offer. [The alleged victim] went on to tell Himan that Jakki “is out of the loop,” and she (the alleged victim)) “doesn’t know where cousin is getting it from.” … I just thought you would want to know this, as it casts a considerable amount of doubt on the credibility of Jakki as a reliable source of information and spokesperson for [the alleged victim] and her family.” -- Defense attorney Brad Bannon in an email to Cash Michaels
The family of the young American nifonged in Nicaragua flatly denied the allegations of a payoff.

Despite the police investigation disproving the false story put forth by the Wilmington Journal and Cousin Clyde, the invented tale of the fake bribe would be offered again by Hoax enabler Wendy Murphy in a desperate attempt to breathe life into the Hoax carcass in December.
“The Wilmington Journal reported last June that a cousin of the alleged victim said she'd rejected offers of $2 million from Duke alumni to back out of the case.” -- Wendy Murphy, USA Today 12/27/2006
“The Wilmington Journal reported last June that the victim rejected over 2 million dollars from people “on behalf of Duke” to back out of the case.” -- Wendy Murphy, Wilmington Journal 1/12/2007
Taking a page from the Cash Michaels/Wendy Murphy playbook, La Prensa resurrected the Nifonged in Nicaragua fake bribe story this week, as the appeal of Eric Volz’s false conviction gets underway. Incredibly, in a story aimed at undermining the integrity of the published reports of Volz’s nifonging, La Prensa offered a bizarre exercise in twisted logic. The paper reported that attorney Erick Cabezas, hired by Mercedes Alvarado, now contends that the growing US media interest in Volz's wrongful conviction proves that the fake bribe occurred.
“The media campaign (in the United States) shows that they offered $1 million dollars to the mother of Doris Ivania. They are now using the foreign media to ask things of the case, but they have come with a defined list" -- Erick Cabezas, LaPrensa, 4/17/2007

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