Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong has asked to be removed from the faltering Duke lacrosse case and has requested that the North Carolina state attorney general appoint a special prosecutor in his place, officials confirmed Friday.

In recent weeks, many, including President Richard Brodhead, have questioned Nifong's conduct and asked for the district attorney to remove himself from the prosecution of the case. The North Carolina State Bar has filed a formal ethics complaint against Nifong.

"We welcome the news that the district attorney has asked to be removed from this case," John Burness, senior vice president for public affairs and government relations, said in a statement released by the University Friday night.

"As President Brodhead has emphasized, this matter needs to be placed in the hands of an independent party who can restore confidence in the fairness and integrity of the legal process," Burness said. "We hope this change will lead to a fair and speedy resolution of this case."

A spokesperson for North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper said Friday that Cooper had received a letter from Nifong. Cooper and his spokesperson were not immediately available for comment.

Nifong's request comes shortly after court papers filed by the defense revealed that the alleged victim changed several details in her account of the alleged events surrounding the March 13 party. She told investigators that Reade Seligmann did not assault her.

Rape charges against the three indicted members of the 2005-2006 men's lacrosse team were dropped Dec. 22, but all three still face charges of kidnapping and sexual offense.

WRAL reported Friday that Nifong met with the alleged victim for several hours Thursday. Nifong was not available for comment.

The Chronicle Online will continue to post updates as this story develops.