Local News

Duke Lacrosse Witness Acquitted On 2003 Shoplifting Charge

Posted August 29, 2006 4:54 a.m. EDT
Updated January 7, 2007 11:33 a.m. EST

— A cab driver who is a potential witness in the Duke lacrosse rape case was found not guilty Tuesday in his own trial.

Moezeldin Elmostafa, 37, was charged with aiding and abetting misdemeanor larceny in a 2003 shoplifting case in which he was accused of stealing five purses worth about $250 from a Durham department store, according to court documents.

Elmostafa has claimed he picked up former lacrosse player Reade Seligmann around the same time during which an exotic dancer alleges she was raped by Seligmann and two of his teammates.

Durham authorities arrested Elmostafa in May after the 2003 warrant for his arrest was discovered in a routine background check of witnesses in the Duke lacrosse case, prosecutors said.

Elmostafa denied the charge and said he helped store security locate a woman after he picked her up from the store and drove her home. The woman later pleaded guilty to larceny.

Mostafa said Seligmann, of Essex Fells, N.J., called for a ride at 12:14 a.m. on March 14 and was picked up five minutes later. The defense has argued those times help establish that Seligmann left the party without having enough time to participate in the 30-minute assault described by the accuser.

Seligmann's attorney has also presented cell phone, ATM and dorm keycard records to help establish that timeline.