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December 2006

My last forecast regarding the Duke lacrosse case was April 10. I predicted--correctly--there would be no DNA matches, but I also predicted that DA Nifong wouldn't file charges, which was clearly incorrect. (Two other predictions remain open.)

Here, in view of Nifong's recent comments to the NY Times, my new prediction.

At the next hearing, scheduled for Feb. 5, one of three things will happen:

1. The judge will throw out the accuser's previous ID of the defendants. (The notorious identification from photos, photos of only lacrosse team members.)

2. The accuser will fail to appear in court.

3. Or, most probably, the accuser will appear but will state that she is not now 100% certain of her previous ID.

Note these excerpts from the Times story:

And in a three-hour interview on Thursday, Mr. Nifong said he would not hesitate to drop all the charges if the accuser expressed doubt about the identity of the men she has accused when she sees all three defendants at a pretrial hearing set for February.

“If she came in and said she could not identify her assailants, then we don’t have a case,” Mr. Nifong said. . . .

Mr. Nifong said he intends to ask the woman about her level of certitude after February’s hearing. “It’s an opportunity to say, ‘Yes, I’m 100 percent certain these are the people who did it,’ ” he said. “It’s also an opportunity to express doubt.” Given the absence of physical evidence, he said, any doubts from the woman could end the prosecution for one or more of the defendants.

When one of the above three things happens, DA Nifong will drop all the remaining charges.

Bonus prediction: after that happens, leading members of the Duke faculty and several Durham civic leaders will argue for "healing" and "putting it all behind us". "The accuser has suffered enough and DA NIfong--who simply did what he thought was proper and just--has been through a terrible ordeal. Let's move forward."

Count on it.