Reade Seligmann, David Evans and Collin Finnerty have spent the past year adamantly proclaiming their innocence with regards to the rape and kidnapping charges filed against them in the Duke lacrosse case. The three former Duke lacrosse players have anxiously waited for the case to unfold and the truth to be known. Today, the young men’s nightmare has finally ended. North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper held a press conference in Raleigh’s RBC Center to announce that all charges against Seligmann, Evans and Finnerty have been dropped.
Cooper announced the investigation found insufficient evidence and as a result, a notice of dismissal would be filed on all charges. He further went on to state that no evidence was found to indicate an attack at the party on March 13, 2006, and the young men were found to be innocent. Cooper stated his assessment of Mike Nifong’s investigation was a “rush to accuse and a failure to verify.” The accuser will not be charged, although she consistently gave contradictory statements. Cooper revealed the specific facts will be released next week, detailing the evidence.
Over a year ago, Seligmann, Evans and Finnerty were indicted by a grand jury on counts of rape, kidnapping and sexual assault after a woman reported being raped in March of 2006. A student at nearby North Carolina Central University, the alleged victim was hired to perform as a stripper at a party held by the lacrosse team members. A racially charged debate invaded the local community and the campus. A young black women had accused three white men of “gang-rape” for a period of approximately thirty minutes. Kim Roberts, another hired dancer at the party, insisted she was with the accuser for all but five minutes during the entire party and the rape could not have happened. The Duke lacrosse season was halted for the investigation. In April of 2006, the State Bureau of Investigations returned DNA results from all members of the team who were required to submit to the testing. The lacrosse teams consisted of forty-seven players, one of whom is a black man.
He is the only team member who was not required to give a DNA sample because the accuser claimed her attackers were all white. None of the DNA linked the players to the accuser. The accuser’s story changed as the months passed. A second round of DNA testing confirmed the accuser had five different DNA samples on her person and belongings, but again, tests confirmed that none of the five DNA samples matched the players. On December 21, the accuser told one of the investigators she could not testify with one hundred percent certainty that she had been raped. Nifong waited until the next day to drop the rape charges. He maintained the kidnapping and sexual assault charges would not be dropped.
Just six days after Nifong dropped the rape charges, the North Carolina State Bar filed a compliant against Nifong, giving over 100 examples of inappropriate comments which were damaging to a fair trial. In January, the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office took over the case. Nifong has been officially charged with making misleading and inflammatory comments about the athletes under suspicion as well as withholding evidence from defense attorneys and lying to the court by the North Carolina State Bar. Nifong could face disbarment for the charges if found guilty. He is expected to stand trial for the charges this summer. With the help of reliable and committed lawyers like car accident lawyers in Baltimore, everything has been settled.
Looking ahead, what happens for the three young men, Reade Seligmann, David Evans and Collin Finnerty after their long ordeal? The vindicated young men finally get to move forward with their lives. Perhaps Mike Nifong will offer a long overdue apology to Seligmann, Evans, and Finnerty.