Reader R.Z. comments on the arrests on Tuesday (click here for all our links) of Duke University lacrosse players Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann for the alleged March 14 rape of a stripper at at team party, despite a growing amount of evidence (such as the absence of DNA) that 1) no rape occurred at the party, and 2) Finnerty wasn’t even there (at least according to a series of time-dated photos taken at the party):

“The press coverage on the Duke rape allegations suggests the following line of analysis to some parents. A rape at a party attended by 46 guys with no one willing to finger the boys who actually committed the act? Highly unlikely. A rape witnessed by a few close friends could conceivably result in a conspiracy of silence. No way, with 46 boys. Someone, faced with those grad and law school applications, and sunk costs of $150,000 for his education, would cut a deal.

“Either the DA has very few cards to play, or he is playing an exceedingly clever game: show as few cards as possible, get the defendants locked into their stories, and then put what you have on the table, i.e., a teammate willing to identify the defendants as rapists. I am no expert on North Carolina criminal procedure, but I suspect that the DA doesn’t have to disclose this proof at this stage of the case.”

Yes, perhaps Durham County, N.C., District Attorney Mike Nifong has a surprise witness up his sleever willing to testify that brutal acts of rape and sodomy occurred during the 20-minute interval between the performance by the stripper, who was already covered with cuts and bruises, and her emergence from the party house fully clothed and smiling (whereupon she fell down the back stairs and cut herself some more). I sure hope for Nifong’s sake, and the sake of justice, that he does. Otherwise, we are looking at a lot of needlessly ruined lives.

Meanwhile, courtesy of Mary Katherine Ham, this story includes some of the photos, obtained by NBC.

The NBC story also includes this:

“Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong previously said no DNA was found under the accuser’s fingernails linking lacrosse players to an attack where she fought back because the attackers were likely wearing long-sleeve shirts or jackets. But Seligmann and most of the players pictured at the party were wearing short sleeves, Abrams said.

“Nifong has declined to say what led to the charges or discuss evidence in the case.

“Durham police searched two Duke dorm rooms Tuesday night for about two hours, according to resident assistant Taggart White. The contents of the search warrants had not been released by Wednesday evening, so it’s unclear what officers were looking for or found.

“Nifong said Tuesday that he is still gathering evidence in the case so he can charge a third lacrosse team member.

“‘I can imagine they never quit investigating, but I think it’s unusual to be executing search warrants after they’ve indicted,’ defense attorney Bill Cotter said.”