- The Washington Times - Friday, January 12, 2007

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — 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 claimed attack in March, according to papers filed yesterday by the defense.

The attacker identified as Reade Seligmann was repeatedly urged to take part, she 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 filing said.

Lawyers have said Seligmann, 20, has a girlfriend, but there has been no indication that he was engaged or married.

The new description of Seligmann’s role was one of several changes the accuser made in her story during a Dec. 21 interview with an investigator from District Attorney Mike Nifong’s office, the defense said.

In that same interview, the accuser also said she was no longer certain she had been raped as defined by North Carolina law.

That led Nifong to dismiss rape charges against Seligmann and fellow defendants Dave Evans and Collin Finnerty. The players, who have steadfastly declared their innocence, remain charged with sexual offense and kidnapping.

Both Nifong and James P. Cooney III, an attorney for Seligmann, did not return a call seeking comment.

Yesterday’s motion added to a previous defense attack on the photo lineup in which the accuser identified the three players. The defense plans to argue at a Feb. 5 hearing that the lineup should be tossed out. Experts have said there appears to be little evidence outside of the accuser’s testimony to support the charges, and without the photo lineup, they argue Nifong would probably have to drop the case.

The defense has repeatedly attacked the credibility of the accuser, citing the many different versions she has provided to authorities.

The defense motion includes the investigator’s report of the Dec. 21 interview, during which she made several other changes in her account of the March 13 party where she and another woman were hired to perform as a strippers.

Among them, that 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 supposed 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 she was on her on the 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.

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