Published December 12, 2006
DURHAM, N.C. – GOP Rep. Walter Jones wants the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate whether the district attorney prosecuting three Duke lacrosse players charged with rape has violated their civil rights.
In his letter to U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Jones also asked the Justice Department to review Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong's actions to determine whether they constitute prosecutorial misconduct.
"Over the past several months, many of my constituents and a growing number of mainstream media outlets have raised serious questions about the accuser's allegations and Mr. Nifong's prosecution," Jones wrote.
Jones' complaints to Gonzales repeat criticisms defense attorneys and others have raised about Nifong's handling of the case.
A grand jury has indicted three lacrosse players accused of raping a stripper at a team party in March. All three have strongly insisted they are innocent, and a trial isn't expected to start until spring.
A phone call to Nifong's office was not immediately returned Tuesday. In an interview with The Associated Press in late October, Nifong said he and the city's police department have not mishandled the case and that his only regret was granting so many interviews to reporters during the investigation's early days.
One of the indicted player's attorneys has written to the entire North Carolina congressional delegation, among others, asking them to support a federal investigation into Nifong's conduct. Jones, of Farmville, represents the state's eastern shore and Outer Banks in a district that is far from Durham in central North Carolina.