DURHAM, N.C. – A third Duke University lacrosse player indicted for his role in the alleged rape of a 27-year-old exotic dancer said Monday that he is "absolutely innocent" of all charges and that the allegations against him "are lies, fabricated ... and they will be proven wrong."
David Evans, a 23-year-old senior, is facing first-degree charges of forcible rape, sexual offense and kidnapping. Accompanied by his lawyers, family members and seniors from the men's lacrosse team, Evans gave a brief statement, during which he called the charges against him and two other indicted teammates "fantastic lies."
Evans, a team co-captain, is one of three lacrosse players who lived at the house at 610 N. Buchanan Blvd, where the alleged rape took place the night of March 13. Evans said he and his roommates helped police search for evidence after the incident was reported. He also answered questions and gave a statement to police without a lawyer present "because I knew I had done nothing wrong."
He also said he used photos to point out to police which lacrosse players were at the party the night of March 13, voluntarily turned over DNA samples, e-mail and other electronic messages, and asked to take a polygraph test — which he said was refused by the Durham police.
Evans said that for weeks he has been trying to contact District Attorney Mike Nifong, who is prosecuting the case. Defense lawyers have complained that Nifong was not accepting evidence that may prove their clients innocent.
"All of my attempts have been denied. I've tried to provide him with exculpatory evidence to show him this could not have happened," Evans said, adding, "apparently, there's a lack of interest in my story — the true story."
Evans said he finally got a former FBI polygraph expert to give him a polygraph test.
"I passed that polygraph for the same reason I will be acquitted of all these charges," Evans said. "I have done nothing wrong and I have told the truth, I have told the truth from Day One … I have the truth behind me and it will not phase me."
He added: "I am innocent, Reade Seligmann is innocent, Collin Finnerty is innocent, every member of the Duke lacrosse team is innocent. You have all been told fantastic lies … the truth will come out."
Sophomores Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty were charged on April 17 with rape, kidnapping and sexual assault; Seligmann is due back in court on Thursday, while Finnerty's next court appearance isn't until mid-June.
A black female stripper has accused three white lacrosse players of raping and assaulting her on the night of March 13 at an off-campus house party at which she was hired to perform. The accuser, who attends North Carolina Central University, claims she was attacked for at least a half hour in the bathroom and that she used her fingernails to help fend off her attackers.
Defense attorneys insist all the players are innocent.
Defense: Prosecutor Refuses to Hear Our Evidence
Evan's attorney, Joseph Cheshire, said the defense will provide evidence from "many credible" people who can account for the whereabouts' of Evans, Seligmann and Finnerty and will prove "that this rape not only did not happen but it could not have happened." But he said Nifong has "simply refused" to listen to any defense evidence.
Nifong has said little about the case in public, and defense attorneys have previously complained that Nifong has refused to meet or communicate with them.
"I've never in my entire life had a prosecutor refuse to see any evidence ... when your ears are shut and your eyes are close and your mouth is open, sometimes you don't want to see the truth," Cheshire continued, saying he believes Nifong's persistence in pursuing this case is purely for political reasons.
"This is one of the saddest days for justice in the state of North Carolina. This case has been taken out to the news media before an investigation was finished by a person seeking public office. Accusations against many, many young men were made before an investigation was completed," Cheshire said.
"This community has been torn apart intentionally on racial lines, on political lines and these boys have been chopped up in the process. They are victims, their families are victims. This community is a victim and our justice system is a victim. And these boys not only will prove that they are not guilty but they will prove unquestionably that they are innocent."
Sources close to the prosecution and the defense say the latest DNA report shows a match — albeit not a perfect or conclusive one — to Evans. His DNA apparently was found on one of the fake fingernails retrieved from the bathroom of the house in which the alleged attack took place. Evans is the same player the accuser identified with 90 percent certainty in an earlier photo line-up.
Defense attorneys have stressed that the DNA results do not conclusively match that of any member of the team and that the lineup was flawed.
Cheshire said that during the lineup, the accuser told police she would be 100 percent sure of the identification if Evans had a mustache — something he said his client has never had.
Last week, Evans lost a deal that would have kept him from being charged with old alcohol and noise violations after prosecutors said he had violated the terms of the agreement by hosting the party.
Prosecutors had agreed to defer prosecution for an August 2005 charge of having an open container of alcohol in a vehicle, and a January charge of violating the city's noise ordinance. The state had agreed to dismiss the charges if Evans completed community service, paid court costs and stayed out of trouble.
A judge reinstated the alcohol charge, Evans' attorney entered a responsible plea on his behalf, and he was fined $100.
Evans is from Bethesda, Md., and went to high school at the Landon School. His father is a Washington lawyer and his mother is a lobbyist. He graduated Sunday with a bachelor of arts degree.
Meanwhile, FOX News has confirmed that the DNA found inside the accuser during a rape exam belongs to her boyfriend. This DNA is separate from that found under the fake fingernail found in the house.
According to a search warrant executed on March 16, police recovered five fingernails from the house, but it was unclear where those fingernails were found or whether they included the one containing DNA.
"Let's wait and see the fingernails and see if they match up to the way she describes the attack took place," said Cheshire, who represents the team captain who has not been charged in connection with the case.
After the first round of tests came back from a state crime lab without a match, Nifong said that in 75 to 80 percent of all sexual assault cases, there is no DNA evidence. In those cases, prosecutors had to proceed "the good old-fashioned way. Witnesses got on the stand and told what happened to them," he said last month.
On Sunday, thousands of students celebrated their graduation at Duke, where university Provost Peter Lange blamed the "sad events and relentless media coverage" of the case for tarnishing the school's image.
Some graduates at commencement had jersey numbers of Seligmann of Essex Fells, N.J., and Finnerty of Garden City, N.Y. written on their mortarboard caps.
The rape allegations led Duke to cancel the lacrosse team's season and accept the resignation of coach Mike Pressler. Duke President Richard Brodhead also initiated a series of internal investigations, one of which concluded administrators were slow to react to the scandal in part because of initial doubts about the accuser's credibility.
FOX News' Megyn Kendall, Liza Porteus and The Associated Press contributed to this report.