Ex-Coach's Book Release Coincides With Nifong's Trial

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Former Duke lacrosse coach Mike Pressler said yesterday that several factors -- including pressure from the Duke faculty, outcry from several community special interest groups and public attacks from Durham County (N.C.) District Attorney Mike Nifong-- led to the school's decision to part ways with him last spring after accusations that three of his players raped a stripper during a March 2006 party.

Pressler discusses the Duke case in "It's Not About the Truth: The Untold Story of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case and the Lives It Shattered," co-authored with Don Yaeger, which goes on sale today.

"This book goes back to the promise I made to those [Duke lacrosse] players on April 5, 2006," Pressler said of the day he was forced to resign. "I told them I would tell the world our truth."

John Burness, Duke's senior vice president for public affairs, released a statement yesterday saying: "Unfortunately, last spring it was essential for the men's lacrosse team to have a change of leadership in order to move forward. We regret the negative consequences this decision had on Coach Pressler. He and Duke reached an amicable, fair settlement. . . ."

Meanwhile, Nifong goes on trial today on ethics charges brought by the state bar association. The peculiarity of the timing is not lost on Pressler.

"It's a strange coincidence," Pressler said. "Now, Mr. Nifong will have his judgment day."

-- Steven Yanda

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