Friday, December 15, 2006

Duke rape hoax: DNA testing clears players

David Scott:

DNA testing conducted by a private lab in the Duke lacrosse rape case found genetic material from several males in the accuser's body and her underwear _ but none from any team member, including the three charged with rape, according to a defense motion filed Wednesday.

The motion, signed by attorneys for defendants Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and David Evans, complained 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.

In an interview, defense attorney Joseph Cheshire said 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.

District Attorney Mike Nifong, who has generally refused to talk about the facts of the case since granting a flurry of interviews in the investigation's early days, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

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