DURHAM - Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong dismissed part of the rape case against three former Duke University lacrosse players today after the accuser told detectives she wasn’t certain about a critical detail of the alleged attack.
Nifong dropped the charge of first-degree forcible rape against David Evans, 23, of Bethesda, Md.; Collin Finnerty, 20, of Garden City, N.Y.; and Reade Seligmann, 20, of Essex Fells, N.J. All maintain their innocence.
The three are still charged with first-degree sexual offense and first-degree kidnapping.
Nifong dropped the charges at 11:37 a.m.
According to the dismissal form, investigator Linwood Wilson interviewed the accuser on Thursday.
“The victim in this case indicated that, while she initially believed that she had been vaginally penetrated by a male sex organ ... she cannot at this time testify with certainty" that it occurred, Nifong wrote. Since such penetration is one of the elements the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt in a prosecution of a charge of first-degree forcible rape, "the State is unable to meet its burden of proof with respect to this offense,” he continued.
It's often been said that if you're trying to hide something in the news cycle you should release the information on firday after the morning edition goes out so that less people will pay attention to it. Even better is if you can manage to get the info out on the friday before a long weekend. Dropping the press release on the friday before christmas however...that's probaly as good as it gets. If you can't manage to bury a story by putting it out then, it's simply not buryable.
Luckily, I think the Duke Lacrosse case falls into that category and all this does is prolong the most screwed up judicial case in recent memory. While I'm happy for the players that there's finally some concrete steps toward sanity, I'm pretty relieved that not all the charges have been dismissed. This means that the trial will continue and it keeps up the pressure and attention on the case. My worry is that if the case just vanished, maybe the slimeballs who have been pushing it will get to slip through the cracks and that would be a travesty. Nifong and the Ho, Ho, Ho deserve to be strung up by their heels and beaten with sacks of bricks.
On a sidenote, WTF was with the statement released by Nifong? "while she initially believed that she had been vaginally penetrated by a male sex organ ... she cannot at this time testify with certainty". The stench of that bullshit is appalling ecspecially given the blow by blow description she gave to the police complete with a list of exactly who did what. Of course, you have to decide which version of the story you're looking at, but in each, she was clear what she claimed happened. Now all of a sudden she can't say with a certainty that it occurred? How the hell could any person who isn't a mongoloid repeat that tripe with a straight face?