My advice now would be that if this book comes out and it contains things that are not true about what happened on that evening … it would be my advice to them to make sure she doesn’t ever make one single penny off of it. — Duke case defense attorney Joseph Cheshire
Last Friday morning, I opened an email that contained a press release for a forthcoming book titled The Last Dance for Grace: The Crystal Mangum Story. Thinking it was an Internet hoax, I googled “Crystal Mangum” and found the story on WRAL.com. Sure enough, the infamous former stripper and prostitute, who falsely accused three Duke University lacrosse players of gang-raping and beating her in a bathroom, was writing her memoirs:
The Last Dance for Grace: The Crystal Mangum Story is the only definitive account of the life and struggles of the woman at the center of the Duke lacrosse case, the alleged accuser. Were it not for the Duke lacrosse case, she likely would be described as a bright, young woman from Durham, North Carolina, who has had a difficult life. Like so many of us, Crystal has made mistakes and has struggled to make amends. Her biggest mistake just happened to lead to one of the most controversial legal cases in American history.
Let’s recap this “bright” woman’s “biggest mistake.”
In March 2006, stripper and “escort” service employee Crystal Mangum cried rape, most likely to avoid arrest for a probation violation stemming from a 2002 drunken car chase with the police. An obscure district attorney from North Carolina seized the opportunity to win re-election in a heavily black city by going after the accused “rich” white men. Little did he realize his actions would end a 28-year legal career and shroud him in shame.
From the beginning, Mangum told conflicting stories about what happened to her that night. At first she claimed 20 men raped her, then settled on three: Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty, and David Evans. In one version of her story, she was only groped. In another, she was raped. She even claimed that fellow stripper Kim Roberts helped the men rape her and steal her money.