Local News

Ex-Coach Discusses Duke Lacrosse Case

Posted June 11, 2007 7:19 p.m. EDT
Updated June 22, 2007 12:57 p.m. EDT

— As the former prosecutor in the Duke lacrosse sexual assault case is set to go before ethics panel, the former lacrosse coach is beginning a book tour to promote his version of the case.

Mike Pressler was forced to resign in April 2006, a few weeks after a woman told police three Duke lacrosse players attacked her at an off-campus team party. He now coaches at Bryant University in Rhode Island.

"We had so many many threats that were well documented, from signs in the yard to e-mail to threats of violence," Pressler said of the intense mood on campus and across Durham in the early weeks of the case.

Pressler's book, "It's Not About the Truth," chronicles the past year as the tide switched from vilification of the team to support of the  players, who were seen as victims.

All charges were dropped against players Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and David Evans in April, and Attorney General Roy Cooper called Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong a "rogue prosecutor" who overreached in trying to prosecute the case.

The North Carolina State Bar is scheduled to begin a disciplinary hearing against Nifong on Tuesday. He is accused of withholding evidence, lying to the court and making inflammatory comments about the case.

Asked what he would say to Nifong if he saw him, Pressler responded, "What goes around comes around. Judgment day is coming, and you're going to get what you deserve."

Pressler said the journey over the past year has been interesting. He wrote in his book about speaking at a lacrosse camp last summer when Nifong's nephew approached him.

"His comment to me was, 'Everyone sees my last name and associates me with all the wrongdoing to the Duke players. Any advice?' Then I said, 'Now you know what it's like to be wrongly accused,'" he said.

He said he's no longer bitter or angry and wants to move on with his life. But it's clear that he feels let down by Duke.

"An apology to the players, especially the indicted boys and all their parents, plus to the former coach and family, would go a long way," he said.