Exclusive: Duke Lacrosse Grand Jurors Speak Out

In the spring, a grand jury in Durham, N.C., indicted three Duke University lacrosse players on charges of rape, sexual offense and kidnapping of an exotic dancer.

Now, for the first time, members of that grand jury have broken their silence.

In an exclusive interview with ABC's "Good Morning America," two grand jurors described how they felt about the twists and turns that had rocked the case in the more than 10 months since a fateful lacrosse team party in March 2006.

Fearing reprisals, the two grand jury members chose to remain anonymous, asking that their faces not be shown and their names be withheld, given the controversial and high-profile nature of the case.

Because they are legally constrained from discussing details of what happened in the grand jury room, they discussed only what had happened since the indictments.

When asked whether he would have made the same decision today to indict lacrosse players Collin Finnerty, Reade Seligmann and David Evans, the first grand juror said he had second thoughts.

"Knowing what I know now and all that's been broadcast on the news and in media, I think I would have definitely … made a different decision," he said to ABC News.

"I don't think I could have made a decision to go forward with the charges that were put before us. I don't think those charges would have been the proper charges, based on what I know now," he said.

In contrast, the second grand juror said he did not regret the decision to indict, but he said that he now had new doubts based on what he had learned as the case had unfolded.

"I don't know for sure whether she was raped, you know, because of everything that … came out," he said. "I'm not sure, to tell you the truth."

District Attorney Had Second Thoughts, Too

Ultimately, the district attorney could not be sure either. In December, eight months after the grand jurors brought their indictments, prosecutor Mike Nifong dropped rape charges against the players when the accuser said she could not recall key details of the crime.

The grand jurors who spoke to ABC News described being surprised and baffled by that development.

"What do you mean you're not sure whether you got raped or not? That … didn't add up," said the second grand juror.

"It raised a lot of doubt," the first said.

"The next thing I was wondering is, 'OK. … If you're dropping the rape charges, why are you even going to try to go forward with charges of assault and kidnapping? If no rape occurred, why, why go ahead and try to. … Prosecute on the other charges?'"

Because they are legally constrained from discussing details of the evidence or events that took place inside the grand jury courtroom, the jurors could only talk about what had happened in the time since the indictments.

Certain facts about the Duke lacrosse grand jury have been made public, however.

According to court documents, the only witnesses to testify and present evidence to the jury were Sgt. Mark Gottlieb and investigator Benjamin Himan, both with the Durham Police Department.

The grand jury heard dozens of other cases during the two days that it met to consider the Duke lacrosse case. The jury needed at least 12 out of 18 votes in order to return a "true bill" -- a decision to indict.

Seligmann and Finnerty were indicted on April 17. Evans was indicted on May 15, one day after his graduation from Duke University.

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...