Published January 24, 2007
RALEIGH, N.C. – The career of an investigator working for prosecutors in the Duke lacrosse sexual assault case has included complaints — one that he lied as a witness, The News & Observer of Raleigh reported Wednesday.
Linwood E. Wilson was a retired private detective when the Durham district attorney's office hired him four months before the March 13 lacrosse party where a stripper hired by the team said she was attacked.
Wilson, 58, prosecutor Mike Nifong's only full-time investigator, originally was hired to find people accused of writing worthless checks, The News & Observer said.
Wilson has never been charged with a crime. His file at the state agency that licenses private investigators shows that he was investigated 20 years ago for making false statements on the stand and setting up an illegal wiretap, the newspaper reported.
Wilson said he's ready to stand by his role in the lacrosse investigation.
He also said he's worked with some of the defense attorneys in the case or their law partners as a private investigator.
"If these people feel I'm not a credible witness, I will sit on the stand all day long and say, 'Why did you hire me to work for your client?' Bring it on. My integrity stands for itself. I've never had anybody question my integrity," Wilson said.
The lacrosse case now is in the hands of the state Attorney General's office because Nifong was charged with ethics violations.
In a Dec. 21 interview with Wilson, the accuser changed her story about who assaulted her and when and how it happened. The new statement contradicted her previous accounts and conflicted with cell phone records and time-stamped photos from the party.
Wilson's handwritten notes and a typed report are the only records of the one-on-one interview, because Wilson didn't tape the conversation, the newspaper reported.
Wilson was a private investigator from 1982 to 1998. He did occasional work for criminal defense attorneys but focused his work on divorce and child custody cases.
Wilson was a public safety officer for Durham during the 1970s, working with both the police and fire departments. He was assigned to the patrol and vice divisions but never served as a full-time investigator, according to records.
According to his file at the N.C. Private Protective Service Board, complaints about Wilson's conduct resulted in five formal inquiries.
In 1984, the board looked at allegations that Wilson had put in an illegal wiretap on the telephone of a Durham woman for her estranged husband. Wilson denies the allegation and said a telephone technician set up the tap for the woman's husband.
Two years later, the board reviewed a complaint that accused Wilson of lying on the witness stand and in an investigative report in a divorce case. But another investigator concluded that it would be nearly impossible to prove perjury and there was no record of action in his file.
Wilson's license was renewed six months after the second investigation. When shown the documents, Wilson said he was never aware that he was being investigated.