I join with everyone who cares about justice in welcoming the North Carolina State Attorney General's announcement that the remaining charges have been dropped against David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann. This announcement comes at the end of an extraordinarily painful year for the young men and their families. They have carried themselves with dignity through an ordeal of deep unfairness.
Let's be clear about what was said today. The Attorney General did not dismiss the allegations on narrow, equivocal or legalistic ground. He determined our students to be innocent of the charges and said they were "the tragic result of a rush to accuse." In short, he used the strongest language of vindication.
From the outset, I have been careful to note that these students were entitled to the presumption of innocence and I looked to the legal system to determine the merit of the charges. Now, finally, that process has given us a decision based on a thorough and objective review of the evidence. This is what we have all needed from the start. I trust the State Bar's review will be equally thorough so that we can understand the District Attorney's conduct in this case. As for Duke, while not reliving the past year, we won't be afraid to go back and learn what we can from this difficult experience.
During the past year, the world has known these young men, their teammates and a great university largely through the filter of unproven allegations. I trust that today's decision will begin a new day for all involved.