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Mangum plans release of book locally in Oct.

Books about the events surrounding the false rape claims against the 2005-2006 men's lacrosse team have been authored by a trial attorney, a blogger and the team's former coach. Now, the woman whose accusations sparked a national uproar wants to tell her side of the story.

Plans for the memoir, titled "The Last Dance for Grace: The Crystal Mangum Story," were released Friday by fire! Books. The project began about a year and a half ago, before all charges against the three accused players were dropped in April 2007, co-author Vincent Clark said. An initial release in the Triangle is currently scheduled for October.

The book is not exclusively about the case, noting that the broader focus might "disappoint people," Clark said.

"The tone of the book is [Mangum] tries to explain how she ended up in the house that night," Clark said. "It really is an abject lesson for young women not to make the same mistakes that she made."

Friday's press release describes the book as: "the only definitive account of the life and struggles of the woman at the center of the Duke Lacrosse case, the alleged accuser. Were it not for the Duke Lacrosse Case, she likely would be described as a bright, young, woman from Durham, N.C., who has had a difficult life."

Joe Cheshire, who represented accused men's lacrosse player David Evans, Trinity '06, in the original criminal case, told WRAL Friday that he and the players took Mangum's personal struggles into account from the beginning and that her difficult life factored into their decision not to take criminal or civil action against her.

But Cheshire also said he would advise the former players to take civil action against Mangum if the book's account is not truthful.

"If this book comes out... and she doesn't admit she lied, then it would be my advice to them to make sure she doesn't ever make one single penny off of it," he said.

The book should serve as a tool to discuss race, class, sex and the judicial process, Clark said. He added that Mangum never hoped for the case to become a long and protracted legal process.

"The assumption was that she woke up one morning and decided to go to 610 North Buchanan [Blvd.] and pin this on these three guys," he said. "At one point the case got beyond her and she could not do anything else."

Mangum lied continually and consistently throughout the case despite being asked on many occasions to tell the truth, Cheshire said. He added that he hoped Mangum would acknowledge her lies in the book and she should not be viewed badly if the book contained an apology.

Clark said there will never be any agreement over what a Mangum apology should look like. In response to assertions by Cheshire that the book is a money-making venture, he said the financial objective of the book was to help Mangum pay for graduate school and that one dollar from the purchase of each book will be donated to charities that aid battered women.

Clark said he saw no problems with releasing a book that would attract renewed attention to the case. He noted the various blogs that still focus on lacrosse-related issues.

K.C. Johnson, author of the blog Durham-in-Wonderland, which has tracked the case from its beginnings, said the issues that are still alive involve the lawsuits against Duke, Durham and former DA Mike Nifong.

"It seems to me to be hard to argue that there are bloggers that are keeping the case alive, when most of these are not talking about really anything involving Mangum herself, at least before this," Johnson said. "It is very hard for me to see any benevolent motive from this effort."

Johnson is also the co-author of "Until Proven Innocent: Political Correctness and the Shameful Injustices of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case." He speculated, however, that Mangum might promote untruths in her memoirs.

"This is a person with less than zero credibility," he said. "You just can't publish a book where you lie about people, so I think we are still a few steps away from this book ever seeing the light of day."


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