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Finnerty ordered to stand trial in D.C.

4/25/2006

WASHINGTON -- A Duke University lacrosse player charged with
raping a woman was ordered Tuesday to stand trial in an
unrelated assault case.

Collin Finnerty, 19, appeared in D.C. Superior Court, where the
judge determined he had violated conditions of the diversion
program he entered last year after being charged with assaulting a
man in Georgetown.

Finnerty and two friends had been accused of punching the man
after he told them to "stop calling him gay and other derogatory
names,'' according to court documents.

The charges would have been dismissed under the terms of the
diversion program once Finnerty completed 25 hours of community
service, but the terms also required he that he not be arrested for
any criminal offenses.

Finnerty remains free pending a July 10 trial in the Georgetown
case. He could face up to six months in jail and a fine of up to
$1,000 if convicted of simple assault. Judge John Bayly also set a
9 p.m. curfew, ordered him to report by phone to court officials
every Friday, and required that he stay away from places that sell
alcohol.

Finnerty nodded when Bayly asked if he understood. A family
priest stood a few feet behind him in the courtroom.

"This incident has been grossly mischaracterized,'' said
attorney Steven J. McCool, who is representing Finnerty, of Garden
City, N.Y., in the Georgetown case.

Finnerty and Duke teammate Reade Seligmann, 20, were indicted on
rape and kidnapping charges last week. A 27-year-old exotic dancer
who had been hired to perform at a lacrosse team party March 13
told police three men raped her in a bathroom of the off-campus
house. District Attorney Mike Nifong has said he expects to charge
a third person soon.

Defense attorneys dispute the timeline prosecutors have presented.

Seligmann's attorney, Kirk Osborn, on Monday also demanded
prosecutors turn over the accuser's medical, legal and education
records.

"This request is based on the fact that the complaining witness
has a history of criminal activity and behavior, which includes
alcohol abuse, drug abuse, and dishonesty, all conduct which
indicate mental, emotional and/or physical problems, which affect
her credibility as a witness,'' the defense said in court papers.
The accuser is a single mother and student at nearby North Carolina
Central University.

Osborn also wrote in motions filed Monday that no forensic
evidence links Seligmann to the alleged crimes, based on the
limited information provided to the defense by prosecutors. Initial
DNA test results found no link between the 46 players tested and
the accuser; Nifong expects additional DNA test results next month.

Nifong, who has not granted an interview about the case in
weeks, refused to comment.