RALEIGH, N.C. – Three current and former Duke lacrosse players who were not indicted in the discredited rape case have filed a lawsuit against the university, disgraced prosecutor Mike Nifong and dozens of others for inflicting emotional distress.
Ryan McFadyen, Matthew Wilson and Breck Archer also accuse the defendants of negligence, fraud and conspiracy for pursuing the case despite evidence that the allegations were false. Among the accusations: In the middle of a heated police investigation, someone sent a note from Archer's school e-mail address that said, "I am going to go to the police tomorrow to tell them everything that I know."
The 389-page federal lawsuit, which was filed Monday in federal court in Greensboro, names Duke University; Nifong, the former Durham district attorney who was later disbarred for misconduct in the case; and the City of Durham.
The university had no immediate comment about the lawsuit, school spokesman Keith Lawrence said Tuesday. Kimberly Grantham, senior assistant city attorney for Durham, said she wasn't prepared to comment because she hadn't read the entire lawsuit.
Jim Craven, the attorney representing Nifong in a separate lawsuit filed by the three formerly charged players, declined to comment through an office assistant. A call to Nifong's home Tuesday was not immediately returned.
Bob Ekstrand, a Durham lawyer representing the players, also didn't immediately return a call for comment.
Nifong won indictments last year against former players Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and David Evans after a woman told police she was raped at a March 2006 team party where she was hired as a stripper.
As Nifong pressed forward with the case, it eventually became clear the case had no merit.
Nifong eventually dropped the rape charge when the accuser changed a key detail in her story, and he turned the case over to state prosecutors after being charged with ethics violations.
State Attorney General Roy Cooper dismissed remaining charges in April, calling the three innocent victims of Nifong's "tragic rush to accuse."
After being disbarred, Nifong resigned as district attorney and spent a night in jail after a judge held him criminal contempt for lying to the court during a hearing in the case.
Seligmann, Finnerty and Evans reached an undisclosed financial settlement with Duke in June. They have since filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Nifong, the City of Durham and the police detectives who handled the case, among others.