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McLeod trial to begin in 2015

The next step in the Lewis McLeod sexual assault case will be months away.

The trial will begin in early 2015—likely around February, though an exact date has yet to be set, according to McLeod's lawyer, Rachel Hitch of Schwartz & Shaw in Raleigh.

McLeod, who entered Duke with the Class of 2014, is suing the University for his diploma after being expelled for sexual assault. He was found responsible by the Office of Student Conduct in a February hearing, and again in an April appellate hearing. He filed for a preliminary injunction against the University in May.

The ruling on the injunction had mixed results for McLeod. Superior Court Judge W. Osmond Smith III ruled that without a trial, he cannot receive his diploma but his expulsion cannot be made official, either.

Duke and McLeod are currently in a period of litigation known as discovery, in which both parties share information to prepare for trial, Hitch said.

"Everything is still progressing," she said.

McLeod is an Australian citizen and came to the United States with a student visa. Prior to his student conduct hearing, he secured a job in cash sales trading on Wall Street, to begin after his graduation. Without a diploma, however, McLeod has not been able to start his job, leaving his future in the country uncertain.

The question of McLeod's visa is "ongoing," Hitch said.

Duke's lawyer, Paul Sun—Law '89, of Ellis & Winters in Raleigh—deferred comment to Michael Schoenfeld, vice president of public affairs and government relations. Schoenfeld said that the University cannot comment on pending litigation, but confirmed that both parties are working toward a 2015 trial.


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