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Duke Lacrosse Defendants Acquitted By FOX News

Reported by Ellen - May 3, 2006

Once again, FOX News, the network that president and CEO Roger Ailes claims “likes America,” was doing its best last night to undermine one of the bedrocks of our country – the legal system. Without benefit of trial, judge or jury, FOX News has supplanted the courtroom for its television studio and rendered its own prime time verdict on the Duke rape defendants: Not guilty.

As usual, Sean Hannity and FOX News reporter Megyn Kendall seemed to be jockeying for Best Acquittal Argument Disguised As News.

Hannity said that the time-stamped photos of Seligman at an ATM machine “seem to confirm Seligman’s alibi.” Later, he demanded that testimony from her ex-husband that she may have lied about accusations against her husband (despite the fact that was not proven) "should be admissible." Hannity has not only adjudged the Duke defendants not guilty, he has decided that the accuser is the guilty party.

Kendall, already in the doghouse for her biased reporting, seemed to think she satified FOX News’ “fairness” requirement by acknowledging that the defense team was “playing politics” and “trying to poison the jury pool.” From there on, she was squarely in their corner.

When Alan Colmes asked whether the defense wasn’t “spreading more bread upon the water,” with its daily releases of its own evidence to the press, Kendall whole-heartedly said, “I don’t think so.” As proof, she offered up the fact that the defense attorney’s affidavits “back up the Seligman timeline.” Comment: Of course they would, they’re the same guys who are representing him. “It is pretty uncontrovertible (sic) when you see pictures of the guy at the ATM,” Kendall claimed, without anybody questioning whether the time stamps might be wrong. She excitedly added, “Alan, from 12:05 to 12:15 on the night in question, Seligman made NINE phone calls. Nine! That is the time period, based on the accuser’s allegations thus far, we believe the alleged rape, if one took place, was HAPPENING!” (Her emphases.)

Hannity mentioned that he had been in touch with the players’ families, though he coyly refused to mention whom. (My money’s on Seligman.) “This could not have happened. Unless any new evidence comes out here, Seligman has a pretty strong alibi here.”

“He really does. He has as close to an airtight alibi as I have seen.” Kendall went on to argue eagerly that if the accuser’s credibility was undermined about Seligman, her charges against the other defendant, Finnerty, will also be undermined.

But just arguing on behalf of the defense wasn’t enough for Clarence Darrow Kendall. Just as she did the night of her induction into the doghouse, Kendall repeatedly ignored Colmes’ questions in order to put forth her own talking points. For example, in relation to prior criminal charges against the accuser, Colmes asked, “I’m guessing this has very little relevance to this, just as the defense will claim that whatever charges against their clients, one of whom is up on charges of assault in DC, are irrelevant on their side of the case. Correct?”

Kendall said, “That will be a whole ‘nother battle to see whether her criminal history (my emphasis) comes in.” Then she quickly moved on to discuss another “big problem for Nifong,” the DA.

During this segment, I kept thinking, “Why bother with a trial?” and I was already planning my headline along that line when I was startled to hear Colmes say, “I have a great idea... Let’s not have a trial. Let’s do it right here on Hannity & Colmes.”

I think that’s exactly what has happened.

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