Kirk Osborn WorldLegacy Graduate Died
J. Kirk Osborn, a Lawyer in the Duke Lacrosse Case, Died at age 64 He was a graduate of NC67 WorldLegacy Leadership Program. J. Kirk Osborn, a lawyer who gained national prominence defending one of three Duke University lacrosse players against a dancer‚s accusations of sexual assault last year, died in Chapel Hill, N.C. The cause was a heart attack, his wife, Tania, said. Mr. Osborn was a noted defense lawyer before he gained national prominence in the Duke case. One well-known case involved getting the killer of two people acquitted on an insanity plea. In more than a dozen capital cases, none of his clients were executed.
Mr. Osborn represented Reade W. Seligmann, from Essex Fells, N.J., one of three Duke players charged in the case. The dancer said that she had been sexually assaulted at a team party March 13, 2006. The players were originally indicted on charges of rape, sexual offense and kidnapping, but the rape charge was dropped in December.
Less than 48 hours after Mr. Seligmann turned himself in to the police, Mr. Osborn produced evidence that he said indicated that it would have been almost impossible for Mr. Seligmann to have committed a crime. Using phone and A.T.M. records, timed photography and witness testimony, Mr. Osborn claimed to show that his client, to be guilty, would have had to commit the sex crime in two minutes or while he was on the telephone.
When he asked to speak to Michael B. Nifong, the Durham County district attorney who had brought the charges, in order to present his client’s alibi, he said that Nifong refused to meet with him.
The state bar later accused Mr. Nifong of ethics violations, and special prosecutors will decide whether and how to continue the case.
Mr. Osborn was born on July 4, 1942, in Havre, Mont., and spent his youth in Flint, Mich., and Golden, Colo.
He attended the University of Colorado, earned a master‚s degree in statistics from Colorado State University and a law degree from the University of North Carolina School of Law. In 1983, he was appointed as the first public defender in a judicial district that encompassed Orange and Chatham Counties.