NATION IN BRIEF

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Saturday, October 28, 2006

Prosecutor of Duke Athletes Has Not Interviewed Accuser

DURHAM, N.C. -- The district attorney prosecuting three Duke lacrosse players accused of rape said Friday that he and his assistants have not interviewed the accuser about the facts of the case.

They have spoken to the woman only to monitor her well-being, Mike Nifong said during a court hearing, and have left the investigation of the case to police.

"I haven't talked with her about the facts of that night," Nifong said in response to a defense request for any statements the woman has made about the case. ". . . We're not at that stage yet."

Defense lawyer Joseph B. Cheshire said outside court that he found it "interesting" that Nifong "has basically never talked to this woman and has absolutely no idea what her story is, and yet he has chosen to continue to go forward with this case."

* * *

· NEW YORK -- A package delivered to former president Bill Clinton's office in Manhattan contained a white powdery substance that was later found to be nontoxic. The package also held a letter that Secret Service spokesman Richard Staropoli described as a "rambling diatribe." Clinton was not at the office when the package was opened.

· FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. -- The Army arraigned two soldiers with the 101st Airborne Division in separate cases of slain Iraqis. Pfc. Bryan L. Howard deferred entering a plea on charges that he and others raped and killed a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and killed three others in her family. Staff Sgt. Raymond L. Girouard deferred entering a plea on charges that he and three others killed three Iraqi detainees.

· UNITED NATIONS -- U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan will replace his top envoy to Sudan, Jan Pronk, with Pronk's deputy, Tayé-Brook Zerihoun, a U.N. spokesman said. Pronk was expelled Sunday by the government in Khartoum.


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