DURHAM, N.C. (AP) A congressman asked the U.S. Department of Justice on Tuesday to investigate whether the district attorney prosecuting three Duke lacrosse players charged with rape has violated the athletes' civil rights.
In a letter to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Rep. Walter Jones also asked the Justice Department to review Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong's actions for possible prosecutorial misconduct.
``Over the past several months, many of my constituents and a growing number of mainstream media outlets have raised serious questions about the accuser's allegations and Mr. Nifong's prosecution,'' wrote Jones, R-N.C.
Jones' complaints to Gonzales repeat criticisms that defense attorneys and others have raised about Nifong's handling of the case.
A grand jury indicted three lacrosse players on charges they raped a stripper at a team party in March. All three have strongly proclaimed their innocence, and a trial isn't expected to start until spring.
There was no immediate response to a call to Nifong's office seeking comment. In an interview with The Associated Press in October, Nifong said he and the city's police department have not mishandled the case and that his only regret was granting so many interviews to reporters during the investigation's early days.