Local News

Duke lacrosse accuser to promote book

Posted October 22, 2008 11:54 p.m. EDT
Updated October 23, 2008 12:39 a.m. EDT

— The accuser in the Duke lacrosse case breaks her silence Thursday.

Crystal Gail Mangum is scheduled to hold a news conference at The Know Bookstore & Restaurant, 2520 Fayetteville St. in Durham, to promote, “The Last Dance for Grace: The Crystal Mangum Story.”

Mangum was a student enrolled at North Carolina Central University in March 2006 and also worked as an exotic dancer when she performed at a party hosted by several Duke lacrosse players.

It was at that 610 North Buchanan Blvd. house party, Mangum alleged, that three white members of the team raped and sexually assaulted her. David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann were later indicted on the allegations.

Then-District Attorney Mike Nifong dismissed the rape charges in December 2006 after Mangum said she was not certain she was raped.

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper dismissed the remaining charges of sexual assault and kidnapping in April 2007 and declared the former players innocent.

A divorced mother of three, Mangum hasn't spoken publicly about the case, other than granting a interview in the early days of the investigation.

Mangum's book is not a rehash of the case, but an attempt to seek closure, her publisher says.

“She's a really good writer as a matter of fact,” publisher and co-author Vince Clark said.

Clark says the memoir came about from a journal Mangum kept during the investigation.

“I ask her to explore that a little bit more. She would bring me more stuff and eventually it became “The Last Dance for Grace,” Clark said.

Hart Miles, a Raleigh Attorney with no connection to the Duke lacrosse case, told WRAL News from a legal standpoint, Mangum has every right to write the book and earn money from it. However, he cautioned it could open up legal challenges for her in civil court.

“If this book does very well, (and) she receives a windfall, that could put her in the crosshairs of an attorney acting on behalf of these boys (lacrosse players) that see a way to recoup some of their losses,” Miles said.

Clark says the book is less about the case and more about Mangum's life.

The memoir is about “her past, her present and what she thinks her future is going to be,” Clark said.

Mangum does write about her feelings concerning the attorney general's ruling in the case, Clark says. He also says Mangum, who graduated last spring from NCCU, is preparing for graduate school.

You can watch Mangum's news conference live Thursday at 10 a.m. on WRAL.com.