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Lawyers question dancer's plea deal in '02
Herald-Sun ^ | 5/17/06 | John Stevenson

Posted on 05/17/2006 10:06:43 PM PDT by freespirited

Defense lawyers suggested Wednesday that the District Attorney's Office may have shown favoritism as early as 2002 to an exotic dancer who claimed she was gang raped during a Duke University lacrosse party in March.

In a written motion filed in Durham County Superior Court, attorneys for indicted rape suspect Reade Seligmann asked why the dancer received "such a favorable plea bargain" for criminal charges arising out of a drunken, stolen-car, high-speed police chase in June 2002.

Court records show that even though the woman was charged with four felonies and numerous other traffic violations, the offenses were plea-bargained down to misdemeanors and she received only probation.

But District Attorney Mike Nifong, who is handling the rape case, and who was an assistant prosecutor in 2002, said Wednesday he had nothing to do with the plea deal four years ago. He said he didn't know which local prosecutor negotiated it.

Wednesday's motion was submitted by lawyers Kirk Osborn and Ernest Conner.

"I think this is just Kirk's way of suggesting something untoward happened," said Nifong. "He can argue it in court and a judge can rule on it."

Seligmann is scheduled for a preliminary appearance in Durham County Superior Court today. His lawyers have asked that various motions be heard, including a request to reduce Seligmann's bond from $400,000 to $40,000.

Although Seligmann posted the bond by certified check and was released from jail last month, the money was supplied by a family friend who would like to have much of it back, a defense motion says.

But even though Seligmann's lawyers have asked to argue certain motions this afternoon, there is no guarantee they will get their way.

Nifong said it might be too early to deal with such business at today's so-called "first setting" of the case.

"I'm not sure exactly what's going to happen," he said. "The purpose of a first setting is not to hear motions. Generally, they are heard at the second setting. It will be up to the judge."

The other indicted rape suspects, Collin Finnerty and David Evans, also are free under $400,000 bonds. They are due for preliminary court appearances next month.

The alleged mid-March sexual attack supposedly occurred during a lacrosse party at 610 N. Buchanan Blvd., where one of the exotic dancers claimed she was raped, sodomized and beaten for some 30 minutes in a bathroom by three Duke students.

In addition to seeking information about the 2002 incident, Seligmann's attorneys filed papers Wednesday asking for numerous details about the ongoing rape investigation. Among other things, they asked Nifong to give them recordings of 911 calls made the night of the alleged rape, along with notes and memoranda pertaining to communications between Nifong and Duke University on the subject.

Details about the exotic dancer's complete criminal history, as well as that of the second dancer at the party, also are sought in the newly filed motion.

Finally, defense attorneys said they want investigative files pertaining to various employers of the two dancers, including Allure Escort Services and Bunny Hole Entertainment.

If Nifong doesn't voluntarily surrender the requested information within seven days, a judge should order him to do so, lawyers Osborn and Conner wrote.

Meanwhile, a Durham County Sheriff's Office report -- reviewed four years ago by Sgt. T.H. McCrae and recently obtained by The Herald-Sun -- provides details of the 2002 car chase involving the alleged rape victim.

The incident began at a topless dance club while the woman was performing for a taxi driver, McCrae wrote.

"As she was feeling him up and putting her hands in his pockets she removed the keys to his taxi cab, without him knowing," the officer said. "He [the cabbie] told her he would drive her home but needed to go to the restroom first. While in the restroom he was advised that she was driving off in his taxi cab."

McCrae said he chased the woman at speeds up to 70 mph in a 55-mph zone until she finally stopped.

"As I began to approach the vehicle she put it in drive and drove towards me," McCrae added. "I jumped out of the way to the right and she missed me. The suspect then struck the right rear quarter of my patrol vehicle."

Another chase ensued, but the woman finally was apprehended after having a flat tire, according to McCrae.

The officer said she registered a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.19 on a portable sensing device -- more than double North Carolina's 0.08 legal threshold for impairment.

And while being questioned, the dancer "passed out and was unresponsive," McCrae said.

She was taken to the emergency room at Duke University Hospital, McCrae's report indicated.

On the night of the alleged rape, the woman was also described by an officer as being "passed out drunk" before being taken to the emergency room and saying she had been assaulted.

In connection with the 2002 incident, the woman was charged with felonious assault with a deadly weapon [the stolen taxi] on a government officer, felonious larceny and felonious possession of a stolen vehicle, felonious speeding to elude arrest, driving while impaired, driving with a revoked license, driving while left of center, ignoring an officer's blue lights and siren, reckless driving, driving the wrong way on a dual-lane highway, having an open alcoholic beverage container in the car, two counts of damaging personal property and resisting a public officer.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: allegations; duke; dukelax; falseallegations; nifong; rapescandal
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Did she receive special treatment? Of course not. Everyone knows that you can only get special treatment if you are white, male, and/or rich.

/sarcasm

1 posted on 05/17/2006 10:06:45 PM PDT by freespirited
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To: Howlin
I'm thinking 'bj'.

