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cyberdude557

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: April 11, 2007, 12:04:45 PM

Duke charges expected to be dropped

Prosecutors have decided to drop all charges against three Duke lacrosse players accused of sexually assaulting a stripper at a team party, a person close to the case told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The North Carolina Attorney General's office, which took over the case in January after the local district attorney was accused of ethics violations, said it would have an announcement on the case at 2:30 p.m. but did not elaborate.

"I am very comfortable that the charges will be dismissed and these boys will be completely exonerated," said Joseph Cheshire, an attorney for one of the indicted men.

The sensational case had been troubled almost from the start as DNA testing found no link to any of the Duke lacrosse players, and the accuser's story about what happened that night began to change. The person who talked to the AP, speaking on condition of anonymity because a formal announcement had not been made, did not say why state prosecutors decided to drop the charges.

Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and David Evans were indicted last spring on charges of rape, kidnapping and sexual offense after the woman told police she was assaulted at a lacrosse team party where she had been hired to perform as a stripper.

The allegations at first outraged the Raleigh/Durham community — the woman is black and attended nearby North Carolina Central University; all three Duke players are white. But that anger largely shifted to Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong as his evidence against the three fell apart and questions surfaced about the accuser.

Nifong, who was away from his Durham office Wednesday, has been charged by the state bar with ethics violations connected to his handling of the case and could face disbarment.

"We just hope this traumatic experience for all involved ends with the minimum amount of damage," said the Rev. Jesse Jackson, whose Chicago-based Rainbow/Push Coalition had offered to help the accuser pay for college but wasn't able to contact her.

From its earliest days, Nifong had driven the investigation. The 28-year-old woman initially said she was gang-raped and beaten by three white men at the March 13, 2006, party thrown by Duke's highly ranked lacrosse team.

The three indicted players' insisted the accusations were "fantastic lies," and another dancer who had been with the woman also questioned if she had been raped.

At the end, it appeared the case was based only on the testimony of the accuser, whom defense attorneys said had told wildly different versions of the alleged assault.

That shifting story led Nifong to drop the rape charges in December, but the other charges remained.

Nifong's recusal in January put the players' fate in the hands of North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, who promised "a fresh and thorough review of the facts."

The North Carolina State Bar charged Nifong with making misleading and inflammatory comments about the athletes under su**CENSORED**ion. It later added more serious offenses of withholding evidence from defense attorneys and lying to the court and bar investigators. He stands trial on those charges in June.

Nifong had accused the team of refusing to cooperate, calling them "a bunch of hooligans," and promised DNA evidence would finger the guilty.

His case started to erode, though, when no DNA evidence tying any player to the accuser. The second dancer at the party called the allegations "a crock." And Seligmann produced ATM receipts, cell phone records and other evidence suggesting he was somewhere else at the time.

Defense attorneys also attacked a key photo lineup that used only pictures of lacrosse players, and they noted the accuser had claimed a decade earlier that she had been gang-raped but it never led to an arrest. A series of tests Nifong ordered from a private lab found genetic material from several men on the accuser's underwear and body, but none from any member of the Duke lacrosse team, they said.

Seligmann, 21, of Essex Fells, N.J., and his family arrived at Raleigh-Durham International Airport on Tuesday, anticipating the announcement. Attorney Wade Smith said the Finnerty family was also expected to arrive from their home in Garden City, N.Y.

"We are not going to have any expectations until we hear officially," Smith said. "When we get the word, we'll have the word."

Duke temporarily suspended Seligmann and Finnerty, 20, in the wake of their arrest. Both were invited to return to campus but neither accepted. Evans, 24, of Bethesda, Md., graduated the day before he was indicted.

John Danowski, the former coach at Hofstra who took over the Duke program last summer, has also said that both are welcome to continue playing lacrosse with the Blue Devils. On Wednesday, he said he moved the team's afternoon practice back so his players could attend a planned defense news conference with their former teammates.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070411/ap_on_re_us/duke_lacrosse&printer=1;_ylt=AgGz4u0jUsivqRfmdpe0DRFH2ocA

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#1 : April 11, 2007, 12:24:34 PM

Sharpton and Jesse Jackson need to issue public appoligies to these players and should be fired, or atleast be suspended without pay for two weeks their comments about these players.  Of course, it won't happen.

oregonbucfan

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#2 : April 11, 2007, 09:44:43 PM

I said over a year ago she was just a S and it ends it T. Durham dirtbag and the DA now need to be prosecuted. And I detest those scum feminst from hell who chanted whined and cried asking for these guys heads before there was a verdict... there pictures now should be all over the campus and they should be laughed at, mocked, and yelled at just like what happened to these players.


TbayBucs

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#3 : April 11, 2007, 11:07:32 PM

Sharpton and Jesse Jackson need to issue public appoligies to these players and should be fired, or atleast be suspended without pay for two weeks their comments about these players. Of course, it won't happen.

Please. That will never happen. It only works one way.


cyberdude557

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#4 : April 11, 2007, 11:09:16 PM

Sharpton and Jesse Jackson need to issue public appoligies to these players and should be fired, or atleast be suspended without pay for two weeks their comments about these players. Of course, it won't happen.

Please. That will never happen. It only works one way.

Plus they are too busy bashing Imus right now.

oregonbucfan

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#5 : April 11, 2007, 11:47:14 PM

Sharpton and Jesse Jackson need to issue public appoligies to these players and should be fired, or atleast be suspended without pay for two weeks their comments about these players. Of course, it won't happen.

Please. That will never happen. It only works one way.

Sharpton and Jesse Jackson need to issue public appoligies to these players and should be fired, or atleast be suspended without pay for two weeks their comments about these players. Of course, it won't happen.

Please. That will never happen. It only works one way.

Plus they are too busy bashing Imus right now.

And it was a remark that IMO was more sexist then racist. But they will continue to ignore the biggest problem rap music. They will go where the camera and money will be


coolhandluke

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#6 : April 12, 2007, 09:06:33 AM

The sad thing is Ian Beckles still think these kids are Racist! Of course Ian has to keep telling everyone that he isnt..

Memo to Ian.. Check yourself Bro...

dr3z

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#7 : April 12, 2007, 09:16:55 AM

Is she still going to get that full paid scholarship by them?
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