Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Duke rape hoax: No evidence to support accuser's story

Associated Press:

The woman who accused three Duke lacrosse players of rape gave contradictory statements to investigators, and there was no credible evidence a crime occurred, the state attorney general's office said Friday.

In a 21-page report outlining the findings of its three-month review of the case, the office said additional evidence uncovered during its investigation backed its determination that the accused players were innocent.

"The state's cases rested primarily on a witness whose recollection of the facts of the allegations was imprecise and contradictory," the report said, adding that the accuser's changing accounts of what happened lead to "insurmountable credibility issues."

The report comes more than two weeks after Attorney General Roy Cooper dropped all remaining charges against former players Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and David Evans. Cooper declared the men innocent, saying they were victims of a "tragic rush to accuse" by Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong.

The accuser had claimed she was assaulted by three players at a March 2006 team party where she was hired to perform as a stripper. A grand jury later indicted Seligmann, Finnerty and Evans on charges of rape, kidnapping and sexual offense.

Their defense attorneys steadfastly proclaimed the players' innocence during the yearlong investigation.

Nifong — who led the case for nine months before recusing himself amid ethics charges — dropped rape charges in December after the accuser changed a key detail in her story. He turned over the case to Cooper's office in January.

In meetings with the accuser, state prosecutors said she "changed her story on so many important issues as to give the impression that she was improvising as the interviews progressed," according to the report.

Prosecutors also said the accuser attempted to explain some contradictions by alleging evidence had been fabricated.

In addition, the accuser was under the influence of prescription drugs during a meeting with the special prosecutors earlier this month. According to the report, she had slurred speech and other mannerisms that were consistent with witness accounts of her behavior at the party.

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Report calls Duke rape charges unsupported

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Duke Rape Case: What Happened At NewsWeek?


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