Last night, in their first interview, the three accused players defended themselves on 60 Minutes. From the beginning, accused rapist David Evans says he did everything he could to cooperate with authorities.
"It was scary. I woke up from a nap to 10 police officers in my living room with a search warrant," Evans, who graduated in May, told 60 Minutescorrespondent, Ed Bradley. "I went through every part of it — told 'em where they could find things, and that we'd fully cooperate and answer any questions they had. I put my faith in the legal system and told them what happened. I gave my statement. I offered to take a polygraph, I gave my DNA over. I don't know what else I could do."
CBS legal analyst Mickey Sherman told The Early Show co-anchor Hannah Storm that submitting to tough questions on TV will help strengthen the defense.
"It shows an incredible amount of confidence in your case. You didn't see lawyers sitting next to these guys," he said. "And the fact they would just submit themselves tells me the lawyers believe their clients and believe in their clients and they are able to handle any cross examination in court, much less the interrogation of Ed Bradley."
Collin Finnerty, who was a sophomore at the time of the alleged rape, is secure in what he says is the truth — that he didn't rape the dancer. When he was first accused, he said he wasn't very nervous because he said he is innocent.
"I mean, we were kinda — I mean, shocked by the fact that we, that we had to actually go to a police station to give DNA," he said. "But everyone — we were told it would help to clear everything up. So we were happy to go."
The results showed that there was no DNA match from any member of the lacrosse team was found on or inside the accuser or on her clothing.
"It's so frustrating because that was an opportunity for us to exonerate ourselves, and we were told that," said the third accused player, Reade Seligmann, also a sophomore at the time of the alleged rape. "If we cooperated, those that were innocent would be shown to be innocent. And that's just — it didn't play out that way."
Sherman said that DNA is not always necessary, and that 90 percent of rape cases are not based on that. The district attorney said he was undeterred.
"For most of the years I've been doing this we didn't have DNA," District Attorney Mike Nifong said. "We had to deal with sexual assault cases the good old-fashioned way — witnesses got on the stand and told what happened to them."
Another problem for the prosecution is that the way the lineup was conducted, Sherman said. All 46 white players on the team were in two lineups and the accuser was told every person there was at the party. In the first lineup, she couldn't identify anyone. The second time she identified the three accused.
"It's bogus, the only term I can think of. It is problematic. In other cases it may have been enough to get it thrown out," he said. "Given the polarization of the community down there and the racial issue, it's not going to get thrown out on this type of technicality."