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Duke Lacrosse Accuser Gives Birth Early

The accuser in the Duke lacrosse players' alleged sexual assault case has given birth, a month early, by cesarian section.

Will she be ready to testify at the Feb. 5 eyewitness identification hearing?

I think she should be.

The options? She will ask Nifong to drop the case saying she doesn't want to pursue the case or Nifong will ask for a continuance on medical grounds or the hearing will proceed.

Any bets?

Blogger Betsy Newmark has an op-ed on the racial aspects of the case and Nifong's conduct in today's Washington Examiner.

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Duke Invites Charged Players Back to School

Duke University has asked Reade Seligman and Collin Finnerty, charged with sexual assault, to return to Duke.

This is a stunning turnaround, since they are still charged with felonies. From Duke's letter to the boys and its public statement:

As circumstances have evolved in this extraordinary case, we have attempted to balance recognition of the gravity of legal charges with the presumption of your innocence," Duke officials wrote to the Seligmann family in a letter obtained by ABC News Law & Justice Unit.

"Now with the approach of a new term, we believe that circumstances warrant that we strike this balance differently. At this point, continued extension of the administrative leave would do unwarranted harm to your educational progress. We decided…to lift the administrative leave," the letter states.

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WAPO on Prosecutiorial Indiscretion

A Washington Post editorial today calls for an end to the prosecution of the Duke Lacrosse players.

It recalls the words of U.S. Attorney General Robert Jackson in 1940:

"THE PROSECUTOR has more control over life, liberty and reputation than any other person in America. His discretion is tremendous. He can have citizens investigated, and, if he is that kind of person, he can have this done to the tune of public statements and veiled or unveiled intimations."

....The prosecutor, as Robert Jackson said so many years ago, "can have no better asset than to have his profession recognize that his attitude toward those who feel his power has been dispassionate, reasonable and just."

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N.C. Files Ethics Complaint Against DA Mike Nifong

Bump and Update: The North Carolina Bar has filed an ethics complaint against DA Mike Nifong for his improper extra-judicial comments in the Duke Lacrosse players alleged rape case. Professor KC Johnson has reviewed it and provides analysis.

The filing focuses solely on his procedurally improper public statements, which the Bar (correctly) contends violated Rule 3.8(f) of the Code of Professional Responsibility. That provision requires prosecutors to “refrain from making extrajudicial comments that have a substantial likelihood of heightening public condemnation of the accused.”

The text of the complaint is here (pdf).

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DA Nifong: If Accuser Wavers on Identification, He'll Drop Case

While one of DA Mike Nifong's investigators was interviewing the accuser Thursday, he was giving a three hour interview to the New York Times.

Shorter version: If the accuser cannot with certainty identify the players she claims sexually assaulted her at the lineup hearing in February, he'll drop the case against those not identified.

Mr. Nifong declined interview requests Friday, but said in an e-mail message that his decision to dismiss the rape charges showed he was “willing to go in whatever direction the evidence takes me.” And in a three-hour interview on Thursday, Mr. Nifong said he would not hesitate to drop all the charges if the accuser expressed doubt about the identity of the men she has accused when she sees all three defendants at a pretrial hearing set for February.

“If she came in and said she could not identify her assailants, then we don’t have a case,” Mr. Nifong said. On the other hand, he continued, “If she says, yes it’s them, or one or two of them, I have an obligation to put that to a jury.”

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DA Drops Rape, Not Other Charges in Duke Lacrosse Case

Embattled DA Mike Nifong has dropped the rape charges against the Duke lacrosse players.

But he's leaving the sexual assault and kidnapping charges.

Nifong said he plans to proceed with kidnapping and sexual assault charges against the three players....

Nifong's investigator interviewed the woman Thursday, and she told the investigator that she couldn't testify "with certainty" that she was raped. Prosecutors said they couldn't proceed without her testimony, so they decided to dismiss the rape charges in the case.

Nifong's motion states she is no longer sure it was a p*nis that was inserted into her, as opposed to an object.

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SNL Skit: Nancy Grace Holiday Message on Duke Lacrosse Case


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Duke Lacrosse Accuser Pregnant, No Delivery Yet

Update: The accuser is not due until February. Paternity tests have been ordered at the request of the defense. Nifong says he has no reason to believe any of the players are the father.

[Added: The following appears to be incorrect]

The accuser in the Duke Lacrosse alleged rape case gave birth on Thursday.

The 29-year-old gave birth nine months after she alleges she was raped by three Duke University lacrosse players at a March 13 team party.

Added: The following still seems valid:

....A defense attorney tells WRAL that a test taken at the hospital showed that she was not pregnant at the time of the party and that she was given emergency contraception commonly referred to as the morning-after pill.

