Durham, N.C., District Attorney Mike Nifong yesterday apologized to three wrongly accused former Duke University lacrosse players, but said that he had lacked access to important evidence, reports the Raleigh News & Observer. Nifong’s statement seemed unlikely to change the minds of legal experts, lawyers, and residents who say the prosecutor should resign. It was the first time the defiant district attorney has publicly abandoned his assertions that the lacrosse players were guilty.
Nifong did not address allegations from the lacrosse players’ lawyers that he ignored and withheld evidence to support the conflicting and shifting stories of the accuser, Crystal Gail Mangum. Dave Evans, 24, of Bethesda, Md.; Collin Finnerty, 20, of Garden City, N.Y.; and Reade Seligmann, 21, of Essex Fells, N.J.; were in Raleigh to hear N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper tell the world that they were victims of a prosecutor who favored bravado over justice. “This is not an apology,” said Joseph B. Cheshire V, an attorney for Evans. “This is another attempt by Mr. Nifong at revisionist history, the same thing he has done with the facts throughout this entire case.”