Former Duke coach Pressler sues school for libel, slander

Updated: January 24, 2008, 4:55 AM ET
Associated Press

DURHAM, N.C. -- The former Duke lacrosse coach who lost his job after a stripper claimed three players raped her at a party in 2006 sued the school and its top spokesman Wednesday, claiming slander and libel.

The case was later debunked, and the prosecutor who pursued the charges was disbarred last year.

Mike Pressler's lawsuit said Duke's senior vice president of public affairs and government relations, John Burness, made slanderous and defamatory comments about him to the media.

Pamela Bernard, Duke vice president and general counsel, said Wednesday that the lawsuit has no merit and "is yet another attempt to reopen a sealed matter."

Last week, attorneys for Pressler withdrew their request for a judge to rescind a settlement agreement between Pressler and Duke so they could pursue this lawsuit. At that time, lawyers representing Duke said they would fight the allegations.

They also argued that any case by Pressler against his former employer should go through arbitration first.

Pressler now coaches the men's lacrosse team at Bryant University in Rhode Island. He also has written a book about the lacrosse case.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press