Duke Defense Lawyer Kirk Osborn Has Died

Kirk Osborn, one of the chief lawyers for accused Duke lacrosse player Reade Seligman, has died, following a massive heart attack on Friday.

Osborn was a respected lawyer who had been in high-profile cases for years. He had participated in a number of death penalty cases and his wife said he was most proud that he had never lost a death penalty case.

R.I.P. Mr. Osborn, and I'm very sorry that you didn't live to see your client vindicated, as I expect he will be when the Attorney General's office concludes its investigation.


Among the contributions Mr. Osborn made to the Duke case,

Osborn was aggressive early with his defense. He filed a motion seeking to have Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong removed from the case, accusing the prosecutor of going after the lacrosse players to win votes.

Osborn's court filings announced to the world that despite Nifong's assurances that a rape occurred, Seligmann had phone records, receipts, security camera images and a cab driver that would show he was almost a mile away when the woman said he was participating in her rape.

Update: Reade Seligman's family released this statment:

"We will never forget Kirk and his sacrifices for Reade and for justice," Seligmann's family said in a statement. "Kirk's fight for the truth and for justice in this case met the highest standards of ethics and professionalism and stand in stark contrast to those who condemned Reade. He is an example of what a lawyer should be."
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    Tragic (none / 0) (#1)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Sun Mar 25, 2007 at 02:40:12 PM EST

    This is tragic news.  He stood up for what was right in this case.  How amazing is it that three defendants were targeted because of their race, sex, and class with only Senator Obama of all of the presidential hopefuls of either party calling for an investigation of DA Nifong's behavior.

    Tragedy of Kirk's death (none / 0) (#2)
    by Natec on Thu Mar 29, 2007 at 10:15:51 AM EST
    I knew Kirk Osborne and, as stated by another commenter, what a tragedy that this man has passed away - a tragedy for his family and for the law.

    Kirk was above all fair.  He respected all people regardless of their stations in life.  He could care less what a person's race or culture was.  He defended white defendants as ably and caring as black defendants.  Too many defense lawyers in our town invoke the race card, but to my knowledge, never did Kirk do this.

    He took on an unpopular defendant in defending Mr. Seligmann.  Kirk was booed and yelled at by yahoos when outside the Durham courthouse with his client and family - people who were ready to lynch the defendants if they could get their hands on them. Durham was in a frenzy, backed by many, many so-called liberals of the Duke faculty.  The white defendants were NOT cause celebres in Durham.  But he stood tall and prevailed over racism and bigotry.  I am confident the freeing of Mr. Seligmann will be one of Kirk's finest moments.