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January 11, 2007
If This Was A Fight, They Would Have Called It

The case of the Duke non-rape has gotten even stranger, if such a thing could be possible. The lawyers defending the Duke University students accused of the sexual assault have filed a motion that outlines all of the ways in which the accuser has changed her story since her allegations made national headlines:

The statement layers new and contradictory accounts over the woman's previous statements:

* In her latest statement she said the attack ended at midnight.

In previous accounts, the woman said the gang-rape ended shortly before she left in the car driven by Kim Roberts, the second dancer. Roberts called 911 as she was driving away at 12:53 a.m., according to police records. This new account leaves 50 minutes unaccounted between the end of the rape and the departure from the party.

The new statement runs contrary to time stamped photos of the party, which show the two women dancing between 12:00 and 12:04 a.m. in the living room of the house at 610 N. Buchanan Blvd.

* In the latest statement, the woman says she arrived at the party at 11:10 p.m. on March 13 and that the rape began at 11:40 p.m. Her cell phone records show that she was on phone with her father and others up to one minute before the rape allegedly started.

* The woman now said her alleged assailants used multiple names.

Nor is that the last of the changes. She has now changed her description of at least one of the assailants. She claimed that Evans had a moustache. After pictures immediately before and after the party showed a clean-shaven young man, she then said he had a "five o'clock shadow". She also exchanged two of the accused during one part of the attack months after her initial statements.

The big question is what Mike Nifong thinks he can do with the accuser as a witness. She has destroyed her own credibility by offering so many different versions of the story. Not only has she changed her testimony, but the changes seem tailored to address exculpatory evidence unearthed by the defense. Seligmann had evidence that showed he had left the house by the time the attack supposedly occurred. Presto! The story changes so he can fit within the timeline -- even though the district attorney has pictures of the accuser still dancing at the party after the time of the attack, under the new timeline.

District attorneys have the responsibility to determine the validity of a case before filing charges. They are not attorneys representing complainants as if in a civil court; they represent the People, which includes the defendants as well as the accuser. They have a role to seek justice, not just a splashy conviction. Nifong has connived to cheat the system and has allowed a laughable case to proceed that has absolutely no chance of succeeding.

The people of Durham need to put an end to this circus. A recall effort to remove Nifong from office should at least be considered, if the state Bar will do nothing about this travesty.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at January 11, 2007 8:43 PM

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