ELSEWHERE: Defense asks for Duke rape accuser’s records

04/26/2006 (U-WIRE) DURHAM, N.C. – An attorney defending Duke University sophomore lacrosse player Reade Seligmann against sexual assault charges filed a discovery motion Monday, asking prosecutors in the case to release the accuser’s medical, criminal and educational records. “The complaining witness has a history of criminal activity and behavior, which includes alcohol abuse, drug abuse and dishonesty, all conduct which indicate mental, emotional and/or physical problems, which affect her credibility as a witness,” defense attorney Kirk Osborn wrote in the motion. Seligmann and fellow sophomore lacrosse player Collin Finnerty were arrested April 18 after allegedly raping and kidnapping a dancer hired to perform at a March 13 lacrosse party held at 610 N. Buchanan Blvd. According to court documents, the minimal discovery report presented by the prosecution to the defendant shows there is no forensic evidence linking Seligmann to the assault and states the only testimony incriminating him came from the accuser. “This lack of evidence… heightens the need for impeaching material regarding the complaining witness,” the motion stated. All documents regarding the accuser’s mental disability, hospital commitments, drug abuse history and education — as well as her probation, parole and social service records — have been requested. Osborn could not be reached for comment. Finnerty made a court appearance Tuesday in Washington, D.C., and was ordered to stand trial for a charge unrelated to the alleged rape. According to court documents, he and two friends were charged with punching a man last November after the victim told them to “stop calling him gay.” Finnerty’s charges would have been dropped if he had completed 25 hours of community service and was not arrested for six months. A judge, however, ruled that his arrest last week was reason enough to reinstate the charges. New restrictions imposed by the Washington judge demand that Finnerty and his co-defendants adhere to a curfew of 9 p.m. and refrain from being anywhere where alcohol is sold or consumed. Finnerty is scheduled to stand trial for charges of simple assault July 10 in Washington. He may serve six months in prison and receive a $1,000 fine if convicted. District Attorney Mike Nifong said he also intends to reinstate prior charges of several other lacrosse players. Sixteen team members have prior misdemeanor charges but were granted deferred prosecution deals and placed on probation. They were expected to perform community service and abide by both the law and University regulations. “For a long time, we have treated deferred prosecution as a right,” Nifong told the Associated Press. “It is a privilege.” Nifong may reinstate the charges for players whose deferred prosecution deals are still active and those he believes were at the party. As of Tuesday, Nifong had only reinstated the charges against senior David Evans, one of the team captains who leased the house where the party was held. Evans had previously been charged with a noise ordinance violation and underage drinking. He is scheduled to appear in court in May. Nifong told the AP Tuesday he does not plan to present charges in the lacrosse case to the grand jury when it reconvenes May 1. Several lawyers have said a third team member identified by the accuser could be indicted at that time.

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