Local News

Duke Lacrosse Witness Nominated as 'Everyday Hero'

Posted December 24, 2007

— Reader's Digest has nominated a cabdriver whose testimony helped clear a Duke lacrosse player for its 2008 Hero of the Year Award.

Moezeldin Elmostafa, 38, of Durham, told investigators that Reade Seligmann was in his taxi during the time that Crystal Magnum, an exotic dancer, claimed she was raped by Seligmann and two of his teammates on March 14, 2006.

To give out its award, Reader's Digest lets users vote among the "everyday heroes" nominated on its Web site. The magazine says it picked these people, because they "risk their own lives to help people in trouble ... without expectation of accolades or even a thank-you."

After Elmostafa – an immigrant from Sudan – talked to investigators, a routine background check turned up a warrant against him for aiding and abetting misdemeanor larceny in a 2003 shoplifting case.

Elmostafa maintained his innocence and was acquitted at a trial in August 2006. He said he gave a ride to a woman without knowing she had stolen purses from a Durham department store and helped locate her when store security told him about the theft.

The woman later pleaded guilty to larceny.

Elmostafa, meanwhile, continued to provide exonerating testimony about Seligmann, and in April 2007, state Attorney General Roy Cooper declared all three indicted Duke lacrosse players innocent.

Elmostafa told Reader's Digest that he has passed his citizenship test and is waiting to take his oath as an American citizen.


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  • Nancy Dec 25, 2007

    "but hero is a STRONG word to me. In my book a hero saves someone's life or remarkably changes it."

    He was part of the evidence they couldn't control, the story changed over and over again trying to make known evidence explainable and still hold onto the railroad job they were doing, and I'm speaking of the investigators from the DPD.

    It's not easy to make your living in a town where the police are trying to intimidate you. Especially if you're from another country and trying to establish residency and such.

    I still consider him a hero, he spoke out early and didn't give in to the pressure put on him for many months before the media and others began to take note that the puzzle pieces were not fitting together correctly.

    So many people were intimidated during this hoax, he was the one who came forward and spoke the truth and exposed himself to the wrath of the powers that be in Durham.

  • dukeblue Dec 25, 2007

    i don't know if she's pregnant again but the other girl that was with her that night is expected to deliver in february.

  • Anti-Welfare Dec 24, 2007

    I think Elmo fits the description of a "everyday hero". Yeah he didn't jump in front of somebody who was getting shot, but that doesn't happen everyday. I think there are other people who deserve this award as well, but my voice doesn't matter. Why has nothing been done to Crystal Mangum yet? I wonder if she has had another kid yet. I wish I could be the mail man who delivers her mail. Every time the beginning of the month came around, I would make sure that she didn't get her welfare check and food stamps

  • CSMs Alter Ego Dec 24, 2007

    "So, Elmo was picked up, on the street, pulled over and asked if he wanted to change his story. He said no, they handcuffed him and took him to jail on the old useless and unfounded warrant.

    Does that make it more clear on why he was a hero? Witness intimidation is no picnic."

    That info doesn't change my opinion. He did the right thing, and that was admirable, but hero is a STRONG word to me. In my book a hero saves someone's life or remarkably changes it. In the long run his eyewitness account had nothing to do with the case being dropped.

  • alwayslovingu30 Dec 24, 2007

    Has Crystal been nifonged yet

  • Nancy Dec 24, 2007

    "So now he should get a reward for telling the truth? This is part of what's wrong with America today. Telling the truth is becoming something that's celebrated rather than what's expected."

    derrrrrr, there is much more to this that you must not be aware of.

    When Elmo told the truth about Seligman's whereabouts and he offered time stamped call in record from Seligman calling for his taxi service, time of when he was picked up, taken to the ATM, taken to Cook Out to buy food and taken to the dorm (backed up by dorm card clock in to access the dorm). The DPD didn't like that whole in their 'story' of what happened and it messed up the photo ID fiasco they pulled.

    So, Elmo was picked up, on the street, pulled over and asked if he wanted to change his story. He said no, they handcuffed him and took him to jail on the old useless and unfounded warrant.

    Does that make it more clear on why he was a hero? Witness intimidation is no picnic.

  • Nancy Dec 24, 2007

    Oh, for those not aware of the details, the old warrant case against Elmo was promptly thrown out by the judge.

    But that didn't stop the corrupt DPD from hauling him in and wasting money and time.

  • Nancy Dec 24, 2007

    I still recall the photo of Officer Clayton and Officer Himan (both investigators of the hoax case) sitting with arms crossed directly behind and within reach of Elmo during the bogus old warrant they had on him which should never have been in existence.

    The old warrant was a case closed matter years prior. But poor Elmo was dragged into court on a closed case where he was not involved because they wanted to pressure him to doing what they wanted in the hoax.

    Elmo, according to Reader's Digest, notes that a lot of money has been sent to him by people who read his story in their magazine, from all over the country.

    Some of the corrupt in DPD will get to answer to their behavior in the upcoming civil suits filed in federal court.

    I very much await those trials!

  • krddurham Dec 24, 2007

    To those saying that Elmo deserves a reward…we tried that. He graciously declined the offer to pay for his legal troubles.

    This man IS a hero because he stood in the face of corrupt cops, who were pressuring him to “revise” his story of Reade’s alibi, and told the truth. And, the whole time dirty Durham cops were trying to intimidate this witness, the NCNAACP stood by and said nothing. They wanted a drugged up, prostituting, bi-polar, serial liar (Crystal Gail Mangum) to prevail. Thank goodness, the truth prevailed and Reade, Collin, and Dave were declared innocent by AG Roy Cooper.

    You’da man, Elmo! Welcome to the States!

    Since some of you here who have posted comments have no idea what you're talking about, visit this site for more information on how some people from Durham tried to FRAME three innocent men for a crime that never occurred…


  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Dec 24, 2007

    "Wonder how much Seligman's old man paid for that testimony?"

    Wouldn't have mattered since there was a timestamped photo taken by the Wachovia ATM. The timestamped ATM photo is the proof him not being at the frat house during the alleged "rape". The cellphone logs at the cellphone carrier also show that he wasn't at the frat house during the so alleged "rape".