The alleged victim in the Duke rape case is expected to give birth in the first week of February, Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong said in court today, adding that "the child was not the product of any activities'' from the night of the infamous Duke lacrosse team's party.
Nevertheless, attorneys for accused players Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and David Evans, who took issue with the coincidental pregnancy's effect on their defense, sought and were granted permission from a judge to get a paternity test.
It has been more than nine months and three weeks since the March 14 party at which the woman said the three men raped her.
Meanwhile, the director of a private DNA lab testified that he and the district attorney agreed not to report information helpful to the defense team. He cited several different reasons, and acknowledged under cross-examination that he violated his own lab's standards.
Lab director Brian Meehan found genetic material from several men -- though none of them were Duke lacrosse players -- in samples taken from the body of the accuser the night she said she was allegedly gang-raped.
Meehan said he did not report the information out of concern for the lacrosse players' privacy, and later said he did not report the findings because he did not know the identity of the men whose DNA was found.
The pregnancy admission capped a week that saw defense attorneys file a series of damning motions in which they accused the prosecution's DNA lab of withholding vital information, argued that the photo line-up in which their clients were identified was fatally flawed, and insisted that Durham, N.C., has been so "torn apart'' by the case that the three defendants cannot get a fair trial.
The alleged victim's pregnancy came to light today as the three defendants and their parents went to court for a hearing on defense charges that the lab that tested DNA for the district attorney's office withheld information that could be favorable to the defense.
The full report revealed that there was DNA from unidentified men inside the woman's body and on her underwear but none from any of the 46 players originally under suspicion. The information is significant to the case because the alleged victim said her attackers ejaculated but did not use condoms.
The woman claimed that she was brutally raped and beaten by three men during a lacrosse team party March 14 at an off-campus house near the Duke University campus. The accuser and another woman were hired as exotic dancers and paid to strip at the party.
Defense attorneys argued this week in a key motion that the photo line-up in which the accuser identified the three men who were later indicted "violated due process, was inherently suggestive, was inherently misleading and resulted in ... identifications that have been tainted and are unreliable."
The motion to throw out the photo line-up cites a variety of flaws, including the claim that it violates Durham Police Department procedures on two counts.
Under police guidelines, the line-up should have been conducted by an officer who was not part of the investigation; instead it was conducted by Sgt. Mark Gottlieb, the lead investigator in the case.
The guidelines also call for five non-suspect individuals to be included for each suspect shown. Instead the police showed the accuser a PowerPoint presentation of all 46 white members of the lacrosse team.