Lawyers press for specifics in lacrosse case

Staff WriterJune 27, 2006 

— Attorneys for an indicted Duke University lacrosse player want to know exactly what the state thinks happened the night a woman told authorities she was raped.

Attorneys for Reade Seligmann say they cannot properly defend him without specific information about District Attorney Mike Nifong's case, according to a motion filed Monday by Kirk Osborn of Chapel Hill and Ernest Conner Jr. of Greenville.

The lawyers wrote that the woman, an escort service dancer, has told several stories about what happened at a March 13 team party at which she says she was raped.

"None of the discovery shows that any crime actually occurred," the lawyers wrote. "It is essential for Reade Seligmann to have a forecast of exactly which of the many stories Mr. Nifong, on behalf of the State and in his own self-interest, will use in his attempt to falsely prosecute the defendant."

Nifong has said that he is ethically bound not to comment publicly and that defense lawyers have used motions to spin the case or present false statements. Nifong could not be reached Monday evening.

In many filings, the lawyers have questioned and criticized Nifong's case against Dave Evans, 23, of Bethesda, Md., Collin Finnerty, 19, of Garden City, N.Y., and Seligmann, 20, of Essex Fells, N.J. Each man faces a charge of rape, sexual offense and kidnapping.

The motion seeks a "bill of particulars," an accounting of the specifics of the three charges against Seligmann. Osborn and Conner are asking a judge to order Nifong to answer 22 questions, such as "Exactly where, when, at what time, and how does the state contend the defendant committed a first degree rape?"

The questions go on to request how Nifong intends to prove his case.

The motion could be heard at the men's next court appearance, set for the week of July 17.

Staff writer Benjamin Niolet can be reached at 956-2404 or bniolet@newsobserver.com.

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