Some commenters who read this post on the U.S. Attorney’s decision to drop charges against Philip Cooney (MSB ’10) want more clarification about that decision and the reporting in my recent article on the subject, and I’m happy to oblige (sorry it took so long, but it is, after all, the last week of school). Keep in mind that this analysis is only based on my reporting on the case since last fall and a four month stint working at a legal magazine covering a variety of court cases, so nothing in here is gospel.
The U.S. Attorney’s office of the District of Columbia dropped all charges against Philip Cooney (MSB ’10) relating to an assault that occurred last fall which attracted controversy on and off campus.
Cooney was charged with bias-related assault by the Metropolitan Police Department last September, but the U.S. Attorney reported that “subsequent investigation raised doubts as to … whether based upon available evidence we could prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant in this case was the person who actually committed the assault.”
“Philip was always completely innocent of the charges against him and the dismissal of the case has vindicated him entirely,” Danny Onorato, Cooney’s lawyer, wrote in a statement. “To know Philip Cooney is to know a young man of exemplary character who was wrongfully accused in this case.”
The U.S. Attorney’s office has indicated that they continue to consider the assault, in which a male Georgetown student was beaten by an assailant who shouted anti-gay slurs, a criminal act. Cooney was originally implicated in the assault through a Facebook.com profile and, later, a police photo line-up. During the pre-trial period, the prosecuting Assistant U.S. Attorneys, Mary Dobbie and Joseph Spurber, determined that they would not be able to firmly establish that Cooney was present at the time of the assault.
Neither Cooney nor the spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office were available for comment. It is not clear at this time if any investigation into the assault will continue.
For the Voice’s comprehensive coverage of the case, click here. Check this blog and Thursday’s edition for more information on the dropped charges.
Sorry for the lack of posting, friends, it’s time for our staff elections and as we transition it’s a little unclear who exactly is responsible for what. However, I wanted to spread the word about an unfortunate accident that has befallen an unexpected Georgetown icon: Altagracia, who swipes all and sundry into Leo O’Donovan Dining Hall, lost her home in a fire. The Georgetown Solidarity Committee is organizing a fundraiser and food drive to lend her a hand in getting her life back together. If you can help out, please do. Our best wishes go out to Altagracia and her family.
Here is Solidarity’s e-mail:
On Wednesday night, Altagracia, a cafeteria worker and friendly Leo’s card swiper, lost everything and her home in a house fire. Altagracia and her three children are currently living in a hotel, and are facing difficulties getting insurance money to compensate for the fire’s damage. Leo’s workers asked if students could take up a collection in support of Altagracia; while she’s not in need of clothes, she and her family are in desperate need of canned food and, most importantly, any financial donation students, family, and profs’ can make!
On Monday, GSC’s hosting a fund-raising drive in red square and needs your help! We’ll be flyering to ask for food donations and also asking students to donate money to Altagracia via our Paypal account found at this address: georgetownsolidarity.org/altagracia
As an active social justice group, here’s what you can do to co-sponsor the drive: In addition to donating food and money, you can volunteer to help table/flyer in red square on Monday. We also need folks to forward the email to their listserves, friendship networks, and family — every cent can make a difference in helping Altagracia through this tough time.
Would your group be interested in helping raise money and goods for the famous card swiping star Altagracia? Let us know what your group can do to help! Please reply as soon as possible, as we plan to deliver the money to Altagracia on Wednesday.
Here’s the second in our series of short video interviews with GUSA candidates. Kyle Williams (SFS ’09) and Brian Kesten (COL ’10) (whom the Voice endorsed) sat down with me in Copley Hall’s Williams Chapel to discuss their priorities, Ben Shaw and how to speed up by slowing down. Look for more interviews as we head into voting on Thursday…
Tim Brown (COL ’09) and Dale Sevin (SFS ’09) have produced the latest GUSA campaign video for your enjoyment. It’s the best of the year so far, but I’m not sure it rivals all-time classic Vote in a Box. Incidentally, later today I’ll be posting the first in a series of video interviews with GUSA candidates; the first interview is with Mr. Brown himself. For now, here’s an obviously Rocky-inspired montage from the ticket:
A little inside baseball here, but Peter Hamby (COL ’03), a former Voice staffer and all-around good guy, just found a spot on The Politico‘s top 50 list of Washington…politicos. Hamby works as a producer for CNN, where he recently covered the Presidential campaign in South Carolina and former President Bill Clinton. So congratulations, Peter, on this recognition. Oh, and current Hoyas—can you see yourself as a professional journalist after graduation? Maybe you should join the Voice and get started making that dream a reality.
—Tim Fernholz, Contributing Editor
I haven’t completed the vaunted Senior Survey yet, but I have been receiving reminder e-mails from the University’s Office of Planning and Institutional Research about it. One sentence from the most recent note stuck out:
There are no physical or psychological risks to respondents.
Thank goodness—I’d been worrying that Georgetown might construct a survey so twisted, I’d lose my mind. Nope! It’ll just be used to justify poorly conceived academic policies.
Slate published a short piece by one of its interns, a Georgetown senior and Hoya writer named Alex Joseph. Entitled “Confessions of a young Hillary Clinton supporter,” the crux of the piece is that a lot of college students, particularly at Georgetown, support Barack Obama, and that both Clinton and Obama supporters are astonished that a college-age man would support Clinton. Because Joseph supports Clinton, he’s “practically a social pariah.” Quel Horror!
Now, when I decided, after long consideration, to support Barack Obama in the 2008 primary, the first thing I did was purge any Clinton supporters from my social life, just as I did with all conservatives back in High School when I decided I was a liberal. Same thing when the Voiceendorsed Obama a few weeks ago: All the Clinton supporters (and yes, there are a few, and a majority are men) were kicked off the paper!
That’s what New Yorker reporter George Packer would have you think. He uses the experience of our own Barbara Feinman Todd, Associate Dean of Georgetown’s brand-new graduate journalism program and the reason Georgetown even has what anemic undergraduate offerings do exist, to explain how Senator Hillary Clinton has a “habit of undermining herself, when the worst might have been averted by a little candor and grace—a tendency that has reappeared in the past few weeks.”
Feinman Todd, before and while at Georgetown, worked as a freelance journalist and particularly as a ghostwriter, and her most famous job was working with the then-first lady to write “It Takes A Village.” Clinton didn’t thank her in the book’s acknowledgments, causing a minor scandal at the time, but Packer’s sources, apparently editors at Simon & Schuster, claim that Feinman Todd really did a bad job and didn’t deserve the credit. I e-mailed Feinman Todd, who declined to comment specifically due to a confidentiality agreement, except to say that she believed the piece to be inacccurate. I’m waiting to hear back from Packer about the story, but in the meantime you can read the relevant excerpt after the jump and judge for yourself.