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December 15, 2006

Head of DNA Lab Says He And NiFong Agreed To Suppress Damaging Test Results

At some point this becomes criminal.

The head of a private DNA laboratory said under oath today that he and District Attorney Mike Nifong agreed not to report DNA results favorable to Duke lacrosse players charged with rape.

Brian Meehan, director of DNA Security of Burlington, said his lab found DNA from unidentified men in the underwear, pubic hair and rectum of the woman who said she was gang-raped at a lacrosse party in March. Nurses at Duke Hospital collected the samples a few hours after the alleged assault. Meehan said the DNA did not come from Reade Seligmann, David Evans, or Collin Finnerty, who have been charged with rape and sexual assault in the case.

Meehan struggled to say why he didn’t include the favorable evidence in a report dated May 12, almost a month after Seligmann and Finnerty had been indicted. He cited concerns about the privacy of the lacrosse players, his discussions at several meetings with Nifong, and the fact that he didn’t know whose DNA it was.

Under questioning by Jim Cooney, a defense attorney for Seligmann, Meehan admitted that his report violated his laboratory’s standards by not reporting results of all tests.

Did Nifong and his investigators know the results of all the DNA tests? Cooney asked.

“I believe so,” Meehan said.

“Did they know the test results excluded Reade Seligmann?” Cooney asked.

“I believe so,” Meehan said.

Was the failure to report these results the intentional decision of you and the district attorney? Cooney asked.

“Yes,” Meehan replied.

At that answer, several people in the packed courtroom clapped.

The immediate case is going to get tossed, and then the real criminal investigation can begin.

Thanks to AtS.


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posted by Ace at 05:02 PM

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