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Duke Lacrosse Players' DNA Not on Accuser, Defense Says

Posted December 13, 2006
Updated December 14, 2006

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— A defense motion filed Wednesday in the Duke lacrosse rape case says a second round of DNA testing found genetic material from several males in the accuser's body and her underwear -- but none from any team member.

That includes the three charged with rape.

The motion was signed by attorneys for defendants Reade Seligmann, 20, of Essex Fells, N.J., Collin Finnerty, 20, of Garden City, N.Y., and David Evans, 23, of Bethesda, Md. It complains that the information was not disclosed in a report on the testing prosecutors provided earlier this year to the defense.

"This is strong evidence of innocence in a case in which the accuser denied engaging in any sexual activity in the days before the alleged assault, told police she last had consensual sexual intercourse a week before the assault, and claimed that her attackers did not use condoms and ejaculated," the motion read.

Defense attorney Joseph Cheshire said in an interview that the report's findings suggest the accuser had sex shortly before the March team party where she was hired to perform as a stripper. The woman has said three lacrosse team members gang-raped her in a bathroom at the party.

"None of (the DNA material) happens to be from lacrosse players who are supposed to have had sex with her, which is pretty significant," said Cheshire, who represents Evans.

Defense attorneys said the only DNA found related to their clients was a partial match to Evans on a fake fingernail that was found in a trash can at the house. That was the DNA result printed in the final report.

Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong -- who sent the DNA to private lab DNA Security in Burlington after initial testing at the State Bureau of Investigation crime lab found no matches -- had no comment Wednesday.

The defense motion also contends that at least one sample sent to DNA Security, a private lab in Burlington, might have been contaminated because it included DNA from Dr. Brian Meehan, the lab's director.

Meehan did not have any comment for WRAL about the findings in the report.

The motion also claims there were other errors regarding numbering of tests, and defense attorneys call the testing and the report legally and scientifically deficient.

Attorneys for the accused are scheduled to be in court again on Friday when Nifong is expected to hand over more evidence in the case. He has already given the defense thousands of pages of documents.

WRAL has also learned that all three defendants are expected to be there. All three have maintained their innocence and have called the allegations lies.

A trial could begin as early as spring.
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