22 October 2006

60 Minutes: Duke rape case, part 5 of 6

(CBS) Without the DNA evidence he had hoped for, the D.A. needed the accuser to identify the three men who had raped her. Days after the party, she was shown photo lineups of 36 lacrosse players and didn’t pick out anyone as her attacker. In fact, she didn’t recognize David Evans at all, and was fairly certain only that she had seen Reade Seligmann somewhere at the party. So, two weeks later, the D.A. supervised another line-up, this one showing mugshots of all 46 white players on the team.

"It felt like Russian roulette," Seligmann recalls. "It could have been any single one of us. Kids were even calculating their chances of what the percentage was that you would get picked."

This time, Seligmann did get picked. The accuser said she was 100 percent sure he looked like the person who had forced her to perform oral sex. But Seligmann says that’s impossible, and that he has hard evidence to prove it. Cell phone records show that right after the accuser stopped dancing at the party, Seligmann made nine separate calls over the next nine minutes. The last call was to a taxi company, which picked him up a few minutes later.

Asked why he left when he did, Seligmann says, "I didn't like the tone of the party, and I just, it made me uncomfortable. It's as simple as that. I thought it was a boring party and I didn’t like the tone."

A few minutes later, he was captured on a bank security camera withdrawing cash from an ATM. The taxi driver says they then stopped off at a take-out restaurant, and by 12:46 a.m., Reade Seligmann was back in his dorm.

Seligmann says based on that evidence, it couldn't have been him. "It's impossible. It's impossible for it to have happened," he tells Bradley.

Seligmann says his lawyer offered to present proof of his whereabouts to authorities, but said they didn’t want to hear it.

He says he never once talked to the police about the night. Seligmann says he was never interviewed by police or anyone from the district attorney's office about what happened that night.

The accuser also identified Collin Finnerty in the final photo lineup, saying he raped and sodomized her. Finnerty says he wasn’t there when a rape could have happened, and says he will wait until trial to provide specific documentation that he also left the party early.

Asked when he left the party, Finnerty tells Bradley, "I left soon after I saw them do their act in the room with everybody else. I saw them leave the room. I never saw them again in my life."

As for David Evans, when the accuser saw his photograph for a third time, having been unable to recognize him before, she said she was 90 percent sure Evans had raped her – but, she added, the man who raped her had a mustache.

But Evans maintains he did not have a mustache that night. "Absolutely not. And, I tried to provide the district attorney with photographs showing that I didn't, and he refused to view them," he says.

Still, the players were indicted, based largely on the results from that final photo line-up. How did that happen?

60 Minutes asked James Coleman, a prominent law professor at Duke University Law School who helped establish guidelines in North Carolina designed to protect against false identifications in police line-ups. He says this line-up broke one basic principle: there were no “filler” photos, no pictures of people not connected to the case. The accuser only saw photos of lacrosse players who police told her were at the party.

"If she’s told all of these people who were considered suspects were at the party, so you pick three and we’ll indict those three," Coleman says.

"So she can’t make a mistake," Bradley remarks.

"Can’t make a mistake," Coleman replies.

Professor Coleman says the line-up ordered by the D.A. for the Duke lacrosse case violated local, state and federal guidelines. The D.A. has been quoted as saying that will be up to a judge to decide.

Asked why a district attorney would order a line-up that breaks virtually every rule in the book, Coleman says, "Well that's a good question for the D.A. But I assume that, you know after his initial performance, in this case, he needed to indict at least three players. And charge them with what he said was a rape that had occurred."

So, what is the evidence that suggests a rape did occur? The district attorney, Mike Nifong, who has repeatedly declined 60 Minutes' requests for an interview, told a local reporter the evidence could be found in the medical reports.

"My reading from the emergency room nurse would indicate that some sort of sexual assault did in fact take place," he said.

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