THE ATTORNEY GENERAL MAKES THE OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT
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The North Carolina Attorney General announced that all of the remaining charges were dropped today against three former Duke University lacrosse players who had been accused of rape more than a year ago, concluding a three-month investigation of a racially charged case that polarized and outraged many in the state and nation.
An independent investigation “showed clearly that there is insufficient evidence to proceed,” Roy A. Cooper, the state Attorney General, said at a televised news conference. ” We believe these individuals are innocent.“ He said the accounts of the events given by the woman who made the accusations were so inconsistent that they were not credible. “She contradicts herself,” Mr. Cooper said. “In this case, the inconsistencies were so significant and so contrary to the evidence that we have no credible evidence that an attack occurred in that house on that night,” he said.
The decision brought to an end a harrowing 13-month ordeal for the young men, two of whom were dismissed from Duke because of the charges.
News Conference: Duke University Lacrosse Players
The Players’ Reactions
The players and their families were greeted by prolonged applause at another news conference that was held later in the day. “All of the men of the Duke University men’s lacrosse team have gone to hell and back, but I hope and all of us sincerely hope it was not in vain,” one of the players (David Evans) told the audience. Evans went on to say,”A great disservice has been done to the sport of lacrosse in this whole thing. A lot of stereotypes, and they’re just not true… I hope these allegations don’t come to define me.” Reade Seligmann, another player said, “This whole experience has opened my eyes to a world of injustice that I never knew existed.”
David Evans’ attorney, Joe Cheshire, admonished the media not to judge suspects before the legal system does,”Roy Cooper said a word today; the word is I-N-N-O-C-E-N-T. I wanted to make sure everybody got that. This is not a great day to celebrate. It is a great day for justice.”
Both the players and lawyers went on to urge legal reforms in North Carolina in order to place more checks and balances on district attorneys.