DURHAM, N.C. – A lab director who prepared a DNA report that failed to detail all the evidence in the now-discredited Duke lacrosse rape case testified Friday that miscommunication with defense attorneys was to blame.
A report given to the defense stated that DNA testing results linked none of the accused lacrosse players to the crime. But the report failed to mention that genetic material from other unidentified males was found on the woman who said she was attacked.
Defense attorneys want Superior Court Judge W. Osmond Smith III to punish former Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong for initially telling the court he disclosed all testing results when he knew, and failed to reveal, the presence of the unidentified genetic material to the defense.
If held in contempt, Nifong faces up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $500. He has pleaded not guilty to the charge.
Brian Meehan, director of a private DNA testing lab, testified during the first two days of the criminal contempt hearing.
On Thursday, Meehan said he was the one who decided how to prepare a report stating no lacrosse player had been linked to the accuser.
Nifong's attorney, Jim Glover, asked Meehan on Thursday if Nifong had asked him to leave anything out of the report. Meehan answered, "no."
"My company and the company's assessment of that document request was that clearly there was a misunderstanding, that whoever went through that document we provided, that there were some things that they didn't understand completely, that clearly they got wrong," Meehan said Friday.
During a hearing last fall, Nifong told a judge that defense lawyers had all DNA test results. Glover said that the inaccurate statement was little more than an oversight, that Nifong never intentionally tried to mislead the court and believed he gave all DNA test results to defense attorneys.
Nifong recused himself from the lacrosse case after being charged with ethics violations, and state prosecutors who took over dropped all charges against the three accused players, declaring them innocent victims of a "tragic rush to accuse."
Nifong was disbarred in June for more than two dozen violations of the state's rules of professional conduct during his prosecution of the lacrosse case.