RALEIGH, N.C. -- DNA testing 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, defense attorneys said in court papers Wednesday.
The papers were filed by attorneys for the three lacrosse players charged, Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and David Evans. They complained that the information about DNA from other men was not disclosed in a report prosecutors provided earlier this year to the defense.
The testing was conducted at a private laboratory for the prosecution.
"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 defense said.
In an interview, defense attorney Joseph Cheshire said the 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 declined to comment on the defense
motion. A trial is not expected to start until spring.
Prosecutors ordered the testing at DNA Security of Burlington
after an initial round conducted by the state crime lab failed to
find a conclusive match between the 27-year-old accuser and any
lacrosse player, a fact trumpeted by the defense attorneys.
Stan Goldman, a criminal law expert at Loyola Law School in Los
Angeles, said the defense can use what DNA Security found to argue
that if their clients did in fact rape the accuser, the extensive
testing should have uncovered their DNA. But he downplayed
suggestions that the report could be the key to winning the case.
"There seems to be so many problems with this case, it's hard
to say one more will be fatal," Goldman said. "If the jury was
going to believe the case before this, it strikes me this is not
going to be fatal."