N.C. Attorney General Drops Duke Charges, Calls Original Investigation ‘Tragic Rush to Accuse’

RALEIGH, N.C. – The remaining charges against the Duke University lacrosse players originally accused of rape were dropped April 11 by North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper.

Cooper dropped the charges of kidnapping and sexual offense against former Duke students David Evans, Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty, finally putting an end to the case that lasted more than a year. Rape charges were already dropped last December when the accuser submitted contradictory testimony to her original allegations.

Despite weak evidence that continued to crumble throughout the life of the investigation, former Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong pressed on with the case, leading to criticism from the community, the university and members of the bar. Nifong went as far as calling the accused student-athletes “hooligans” before withdrawing from the case and being charged by the North Carolina bar with making misleading and inflammatory comments to the media and withholding evidence from defense attorneys and lying to the court.

Cooper called the actions of the Nifong a “tragic rush to accuse” and that “a lot of people owe a lot of apologies to a lot of people.”

Cooper also called for a law allowing North Carolina Supreme Court to remove a district attorney where justice demands it.

For previous related coverage of this story by CS, click here.

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