Skip to comments.Cabbie who figured in (Duke) lacrosse case sues
Posted on 08/30/2007 5:09:23 AM PDT by abb
DURHAM -- Durham cabbie Moezeldin Ahmad Elmostafa is suing a department store chain and a security guard over a shoplifting charge that figured heavily in the now-ended Duke lacrosse case.
As it turned out, Elmostafa beat the shoplifting rap and was known among lawyers as the "hero of the lacrosse case" for becoming a defense alibi witness and standing up to former District Attorney Mike Nifong and Nifong's then-investigator, Linwood Wilson.
Nifong recently resigned and was stripped of his law license for misconduct in the lacrosse scandal. Wilson also lost his job.
Elmostafa's lawsuit was drafted by lawyer Tom Loflin and filed in Durham County Superior Court just before the close of business Wednesday.
The named defendants are Hecht's Company Inc.; May Stores X Inc, with which Hecht's is now merged; and Jonathan Massey, a former Hecht's security guard who originated the shoplifting charge against Elmostafa at Northgate Mall.
Attempts to reach the corporate defendants for comment were unsuccessful Wednesday evening. Likewise, someone at Massey's house said he was working and wouldn't be home until after midnight.
Defense lawyers had accused Nifong of belatedly bringing the misdemeanor shoplifting charge against Elmostafa as a pressure tactic in the controversial lacrosse case.
The alleged shoplifting incident was in 2003, but Elmostafa wasn't formally accused until May of last year.
The charge came shortly after Elmostafa signed a sworn affidavit saying lacrosse suspect Reade Seligmann was in Elmostafa's taxi around the time an exotic dancer claimed she was raped by Seligmann and two others during a party at 610 N. Buchanan Blvd. in mid-March 2006.
Elmostafa said he drove Seligmann to a bank machine, a fast-food restaurant and a Duke dorm.
When the shoplifting incident came up in court a year ago this week, Elmostafa testified that he merely gave a cab ride to a woman who later pleaded guilty to stealing several handbags from the Hecht's store at Northgate Mall. He claimed he didn't know what the woman was up to and didn't aid or abet her thievery.
Elmostafa was acquitted.
Nifong denied there was any connection between the shoplifting and lacrosse cases.
But lawyer Loflin contended Nifong had used the shoplifting incident "to gain a tactical advantage over [Elmostafa], to try to pressure him into changing his evidence to favor the prosecution in the lacrosse case."
Massey, the former Hecht's security guard, was accused in Wednesday's lawsuit of obtaining the shoplifting warrant against Elmostafa "maliciously and without probable cause."
Massey knew the allegations he was making against Elmostafa were false but made them anyway, according to the suit.
The suit added that Massey's actions "were done willfully, wantonly, intentionally and with actual malice, or with reckless disregard and [indifference] as to the truth and consequences of said actions. ..."
Hecht's and May Stores are "vicariously liable" because Massey worked for them, the suit said.
The lawsuit seeks compensatory and punitive damages.
Rape charges against the lacrosse defendants -- Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and David Evans -- were dropped by Nifong in December after the accuser changed her story. All remaining felony charges were tossed in April by state Attorney General Roy Cooper, who declared the three men innocent and rebuked Nifong for prosecuting them in the first place.
Today, Nifong is scheduled to be the defendant in a contempt hearing that could bring him a 30-day jail term and a fine of up to $500, or both. He is accused of lying about DNA evidence favorable to Seligmann, Finnerty and Evans.
URL for this article: http://www.heraldsun.com/durham/4-876754.cfm
Why isn’t Nifong IN JAIL??????????????????
“Payback’s a bitch...”
Unfortunately it isn’t the City/County of Durham that’s being sued.
This is beyond belief! They tried to intimidate the cab driver by a false charge to get him to retract his witness statement?
WOW! That is beyond it all....Nifong is worse than scum.
And I hope it’s a big one. Wish him all the best.
Isn’t it a crime to knowingly make a false accusation of a criminal nature against someone to the police?.....
She's not anonymous. They should use her name -- especially if the journalist still wants to trumpet the names of the men who were accused of rape.
We reporters can't remember her name that well and don't want to use (cough*Crystal Gail Mangum*cough) it unnecessarily, so as to protect her good name.(cough*Crystal Gail Mangum*cough)
I don’t understand your outrage. This kind of stuff goes on in thousands of jurisdictions all over this country all the time. (see tag)
And for those named in the suit, I hope the "bitch" is a high maintenance one, too.
Meanwhile, Nifong has his 9:30 am contempt of court hearing today before a judge to determine whether Nifong lied to the court on the DNA issue. He could be fined $500 and spend time in jail.
America doesn't have a monopoly on this kind of stuff.
This has been very common in North Carolina until now. I bet the District Attorneys around the state are rethinking this tactic.
We knew that here at FR early on, at the time it occurred.
Needless to say, Nancy Grace did *not* cover it. Or pretty much anyone else in the MSM.
They attempted to give Fonger all the help they could.
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