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Source: Cleared Duke Lacrosse Players Seek $30M From Durham

Posted September 7, 2007

— The three Duke lacrosse players who were falsely accused of rape are seeking a $30 million settlement and reforms in the legal process, a person close to the case told The Associated Press Friday.

If the terms aren't met, the attorneys will file a civil rights lawsuit early next month, the person close to the case said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the proposed settlement wasn't complete.

During a discussion Wednesday with Durham officials, players' attorneys Brendan Sullivan and Barry Scheck stressed that the money they are seeking in the settlement – about $10 million each for David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann over five years – must be accompanied by legal reforms, the person said.

The attorneys are seeking the creation of ombudsman positions to review complaints of misconduct about North Carolina district attorneys, and they want Durham city officials to lead the lobbying for any legal changes that would require action by the state's General Assembly, the person said.

Katherine Franke, a Columbia University civil rights law professor, said while the players' reputations were damaged in a national setting, the settlement request is beyond normal standards of about $1 million.

"It strikes me as well off the charts from what one would normally get in a case like that," Franke said. "But it's the political nature of the case: How much is it worth to the city to get rid of this case given the outrage?"

Durham's police department helped former District Attorney Mike Nifong secure indictments against Evans, Finnerty and Seligmann, and a special committee probing police handling of the case stopped working last month because the city's liability insurance provider warned that findings could provide material for civil lawsuits.

In a closed session Thursday, city attorney Henry Blinder briefed the council for more than two hours about his meeting. City officials decided not to comment about the possible lawsuit.

Some, however, have said they believe the special committee should continue its work.

"There were mistakes made in this case, and there needs to be accountability, and the city needs to accept that accountability," City Councilman Thomas Stith III said.

Mayor Bill Bell and at least three City Council members called for the probe in May following an internal department report that found no wrongdoing on investigators' part.

Bell said the report lacked focus and left questions about the investigation unanswered.

The North Carolina attorney general eventually threw out the case and declared Evans, Finnerty and Seligmann innocent victims of a "tragic rush to accuse."


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  • imacopiceman Sep 9, 2007

    I hope that the rush to the checkbook is as fast as the rush to judgement was, I think they deserve more & hopefully will see them sue the State as well

  • Notinitforthemoney Sep 9, 2007

    FE You know how many underage kids leave parties every year then go out on the road and kill someone driving drunk, trust me it happens a lot. Its the broken window scheme if you stop the small stuff first then bigger crimes wont occur as often.

  • leelou3 Sep 9, 2007

    well dougalu, I guess the same can be said about Americans and George Bush, so i guess you're right.

  • dougalu Sep 9, 2007

    Hey Durham you got what you voted for....Now see if you can afford it. What a place to call home, diveby's on a weekly basis...

  • ghostwriter Sep 9, 2007

    lol, now the people of durham have to cough up 30 million dollars even after these boy got a untold amount from duke college. lol, what a joke. 30 million i think they should only get 2 million per boy, and not 10 million for each boy.

  • leelou3 Sep 9, 2007

    You know what? Someone has to take the high road to put this fiasco behind us as a body of people (North Carolinians) so that the country can move on and I think it will have to be the people of Durham to lead by example.

    Most of us are guilty for jumping to a verdict day one. Many thought the girl was out to get rich by making accusations of rape. Others thought it was another case of bad relations between white men and black woman because of the bad history in the south. Either way, our individual environments shaped who we viewed as the guilty.

    I do believe something happened that night if it wasn’t anything but them calling her a derogatory slur and smacking her up a couple of times. One thing we can all agree on is no one appeared to be on their best behavior that night and all parties added fuel to the fire and continue to do so..such as the woman never publicly apologizing and showing accountability for her part and the pursuit of this lawsuit by the 3 students who seem to

  • then who cares Sep 9, 2007

    Has everyone lost my mind?!?!?!?

  • then who cares Sep 9, 2007

    Why didn't Kim Roberts get a scholarship offer? She tried to tell everyone it was a lie from the beginning. And then Nifong's office remembered she was wanted for something. And her whole attitude changed. Trying to cash in on the publicity, by the way, was not in and of itself that bad. Especially compared to the rewards Nifong expected.

  • FE Sep 8, 2007

    "...because they were supplying minors alcohol at the party...."

    Then you better be ready for one whopper of an increase in your property taxes to fund the new prisons required to house the majority of the students at UNC, NC State, ECU, (and even Duke) who commit those dastardly crimes!

  • Notinitforthemoney Sep 8, 2007

    FE because they were supplying minors alcohol at the party thats a start.