Local News

Cooper: Lacrosse Accuser 'Cooperative'

Posted March 16, 2007 5:44 p.m. EDT
Updated March 16, 2007 7:42 p.m. EDT

— The accuser in the Duke University lacrosse case is cooperating with investigators, state Attorney General Roy Cooper said Friday.

ABC News reported Friday that the accuser hadn't been forthcoming in interviews with special prosecutors and gave them incomplete answers, Cooper issued a statement disputing that claim.

"In discussions with our attorneys, the accuser has been cooperative in answering questions and providing information. More discussions are scheduled," the statement said, without citing the published report.

A woman told police she was assaulted at a lacrosse team party a year ago while performing as a stripper. Lacrosse players Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and David Evans face kidnapping and sexual assault charges in the case.

Prosecutors have interviewed the accuser at least twice to get her version of events. They've spoken with Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong and to defense attorneys for the players. Cooper and two attorneys in his office on Thursday toured the Durham home where the lacrosse party took place.

Published reports also stated that Kim Roberts, the second stripper at the lacrosse party, refused to speak with investigators unless she was subpoenaed. But Roberts told WRAL's Julia Lewis that she never told investigators that.

The accuser's cooperation is seen as critical to the case because her testimony and credibility will be key to the case -- and whether the special prosecutors decide to pursue sexual assault charges against the players. Defense attorneys have argued from the start that the case should be dropped.

The Attorney General's Office is handling the case because Nifong asked to be taken off because of a potential conflict. The North Carolina State Bar filed an ethics complaint againt Nifong, alleging that he failed to provide evidence to defense attorneys and made inflammatory comments to the media early in the investigation.

Also Friday, Nifong filed a brief to support his request that the State Bar complaint be dismissed. He cited various cases to support  his claims that he complied with legal rules in turning over evidence, and he argued that he wasn't required to turn over notes from conversations.