April 20, 2014 Leave a comment
Probably not, but it is pretty clear to anybody that was actually paying attention at the time of the Duke Lacrosse case that William Cohan’s The Price of Silence is some pretty egregious historical revisionism. Most prominently, it is a defense of Mike Nifong, the prosecutor whom all evidence indicates repeatedly lied to the public and the defense team. This whole crazy case would have never gone anywhere if not for Nifong’s breathtaking malfeasance and abuse of his prosecutorial powers. Anyway, I’ve heard a number of interviews with Cohan and it’s depressing (but not surprising) that such a shoddy work of journalism is getting plenty of national attention.
The N&O’s Joe Neff, who covered the case at the time, has a nice column outlining some of the many failings of the book. E.g.,
These would be pathetic mistakes for a daily newspaper story. For an author spending months or years on a book, it’s a revealing choice to avoid interviews that contradict the revisionist narrative: that Nifong is the victim.
Cohan declares the charge that Nifong withheld exculpatory evidence a “red herring.” Let’s review that. Nifong repeatedly told judges he had produced all the DNA evidence. He hadn’t: He and a lab director conspired not to report rape kit test results showing that the accuser had DNA from four unknown men. The tests were sensitive enough to register a wisp of DNA from the lab director, and yet the rape kit produced not a single particle of DNA from those accused of a brutal gang rape.
For Cohan to suggest that witholding excuplatory evidence is simply a “red herring” is truly amazing. As if this is just some minor mistake on Nifong’s part. Once I heard Cohan say that, it was pretty clear this whole endeavor is utterly lacking in credibility.