Former Duke players file civil rights suit

Oct. 5, 2007 at 12:07 PM
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DURHAM, N.C., Oct. 5 (UPI) -- Three former Duke lacrosse players wrongly accused of rape filed a civil rights lawsuit against the ex-district attorney and others who pursued the claims.

The lawsuit filed Friday by Dave Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann named the city of Durham, N.C., police officials and the DNA laboratory hired by the disbarred former DA Mike Nifong.

The lawsuit called the matter "one of the most chilling episodes of premeditated police, prosecutorial and scientific misconduct in modern American history," the News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., reported.

The three players were charged with raping an exotic dancer in March 2006. After taking over the investigation earlier this year, the state Attorney General said no crime occurred, declaring the men innocent. In June, the State Bar stripped Nifong of his law license for making inflammatory public statements and hiding evidence that showed the players' innocence.

The lawsuit alleged the defendants charged the men with rape, even though they knew the accusations were "a total fabrication ... contradicted by physical evidence, documentary evidence, other witnesses, and even the accuser herself."

The suit did not name the accuser.

The three players seek unspecified damages and reforms in the Durham Police Department.

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