Local News

Defense Attorneys Say They Will Make DNA Results Public

Posted April 3, 2006

— Some believe the investigation surrounding Duke's lacrosse team hinges on DNA test results.

The 46 members of the team are being tested after gang rape allegations involving some of the players were made public recently.

Results are expected this week -- and the district attorney doesn't plan to release them.

While Duke's lacrosse team continues to practice under a cloud of suspicion, lawyers for many players are anxiously awaiting the test results.

"We look forward to getting back the DNA so these young men can reclaim their lives," said Bill Thomas, a defense attorney in the case.

And while Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong says he won't release the findings publicly, Thomas -- who represents one of the players -- says he and other lawyers involved with the case plan to make the forensic findings public.

"We are absolutely convinced -- not to just my client -- but all 46 young men involved that these tests will be negative," Thomas said.

In most criminal cases, DNA is considered investigative -- and it can take months for even defense attorneys to find out results.

But, a state statute requires results obtained by a court order to be released immediately to those tested.

Nifong is adamant a sexual assault happened at 610 North Buchanan and says he will look at other evidence if the DNA comes back inconclusive.

Thomas takes issue with that and points out that the victim told police she was raped, sodomized and beaten for 30 minutes inside the house.

"If this alleged attack occurred in a manner in which described by the prosecutor and law enforcement, then there will be DNA present," Thomas said.

Nifong was not available for comment Monday.

Also on Monday, Thomas said -- without going into detail -- that investigators for the defense attorneys have uncovered "interesting" evidence he says will prove the players are innocent.

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