Duke rape hoax: Hearing delayed while lawyers confer
A critical hearing in the Duke lacrosse sexual assault case has been postponed until May as the new prosecutors, who took over from embattled District Attorney Mike Nifong, study the evidence.
Prosecutors from the state attorney general's office met with defense attorneys for about two hours Tuesday, the first meeting between the parties since the state took over the case from Nifong earlier this month.
Defense attorneys said afterward that a planned Feb. 5 hearing would be rescheduled.
"We will use this time to continue reviewing the case files, talking to the many people involved in the cases, and making sure that all discovery requests have been responded to properly," state Attorney General Roy Cooper said in a statement.
The accuser in the case was expected to appear at the Feb. 5 hearing and defense attorneys planned to ask Superior Court Judge W. Osmond Smith III to throw out her photo identifications of the defendants.
Legal experts have said without the woman's photo identifications, prosecutors would probably have to dismiss the charges against players Dave Evans, Reade Seligmann, and Collin Finnerty.
In December, Nifong dropped charges of rape against the three athletes after the 28-year-old woman changed a key detail of her account of the March 13 party where she was hired to perform as a stripper. The players still face charges of sexual offense and kidnapping and have consistently maintained their innocence.
Nifong asked state prosecutors to take over the case after the North Carolina State Bar charged him in December with ethics violations that could lead to his disbarment. Last week, the bar added a new set of charges.
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