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Duke Rape Suspect Found Guilty Of Prior Noise Violation Charge

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DURHAM, N.C. — An attorney for one of three Duke University lacrosse players charged with rape accused District Attorney Mike Nifong of "judge shopping" to get a different verdict in a noise-complaint case.

David Evans, a recent Duke graduate, was found guilty on Tuesday in connection with the noise complaint, even though a roommate had been acquitted of the same charge.

"That is something bothersome to the administration of justice," Evans' attorney, Joe Cheshire, said after the hour-long hearing.

The noise-complaint charge stemmed from a party on Jan. 10, when a neighbor complained to police after midnight about something that sounded like someone beating on trash cans.

Cheshire said it was unfair to prosecute Evans for the noise violation after fellow lacrosse team captain Dan Flannery was acquitted of the same charge last month. The judge presiding over that case said authorities "could make better use" of the court's time without bringing such minor offenses to trial.

"I do think it should not have been two different judges hearing the case with two different results," Cheshire said. "If it was not for the lacrosse situation, I don't think we'd have been here today."

WRAL was unable to reach Nifong for comment.

Durham police officers Kevin Watt and E.C. Peterson testified Tuesday that they heard music from two houses away as they approached the home. Peterson said once inside, he had to shout to ask that the music be turned down.

Watt said Evans and Flannery were polite and respectful. Both were charged with violating the city's noise ordinance.

Durham District Court Judge Elaine Bushfan ordered Evans to pay $110 in court costs and gave him a prayer for judgment, a finding that means no conviction will appear on his record although he was found guilty.

Cheshire also said Tuesday that he was pleased that Evans would not have a conviction from the incident on his record.

Initially, the state had agreed to dismiss the noise-complaint charge against Evans if he completed community service, paid court costs and stayed out of trouble, but Nifong reinstated the charge after news of the March 13 lacrosse party and underage drinking surfaced.

Evans, 23, of Bethesda, Md., Reade Seligmann, 20, of Essex Fells, N.J., and Collin Finnerty, 19, of Garden City, N.Y., are charged with raping a woman hired to perform as a stripper at a party, held at the house Evans and Flannery shared with a third teammate.

Attorneys for all three players have strongly proclaimed their clients' innocence.

After Evans was indicted last month, his attorney said he lost a highly coveted job on Wall Street where he was supposed to start after graduation. Cheshire said his client received another job offer and is currently working. Cheshire, however, has declined to comment on where.

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