L

2 posted on 05/17/2006 10:08:33 PM PDT by Lurker (Insanity is repeating the same action again and again yet expecting different results.)
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To: freespirited
Is there any possibility they will allow a change of venue on this case? I just have a real strong gut feeling these young men are about to be railroaded.

As to this broad getting "special treatment" she probably did a lap dance for the judge. That is just about where my respect for NC justice is right now.

This Nifong character had better have a rock solid, iron clad case, I'm thinking.
3 posted on 05/17/2006 10:18:51 PM PDT by singfreedom ("Victory at all costs,.......for without victory there is no survival."--Churchill--that's "Winston")
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To: freespirited
They will use the rape shield law to make her look like the flying nun...kind of!


4 posted on 05/17/2006 10:26:26 PM PDT by A CA Guy (God Bless America, God bless and keep safe our fighting men and women.)
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To: freespirited

yes, we can let a person steal a car and try to run somebody down without so much as a whimper, BUT THOSE NOISE VIOLATIONS WILL FEEL THE BRUNT OF THE LAW.............lol


5 posted on 05/17/2006 10:27:16 PM PDT by cherry (.)
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To: freespirited
Well, maybe she got special treatment 2 years ago, but that doesn't mean she wasn't raped. Only the facts about the Duke case are relevent; her conduct 3 years ago isn't.

The fact that she's a pathetic tramp who steals cars and tries to run down cops doesn't give anyone the right to rape her.

6 posted on 05/17/2006 10:27:26 PM PDT by curiosity
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To: freespirited
Woops, make that 4 years ago. It's too late for me to be posting. Good night.
7 posted on 05/17/2006 10:28:27 PM PDT by curiosity
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To: freespirited
He said he didn't know which local prosecutor negotiated it.

Nifong is a liar.

8 posted on 05/17/2006 10:30:56 PM PDT by Lancey Howard
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To: freespirited

Would like to see her 'client list'.


9 posted on 05/17/2006 10:32:13 PM PDT by connectthedots
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To: freespirited

your left out Christian


10 posted on 05/17/2006 10:32:34 PM PDT by Scribbz (Navy brat and proud! My dad has more stripes on his butt than you do on your arm!)
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To: freespirited

This is bizarre. How do you get out of charges like these?


11 posted on 05/17/2006 10:34:28 PM PDT by Gwaihir
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To: curiosity
Doesn't give anyone the right to rape her.


You forgot to mention, "Expertly Raped".


That is, she was raped so brutally and expertly by three drunk college kids as to not leave behind not even the slightest bit of evidence, while talking on their cell phones and appearing around town in front of surveillance cameras.


I got to hand it to them for a bunch of amateurs they sure pulled the perfect crime.


(Sarcasm Off)
12 posted on 05/17/2006 10:34:39 PM PDT by dagoofyfoot
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To: freespirited

...performing for a taxi driver?

Dis-MISSED!


13 posted on 05/17/2006 10:35:00 PM PDT by Wally_Kalbacken
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To: Scribbz

your = you


14 posted on 05/17/2006 10:38:28 PM PDT by Scribbz (Navy brat and proud! My dad has more stripes on his butt than you do on your arm!)
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To: curiosity
Actually her past does matter.

She claimed a similar rape by three white guys previously... No one was charged in that case.

There are many details of this rape claim that are very inconsistent.

Most legal people do not understand why these guys are being pursued with the "evidence" at hand.
15 posted on 05/17/2006 10:47:56 PM PDT by DB ()
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To: DB
"Most legal people do not understand why these guys are being pursued with the "evidence" at hand."

What I can't understand is why Nifong, if he has such an air tight case, is going to let these three young men twist in the wind and put their lives on hold for a year before he brings them to trial.

16 posted on 05/17/2006 11:01:57 PM PDT by skimask (People who care what you do don't matter.......People who matter don't care what you do.)
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To: skimask
the real question is....if they are the evil and brutal rapists that Ni-in-a-fog believes they are, why is he allowing them out to rape and brutalize again....

barking dog theory......

17 posted on 05/17/2006 11:09:43 PM PDT by cherry (.)
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To: singfreedom
Is there any possibility they will allow a change of venue on this case?

You're asking the wrong person, but my unqualified opinion is that of course there will be a change of venue if the case goes to trial. Which I doubt it will.

18 posted on 05/17/2006 11:11:49 PM PDT by freespirited
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To: skimask

She was raped by 3 men. And originally the news reported she claimed she was raped by 20 men. Is there a credibility gap here or is there a possibility she is purjuring herself for financial gain (Lawsuit next)


19 posted on 05/17/2006 11:17:45 PM PDT by Dov in Houston
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To: Dov in Houston
She already is getting her ducks in a row for a civil suit, probably before the criminal case comes to trial. She has retained some big shot sue me/sue you lawyer.
20 posted on 05/17/2006 11:43:50 PM PDT by skimask (People who care what you do don't matter.......People who matter don't care what you do.)
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