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Prosecutor Who Helped Clear Duke Lacrosse Players Has Died

A picture of a gavel on a table.
Joe Gratz
Flickr Creative Commons

A state prosecutor who helped exonerate three former Duke lacrosse players after they were accused of sexual assault has died.

James Coman died Thursday from heart disease at a hospice in Raleigh, North Carolina. He was 75. His daughter Kimberly Coman Hunter confirmed the death.

Coman and Mary Winstead were special prosecutors appointed by then-North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper to investigate claims by an escort service dancer. She said the players raped her in 2006.

The case drew national attention and heightened tensions at Duke over race, class and athlete privilege.

Cooper's office took over the case from Durham's district attorney. The investigation by Coman, Winstead and others led Cooper to declare the men innocent in 2007 based on a lack of evidence and inconsistencies in the accuser's accounts.

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