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Defense attorney: rush to prove guilt in Duke lacrosse case

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DURHAM (AP) -- A defense attorney in the Duke University lacrosse case says police officers investigated allegations of rape in hopes of proving guilt over all else.

Attorney Jim Cooney told a panel today that the investigation directed by former prosecutor Mike Nifong was directed largely toward proving the truth of the accuser's story and the guilt of the defendants rather than trying to determine what happened.

Cooney, who represented falsely accused and now-exonerated former player Reade Seligmann, gave a two-hour presentation to a panel formed by Durham city leaders to investigate the Durham Police Department's role in the case.

Three players were indicted, but state prosecutors declared all three men innocent victims of a "tragic rush to accuse." Nifong resigned as Durham County district attorney after being disbarred for more than two dozen violations of the state's rules of professional conduct.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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