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Mike Nifong July 26 Court Statement

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"The last 16 months have proven to be a difficult and painful journey for my family and myself. This has also been a difficult and painful journey for Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and David Evans, for their families, for Durham and the state of North Carolina.

"We all need to heal. I believe, however, that this healing process cannot truly begin until all proceedings involving this matter are concluded and everyone is able to go forward.

"I have resigned my position as Durham District Attorney as a part of this process.

"I have read the report released by the attorney general, including his recitation of evidence that I did not have, obtained from his own investigation. I agree with the attorney general’s statement that there is no credible evidence that Mr. Seligmann, Mr. Finnerty and Mr. Evans commited any of the crimes for which they were indicted or any other crimes during the party that occurred on March 13 and 14 of 2006 at 610 N. Buchanan Blvd.

"Mr. Seligmann, Mr. Finnerty and Mr. Evans were entitled to the presumption of innocence when they were under indictment. Surely, they are entitled to more than that now as they go forward with the rest of their lives. And that is what the attorney general tried to give them in his declaration that they are innocent.

"I have admitted on more than one occasion that I have made mistakes in the prosecution of these cases. For that, I sincerely apologize to Mr. Seligmann, Mr. Finnerty, Mr. Evans and to their families.

"It is my hope that all of us can learn from the mistakes of this case, and that all of us can begin to move forward. It is my hope that we can start this process today. Thank you."

Joseph Cheshire Response

"For many months, we have sought a real and meaningful apology from Mr. Nifong for the pain he has caused these families and these young men — and the entire Duke lacrosse team, the state of North Carolina and others.

"And we have sought from him a statement of the innocence of these young men so that the world can know what everyone else knows — that they are completely innocent.

"We are very appreciative (that) Mr. Nifong decided to do that today. And the families are immensely appreciative and the boys are immensely appreciative. We don't deny it was a difficult thing under all of the circumstances, and we've heard the statement."

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