'A Transparent Coincidence'

These are the unedited remarks made by Joseph B. Cheshire V, a Raleigh attorney who represents one of the three Duke lacrosse team players implicated in the rape scandal. He spoke after Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong dismissed the rape charges because the accuser told detectives she wasn't certain about key details of the alleged attack. Other charges against the players still remain.

"I have a few things I'd like to say to you all as a result of the dismissal today of the rape cases against Dave Evans and Colin Finerty and Reade Seligmann, and Wade Smith has a few brief comments to make and then we will accept questions from you.

"We don't intend to be here all afternoon answering your questions, but we'll try to answer the questions that you have.

"You all know that earlier today, Mr. Nifong filed a dismissal of the rape charges against these three young men, leaving in place the first-degree forcible sex offense charges and the kidnapping charges.

"Those charges still carry significant active prison time were these defendants to be convicted. The first-degree forceable sex offense still is what we call in North Carolina B-1 felony carrying in the presumptive range from 240 to 297 months.

"So some people have said, well, is the case over? The case is quite clearly not over. When this case began, the accuser in this case, to numerous medical personnel, stated that she had been penetrated by the penis of these young men in her anus, vagina and her mouth.

"In March -- on March 16th -- she told the investigator, Mr. Hyman, in his notes he relates that Brett and Matt -- and you will remember, she referred to the three people that assaulted her as Brett, Matt, and Adam -- that Brett and Matt put their penis in her anus and her vagina. And that Adam put his penis in her mouth.

"In her handwritten statement, her statement, handwritten on April 6th, she said that "Matt had sex with me in my vagina and then placed his penis in my anus for about three minutes. Brett had sex with me in my vagina for about five minutes and then put his penis in my anus for about two minutes. And Adam ejaculated in my mouth and I spit it on the floor."

"At the time she made her identifications, of the young men, she said, on tape, which you can get referenced on the motion to suppress, about one of these young men, quote, he put his penis in my anus and in my vagina. About one of the other young men, she said he was the one standing in front of me and made me commit oral sex.

"Almost the only consistent thing that the accuser has said, throughout the many varied different statements that she has made, was that a penis was used in the assault that she describes and that it was used in her vagina.

"Last week, it was clearly demonstrated that significant exculpatory evidence had been purposefully withheld from the defense in this particular case. It should not be lost on you all, who have covered this case, that significant exculpatory evidence proved that there was no sexual contact between these young men and this woman.

"Apparently, for the first time, yesterday, the first time, representatives of the district attorney's office talked to the accuser. This certainly begs the question, ladies and gentlemen, which I hope you all will ask, why, after all of these months, and all of what these young men have been through, did the district attorney's office first talk to this accuser, which leads to the dismissal of one of these charges,why are they investigating the case now, after they've brought it for months?

"And when they did, ladies and gentlemen, it should be noted clearly by you that her story has now, yet again, changed -- changed. And she now cannot remember the use of a penis in the vaginal rape that she described and which was used to indict these young men.

"And let me say to you that the transparent coincidence between the proving of the failure of the state to give exculpatory evidence which shows that there was no sexual assault and this conversation leading to this young woman saying that she cannot now remember a penis being used is palpable.

"And certainly is something that should give you all great pause in covering this -- great pause in covering this case and asking questions of the prosecutor about the coincidence of last Friday to this Thursday and the dismissal this Friday.

"Questions could be asked such as is this some way to try to explain why there was no DNA of any of these three individuals? At the beginning of this case, the prosecutor in this case referred to these young men and other young men on the Durham -- the Duke lacrosse team as rapists. He now dismisses the charge of rape."

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