North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper has assumed control of the Duke lacrosse case, a move that puts fresh eyes on the evidence and on the actions of Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong over the past 10 months, reports the Raleigh News & Observer. Cooper said Jim Coman, a former director of the State Bureau of Investigation and head of the attorney general’s Special Prosecution Section, and Mary Winstead, a prosecutor, will oversee the case. “Agreeing to accept the prosecution of these cases doesn’t guarantee a trial, nor does it guarantee a dismissal,” Cooper said. “It simply promises a fresh and thorough review of the facts and a decision on the best way to handle these cases.”
In the 10 months since an escort service dancer claimed she was gang-raped at a lacrosse team party, Coope has been flooded with pleas that Nifong be removed from the case.p Under state law, a request for a special prosecutor can come only from a district attorney. Nifong, a lightning rod for intense, nationwide attacks, recused himself after hiring a lawyer to defend him against misconduct charges filed by the North Carolina State Bar.