’60 Minutes’ interviews Duke lacrosse defendants

11 10 2006

FYI – 60 Minutes will cover the duke lacrosse rape case on sunday’s show. There will be interviews with Kim Roberts and all three defendants (and none of the defense lawyers!), so it should be interesting to watch. Given the quality of media coverage generally, I’m preparing myself for frustration with the way the case is framed, but will watch anyway.

-J


By John Stevenson, The Herald-Sun
October 10, 2006 8:59 pm

DURHAM — A CBS “60 Minutes” segment on the controversial Duke University lacrosse rape case is expected to air Sunday evening and will include interviews with all three indicted players and Kim Roberts Pittman, the second dancer at the party where the attack allegedly occurred.

CBS would not comment on the show. The network’s normal practice is to withhold information about “60 Minutes” broadcasts until a few days in advance.

But Pittman’s lawyer, Mark Simeon of Durham, confirmed Tuesday that his client was interviewed. But Simeon ended a telephone conversation before fielding a question about what Pittman told the interviewer.

An exotic dancer at the time, Pittman was with another dancer who claimed she was raped and sodomized by three lacrosse players during an off-campus party at 610 N. Buchanan Blvd. in mid-March.

Pittman since has been quoted as saying the rape charges were “a crock.” She also told police in a March 22 handwritten statement that she and the accuser ended their performance when someone at the lacrosse party “brought out a broomstick and … said he would use the broomstick on us.”

“That statement made me uncomfortable and I felt like I wanted to leave,” Pittman added. “I raised my voice to the boys and said the show was over.”

Pittman said she then asked the alleged rape victim to leave the party with her. But she said the accuser “felt we could get more money and that we shouldn’t leave yet.”

According to Pittman, the accuser “began showing signs of intoxication” early in the dance performance and was “basically out of it” by the time it ended.

Pittman finally drove the other dancer to a Hillsborough Road grocery store, from which a 911 call was placed to police.

There is nothing about an alleged rape in Pittman’s written statement, which is included in public-record court files.

All three defendants also were interviewed for the “60 Minutes” segment, sources told The Herald-Sun. The interviewer is veteran reporter Ed Bradley.

The three — Collin Finnerty, Reade Seligmann and David Evans — remain free under $100,000 bonds as they await a trial that is expected to occur next year. Each maintains he is innocent.

Neither they nor their families could be reached Tuesday for possible comment about the CBS show, and their attorneys had no comment.

Defense lawyers apparently will not appear on the television program. Neither will District Attorney Mike Nifong, who has been widely criticized for allegedly rushing to judgment in the case and making inflammatory public statements before he had sufficient evidence.

For the past four months, Nifong has not discussed the situation publicly. He was out of town on business and unreachable for comment Tuesday.

Benjamin Himan and Mark Gottlieb, police investigators in the lacrosse case, also could not be reached. But sources said the two had not been interviewed by “60 Minutes” as of Friday.

The Police Department repeatedly has declined to discuss the lacrosse incident.

It could not be determined Tuesday if a one-time driver for the alleged rape victim, Jarriel Lanier Johnson, was among those Bradley contacted.

“I have nothing to say about it,” Johnson told The Herald-Sun by telephone before hanging up.

But Johnson gave police an April 6 handwritten statement about an “appointment,” “a job” and a performance the accuser had at three different hotels in two days not long before the alleged rape.

Johnson also said she had sexual intercourse with him during the same time period.

URL for this article: http://www.heraldsun.com/durham/4-777449.html

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One response

12 10 2006
Robin Sanders

First, I apologize for this slightly impersonal note. I’m Dick Meyer, the editorial director at CBSNews.com. I’m writing because you’ve written about the Duke lacrosse case in the past so I think you’ll be very interested in the stories that will be running on 60 Minutes this weekend and the extra material that will be posted on them on CBSNews.com. Whatever your take on the story, whatever your take on us here at CBS News, this story is the first time you’ll be able to hear some the principals speak for themselves.
The section for 60 Minutes is: http://www.cbsnews.com/sections/60minutes/main3415.shtml.
If we can help, let us know. Thanks much.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions.

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