DURHAM, N.C. -- DNA testing did not connect any members of the Duke University lacrosse team to the alleged rape of a stripper, attorneys for the athletes said yesterday.
Citing DNA test results delivered by the state crime lab to police and prosecutors a few hours earlier, the attorneys said the results prove their clients did not sexually assault and beat a stripper hired to perform at a March 13 team party.
No charges have been filed in the case.
''No DNA material from any young man was present on the body of this complaining woman," defense attorney Wade Smith said.
The alleged victim, a 27-year-old student at a nearby college, told police she and another woman were hired to dance at the party. The woman told police that three men at the party dragged her into a bathroom, choked her, raped her, and sodomized her.
Authorities ordered 46 of the 47 players on Duke's lacrosse team to submit DNA samples to investigators. Because the woman said her attackers were white, the team's sole black player was not tested.
District Attorney Mike Nifong has said he would have other evidence to make his case should the DNA analysis prove inconclusive or fail to match a member of the team.
''I believe a sexual assault took place," Nifong told The News & Observer of Raleigh yesterday. ''I'm not saying it's over. If that's what they expect, they will be sadly disappointed."
Officials at North Carolina Central University, where the alleged victim is a student, said after the results were released that the prosecutor would appear at a campus forum today to discuss the case.
Attorney Joe Cheshire, who represents one of the team's captains, said the report indicated that authorities took DNA samples from all over the woman's body, including under her fingernails, and from her possessions, such as her cell phone and her clothes.
''They swabbed about every place they could possibly swab from her, in which there could be any DNA," he said.
Cheshire said that even if the attackers used a condom, it's likely there would have been some DNA evidence found. He said the report states there was no DNA on her to indicate that she had sex of any type recently.
''The experts will tell you that if there was a condom used, they would still be able to pick up DNA, latex, lubricant and all other types of things to show that -- and that's not here," Cheshire said.
Stan Goldman, who teaches criminal law, evidence, and criminal procedure at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, said the DNA results don't mean that Nifong can't go forward with the case -- but they make a successful prosecution much more difficult.
''Isn't the absence of DNA evidence, given the way the victim has described the crime, in and of itself almost enough to raise a reasonable doubt?" he said. ''That's all the defense has to do."