Local News

Duke Lacrosse Accuser Subpoenaed, Meets With DA

Posted January 12, 2007 3:01 p.m. EST
Updated January 12, 2007 8:29 p.m. EST

— Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong met with the accuser in the Duke lacrosse case for several hours at his office on Thursday, WRAL has learned.

While she was there, Durham County sheriff's deputies served her with a subpoena ordering her to be in court to testify at a Feb. 5 hearing.

In the past 10 months, Nifong has never talked with the accuser about the facts of the case. In court hearings, he said that when he met with her for the first time in the spring, they talked about other matters because she seemed upset.

The meeting was on the same day defense attorneys filed a supplement to a previous motion asking a judge to toss out a photo lineup in which the accuser identified the three defendants — David Evans, 23, Collin Finnerty, 20, and Reade Seligmann, 20.

Judge Osmond Smith, who is assigned as the sole judge for the case, is expected to rule on the photo lineup at the February hearing.

The motion filed Thursday cites critical changes in the accuser's story that some legal experts have said hurt the prosecution's case and the accuser's credibility.

In a Dec. 21 interview with prosecution investigator Linwood Wilson, she said the alleged attack happened earlier than when she told originally told police it happened and that it ended before midnight. She also told Wilson that Seligmann was there at the time but did not take part.

In the same interview, she said she was not 100 percent certain that a rape — as defined by North Carolina law — occurred. That led District Attorney Mike Nifong to drop the first-degree rape charge against the three defendants.

Nifong has come under mounting scrutiny for his handling in the case, specifically comments he made to the media.

Last month, the North Carolina State Bar filed an ethics complaint against him, citing more than 100 examples of Nifong's statements to the media that, the bar alleged, constituted "fraud, deceit or dishonesty."

Among the rules that the bar complaint says Nifong violated is a prohibition on making "comments that have a substantial likelihood of heightening public condemnation of the accused."

A three-member panel will decide guilt or innocence and then, depending on the outcome, may impose a penalty. The penalty could range from a reprimand to disbarment.

The North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys had also publicly stated that Nifong should remove himself from the case.

Nifong said in an earlier interview that he would reserve "those kinds of issues" for the courtroom.