Crystal Mangum, who in 2006 falsely accused multiple members of the Duke Lacrosse team of rape, is now filing a defamation lawsuit against a media outlet for reporting that she “fatally” stabbed her boyfriend in 2011. Mangum was convicted of second-degree murder in connection to the stabbing and sentenced to 14-18 years in prison.
In her lawsuit filed last week, Mangum argues that she did not actually kill her boyfriend when she stabbed him, therefore it is defamatory to claim she “fatally” stabbed him. During her trial in 2013, Mangum’s defense argued she acted in self-defense and that her boyfriend, Reginald Daye, had been straddling her and choking her when she “poked him once in the left side with a steak knife,” according to her defamation filing. The prosecution argued at trial that forensic evidence showed Daye was trying to get away from Mangum when she stabbed him.
Mangum and her pro se advocate Sidney Harr now argue that Mangum wasn’t responsible for her boyfriend’s death and that her defense attorneys should have argued that at her original trial.
Harr in 2019 solicited Dr. Cyril Wecht to review the files in Mangum’s case. Wecht’s report claimed that Daye did not die of injuries due to Mangum’s stabbing 10 days before his death, but due to hospital error. The Wecht report claimed that Daye had surgery following the stabbing but went through “alcoholic withdrawal” three days after his surgery and was sent to Duke University’s Surgical Intensive Care Unit. The report claimed that the SICU staff “errantly placed an intubation tube in DAYE’s esophagus instead of trachea which led to his brain-death and comatose state.”
Even though the Wecht report wasn’t part of the trial and conviction, Harr and Mangum are now using it to claim WRAL-5 erroneously reported that she had caused her boyfriend’s death. Harr sent WRAL-5 a letter on July 9, 2020, requesting they update two articles from 2013 and 2014 about Mangum’s second-degree murder conviction. Harr pointed to the Wecht report he solicited to argue the articles were false. One article, published November 22, 2013, was titled “Mangum found guilty in boyfriend’s stabbing death.” The other article, published December 30, 2014, was titled “Mangum appeals murder conviction in boyfriend’s stabbing death.” Harr and Mangum objected to the words “stabbing death,” since it didn’t place the blame on the hospital, which Harr and Mangum claim is actually responsible for Daye’s death.
In addition to WRAL-5, Harr reached out to Oxygen Media to request they change an October 7, 2018, article on its “Murders A-Z” site titled “Former Exotic Dance Who Accused Duke Lacrosse Players of Sexual Assault Fatally Stabs Boyfriend.” Harr and Mangum objected to the word “fatally.”
Neither WRAL-5 nor Oxygen responded to Harr’s requests, so they tried again to no avail. Now they’ve filed a defamation lawsuit.
Mangum’s lawsuit also claims she did not falsely accuse members of the Duke Lacrosse team of rape, even though extensive evidence — including a DNA report — showed the crime had not been committed. Mangum now claims she didn’t receive media support in 2006 when she made the accusations, unlike women now who make such allegations as part of the #MeToo movement.
This is demonstrably false, as media outlets and Duke University officials accepted her allegations as fact from the beginning.
It should be noted that Harr has repeatedly defended Mike Nifong, the prosecutor who pursued the Duke Lacrosse members even when evidence pointed to their innocence. Nifong was disbarred for his actions in the case. Mangum was never charged with filing a false police report.