Michael B. Nifong, the Durham district attorney, made the decision after learning on Thursday that the woman who complained of rape could not be sure that she had been penetrated with a penis, a distinction that would determine whether what happened to her meets the legal definition of forcible rape in North Carolina, according to court papers filed today.But kidnapping and sexual assault charges remain.
When she was interviewed on Thursday by an investigator from the district attorney’s office, the woman said she was penetrated from behind while she was bent over with her face toward the floor, but did not know with what, according to a person close to the investigation who would only speak on condition of anonymity.
A week ago, a laboratory director admitted in court that in the wake of an agreement with Mr. Nifong, he had violated his own procedures and withheld results showing that none of the lacrosse players’ DNA had been found on or in the accuser’s body.That does look terribly suspicious.
“This comes a week after it was shown they intentionally withheld exculpatory evidence on DNA tests,” [defense lawyer Joseph B.] Chesire said. “That begs the question of the extreme coincidence of the timing in which these two things occurred.”