Cabbie: Lacrosse player acted normally

The Associated PressApril 20, 2006 

Reade Seligmann

Duke lacrosse player Reade Seligmann was arrested and charged April 18 with first degree forceable rape, first degree sexual assault and kidnapping in a case involving an exotic dancer who said she was raped at a lacrosse team party held in Durham.

AP PHOTO BY GERRY BROOME

DURHAM -- A cab driver called to take a Duke University lacrosse player home from a team party says his passenger, now charged with raping an exotic dancer, seemed calm and even jovial that night. But a second passenger he picked up later was talking about a stripper, he said.

Moez Mostafa said the second passenger spoke about a stripper in a tone that made it "look to me like somebody get hurt."

Defense attorneys have said they have time-stamped photos from the party, bank records, cell phone calls and a taxi driver's statement to support Reade Seligmann's claim that he is innocent of raping the woman on the night of March 13.

A person close to the case told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Wednesday that the cell phone records show Seligmann called for a taxi at 12:14 a.m., and that according to sworn testimony he left in the taxi at 12:19 a.m.

The bank records show he stopped at an ATM five minutes later, the person added, while information provided by Duke shows Seligmann's ID card was used to enter his dorm at 12:46 a.m.

Mostafa declined to speak to The Associated Press on Wednesday but confirmed to other media outlets that he picked up Seligmann and another passenger at 12:19 a.m., took them to a bank and a drive-through hamburger stand, then dropped them off at a Duke dormitory.

"They were just joking and laughing inside my car and everything just fine," Mostafa said in accented English in an interview broadcast Thursday on ABC's "Good Morning America."

In an interview on MSNBC, Mostafa said he returned to the house later to pick up another customer. He said he remembered that person "said in a loud voice, 'She just a stripper.'"

Asked whether the second fare was complaining about the stripper or whether it appeared something bad had happened to her, Mostafa initially said he didn't "have any information about what was going on in the house."

"When I look back, he look like he mad at the stripper. Or the stripper, she going to call the police and she just a stripper. ... It look to me like somebody get hurt. But what kind of harm, ... I have no idea."

The accuser, a 27-year-old student from a nearby college, told police she was attacked by three white men at a house where she and another woman were hired to dance at a lacrosse team party on March 13. According to defense attorneys, DNA tests conducted on the team's players failed to connect any of them to the alleged rape.

Seligmann and fellow sophomore Collin Finnerty were indicted Monday on charges of first-degree rape, sexual offense and kidnapping. Each posted $400,000 bond Tuesday and was released.

Mostafa said he didn't realize his first customers had anything to do with the case until an attorney telephoned him a week or so ago. He told the Herald-Sun of Durham that he was initially reluctant to talk but changed his mind after a visit from Seligmann's father.

"I didn't want to get involved, but when his father came and said it was a really serious situation, I talked to them," he told the newspaper.

He said he was confident he remembered the episode correctly, not so much because the passengers paid $25 for an $18 cab ride but "because I wait for them a long time and they make my car smell, that's the only reason I have that in my mind."

He said he was sure he recognized Seligmann, though he didn't know the other passenger.

"Yeah, I know (Seligmann's) face that time and I recognize him and I still remember his face," Mostafa told MSNBC.

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AP National Writer Allen G. Breed and Associated Press Writer Tim Whitmire contributed to this report.

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