Expert: DNA Tests Doom Duke Rape Case

CBS, April 11, 2006

Defense lawyers claim the results of DNA tests on samples taken from most Duke University men’s lacrosse team members are negative.

If that’s true, it will prevent prosecutors from bringing charges in the alleged rape by three of the players of an exotic dancer at an off-campus party almost a month ago, predicts defense attorney and CBS News legal consultant Mickey Sherman.

Asked on The Early Show Tuesday by co-anchor Hannah Storm whether the case can go forward without any DNA matches, Sherman simply said, “No.”

The results, if defense lawyers are reporting them accurately, would leave the players “pretty close to being exonerated,” Sherman told Storm. “You know, this is the ‘CSI’ generation. Generally, a consent rape case is ‘He said, she said.’ But no longer. Now, we expect there’s gonna be blood splattered, there’s gonna be gunshot residue, and in rape cases, that there’s gonna be DNA. And don’t forget, it was the D.A., the district attorney (Durham County D.A. Mike Nifong) who came out swinging on this thing and said, ‘She was raped. We believe her, and when the DNA tests are back, you’re going see that we have a good case.’ So, the egg is on his face right now.”

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“Generally,” Sherman replied, “(there would be), because it’s a ‘He said, she said.’ But this case is now so burdened with the baggage that the D.A. himself brought onto it. Plus, they’ve got that picture, if that exists, that allegedly shows (the accuser) was injured or inebriated before the alleged incident. That’s gonna weigh heavily.

“And the public has, I think, shifted. I think everybody, all of us thought these kids must be guilty. But now, with the shift, the DNA, this picture, and everything else, I think the sentiment in the local community as well has probably shifted for the players.”

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RALEIGH, N.C.—Allegations made by a woman who told police that she was gang-raped by three Duke University men’s lacrosse athletes have raised questions about the character, credibility and behavior of all those involved.

The severity of the allegations raises questions about each individual involved in the events that transpired on March 13 and March 14, including the alleged victim.

New information about the victim has been divulged, concerning charges arising from an incident that occurred several years ago. According to a 2002 police report, the woman, currently a 27-year-old student at North Carolina Central University, gave a taxi driver a lap dance at a Durham strip club. Subsequently, according to the report, she stole the man’s car and led deputies on a high-speed chase that ended in Wake County.

Apparently, the deputy thought the chase was over when the woman turned down a dead-end road near Brier Creek, but instead she tried to run over him, according to the police report.

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