Despite Mangum’s inconsistent statements and the lack of DNA evidence connecting the men to Mangum, Nifong had Seligmann, Finnerty, and Evans arrested. They were indicted on charges of first-degree forcible rape, sexual offense, and kidnapping. (Nifong dropped the rape charge after Mangum said she couldn’t remember whether she was penetrated by a penis.) With a weak case and a liar as a chief witness, the ambitious and foolish prosecutor conspired to conceal exculpatory evidence.
In January 2007, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper took over the case. In April 2007, he dropped all charges against the men, declared them “innocent,” and called Nifong a “rogue prosecutor.” Nifong was fired and disbarred, and he spent a day in jail for criminal contempt.
Cooper said he didn’t pursue a case against Mangum because she may have been mentally ill and actually believed her own lies. Asked what he thought about the book, Duke case defense attorney Joseph Cheshire said, “It made me angry because the whole reason that we asked that this woman not be pursued criminally for what she did to these fellas is we felt sorry for her, and we felt to some degree she had been victimized by the process and she was very sick.”
That’s called compassion.
Seligmann, Finnerty, and Evans spent a harrowing year accused of committing a brutal gang rape and incurring millions in legal fees. But once exonerated, they showed compassion to a woman who so far has shown none to them. Instead of accepting this blessing and getting on with her life, Mangum seeks to gain from her “biggest mistake.” And expose herself to more ridicule. Perhaps Mangum will show remorse. We’ll find out when the book is released on October 1.
“During the investigation and in its aftermath,” reads the press release, “she never spoke publicly, that is until now.”
The first two words in Crystal Mangum’s book should be, “I’m sorry.”