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Police try to interview Duke lacrosse players about party

Updated:
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) _ Police tried to interview Duke University lacrosse players at their dorm rooms about the team party where a woman reported being raped, but the athletes refused to speak with investigators, an attorney for several players said Friday.

The school confirmed that a pair of Durham detectives were on campus Thursday night for an hour and 15 minutes, but said they did not execute any search warrants. The school's statement corrected comments made earlier Friday by Duke President Richard Brodhead, who told reporters police attempted to enter the rooms, but then said he had few details.

Attorney Kerry Sutton said when police approached the players, they immediately contacted their lawyers, who advised them not to speak.

Sutton, who represents one of the men who lived in the off-campus house where the attack was reported, said he was shocked that police ``would run an end play around defense counsel in an attempt to talk to them.''

Police declined to release any information about the case Friday. The offices of District Attorney Mike Nifong were closed for the Good Friday holiday.

Samantha Ekstrand, the wife and law partner of Robert Ekstrand, who is representing dozens of the players, said police were trying to confirm who attended the party. According to court records, the players have told police that only team members were at the March 13 party.

The 27-year-old black woman, a student at North Carolina Central University, told police she was raped and beaten by three white lacrosse team members.

No charges have been filed, but Nifong has said he believes a crime was committed at the party, citing a medical exam that found the woman's injuries and behavior were consistent with being raped.

Attorneys for the players have said DNA tests failed to connect any players to the attack, and they have urged Nifong to drop his investigation. But several defense attorneys say they expect the district attorney to ask a grand jury Monday to indict one or more of the players.

In a police recording obtained Thursday by The Associated Press, one of the first officers to see the woman after she left the party described her as ``just passed-out drunk.'' Police had been called to a grocery store parking lot where a security guard said the woman had gotten into someone else's car and would not get out.
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