DURHAM, N.C. -- The accuser in the Duke lacrosse sexual
assault case told prosecutors in December that one of the three
players charged did not commit any sex act on her during the
alleged attack, according to papers filed Thursday by the defense.
Reade Seligmann was repeatedly urged to take part in the alleged
attack, the accuser told an investigator, but he said he could not
because he was getting married, the papers said.
"The accuser's most recent recollection of events demonstrates
clearly that she cannot accurately recall and describe her
attackers and that any identification made by her is necessarily
unreliable,'' the defense said.
Lawyers have said Seligmann, 20, has a girlfriend, but there has
been no indication that he was engaged or married.
The description of Seligmann's role in the alleged assault was
one of several changes the accuser made in her account during a
Dec. 21 interview with an investigator from the district attorney's
office, the defense said.
In that same interview, the accuser also said she was no longer
certain she had been penetrated vaginally by a penis, a necessary
element of rape charges in North Carolina.
That led District Attorney Mike Nifong to dismiss rape charges
against Seligmann and defendants Dave Evans and Collin Finnerty.
The players, who have insisted they are innocent, remain charged
with sexual offense and kidnapping.
While the accuser now says Seligmann did not commit a sex act,
he can still be charged with the other crimes if there is evidence
he assisted in the assault, said Ronald Sullivan Jr., a criminal
law professor at Yale University. In her latest statement, the
accuser said Seligmann helped Evans and Finnerty drag her into a
bathroom where the assault allegedly took place.
Nifong did not return a call seeking comment Thursday. James P.
Cooney III, an attorney for Seligmann, said defense attorneys would
During the Dec. 21 interview, the accuser also said the attack
occurred earlier in the evening -- between 11:35 p.m. and midnight --
than she had first reported. The initial police report on the case
suggested the alleged attack took place about midnight.
The new timeline would put the attack outside of the apparent
alibi window established by Seligmann's attorneys, based on records
that include ATM receipts and cell phone records.
But the defense motion said the accuser's cell phone records
show that she was on her phone during part of the time she now says
she was attacked. Records also show Seligmann received a call on
his cell phone during that period, the defense said.
The filing came a day after the judge overseeing the case
ordered a paternity test to determine the father of a child
recently born to the woman. Nifong has said the pregnancy was
almost certainly unrelated to the team party, and both sides agreed
the test should be conducted to silence any doubts.