Local News

Duke Lacrosse Suspect Arrives in North Carolina

Posted April 10, 2007 4:00 p.m. EDT
Updated April 10, 2007 6:25 p.m. EDT

— In what could signal a new development in the Duke lacrosse case, one of the three accused players arrived at Raleigh-Durham International Airport Tuesday afternoon.

Reade Seligmann and his family arrived just after 3 p.m. on an American Airlines flight from Newark, N.J. They had no comment.

Defense attorney Wade Smith told WRAL that  the families of all three suspects—Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and David Evans—have remained hopeful and are cautiously optimistic that charges could be dropped.

Evans and Finnerty were expected to arrive soon in Raleigh, too. Finnerty's father, Kevin Finnerty, told WRAL that he was flying to Raleigh Tuesday evening.

The North Carolina Attorney General's Office, which took over the case in January after Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong recused himself, has yet to announce whether it will proceed with the case.

A spokeswoman told WRAL Tuesday that no news conference about the case has been scheduled. Defense attorneys told WRAL that they have received no official notice about a news conference, but anticipate that it could come as early as Wednesday.

Several sources told WRAL that the indicted players and their families would be present when an announcement comes.

Special prosecutors have spent the past few months examining evidence, interviewing witnesses and talking to defense attorneys about the yearlong investigation. The three suspects face first-degree sexual assault and first-degree kidnapping charges in connection with allegations made by an exotic dancer hired to perform at a March 13, 2006, lacrosse team party.

Rape charges against all three players were dropped in December after the accuser waivered in key details of her story.

National network news crews, including CBS News, converged on Raleigh Tuesday in anticipation of a development.

"If and when the attorney general's office makes an announcement, Raleigh-Durham will be ground zero for national news media," CBS News correspondent Byron Pitts said.

Pitts said the high level of interest in the case is understandable and pointed out that it deals with issues that transcend the Triangle.

"It says as much about our nation as it does about Raleigh-Durham and how we deal with race, class and fairness," he said. "And it's about the justice system."