Taxicab Driver Explains Accused Duke Player's Alleged Alibi

Share
Copy

Almostafa said he didn't notice anything unusual or suspicious about Seligmann or the friend who rode with him in the cab. When asked whether he had seen any sign of wrongdoing or any indication that they had been in a struggle, his answer was an immediate "no."

After he dropped off Seligmann, he went back for a second pick up of Duke lacrosse players from the party house. When he arrived, he noticed "a lot of people outside" -- a group of students standing around and a woman walking out of the house, across the driveway and into her car. The woman -- presumably the other dancer who did not accuse the men of rape -- was arguing with the students outside.

There was yelling, the cab driver said, but he said, "I didn't hear any racial [comments], I didn't see any blood, I didn't see any scratch." He also said he didn't hear anything about a rape or assault.

Compared to Reade, the four students he picked up for the second ride "looked like more drunk." Their ride was also much shorter -- Almostafa said only two minutes from the site of the party to a BP gas station at Main Street and Ninth.

Almostafa said he was misquoted in news reports earlier Thursday, which reported him as saying it looked like someone had gotten hurt.

He also said that three days ago Seligmann's father showed up in the cab company's parking saying "we want to see this cab driver, we want to talk to him ... it is really serious." Seligmann was with him.

"We want him to tell us what happened [that night]," Almostafa recalled the student's father, Philip Seligmann, as saying.

Almostafa said he recognized Seligmann but asked him questions to verify that he was the passenger from March 13. "I asked some question what time he picked up ...I even asked him about the amount [of] food. Everything matched my records."

Assuming Almostafa's credibility as a witness holds up, he could be a central witness to the defense. However, the defense would still need to prove that during the time both he and the alleged victim were at the party, he did nothing to justify the charges he's facing, which are set out in a sworn affidavit by the accuser: first-degree forcible rape, first-degree sexual offense, and first degree kidnapping. The kidnapping charge stems from the alleged victim's testimony that she was held against her will and a North Carolina statute that defines kidnapping as "doing serious bodily harm to … the person so confined."

Credibility of Third-Party Witness Could Be Critical

Details of the prosecutor's case, as well as the results of crucial toxicology and DNA evidence are not yet known. ABC News called prosecutor Mike Nifong's office numerous times for comment on the cabdriver's testimony, but our messages were not returned. The victim has identified Seligmann with 100 percent certainty in a photo lineup, according to prosecutors.

Of all the particular rides and passengers he has seen since the night of March 13, why does Almostafa think he remembers Seligmann?

"It was a long trip," he said.

Unlike many callers, these passengers were waiting for Almostafa outside on the street instead of making him wait in front of the house. Perhaps also memorably, Almostafa said that he had received a "nice tip" -- $25 for a roughly $17 fare.

Page
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...