Local News

Indicted Duke Lacrosse Player To Seek Lower Bond, More Evidence

Posted June 21, 2006 3:48 a.m. EDT
Updated January 7, 2007 12:06 p.m. EST

— The father of a Duke University men's lacrosse player charged with rape said the case "has taken an unbelievable and horrendous emotional toll" on his family, which borrowed $400,000 from a close friend to post their son's bond.

In an affidavit filed Wednesday, Philip Seligmann said his son, Reade, "has never been involved in the criminal justice system in any state before the filing of these charges."

"We are committed as a family, along with Reade, to do everything necessary to restore our good name," Seligmann said in the affidavit, which was filed along with a motion by defense attorneys seeking discovery evidence from District Attorney Mike Nifong.

The filings came a day before attorneys for Seligmann -- as well as co-defendants Collin Finnerty and David Evans -- are scheduled to appear in court for a procedural hearing in the case. The players have received permission to miss the court appearance.

In April, a grand jury indicted Seligmann of Essex Fells, N.J., and Finnerty of Garden City, N.Y., on charges of rape, kidnapping and sexual offense. Evans, a team co-captain from Bethesda, Md., was indicted on the same charges in May.

All three men are free on $400,000 bond. A trial isn't expected to begin before spring 2007 in the case, which began when a woman hired to perform as an exotic dancer at a March 13 team party told police she was raped by three men there.

At Thursday's hearing, Seligmann's attorneys will seek a bond reduction. In his affidavit, Philip Seligmann said the $400,000 was too much for him to post himself. He instead turned to an unnamed friend, who volunteered the money.

"I was prepared to do everything possible to prevent my son from spending time in jail for a crime he did not commit," he said.

Philip Seligmann, in the affidavit, also wrote about his son's character, calling Reade "a good citizen" with a "strong sense of community," citing examples of community service as a camp counselor for several lacrosse camps and how, as a junior in high school, he traveled to "help the poorest of the poor in the United States, the mountain children of eastern Kentucky."

In their discovery motion, Seligmann's attorneys specifically asked for access to the accuser's computer -- which they said is believed to be in the possession of the Durham Police Department -- and records from the Durham Access Center, where the accuser was taken for involuntary commitment in the hours after the party and before she told police she was raped.

Defense attorneys have suggested that District Attorney Mike Nifong has not given them all the evidence he might have, as required. Last month, Nifong provided nearly 1,300 pages of discovery, saying that was all he had to turn over.

Kirk Osborn, a lawyer representing Seligmann, said the defense is seeking Nifong's "complete file, basically, and the law enforcement officers' complete file."

The Thursday hearing will be the "first setting" for Finnerty and Evans, a hearing at which a judge makes sure a defendant has an attorney and handles other procedural issues. Finnerty's attorney wants Nifong to turn over every description the accuser has given police about her alleged attackers. Evans' attorneys have also said that the state has not turned over all evidence, including a second photo lineup in which Evans was not picked by the accuser.

Seligmann's hearing is the "second setting," which is the deadline for filing pretrial motions not dealing with the suppression of evidence.