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Nifong, Durham Get More Time to Respond to Lawsuit

Posted October 24, 2007
Updated October 25, 2007

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— Former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong and the city of Durham now have until December to respond to a federal lawsuit filed by three former Duke University lacrosse players.

According to court documents filed Wednesday, the city and others named in the lawsuit have until Dec. 10 to respond to the 155-page complaint filed earlier this month; Nifong has until Dec. 11.

David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann allege their civil rights were violated in the 13-month criminal investigation into an exotic dancer's claims that they raped and sexually assaulted her at a party in March 2006.

The three men were cleared in April of the charges after special prosecutors found insufficient evidence to proceed.

The federal lawsuit charges that Nifong and others named in the suit conspired to keep a weak case alive as Nifong faced election in the Democratic primary for district attorney.
Evans, Finnerty and Seligmann are asking for unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, attorney fees and numerous changes in the way the Durham Police Department handles criminal investigations.

Defendants typically have 20 days after service to respond to federal complaints, but because they waived service and did so in an efficient manner, they are allowed, under federal law, 60 days to respond.

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