Court documents in the Duke lacross team rape case increasingly suggest that Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong had very little evidence upon which to indict three players, Newsweek reports. The magazine says that the available evidence is so thin or contradictory that it seems fair to ask what Nifong could have been thinking when he confidently told reporters that there was “no doubt” in his mind that the woman had been raped at the party held by the lacrosse team.
Nifong declined an interview request, Newsweek said, but sent an angry e-mail accusing the national media of getting spun by defense lawyers and sticking to his earlier comments. “None of the ‘facts’ I know at this time, indeed, none of the evidence I have seen from any source, has changed the opinion that I expressed initially,” he wrote. He lashed out at “media speculation” (adding, “and it is even worse on the blogs”). It is not certain that the accuser will go forward with the case. Ten years ago she claimed she had been raped three years earlier by three men, but her father told reporters that the rape never happened, and she never followed through with the authorities. He said his daughter is struggling with her “nerves” and may not be up to testifying in a trial. Duke law professor James Coleman asked Nifong to remove himself and name a special prosecutor. “Either he knew what the facts were and misstated them, or he was making them up,” Coleman said. “Whether he acted knowing they were false, or if he was reckless, it doesn’t matter in the long run. This is the kind of stuff that causes the public to lose confidence in the justice system.”