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Lax father: Charges to be dropped

The remaining charges against three former Duke men's lacrosse players are likely to be dropped soon, but there is no set date for such an announcement, parents of the indicted players said Thursday.

Citing information from Inside Lacrosse Magazine writer Paul Caulfield, first reported Thursday morning that the sexual assault and kidnapping charges against Dave Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann would be dropped within "the next few days." Parents of the indicted players confirmed to The Chronicle the case was nearing its end but said it was not yet clear when it would formally happen.

"We don't exactly know what the day is," said Philip Seligmann, father of Reade. "All I can say as far as [the families] are concerned is it can't be soon enough. We've been waiting for that day for almost a year now."

Reade Seligmann, Finnerty and Evans were indicted last spring by Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong based on accusations stemming from a March 13, 2006 party at a house near Duke's East Campus. An exotic dancer hired to perform at the party later said she was raped, but DNA evidence did not support her testimony and court records showed a pattern of her changing her story.

Nifong dropped the rape counts against the three Dec. 22, but he said he planned to continue to pursue a trial on the outstanding charges of sexual assault and kidnapping. Less than a week later, the North Carolina State Bar filed an ethics complaint against Nifong, alleging misconduct due to "prejudicial" comments he had made to the media before the indictments.

Under fire from the Bar, Nifong recused himself from the case Jan. 12, and North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper announced his office would preside over the case.

Since then, special prosecutors Jim Coman and Mary Winstead have been reviewing the case file. The next hearing in the case is currently scheduled for May.


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