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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Finally: Duke Charges Dropped

Updated - today's items:

"fiat justitia ruat caelum" – let justice be done though the heavens may fall.

Reports: Duke lacrosse sex case to be dropped (video) — Prosecutors have decided to drop all charges against three Duke lacrosse players accused of sexual assaulting a stripper at a team party, a person close to the case told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The North Carolina Attorney General’s office, which took over the case in January after the local district attorney was accused of ethics violations, said it would have an announcement on the case at 2:30 p.m.

Prosecutors did not say what the announcement would be...

Decision in Duke Lacrosse Case Awaited — The state Attorney General's Office has scheduled a 2:30 p.m. news conference to discuss the case. It is unclear whether Attorney General Roy Cooper will be at the news conference at the RBC Center, which can accommodate the crush of national media interested in the case.

The Associated Press, citing sources close to the investigation, reported Wednesday morning that all charges would be dropped in the case...

LieStoppers blog:
Attorney General's Office: Announcement Today at 2:30PMWRAL is reporting that the North Carolina Attorney General's Office will hold a press conference this afternoon at the 21,000 seat RBC Center in Raleigh...

LieStoppers has learned that defense attorneys will also hold a press conference today. Theirs is scheduled for 4:00pm at the Sheraton Capital Center in Raleigh. Representatives from LS will attend both news conferences. Look for updates throughout the day here and at the LS Forum.

Jeff Barker, Baltimore-Sun:
Players' parents ask Duke to pay legal fees — Estimates go as high as $3M; no decision has been made — Duke lacrosse parents have asked if the university will pay legal fees, estimated as high as $3 million, that the families incurred after a woman alleged she was sexually assaulted by three players at a party last year.

The informal request, which raises some legal issues, was made at a campus meeting of several dozen parents, Duke president Richard Brodhead and Robert Steel, the chair of Duke's board of trustees. Duke neither granted the request nor dismissed it out of hand, according to family members present...
LS forum: Players' parents ask Duke to pay legal fees, Estimates go as high as $3M

Anne Blythe, News & Observer:
Decision set today in lacrosse case — Attorney General Roy Cooper plans a news conference at 2:30 p.m. today to announce his decision in the Duke University lacrosse case.

ABC News and the Associated Press cited unnamed sources as saying Cooper would drop sexual assault and kidnapping charges against three former lacrosse players.

Cooper's decision follows what his office called "a thorough review of the case" by attorneys in his Special Prosecutions Division. The Attorney General's Office took over the case Jan. 13 at the request of Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong.

The news conference will take place in the press briefing room at the RBC Center at 1400 Edwards Mill Road...

comment: Is NC Attorney General Roy Cooper a friend or foe of justice? If Cooper confirms that Crystal Gail Mangum and Mike Nifong are liars, we have the beginning of truth and justice in this case. If he does not, then a serious injustice remains in North Carolina.

Jeff Barker, Baltimore Sun:
Families' wait is almost over — Parents of the indicted players and of current team members have long said they wanted to be present when prosecutors from the state attorney general's office announced a decision that the families believe will exonerate the defendants...

"I think the critical thing could be the wording," Duke law professor Paul Haagen said. "It could simply say the state can no longer prove its case, which would be a very harmful outcome for the community." Or, Haagen said, the decision "could provide a full accounting of why the case should never have been brought."
KC Johnson: Haagen Quote

CNN satellite truck parked outside a defense lawyer's office in RaleighAnne Blythe & Joe Neff, News & Observer:
Players in lacrosse case gather — An announcement may be near on how prosecutors will proceed in the sex-assault prosecution of three former Duke athletes - The three former players accused in the Duke University lacrosse prosecution came to the Triangle on Tuesday amid widespread speculation that an announcement in the case could be close.

For weeks, Cooper's spokeswoman has said that special prosecutors Jim Coman and Mary D. Winstead were close to wrapping up their investigation into an escort service dancer's allegations that thrust Durham and Duke University into the national spotlight...

The office had little to say Tuesday. "We have nothing scheduled at this point," Noelle Talley, the spokeswoman, said late in the day.

For much of this week, though, there has been speculation among the news media and others who follow every twist and turn of the case that the direction prosecutors will take will soon be clear.

"We have gotten at least 57 media calls," Talley said. "We've gotten calls from both people far and near, from people flying in to town and people who are here."

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