Exclusive - William D. Cohan Extended Interview Pt. 1

  • Aired:  04/29/14
  •  | Views: 18,573

"The Price of Silence" author William D. Cohan explores how American universities are a microcosm of the corruption and injustice in society. (6:22)

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]>> Jon: WELCOME BACK.

MY GUEST TONIGHT BEST SELLINGAUTHOR.

HIS BOOK IS CALLED "THE PRICE OFSILENCE: THE DUKE LACROSSE

SCANDAL, THE POWER OF THE ELITEAND THE CORRUPTION OF OUR

GREAT UNIVERSITIES."

PLEASE WELCOME BACK TO THEPROGRAM WILLIAM COHAN.

COME ON OUT HERE.

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]ALRIGHT.

>> OKAY.

>> Jon: WE DON'T HAVE A TON OFTIME, SO WE'RE GOING TO GET

RIGHT TO IT THERE. WHAT DO YOU

WANT TO DEAL WITH FIRST? THEPRICE OF SILENCE. YOU WANT TO

DEAL WITH THE DUKELACROSSE SCANDAL, THE POWER OF

THE ELITE OR THE CORRUPTION OFOUR GREAT UNIVERSITIES?

>> WELL, I MEAN, THEY ALL GOTOGETHER.

>> Jon: OH!

>> I MEAN, THAT'S THE POINT OFBOOK. THAT

THEY ALL GO TOGETHER IN WAYS WEMAY NOT HAVE ANTICIPATED WHEN WE

SEND OUR KIDS OFF TO COLLEGETHINKING THEY ARE GOING TO GET A

GREAT EDUCATION.

>> Jon: IS THAT, THOUGH, JUSTREFLECTIVE OF THAT DIVIDE IN

SOCIETY AS A WHOLE, THIS IDEADUKE IS SORT OF AN ENCLAVE OF

MORE WEALTH AND MORE PRIVILEGETHAN ITS SURROUNDING TOWN.

ISN'T A MICROCOSM, THOUGH, OF ALARGER ISSUE IN THE COUNTRY?

>> THERE'S NO QUESTION THAT NCAADIVISION ONE ATHLETES ARE PUT ON

A PEDESTAL IN THIS COUNTRY.

AND IT'S NO QUESTION WE'REDEALING WITH IT IN REALTIME.

WE HAVE THE NORTHWESTERNUNIVERSITY FOOTBALL TEAM THAT IS

THINKING ABOUT UNIONIZING ANDINCREDIBLY SOME OF THE ALUMNI

THERE ARE SAYING MAYBE YOUDON'T WANT TO DO THAT.

YOU'VE GOT THE JAMEIS WINSTONSTORY DOWN IN FLORIDA STATE.

YOU KNOW, WHETHER OR NOT THATINVESTIGATION WAS BOTCHED OR

NOT.

THERE'S INCIDENTS AT VANDERBILTAND AT THE NAVAL ACADEMY.

THESE THINGS ARE HAPPENING ALLAROUND THE COUNTRY.

>> Jon: BUT AREN'T THEY ALSOHAPPENING OUTSIDE?

I MEAN, WE CERTAINLY CAN'T JUSTASSUME THAT SEXUAL ASSUALT,

OR IN THIS CASE THEY WEREEXONERATED FOR IT, BUT THESE

TYPES OF ACTIVITIES ARE SOMEHOWRELEGATED TO OUR UNIVERSITIES.

IT IS A PROBLEM IN SOCIETY.

>> AS MOST PROBLEMS ARE. IMEAN, UNIVERSITIES ARE MERELY A

MICROCOSM -- IF I MAY USE THATWORD --

>> Jon: -- RIGHT. YEAH.

>> -- OF OUR LARGER ISSUES INSOCIETY.

AND WHY THIS BECAME AN AMAZINGSTORY.

