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Saturday, April 22, 2006
Duke Lacrosse Party Timeline

I'm going to try to put together all the times known in this case (there seem to be a lot of them):

11:02 PM: The first picture shows at least 10 students hanging out in a living room, apparently waiting for the dancers to arrive. Most of the students appear to be drinking. By the number of people in this photo, it appears only a fraction of the 47 lacrosse team members are there.

Shortly before midnight, March 13: Accuser and second dancer (who was driving) arrive at the party.

12 AM, March 14: This is the first picture of the strippers. Students are watching the show, but not grabbing or attempting to touch the women. Bruises are clearly visible on the legs and thighs of the alleged victim.

12:00:40 AM: Another picture taken 40 seconds later shows bruises on the accuser's knees. Her right knee appears to have an open cut.

12:03:57 AM : About four minutes after arriving, a picture shows the strippers leaving the room. The photo clearly shows that the alleged victim left behind one of her shoes.

12:14 AM: Defense attorneys said they have records showing that Seligmann called the On Time Taxi company at 12:14 a.m. from his cell phone that night.

12:19 AM. Mostafa said he picked up Seligmann and a friend at 610 North Buchanan Blvd. at 12:19 a.m. He said he could tell that Seligmann had been drinking, but that he didn't appear drunk.

Note: ABC says: In a written statement to the defense also reviewed by ABC, a cabdriver confirms picking up Seligmann and a friend a block and a half from the party, and driving them to the bank.

12:24 AM. The cab driver said he then drove Seligmann to a Wachovia Bank to get money, and defense attorneys say an ATM receipt shows he withdrew cash at 12:24 a.m.

12:24 AM-12:41 AM: Mostafa said he next drove the lacrosse player to a restaurant, then back to his dorm. Defense sources said a card reader at the door of the dorm shows Seligmann's student ID card was swiped to get inside at 12:41 a.m.

12:25 AM: By 12:25 a.m., he was making a phone call to a girlfriend out of state.

12:30:12 AM: The next photo shows the alleged victim on the back porch, carrying what appears to be her purse and a makeup bag. Her clothes are intact.

12:30:47 AM: A photo taken 30 seconds later shows the alleged victim on the porch and she appears to smile.

12:31:26 AM: But 30 seconds after that, a photo shows the alleged victim stumbling down the back steps of the house.

12:37:58 AM: A series of photos are taken, all showing the woman lying on her left side on the back porch, seemingly passed out or asleep. She had visible cuts on her legs and buttocks that did not appear in the previous photos.

12:41 AM: The final photo shows the accuser and the second dancer in a black car. The accuser is in the passengers seat.

12:41 AM: Defense sources said a card reader at the door of the dorm shows Seligmann's student ID card was swiped to get inside at 12:41 a.m.

12:41 AM. Seligman uses a student ID card to gain access to his dormitory.

12:46 AM: Duke University records show that Seligmann's card was used to gain entry at 12:46 a.m.

12:53 AM. According to Durham police records, a call was placed to 911 at 12:53 a.m., stating that men from the house were hurling racial slurs It has been widely reported that this call was made by the second dancer, Kim Roberts.

12:55-1:06 AM. Police logs indicate that two squad cars responded, the first arriving at 12:55 a.m. The officers left about 11 minutes later and reported that the house and the surrounding grounds appeared empty -- a far cry from the close to 20 men Mostafa said he saw, NBC 17 reported.

1:00 AM (Approximate): The guard says the woman behind the wheel entered the grocery store at approximately 1 a.m. and told her that she needed help, saying there was a girl in her car who refused to get out.

1:07 AM (Approximate). "He said he saw about 20 people on the lawn of the home, "yelling, talking back" to each other, including one African-American woman who he said didn't appear to be injured.

Four men got into the taxi, Mostafa said, and they appeared to be drunk.

One of them said, "She's just a stripper," Mostafa quoted."

1:22 AM: Police were called to the parking lot of a Kroger store not far from the party at 1:22 a.m., search warrant documents said, and found a woman in a car who told them she had been raped.

Here's a map of the drive from 810 N. Buchanan to the Kroger Store:

Mapquest estimates a 5 minute drive from the lacrosse party house to the Kroger. Working it back, then the women must have left the house no later than 1:17, and probably much earlier. The security guard estimates that the second dancer entered the store at around 1:00 AM. Working it back from there means that they would have had to leave the party no later than 12:55 PM, probably at least a few minutes earlier, which would tend to fit with the police report at 12:55 which indicated that the house was quiet.

Observations: Seligman appears to have had very little time to rape the woman. At roughly 12:04 there is a photo of the woman leaving the room. At 12:19 he has left the party. That leaves only 15 minutes, and that's not considering the time that Seligmann called the cab, or the time that it took Seligmann to walk the block and a half from the party to where he caught the cab.

We know that the second dancer lied in her call to 911 at 12:53. She also reportedly lied to the security guard at the store:

On the tape, the guard recounts the conversation she had with the the dancer who came into the store: The woman told the guard she was driving down the street and heard people yelling racial slurs at a woman she had never met before, then, out of sympathy, she picked up the woman and brought her to the Kroger parking lot.

Now, we know why she lied at the store; because she was desperately hoping not to get involved in the story and have her career choices known to her parents. But the fact that she was lying as early as the 911 call means that she already knew at that point that the incident was going to have repercussions. So it appears that at the moment the dancers were leaving the party or almost immediately thereafter she knew of the rape accusations.

Let's put some dots together here. It appears likely to me that the dancer was claiming rape as she left the party. This would fit two other pieces of the timeline together. First, it gives the second dancer a reason to make the fake 911 call. Second, it explains why the police would find the house deserted so soon after the dancers left.

Time conflicts:

1. The police and Mostafa obviously conflict on the time at which Mostafa returned to the party to pick up his second fare. There appear to be two possibilities: That Mostafa was wrong, or the police were at the wrong address. This does not appear to affect his estimate of the time when he picked up Seligmann, which certainly appears confirmed by the Wachovia ATM receipt. But it is troubling nonetheless. If he dropped Seligmann off at his dormitory a bit before 12:41, then he would have to have gone back to the lacrosse house within about 10 minutes in order to see the argument between the dancers and the players, which surely took place before 12:53. So why would he remember it being almost a half hour later?

2. ABC News and CNN conflict on when Seligmann used his card to enter his dormitory. This does not appear to be crucial, because he was reportedly in the cab the entire time from 12:19 on with the exception of getting out to use the ATM.

3. This MSNBC piece says the dancer claims she arrived at 11:30 PM. Although some observers have indicated that perhaps she could have been raped before midnight that does not fit with the indictments, which all show a March 14, 2006 date for the offense.

Feel free to tell me about any other times you have come across in the case, or other observations.

Note: Paul points out in the comments that the time stamps on the photographs may not be accurate. This is certainly true; the question is how far off they could be. They appear to fit very well with other evidence. There are some obvious questions: How many players were taking photos? If there are two similar photos taken by two different cameras and both show approximately the same time, that will be a strong indication the times are right--as would a photo that shows some other evidence of the time like a wall clock or watch.
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