Jus­tice

The Washington Times Weekly - - From Page One -

“I am deeply dis­ap­pointed by yourap­par­ent­de­ci­sion­tode­fer­ade­ci­sion whether to in­ves­ti­gate Mr. Ni­fong’s pros­e­cu­tion of this case,” Mr. King said, re­fer­ring to re­jec­tions two weeks ago of probe re­quests by Reps. Wal­ter B. Jones, North Carolina Repub­li­can, and Carolyn McCarthy, New York Demo­crat.

“I urge you to re­con­sider your de­ci­sion.”

Mr. King said the Jus­tice De­part­ment probe should tar­get Mr. Ni­fong and mem­bers of his staff, in­clud­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tor Lin­dell Wil­son; the Durham Po­lice De­part­ment, in­clud­ing Of­fi­cers Mark Got­tlieb and Ben­jamin Hi­man; and DNA Se­cu­rity Inc., in­clud­ing its di­rec­tor, Brian Mee­han.

He said the in­ves­ti­ga­tion should de­ter­mine whether “th­ese and other in­di­vid­u­als con­spired to vi­o­late and vi­o­lated the con­sti­tu­tion­ally guar­an­teed civil rights of Collin and his two for­mer team­mates.” In ad­di­tion to Mr. Fin­nerty, 20, of Gar­den City, N.Y., Reade W. Seligmann, of Es­sex Fells, N.J.; and David F. Evans, 23, of An­napo­lis, are charged.

Mr. Ni­fong was not avail­able for com­ment. Durham Po­lice Depart- ment spokesman Cpl. David Ad­di­son re­ferred in­quiries Jan. 18 to the dis­trict at­tor­ney’s of­fice. Jus­tice De­part­ment of­fi­cials have said it would be pre­ma­ture to ini­ti­ate an in­ves­ti­ga­tion while crim­i­nal charges are pend­ing.

The pros­e­cu­tor has come un­der in­tense pub­lic scru­tiny over his han­dling of the case. He was named Dec. 28 by the North Carolina State Bar in an ethics com­plaint, ac­cused of “dis­hon­esty, fraud, de­ceit or mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion” in his pub­lic com­ments about the case. The com­plaint said Mr. Ni­fong “knew or rea­son­ably should have known” the state­ments “would have a sub­stan­tial like­li­hood of ma­te­ri­ally prej­u­dic­ing” the case.

Last week, Mr. Ni­fong asked to be re­moved from the case and North Carolina State At­tor­ney Gen­eral Roy A. Cooper has since taken it over. His re­view has be­gun, but it was not clear whether he would be ready for a pend­ing Feb. 5 hear­ing.

“We ac­cept the case with our eyes wide open to the ev­i­dence, but with blin­ders on for all other dis­trac­tions,” Mr. Cooper said.

Mr. Ni­fong handed over the case af­ter two ma­jor rev­e­la­tions:

A Dec. 21 in­ter­view of the 28year-old black wo­man who ac­cused the three white play­ers of rap­ing her af­ter she had been hired as a strip­per to per­form at their dorm house, dur­ing which she said she was not cer­tain Mr. Seligmann had taken part in the as­sault and was not sure whether she had been pen­e­trated dur­ing the at­tack, a nec­es­sary el­e­ment of the crime of rape un­der North Carolina law.

A Dec. 15 hear­ing at which Mr. Mee­han said he shared tests re­sults with Mr. Ni­fong but a sum­mary re­port given to the de­fense did not con­tain the in­for­ma­tion that se­men found inside the ac­cuser did not match any of the Duke play­ers. He said the de­ci­sion not to give the de­fense the ma­te­rial was “an in­ten­tional lim­i­ta­tion” at which he and Mr. Ni­fong ar­rived.

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