March 14: After forcibly removing her from Kim Roberts’ car, police transported the accuser to a mental health facility—where, after prompting from an intake nurse, she claims to have been raped. Over the next several hours, to various police and medical personnel, she said she was raped by (depending on the version) 20, 5, 3, 2, and zero people, for a 30-minute period. The SANE exam, however, discovered only “diffuse edema of the vaginal walls”—a non-existent injury.
March 16: Operating under the assumption that, as the accuser had claimed, her attackers were named Matt, Adam, and Bret, the
March 16: Captains Dave Evans, Dan Flannery, and Matt Zash voluntarily gave statements, DNA samples, and their e-mail and IM passwords; their offer to take lie-detector tests was spurned, for reasons unknown, by the Durham Police.
March 21: When the accuser returned to the police station to pick up some of her other items, she was shown two more six-player arrays. She recognized no one, despite being shown Dave Evans’ photo twice.
March 22: After describing the accuser’s allegations as a “crock” two days before, Kim Roberts gave her statement to police, in which she contradicts every important aspect of the accuser’s March 14 and March 16 stories.
March 23: Nifong’s office obtained a court order for all 46 white players on the team to submit DNA samples. The motion neglected to inform the court that the accuser had failed in photo lineups to identify as her attackers at least 36 players on the team, falsely cited evidence of the players using first-name aliases, and promised, “The DNA evidence requested will immediately rule out any innocent persons, and show conclusive evidence as to who the suspect(s) are in the alleged violent attack upon this victim.”
March 24: Nifong assumed personal command of the police investigation, a flagrant violation of normal procedure. The captains met with various Duke administrators affirming their innocence; the administrators expressed full belief in the captains.
March 25, morning and afternoon: The N&O ran an above-the-fold interview with the “victim” that uncritically accepted her story—hook, line, and sinker—of a racially horrific gang rape. The potbangers began to organize; with public pressure increasing, Duke cancelled the lacrosse game against
March 25, evening: The accuser was captured on videotape pole-dancing in an extremely limber fashion.
March 26: The most infamous of the potbangers’ protests occurred.
March 27-28: In his first public comments on the matter, Nifong repeatedly expressed confidence that a rape occurred and that the DNA evidence produced by the court order would solve the case.
March 28: Brodhead suspended the season indefinitely.
March 28: Police learned that two non-lacrosse players attended the party.
March 28: Political science professor Kim Curtis penned an email suggesting that two of the students in her class, including Kyle Dowd, were covering up a rape.
March 29: Apparently having learned that DNA tests came back negative, Nifong mused, “How does DNA exonerate you? It's either a match or there's not a match. If the only thing that we ever have in this case is DNA, then we wouldn't have a case.”
March 29: African-American Studies professor Houston Baker issued a public letter denouncing the “abhorrent sexual assault, verbal racial violence, and drunken white male privilege loosed amongst us” and demanding the “immediate dismissals” of “the team itself and its players.”
March 29: Nifong reasoned, “One would wonder why one needs an attorney if one was not charged and had not done anything wrong.”
March 31, morning: In a Chronicle op-ed, History professor and former dean of the faculty William Chafe suggested that the actions of the whites who lynched Emmett Till formed the appropriate historical context through which to interpret the behavior of the lacrosse players.
March 31, 12.23pm: In a meeting with the two chief police investigators on the case, Nifong ordered a second photo lineup. Only this time, he told the officers, they were to ignore
April 4, 11.29 am: The accuser’s procedurally flawed photo ID session began. Eventually, she identified four players, of whom Nifong charged three. (He couldn’t charge all four, since none of the accuser’s myriad stories had cited an attack by four players, though she had claimed at one point that five had attacked her.) The accuser said she was 100% certain that Reade Seligmann looked like a person who attacked her, while she commented, after seeing a photo of Dave Evans, to be 90% certain that the photo resembled someone with a mustache who attacked her. Evans has no mustache.
April 4, 3.59pm: The Durham Police made their first, and ultimately fateful, contact with DNA Securities and Dr. Brian Meehan.
