Cooper is choosy with media interviews

Others are denied; '60 Minutes' isn't

Staff WriterApril 14, 2007 

— N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper refused requests for an interview Friday about his office's Duke lacrosse investigation, despite discussing the case with a reporter from a national broadcast earlier in the week.

At a news conference Wednesday, Cooper did not reveal details about his office's investigation into sexual assault charges against three ex-players, saying a report would be released next week.

A short time later, Cooper sat for an interview with Leslie Stahl with "60 Minutes" and detailed the accuser's inconsistent statements. The segment is to run Sunday.

Cooper's spokeswoman, Noelle Talley, said the attorney general has received 36 interview requests from news outlets and Cooper has granted only the one to "60 Minutes." He is working on other things, Talley explained.

On Wednesday, Cooper announced the dismissal of sexual assault and kidnapping charges against Dave Evans, 24, of Bethesda, Md.; Collin Finnerty, 20, of Garden City, N.J.; and Reade Seligmann, 21, of Essex Fells, N.J.

Talley said Cooper was prepared to speak about several inconsistencies with the accuser's story, but no reporters asked him.

During the question-and-answer session, Joseph Neff, a reporter with The News & Observer, asked about the accuser, Crystal Gail Mangum: "Has she ever told the same story twice?"

"She's told many stories," Cooper said. "Some of the things are consistent within those stories. But there were many stories that were told. We're going to release a lot of this specific information next week."

In response to requests Friday from The News & Observer, Talley did release some information shared with "60 Minutes" about three of Mangum's inconsistent statements: Seligmann was involved in the alleged attack, Mangum was held in the air during the attack, and afterward Seligmann and Evans threw her on the back porch and all three kicked her in the neck. None of the statements was found true.

Staff writer Andrea Weigl can be reached at 829-4848 or aweigl@newsobserver.com.

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