On April 18, 2006, Al Sharpton appeared on “The O’Reily Factor” on the Fox News Channel to defend Crystal Gail Mangum, the lying stripper at the heart of the Duke lacrosse case.
On March 13, 2006, then twenty-seven-year-old Mangum accused three members of the Duke University lacrosse team of raping, sodomizing, strangling, and beating her.
From the beginning, Mangum’s story was inconsistent, but by the time Sharpton appeared on “The O’Reily Factor,” even DNA evidence pointed toward a false accusation on the part of Mangum. Still, Sharpton charged such questions were racially motivated:
…I think that when you look at the racial atmosphere, when you look at the fact that there again were the allegations of racial statements, when you look at a lot of people feeling that they have been treated differently, where this girl has basically had a character charged in the media, there is a lot of racism that's in the air.
When pressed by O’Reily about the inconsistencies in the case, Sharpton, who was once forced to pay $65,000 in damages to an Assistant District Attorney he falsely accused of raping Tawana Brawley, premised his support of Mangum on the District Attorney Mike Nifong’s credibility, stating “I know this DA is probably not one that is crazy. He would not have proceeded if he did not feel that he could convict.”
Fourteen months later, Nifong would become the first sitting District Attorney in the history of the State of North Carolina to be disbarred for dishonesty and fraud in the case. Said Sharpton, “So let's not get ready to discredit the girl until we see the whole passage.”
On April 11, 2007, North Carolina dismissed all charges against the accused lacrosse players, with the State Attorney General, Roy Cooper, taking the unusual step of saying that the players were not only not-guilty, but in fact completely innocent.
Crystal Mangum is currently charged with murdering her boyfriend.