Pics show alleged victim was impaired

Lawyers representing Duke lacrosse players facing allegations of rape said they have photographs depicting injuries on the body of the alleged victim prior to the time of the reported assault.

The confirmation of the photographs' existence comes as the lawyers, players and community anxiously await the results of DNA tests conducted on 46 members of the lacrosse team March 23.

District Attorney Mike Nifong previously said results were due this Friday.

Durham lawyer Kerry Sutton, who is representing senior captain Matt Zash, said this weekend she expects results no later than Tuesday night.

The alleged rape victim, a 27-year-old woman, was hired by members of the lacrosse team to dance at a March 13 party.

Members of the players' defense team said photographs from the party show the woman to be "very impaired" upon her arrival. The attornies also said the photos corroborate the story the players have told to authorities.

The time-stamped images depict cuts and bruises visible on the woman's body as she began to dance before midnight. She reportedly left the party sometime after 12 a.m. and called 911 from a Kroger grocery store at 1:22 p.m.

A 27-minute gap in photos corresponds with a stint during which the woman and another dancer locked themselves in a bathroom, attorney Joe Cheshire, who is representing senior captain Dave Evans, told the News & Observer. Photographs taken after the gap show the woman smiling and wearing a negligee that Cheshire said shows no signs of damage or violence.

"These photos are real. We have them, and we will release them if it's appropriate," Sutton said. "As we've said all along, this is a completely atypical way for a case to progress. We have a lot of evidence that wouldn't have come out yet, as does the state-and we don't even have a case yet."

She added that she believes the photographs will stand up in court, because there is no evidence that someone tampered with the time-stamps.

Because the alleged victim identified her attackers as white, DNA samples were only taken from the 46 white members of the team.

Nifong is required to provide a copy of the laboratory report to the defense, Sutton noted.

Although Nifong stated several times last week that he there is no guarantee that the DNA test results will be made public, the players' lawyers have indicated that they may release them.

Lawyers for the players have categorically denied all accusations of rape. The captains denied all accusations in a March 28 statement released at a campus press conference.

The players have also denied that they had sex of any kind with the alleged victim.

Nifong has said he is confident that a rape took place, but he has not yet filed any charges.

He previously said that he would file charges this week at the earliest.

The University cancelled the men's lacrosse season last week, and head coach Mike Pressler resigned Wednesday.

Samuel Spies of the Associated Press and Iza Wojciechowska of The Chronicle contributed reporting to this story.


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