I was out of town for a Passover celebration with my wife's family, so I haven't been following the Duke lacrosse story over the last few days. Today is a big day, however, with observers expecting indictments from the grand jury.
As we wait for further news, here's a roundup of the latest developments in the case (mostly via Chris Lawrence, who's been following it closely):
-The defense allowed the Durham Herald Sun to view its collection of time-stamped photos of the night in question, which the newspaper summarizes in this timeline:
Here is what the pictures show and the time:
11:02 p.m.: Students are hanging out in a living room, apparently waiting for the dancer to arrive. Most have drinking cups in their hands.
Midnight: The dancer is sprawled on her stomach on the floor, as a second dancer stands over her. Students are watching the show but not grabbing or attempting to touch the women. Bruises are clearly visible on the legs and thighs of the alleged victim.
12:01:16: The second dancer is lying on her back on the floor with the alleged rape victim kneeling over her.
12:03:57: The dancers are leaving the room after performing for four minutes. The photo clearly shows that the alleged victim left one of her shoes behind as she departed.
12:10:39: One of the Duke students apparently is passed out on the floor, his head leaning against a sofa, a crushed beer can at his side.
12:30:12: The alleged victim is on the back porch. She has a shoe only on her left foot as she appears to smile and apparently tries to get back inside.
Although the precise time of the alleged rape apparently has not been established, defense lawyers contend it was before this photo was made.
12:31:26: The alleged victim appears to be stumbling down the back steps of the house.
12:37:58: A series of photos beginning at this time shows the woman lying on her left side on the back porch, seemingly passed out or asleep. Pink splotches are on a wrought-iron railing beside her.
Defense lawyers believe the splotches were from undried nail polish the woman applied in a bathroom between 12:10 and 12:30 a.m., during which no time-stamped photos were taken. So, the defense lawyers say, that indicates she was manicuring her nails at the only time a rape could have occurred in the house.
Defense lawyers say the alleged victim was helped to the second dancer's car. The second dancer then got into a conversation with the lacrosse players, which included hurling racial insults about their manhood, the players told their lawyers.
12:41: The alleged victim is being helped into the car.
12:53: 911 dispatchers get a call about racial slurs being made to two women in the vicinity of the house party.
1:22: Police respond to a 911 call at the Kroger supermarket on Hillsborough Road. According to a communications tape released Thursday, an officer encountered the alleged rape victim there and described her as being "passed out drunk." But the officer said the woman was not in distress and didn't appear to need medical attention.
A police dispatch log then indicates that the dancer showed up at the Duke emergency room at 2:31 a.m. and entered Duke Hospital at 2:45 a.m.
This timeline is roughly supported by a neighbor's statement to defense attorneys:
Jason Alexander Bissey, a neighbor to the house where the woman allegedly was raped, provided a written statement to defense attorneys that they shared with The Herald-Sun over the weekend.
Bissey said he saw the "skimpily dressed" accuser leave the house between 12:20 and 12:30 a.m., but then heard her say she was going back inside to retrieve a missing shoe.
According to defense lawyers, Bissey's observation had to be after the time the woman allegedly was raped in the house, since she never actually re-entered it.
But if she had been raped and sodomized for 30 minutes, as she claimed, would she really have been so worried about a lost shoe that she would dare to face her attackers again, attorneys Ekstrand, Thomas and others are asking.
-The accuser was reportedly described as "just passed-out drunk" by one of the first cops on the scene. However, according to NBC 17, "[a]n unnamed source close to the investigation of a reported rape near the Duke University campus has told NBC 17 News that someone might have drugged the accuser the night she claims three lacrosse members raped her." This claim is buttressed by a statement from the other dancer, who said that the alleged victim seemed very different after the party:
-The second dancer admitted that she was the 911 caller who described racial epithets coming from the lacrosse house:
In an exclusive interview with NBC17, a second woman who also danced at the March 13 party refuted claims made in recent days by defense attorneys that the accuser was intoxicated and injured when she arrived at the party.
"She looked absolutely fine," the second dancer said, noting that the accuser's demeanor changed dramatically after they left the party.
"She was definitely a totally different woman than when I first met her. She definitely was under some sort of substance," the woman said.
The woman admitted calling 911 to report racial epithets yelled at her and the accuser as they left the party. But she said the details of the incident became jumbled in her call because she was trying to hide the fact that she had been performing at the party.
The woman said her parents don't know she makes a living as an exotic dancer, and she was afraid the information would be made public if she had been upfront with the 911 dispatcher.
But she said she decided to speak out because defense attorneys have been implying the accuser is lying ever since last week, when DNA tests failed to link any of the lacrosse team members to the accuser.
Update 4/17 8:33 AM EST: Also, as Lawrence points out, a NBC 17 report states that "defense attorneys also noted that three people at the party aren’t on the lacrosse team, and none of them have submitted DNA samples to authorities for testing."