April 5: After the release of Ryan McFadyen’s American Psycho email, Brodhead demanded Pressler’s resignation, canceled the lacrosse season, and issued a statement opening with a lament on the evils of rape—at a time when the players were firmly denying any sexual contact, much less rape.
April 5: Brodhead announced creation of the Campus Culture Initiative, with three of the four subgroups chaired by three of the most extreme campus critics of the lacrosse team—Karla Holloway, Peter Wood, and Anne Allison.
April 6: Eighty-eight members of Duke’s arts and sciences faculty signed a public statement saying “thank you” to campus demonstrators who had distributed a “wanted” poster of the lacrosse players and publicly branded the players “rapists.”
April 6: The accuser gave a written statement contradicting both her earlier version of events and the second dancer’s statement. (Police never re-interviewed the second dancer to resolve the discrepancies.) That same day, the accuser’s “driver” told police that before the party, she was behaving erratically and had fulfilled a variety of one-on-one “appointments.”
April 10: Nifong traveled to
April 10: Nifong supplied DNA test results from the State lab to defense attorneys, who publicly announced that all 46 were negative.
April 11: Nifong attended a forum at NCCU, where participants make clear t him that he would get the black vote he needed to win the primary only by securing indictments. In a chilling remark that captured sentiment in the auditorium, NCCU junior Chan Hall said that the Duke students should be prosecuted “whether it happened or not. It would be justice for things that happened in the past.”
April 11: Nifong met with the accuser for the only time before seeking indictments. They didn’t talk about the case; Nifong later describes her as sullen and withdrawn.
Mid-April: Nifong loaned his campaign more than $22,000.
April 14: Police, acting under Nifong’s orders, arrived at Duke dorms to question lacrosse players outside the presence of their counsel, a violation of the state bar’s ethics code. Brodhead never publicly protested the act.
April 17: The grand jury indicted Seligmann and Collin Finnerty; no notes remain of their session.
18 April: Nifong ordered the arrest of Seligmann and Finnerty.
April 18: Nifong refused to meet with Kirk Osborn, Seligmann’s attorney, to discuss evidence Osborn claimed would prove his client’s innocence.
April 20: Responding to the arrests, Brodhead told the Durham Chamber of Commerce, “If our students did what is alleged, it is appalling to the worst degree. If they didn’t do it, whatever they did is bad enough.”
April 22: In a article that essentially previewed the first round of state bar ethics filings against Nifong, the N&O explored the D.A.'s procedurally improper statements.
May 1: Osborn filed a motion detailing unimpeachable electronic evidence—culminating in an ATM video of him a mile away at the time of the alleged attack—proving his innocence.
May 2: Nifong captured the Democratic nomination for a full term as D.A. by 883 votes.
May 11: Acting upon a nearly three-year-old unserved warrant, the D.A.’s office ordered the arrest of the cab driver who picked up Seligmann on the night of the party, Moezeldin Elmostafa. At the trial, which resulted in a quick acquittal, Himan’s notes indicated that “Mr. Nifong wanted to know when we picked [Elmostafa] up.”
May 12: An article in the N&O featured an "I-am-not-a-crook" comment from Nifong, with the D.A. asserting that the arrest of Elmostafa was "no ploy."
May 15: Nifong brought an indictment against a third player, Dave Evans, refusing offers from Evans’ attorneys to show that he didn’t have a mustache the night of the party, as the accuser claimed.
May 15: Nifong engaged in a profanity-laced public tirade against one of the unidncited lacrosse players’ attorneys, Kerry Sutton.
June 13: Nifong e-mailed Newsweek’s Susannah Meadows that “None of the ‘facts’ that I know at this time, indeed none of the evidence that I have seen from any source, has changed the opinion that I expressed initially.”
June 13: Duke law professor James Coleman called for special prosecutor.
June 15: In perhaps the single most important article of the case, N&O investigative reporter Joseph Neff demonstrated how Nifong’s words were at odds with his files. The article's importance: it was the first of more than a dozen major pieces by Neff that gradually have exposed the full dimensions of Nifong’s procedural improprieties.
June 30: Lewis Cheek obtained nearly 10,000 signatures to run as an unaffiliated challenger to Nifong. After a few weeks of considering his options, Cheek decided not to make the race, though his name remains on the ballot.