As Durham, North Carolina District Attorney Mike Nifong headed to trial on ethics charges, Duke alum Nader Baydoun, coauthor of the new book The Rush to Injustice: How Power, Prejudice, Racism, and Political Correctness Overshadowed Truth and Justice in the Duke Lacrosse Case, took questions from National Review Online editor Kathryn Lopez about the Duke lacrosse fiasco and the lives it forever changed.
Kathryn Jean Lopez: I guess you won the award for first book from the Duke case out. Was that the goal?
Nader Baydoun: Our goal was to seek the truth and tell the whole story in a timely manner. We wanted to have the book ready to be released while the story was still in the news. We did not want this book to be about yesterday’s news, but we wanted to be accurate, truthful, fair, and tell the whole story.
Lopez: Who’s the bigger enemy in this case: DA Nifong or President Brodhead?
Baydoun: They are both guilty of mishandling the situation in their own way, but much of this travesty could have been avoided had Nifong handled this case properly. Nifong’s misconduct led to a tidal wave of extreme political correctness which caused Mr. Brodhead to make knee jerk reaction decisions out of fear for the image of the school rather than doing what is right.
Lopez: Can anything good be said about Mike Nifong?
Baydoun: I cannot think of anything good that could be said about Mr. Nifong. What he did was deplorable and is an embarrassment to the legal community, the criminal-justice system, and society as a whole.
Lopez: What do you say to folks who even knowing some of the prosecutorial wrongs don’t have excessive empathy for guys who were stupid enough to call strippers to their keg party serving underage boys?
Baydoun: I am a parent of three children, two of whom are still in college. While I do not condone underage drinking and the hiring of strippers to perform at parties, I do know that this type of thing took place back when I was at Duke and it still occurs on college campuses across the country to this day. I am incredulous that anyone would judge these young men so harshly that they would not have empathy for them under these circumstances. I would suggest that we should keep things in proper perspective. The ordeal that these young men were forced to endure is beyond any reasonable comparison with a bad decision made out of youthful indiscretion.
Lopez: You’re obviously impressed by Reade Seligmann, Colin Finnerty, and David Evans? Why? By what most?