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Nifong Never Talked With Accuser On Details Of Duke Rape Case

Posted October 27, 2006
Updated January 7, 2007

— Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong handed over more evidence to defense attorneys Friday. He also said in court that he has not talked to the alleged victim in detail about the Duke lacrosse rape case.

Attorneys for the accused players want to know about conversations Nifong may have had with the woman who alleges she was raped at a March 13 party by three members of the Duke lacrosse team. Nifong told the judge that there was nothing to tell.

"I understand the answer may not be the answer that they want, but it is the true answer, and it is the only one I can give them," Nifong said after the hearing.

"Mr. Nifong did admit that he, in fact, has basically never talked to this woman and has absolutely no idea what her story is, and yet he has chosen to continue to go forward with this case," said defense attorney Joe Cheshire.

Nifong said during a meeting in April, the alleged victim looked too traumatized to talk about the incident. During the meeting, Nifong said she spoke less than 15 words, had difficulty making eye contact and looked like she was going to cry the entire time.

During the hearing, Nifong turned over a report of DNA testing performed by DNA Security in Burlington. Nifong sent dozens of samples to that lab at the suggestion of the State Bureau of Investigation. The SBI's initial testing failed to link any lacrosse player to the alleged victim.

The tests at the private lab found a partial match to player David Evans. Evans, along with Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann, are charged in the case.

"Obviously, this is very important to us and we are listening and taking notes and trying to take it in," said Kevin Finnerty, Collin's father.

Mary Ellen Finnerty, Collin's mother, jotted down her thoughts throughout the hearing. She said she has been writing them in a diary since the investigation began in the spring.

Judge Osmond Smith said he received medical records involving the accuser from the hospital. Those documents are currently under seal until the judge looks at them and decides whether the prosecution or defense can use them. Another hearing in the case is scheduled for December.

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