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Rep. Jones asks for investigation into Nifong's conduct

A North Carolina congressman has written to the U.S. Department of Justice calling for an investigation into the prosecution of the three indicted Duke men's lacrosse players.

In a letter to U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Rep. Walter Jones, R-Dist. 3, asked the attorney general to review whether Nifong has committed prosecutorial misconduct.

"I think the way this district attorney has handled the case is questionable at best," Jones said in an interview with The Chronicle. "There are serious questions as to whether these three young men have had their Constitutional rights violated."

Jones said he does not expect a response from Gonzales within "days or even weeks," but he did call the attorney general's assistant to confirm the letter had been received and read.

In addition to the letter, Jones said he sent a DVD containing Ed Bradley's "60 Minutes" segment that featured the case.

"I thought [the show] raised serious doubts and very serious questions," Jones said.

The timing of the letter comes just two weeks after Jones visited campus to speak to Duke College Republicans-a trip that he said spurred his interest in the case.

Jones said he has received several letters of complaint about the case from people in his district, but he has not made an attempt to contact Gov. Mike Easley or Rep. David Price, D-Dist. 3, who represents Durham.

"Many of my constituents have expressed concern to me [regarding] prosecutorial misconduct," Jones wrote in the letter. "I urge you to look into these matters to ensure that Mr. Nifong's actions have not illegally denied the accused of their civil rights as American citizens."

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