Local News

Nifong wants Duke lacrosse lawsuit dismissed

Posted January 16, 2009 12:21 p.m. EST
Updated January 16, 2009 5:31 p.m. EST

— Former Duke lacrosse prosecutor Mike Nifong wants a judge to dismiss the federal civil rights lawsuit brought against him by the three players he sought to convict.

In a motion filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Greensboro, Nifong and his lawyers say that all the actions for which he is being sued were done in his role as the district attorney handling Durham County and that he is entitled to absolute immunity.

He also says the complaint filed last year fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted and that the plaintiffs lack standing, meaning he says they had no right to file the suit.

Nifong won indictments for first-degree rape, sexual assault and kidnapping against David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann after a stripper named Crystal Mangum, hired to perform at a March 2006 team party, reported being raped.

The case unraveled, however, in the face of Mangum's constantly changing her story and a lack of evidence. State prosecutors eventually took over the case, dropped all charges and declared the players innocent victims of Nifong's "tragic rush to accuse."

Last January, on the day he was to have responded to the lawsuit, Nifong filed for bankruptcy, temporarily protecting him from civil litigation.

A federal judge ruled last month, however, that the lawsuit could move forward.

Nifong's attorney has stated that the former Duke players should not expect to collect any money. Their claims were among the liabilities Nifong listed in his bankruptcy filing.