News & Observer (Raleigh), October 23, 2008
The escort service dancer who claimed she was raped by members of the Duke University lacrosse team described herself today as wrongly maligned and insisted that she had wanted only justice.
Crystal Gail Mangum appeared at a news conference to promote a book about her life. She continued to say that she was assaulted in March 2006 at a lacrosse team party where she had been hired to dance.
“I am still claiming that a sexual assault happened,” she said. But she declined to go into detail, and she brushed aside a question about what she would say to the players.
Joe Cheshire, one of the defense lawyers for the players, said this afternoon that Mangun is being used by the people who helped her create the book.
“Her press conference and her continued assertion that an assault happened is really pathetic,” Cheshire said.
“She says she’s writing this book to help other people, and what she’s continuing to do by lying is continuing to hurt people, including women who really are victims of sexual assault. She’s clearly doing this to make money. By continuing to lie, she makes everything in the book, everything she says, a lie.”
Mangum, 30, who graduated from N.C. Central University, said she hopes to get a PhD from the University of Georgia and open a group home for troubled girls. She appeared today in a neat gray suit and stylishly-cut hair, far different from her stumbling image in photos taken at the team party.
Mangum, who has suffered from alcohol abuse and mental problems, said she wrote the book for closure and to help others.
“I don’t mind, I guess, being sort of a sacrifice to help others as long as I can share my experience in a positive way,” she said.
She wiped away tears at times, saying, “A lot of things went wrong in my case.”
The memoir, “The Last Dance for Grace. The Crystal Mangum Story,” is being promoted by its co-author, Vincent “Ed” Clark, a former columnist for The Chapel Hill News and a self-employed publicist. Clark said the self-published book will be available through his Web site at midnight on a print-by-demand basis.
In excerpts released today, Mangum says: “Even as I try to move on with my life, I still find it necessary to take one more stand and fight.
“I want to assert, without equivocation, that I was assaulted. Make of that what you will. You will decide what that means to you because the state of North Carolina saw fit not to look at all that happened the night I became infamous.”
In the book, Mangum also says that her story “has never changed” and that some of those who participated in discrediting her were motivated by race.
919-630-3806 or 310-606-2732
Los Angeles—fire! Films and Books is holding a press conference to announce the publishing of its new book, The Last Dance for Grace. Crystal Mangum, will be available to discuss her reasons for writing her memoir and to answer some questions about the book. The event is only open to credentialed media. A list of approved media is at the end of this advisory. Admittance will only be granted to media outlets who are confirmed and on this list. You will be asked to sign in and provide media credentials at the door. Space is limited and it is important that you do not show up without prior clearance. You may obtain your credentials begining at 9:00 AM on Thursday, October 23. A table will be set up outside of the venue.
Excerpts of the book are attached. You may not use the contents of that file in your broadcast, newspaper, blog or on the internet prior to 11:00 AM EDT, Thursday, October 23, 2008. Please honor the embargo. The file is attached so that you can get a sense of what the book is like and to generate questions. Use of the material without express permission is a violation of copyright laws.
PUBLIC STATEMENT—FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Last Dance for Grace is NOT a rehash of the Duke lacrosse case. The purpose of the book is to provide information about Crystal Mangum’s life and to shed new light on the subject. We stand by the decision of North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper. We believe in the rule of law and do not advocate the prosecution or conviction of anyone who has not committed a crime. We support the efforts of anyone who is seeking justice for people who have been wrongly accused. At no time has anyone associated with this project advocated the wrongful prosecution or conviction of any person. Further, this project is not intended to advance a political agenda or to sensationalize the tragic events of March 13, 2006. We are only seeking closure and want everyone associated with this incident to move on with there lives.
A press conference to introduce the book, The Last Dance for Grace: The Crystal Mangum Story and an open question period to last approximately 30 minutes.
Order of speakers
Bruce Bridges—Owner of the Know Bookstore and Durham community activist
Michael Denisoff, MBA—President of Denisoff Consulting and project consultant
Dr. Myra Shird, Ph.D.- Project consultant, authored the foreword for the book and former Director, Speech Communication Program at NC A&T State University
Vincent “Ed” Clark—President of fire! Films and Books and co-author
Thursday, October 23, 2008
10 a.m.-10:30 a.m.
Check in and setup begins at 9:00 AM
*No one may enter the venue after 9:50 AM
The Know Bookstore—* Contact directly for questions on parking, power outlets, sound and other logistical issues.*
2520 Fayetteville St
Durham, NC 27707