Seligmann Appears in Court

The Chronicle
Duke University

Duke lacrosse player junior Reade Seligmann returned to court Thursday afternoon for the first time since he was released on bond April 18.

Much of the proceedings, which lasted slightly longer than 20 minutes, were requests by Seligmann’s attorney, Kirk Osborn. The requests included asking the judge to allow a defense expert to examine a phone believed to belong to the alleged victim, asking for Seligmann’s bond to be reduced and requesting that all proceedings be recorded and all police documents be preserved.

Seligmann and Collin Finnerty were both charged with first degree forcible rape, first degree sexual offense and first degree kidnapping more than a month ago.

Thursday, Superior Court Judge Ronald Stephens denied Osborn’s bond request and invited each attorney-Osborn and District Attorney Mike Nifong-to submit proposed orders regarding the cell phone. Stephens also refused to reduce Seligmann’s bond, but said Osborn could file a motion to do so.

Upon his entrance, Stephens immediately took control of the room. “This is my courtroom,” he said emphatically.

Prior to the statement, court officers quieted a man in the company of members of the New Black Panther Party. At the end of the hearing, the man shouted, “dead man walking,” in the direction of Seligmann.

The man was then restrained by officers but released into the custody of New Black Panthers.

Outside the courthouse, Durham resident Victoria Peterson held a press conference and commended Nifong and the judicial process for conducting Thursday’s hearing.

A group called the Coalition for Alcohol and Drug-Free Teenagers of Chapel Hill and Carrboro also protested outside the courthouse, holding placards that decried underage drinking.

“Alcohol in the hands of kids under 21 is a problem that we have got to come together and deal with as a society,” said Dale Pratt-Wilson, coordinator for the group. “It can’t be the pink elephant in the room-we’ve got to talk about it.”