Exclusive: Duke Lacrosse Grand Jurors Speak Out

Battling charges of ethical misconduct, Nifong recused himself after the North Carolina State Bar opened an investigation into his handling of the case.

What did the grand jurors make of his decision?

"I thought it was the correct thing to do," the first grand juror said. "I don't think he's a bad person. He just maybe made a bad decision."

That sympathy extended to those on all sides of the case.

"A lot of people will be affected by this. If they are found not guilty, and we do [find] out that no assault or kidnapping happened … then you have a lot of lives that were directly affected," the first grand juror said. "You can't go back and undo any of this."

The second expressed particular concern for the accuser, and was particularly worried that her name had been besmirched since the case began.

While her identity has not been revealed in the mainstream media, personal details about her have been circulated on the Internet.

"I think, if anything, the alleged victim. … Her life is ruined," he said.

Both grand jury members emphasized that they felt they did the right thing based on what they knew at the time. By design, grand juries only hear evidence from the prosecution, and the standard for indicting anyone is low.

They also emphasized their position as grand jurors: The grand jury's decision was just a first step, and it is up to the trial process to determine whether a crime actually occurred.

That task now rests with special prosecutors with the North Carolina Attorney General's Office, who are now weighing whether to proceed on the remaining sexual assault and kidnapping charges.

The Duke lacrosse case is back in court on May 7. Nifong's trial on ethics charges by the North Carolina State Bar is scheduled for June.

Rony Camille in Durham contributed to this article.

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