Local News

Duke lacrosse attorney hopes accuser admits she lied

Posted August 22, 2008 7:41 p.m. EDT
Updated August 22, 2008 8:51 p.m. EDT

— If Crystal Mangum doesn't admit in her forthcoming memoir that she lied about three Duke University lacrosse players raping her, then she should face civil action, a defense attorney who represented one of the players in the high-profile criminal case said Friday.

"My advice 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 make one single penny off of it," Joseph Cheshire, who represented David Evans, said. (Watch Cheshire's full interview.)

But if the book is an account of what happened on the evening of March 13, 2006: "I think it would be fabulous, and I don't think anybody would think badly about her in any way, shape or form," Cheshire said.

Mangum, a divorced mother of three and a student at North Carolina Central University, was at the center of the scandal, which tarnished the reputations of the three men she accused, destroyed the career of a veteran prosecutor and sparked an uproar over race, class and justice.

Her book, "The Last Dance for Grace: The Crystal Mangum Story," set to be released in October, is about her life story, the troubles she faces and the decisions she has made, publisher Vincent Clark said Friday. (Read more about the book.)

"Part of this book is a catharsis for her," Clark said. "The book is more about some choices that she's made in her life that she's regretful about."

Other than a single interview granted in the early days of the investigation, Mangum hasn't spoken publicly about what happened at 610 N. Buchanan Blvd., where the Duke lacrosse team hired Mangum and another dancer to perform at a party.

That night ultimately led to Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann being indicted on charges of rape, sexual assault and kidnapping. More than a year later, on April 11, 2007, North Carolina's attorney general declared them innocent of all wrongdoing and said Mangum likely believed her accusations.

Evans , Finnerty and Seligmann asked that she not be pursued criminally, Cheshire said, because, "We felt sorry for her, and we felt to some degree, she had been victimized by the process."

"We wanted it to be over, and clearly she doesn't want it to be over," Cheshire added.

Other attorneys who represented the three men during the criminal case, as well as attorneys representing them in a federal civil rights lawsuit, declined to comment Friday. The attorney general's office also declined to comment.