While no semen from any of those accused as found in her body, male DNA from multiple other sources was.

In other Duke case news, the defense filed a great motion to suppress the accuser's eyewitness identification of the players today. It's 46 pages and available here.

There are more internal inconsistencies in this case than in any other rape case I can remember reading about. A hearing is scheduled for tomorrow.

There's a lot of discussion about today's developments going on at the TalkLeft Duke Forums.

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Exculpatory DNA Results Withheld in Duke LaCrosse Players' Case

For months, the Duke lacrosse players alleged rape case has been a train wreck waiting to happen. I hope with this news, it finally derails for good.

A private laboratory hired by the prosecution in the Duke lacrosse case failed to report that it found DNA from multiple males in the accuser's body and underwear, according to a defense motion filed today.

The lab, DNA Security of Burlington, found that the DNA did not match the three defendants, their lacrosse teammates or anyone else who submitted their DNA to police, including the accuser's boyfriend.

You can read the motion filed by the defense today here.

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Nifong Remains DA

Voter turnout in North Carolina was low, a product of having no Senate race this year. Turnout was higher in District 11, where voters elected Heath Shuler to replace Republican Rep. Charles Taylor.

Turnout was also high in Durham County, where District Attorney Mike Nifong won reelection, despite his questionable (at best) handling of the Duke rape allegations. Nifong's challengers, Lewis Cheeks and Steve Monks (a write-in candidate), drew 39 percent and 12 percent of the vote, respectively, giving Nifong a plurality of the total votes.

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Duke Prosecutor Stands by Rape Charges

Durham County prosecutor Mike Nifong faces re-election next week. The rape charges against the three former Duke lacrosse players continues to unravel. Nifong says neither he nor members of his staff have interviewed the accuser yet and Kim Roberts, the second dancer, told Good Morning America on Monday yet another version of events that evening:

... Roberts said she told the woman, "Get out of my car, get out of my car."

"I push on her leg. I kind of push on her arm," Roberts said. "And clear as a bell, it's the only thing I heard clear as a bell out of her was, she said -- she pretty much had her head down, but she said plain as day -- 'Go ahead put marks on me. That's what I want, go ahead.' ''

Roberts said the comments "chilled me to the bone, and I decided right then and there to go to the authorities."

Yet, Nifong tells the Associated Press he stands by his decision to prosecute. The only thing he's sorry about is having talked too much to the media. Then why is he talking to them again now?

Right, there's an election next week.

You can comment here, or over at the TalkLeft Duke forums.

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Duke Lacrosse Case Now on 60 Minutes

On 60 Minutes, Ed Bradley is interviewing the Duke Lacrosse players charged in the Duke lacrosse alleged rape case, and the second dancer.

There's lots of discussion in the TalkLeft forums, but you can comment here as well.

Is the D.A.'s case hopeless? I'll be back with my thoughts after it airs here.

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Duke Lacrosse Players to Speak Out on '60 Minutes'

The three Duke Lacrosse players accused of rape will speak out for the first time this Sunday on '60 Minutes.'

Ed Bradley speaks with defendants Collin Finnerty, Reade Seligmann and David Evans, who are free on bail pending their trials in the racially charged case that made national headlines. All three of the accused are white; their accuser is black.

Bradley also speaks to the accuser's dancing partner the night of the alleged rape, Kim Roberts.

There's lots of comments about this over on the TL Duke Forum Boards.

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Duke Lacrosse Case: NYT Reviews Evidence

The New York Times today has an 8 page online article on the Duke Lacrosse alleged rape case.

By disclosing pieces of evidence favorable to the defendants, the defense has created an image of a case heading for the rocks. But an examination of the entire 1,850 pages of evidence gathered by the prosecution in the four months after the accusation yields a more ambiguous picture. It shows that while there are big weaknesses in Mr. Nifong's case, there is also a body of evidence to support his decision to take the matter to a jury.

The commenters are analyzing it over at the Duke Forums. You can comment there or here.

My first question is just how did the New York Times get the entire discovery file? After that, I wonder about the accuracy of some of the police reports when I read this:

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Duke Lacrosse: Judge Issues Split Opinions

The Judge in the Duke Lacrosse players' alleged rape case issued a split decision yesterday on the unindicted players' motion to prevent the DA from gaining access to their addresses and information stored on their key cards.

Judge Ken Titus decided that Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong can have the addresses of lacrosse players not charged in the case. However, Titus will not allow Nifong to have information that is contained in the same players' key cards.

Nifong said he needs the information because all of the players could be possible witnesses. Defense attorneys said it is an invasion of the players' privacy and some argue it could compromise their safety.

The judge's decision is here . He found:

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