Hearing in Duke lacrosse case moved up

DURHAM -- Court officials have moved up the next hearing for three Duke University men's lacrosse players charged with rape due to a scheduling conflict.

Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and David Evans now have their next court hearings scheduled for July 17, which is three days earlier than originally scheduled. The players are not expected in court, though their attorneys will appear at what amounts to a procedural checkpoint in the pretrial system.

The hearing will be the "second setting" for all three players, which is the deadline for filing pretrial motions not dealing with the suppression of evidence.

Seligmann, 20, of Essex Fells, N.J.; Finnerty, 19, of Garden City, N.Y.; and Evans, 23, of Bethesda, Md.; are charged with rape, kidnapping and sexual offense. All three were released on $100,000 bond.

Attorneys for all three players have strongly proclaimed their clients' innocence. A trial isn't expected to begin before spring 2007.