Local News

Duke Defense Asks Court to Note Evidence Withheld

Posted February 27, 2007 2:19 p.m. EST
Updated February 27, 2007 7:10 p.m. EST

— The Duke lacrosse case has been handed over to a special prosecutor, but the defense is still on the attack, asking the court Tuesday to take special note of the prosecution's not having turned over DNA evidence that the defense says shows their clients are innocent.

In a motion, the lawyers told the court that  results from 11 of 22 tests done on samples from a rape kit taken from the victim the night of the alleged crime were not provided until January.

The defense wants that information in the court record for certain, they said.

The rape kit was taken at Duke Hospital the morning of March 14, 2006, the morning after a lacrosse team party at which a woman hired as a stripper claimed she was attacked in a bathroom.

Collin Finnerty, David Evans and Reade Seligmann are charged with sexual assault and kidnapping. They had been charged with rape as well, but Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong dropped those charges in December after the woman’s story wavered, his office said then.

Nifong recused himself from the case in January and it has since been turned over to special prosecutors in the state Attorney General's office.

In the motion, defense attorneys did not blame the special prosecutors for the issues, saying they had no direct knowledge of evidence being withheld.

On May 12, 2006, DNA Security, a private laboratory in Burlington, reported the results of one of 22 tests.

The defense then filed a motion asking for the remaining tests, citing evidence that that the DNA of multiple males was found on the victim's body and that it did not match that in samples given by any of the defendants or their lacrosse teammates.

On Jan. 9, Dr. Brian Meehan from DNA Security gave the defense attorneys an amended report, saying it was the complete file.