I MEAN REALLY, IT'SUNPRECEDENTED IN THE SCALE AND

THE MEDIA ATTENTION IT FOCUSED.I MEAN, THESE KIDS JUST THOUGHT

HEY WE'LL JUST HAVE A PARTYWHERE WE'LL DRINK ALL DAY.

THERE MIGHT BE SOME UNDERAGEDRINKING GOING ON AND THEN

WE'LL HAVE THE GREAT IDEA

OF INVITING STRIPPERS TO COME TOOUR HOUSE INSTEAD OF GOING OUT

TO A STRIP CLUB WHICH WE WOULDUSUALLY DO AND NEXT THING YOU

KNOW THEIR LIVES ARE UPSET FORTHE NEXT, YOU KNOW, CERTAINLY

FOR THE NEXT 15 MONTHS OF

THIS SITUATION BEFORE THEY WEREDECLARED INNOCENT BY THE

ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE STATE OFNORTH CAROLINA.

BUT THEIR LIVES HAVEOBVIOUSLY BEEN AFFECTED FOR THE

REST OF THEIR LIVES.

>> Jon: WELL, IT'S ALSO, I THINKIN SOME OF THAT BECAUSE IT IS SO

TAILOR MADE FOR WHATOUR MEDIA ENJOYS

MORE THAN ANYTHING WHICH ISSENSATIONALIZED CONFLICT.

THIS IS WHITE KIDS, RICHER KIDSAT A PRIVILEGED UNIVERSITY, A

WOMAN OF LESSER PRIVILEGE.

THIS IS THE PERFECT STORM FORTHEM IN TERMS OF GENERATING

SOMETHING.

UNFORTUNATELY IT DIDN'T WORK OUTFOR THEM IN THAT SHE WAS NOT A

PARTICULARLY GOOD EXEMPLAR OFDAVID VERSUS GOLIATH.

>> YOU KNOW, NO BODYCOVERED THEMSELVES WITH

ANYTHING REMOTELY LIKE GLORY INTHIS PARTICULAR CASE.

THERE WERE NO HEROES HERE. BUT,IT IS AN INCREDIBLE STORY OF THE

WAY JUSTICE CAN BE SUBVERTEDBECAUSE THERE WAS NEVER A TRIAL

HERE. I MEAN THINK ABOUT IT. IMEAN, ELIZABETH WARREN

WAS TALKING ABOUT THIS THE OTHERNIGHT ON

THE SHOW.

HOW MONEY AND POWER CONTROLWASHINGTON.

WE KNOW BECAUSE I WROTE THE BOOKABOUT GOLDMAN SACHS THAT MONEY

AND POWER CONTROL WALL STREET.NOW FOR THE FIRST TIME,

WELL MAYBE NOT THE FIRST TIME,BUT A CLEAR EXAMPLE OF

HOW MONEY AND POWER CAN OFTENSUBVERT JUSTICE.

BECAUSE THERE WAS NO TRIAL HERE.

>> Jon: BUT IS THIS A GOODCASE OF IT? BECAUSE

I WOULD AGREE TO YOU.CERTAINLY MONEY AND POWER CAN

SUBVERT JUSTICE. AND WE HAVE ATWO TIERED SYSTEM.

AND YOUNG MINORITIES GO TO JAILFAR MORE FREQUENTLY AND FOR FAR

LONGER THAN THEY SHOULD. BUT, IGUESS MY POINT IS,

IS THIS THE BEST EXAMPLE OF THATPARTICULAR CORROSION IN OUR

SOCIETY?

>> WELL, IT MAY BE ONE OF FEWEXAMPLES OF THAT

PARTICULAR CORROSIONIN OUR SOCIETY.

BECAUSE DON'T FORGET WHATHAPPENED HERE.

I MEAN, THREE KIDS WEREINDICTED.

THE WOMAN WHO ACCUSED THEM OFRAPE AND SEXUAL ASSAULT, SHE

PROVED TO BE A LESS THANRELIABLE WITNESS.

THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY, HOWEVER,BELIEVED HER, BELIEVED THE NURSE

THAT EXAMINED HER ANDBELIEVED THE POLICE THAT

INVESTIGATED. BUT, THEREWAS NEVER A TRIAL.

HE WAS BROUGHT UP ON CHARGESBEFORE THE STATE BAR.

HE WAS NEVER ALLOWED TO BRINGTHIS CASE TO TRIAL BECAUSE THE

DEFENSE WHO DID AN INCREDIBLEJOB, THEY WERE ABLE TO EXPLOIT

EVERY ONE OF HIS MISTAKES, OFWHICH THERE WERE MANY.

AND SO WE NEVER, THIS IS NOT THE

WAY THE JUSTICE SYSTEMIS SUPPOSED TO WORK.

>> Jon: RIGHT. BUT, THAT'S MYPOINT.

IF HE HAD NOT MADE SO MANYMISTAKES.

IF SHE HAD BEEN A MORE CREDIBLEWITNESS.

IF THERE WAS PHYSICAL EVIDENCETHAT MATCHED HER STORY AND THEN

THEY GOT OFF, BASED ON THESUBVERSION OF JUSTICE BY A

POWERFUL DEFENSE TEAM, I THINKYOU WOULD HAVE PROBABLY A --

KIND OF ONE OF THOSE MATTHEWMcCONAUGHEY AT THE END LIKE

NOW IMAGINE SHE'S BLACK. YOUKNOW, THAT KIND OF THING.

YOU KNOW, THIS DOESN'T SEEM THATCASE.

I DON'T WANT TO RELITIGATE IT.

>> NO, AND I DON'T WANT TOEITHER. BUT, IT'S NOT AS

SIMPLE AS YOU SAY.

>> Jon: WELL, THAT'S GENERALLYMY POINT.

I MEAN, THERE'S ONLY 600 PAGES,I MEAN.

>> Jon: YES EXACTLY.

>> BUT, THERE WAS EVIDENCE THATTHE DEFENSE DOESN'T LIKE TO TALK

ABOUT THAT RAISES QUESTIONSABOUT WHAT HAPPENED IN THAT

BATHROOM.

CLEARLY THERE WAS NOT A RAPEBECAUSE THAT RAPE CHARGE WAS

DROPPED. BUT SOMETHINGHAPPENED IN THAT

BATHROOM TO MAKE CRYSTALMANGUM, THE VICTIM SLASH AS

SHE'S KNOWN NOW THE ACCUSER HAVETHIS POST TRAUMATIC STRESS

INCIDENT WHERE SHE THOUGHT THATTHIS HAD HAPPENED TO HER.

THERE WAS DNA EVIDENCE ON FINGERNAILS THAT RAISES QUESTIONS TOO

THAT THE DEFENSE DOESN'T LIKE TOTALK ABOUT. AND THERE WAS --

>> Jon: RIGHT. WELL, I GUESS THEPOINT IS LIKE GIVEN THE

STORY THAT SHE TOLD DIDN'T MATCHTHAT, IT MATCHED

MAYBE SOMETHING BUT NOT THAT.

>> DEFINITELY DID NOT MATCH WHATSHE FIRST SAID.

THERE'S NO QUESTION ABOUT THAT.

>> Jon: WELL, LET'S TALKABOUT, BECAUSE WHAT I THINK IS

MORE INTERESTING IS THE LARGERPOINT OF THESE CULTURAL

INSTITUTIONS THAT ARE TRYING TOBALANCE EDUCATION AND THE

FINANCIAL ASPECTS OF SPORT ANDALL THOSE TYPES OF THINGS.

CAN YOU STICK AROUND FOR ALITTLE BIT?

>> IF YOU'RE NICE.

>> Jon: SURE, WHY NOT. STICKAROUND.

PRICE OF SILENCE IS ON THEBOOKSHELVES NOW.

WILLIAM COHAN, EVERYBODY.

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