Defense Questions Prosecutor’s Comments About Exam in Duke Case

DURHAM N.C.

Attorneys for a player charged in the Duke University lacrosse rape case asked late last week for any notes or other material related to the accuser’s medical exam that have not been turned over by the prosecution.

The motion, filed by attorneys for Duke graduate and team co-captain David Evans, is the latest from the defense to suggest that District Attorney Mike Nifong has not turned over all the evidence he might have in the case. Last month, Nifong provided nearly 1,300 pages of discovery, saying that was all he had to turn over.

In the motion, lawyers Joseph Cheshire and Bradley Bannon said Nifong talked to the media about the medical exam a day before it was printed by the hospital on March 30 in answer to a subpoena issued by the prosecution. That means, the defense said, that Nifong must have had notes or other documents related to the exam on which he based his comments.

“One can only conclude that Mr. Nifong viewed a critical medical report that has not yet been provided to the defense in discovery,” the motion said.

The defense also asked to be allowed to personally review the Durham police’s entire investigative file.

Nifong’s office said he would not comment about the filing. He has generally refused to talk about the case since early April, after initially speaking openly about the investigation after it became public in late March.

According to the defense motion, Nifong made several comments in TV and newspaper interviews about the medical exam before March 30. In those interviews, Nifong said the exam indicated a sexual assault took place. According to the defense, the only injuries noted during “a thorough sexual assault physical examination” were “three small scratches” on the accuser’s right knee and ankle.

The defense motion also states that Nifong in several interviews with reporters said the attackers might have worn condoms, even though the accuser said during the exam her attackers did not use condoms.

The exam was performed in the hours after a March 13 team party, where the accuser and another woman were hired to perform as strippers. The accuser told police she was raped by three players at the party, according to a search warrant filed by police.

But Evans’ attorneys said in the motion that the accuser changed her story several times in the hours following the party, including telling a nurse at one point that she was assaulted only by two men.

In April, a grand jury indicted team members Reade Seligmann of Essex Fells, N.J., and Collin Finnerty of Garden City, N.Y., on charges of rape, kidnapping and sexual assault. Evans, a team co-captain from Bethesda, Md., was indicted on the same charges in May.

Attorneys for all three have strongly proclaimed their clients’ innocence.

The allegations led the university to cancel the remainder of the season for the highly ranked team, which reached the national-title game in 2005. The team’s coach also resigned.

— Associated Press
 

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