“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.