Sources: Duke charges likely to be dropped - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

4/11/07-RALEIGH, North Carolina

Sources: Duke charges likely to be dropped

The players, Reade Seligmann, from left, David Evans, and Collin Finnerty, have maintained their innocence. The players, Reade Seligmann, from left, David Evans, and Collin Finnerty, have maintained their innocence.
The alleged assault took place at an off-campus house in Durham, North Carolina, where Duke lacrosse team members lived. The alleged assault took place at an off-campus house in Durham, North Carolina, where Duke lacrosse team members lived.

RALEIGH, North Carolina (CNN) -- The North Carolina attorney general's office said it will announce a decision Wednesday afternoon in the sexual assault case against three former Duke lacrosse players.

Defense sources have told CNN that they expect charges against the men will be dropped.

All three former players and their families had arrived in Raleigh, North Carolina, by Wednesday.

The attorney general's office has not tipped its hand regarding the charges, but has told local media that interviews related to the case have been completed.

Reade Seligmann, David Evans and Collin Finnerty were charged with first-degree kidnapping and first-degree sexual offense after an escort-service dancer accused them of raping her at a team party in March of last year.

Attorneys for the students have insisted from the start that their clients are not guilty.

In January, the North Carolina attorney general's office took over the case from Michael Nifong, the district attorney who had been handling it. Nifong faces multiple ethics complaints from the state bar over his handling of the case.

Wednesday, defense sources told CNN the defense plans to pursue civil suits against Nifong no matter what decision is announced.

The same sources said that there were no plans to sue the accuser, who was described as "a troubled soul."

If the charges are dropped, it will end a yearlong battle fought in the North Carolina courts.

The allegations of rape, which sparked controversy in the Raleigh-Durham area and quickly moved into the national spotlight, were made last year when a woman hired to perform at a party as a dancer accused the students of raping her.

The woman initially said the three raped her in a bathroom, but the rape charges were dropped in December after she told prosecutors she could no longer testify that she had been penetrated with a penis, one of the defining factors of rape under North Carolina law. In addition, two DNA tests have found no match between any of the three men and their 28-year-old accuser.

The North Carolina state bar filed ethics complaints against Nifong in December and January, accusing him of withholding DNA evidence from the players' defense attorneys and of "making misrepresentations to the presiding judge."

Other ethics complaints said Nifong had made inappropriate comments to the media about evidence, testimony, and the students' character and credibility.

Nifong will be tried by the bar in June and could be disbarred if he's found guilty, AP reported.

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