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Monday, June 18, 2007

Nifong/Mangum Hoax — June 18, 2007

Updated — today's items:

WRAL:
Judge Boots Nifong From Office, Names Special Prosecutor -- Durham Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson said Monday night that he had signed an order removing District Attorney Mike Nifong from office, effective Tuesday morning, and named a Wake County attorney to handle a case against Nifong.

The action followed Nifong's indicating earlier Monday that he would resign effective next month in the wake of a State Bar decision Saturday to strip him of his law license.

Hudson named Wake County attorney Robert Zaytoun to handle the case against Nifong.

In February, Durham resident Elizabeth Brewer had filed a civil complaint asking Hudson to remove Nifong under a section of state law. She claimed Nifong had exhibited willful misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice that brings the office into disrepute...
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Joe Neff & Anne Blythe, News & Observer:
Durham judge to suspend Nifong -- The county's top judge plans to suspend Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong from office Tuesday and appoint a special prosecutor to push ahead with a case against Nifong, who is soon to be stripped of his license.Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson, chief resident superior court judge in Durham County, came to his decision late today after learning of Nifong's plans to remain in office until July 13...

Hudson has the power to suspend Nifong because in February, Beth Brewer, a Durham resident, filed a motion seeking to have the career prosecutor removed because of his actions in the Duke University lacrosse case...

When Brewer filed her motion, Hudson said he would not act on it because of the pending ethics charges against Nifong from the State Bar. And it indeed seemed that Hudson would not have to act...

Nifong surprised many today when his resignation letter to Easley stated that Nifong would stay in office until July 13...
discussion:
LS forum: Hudson to Suspend Nifong tomorrow
KC Johnson: Nifong Is Out
FreeRepublic: Durham judge to suspend Nifong
TalkLeft: Hudson to Suspend Nifong

Jon Ham, Right Angels: Hudson wants Nifong out -- Saw an interview with Durham Chief Resident Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson tonight on News14 and he made clear that he doesn’t want to wait until July 13 to see Mike Nifong out of the DA’s office in Durham...

related:
AP/CBS News: Judge Orders Duke DA To Leave Duties

N&O: Easley: Nifong should step down now -- "I think he should have left and not gone back," except to clean out his office, he [Easley] said...

Carolyn Costello, NBC17:
Governor Easley Wants Nifong Out Now -- "This was much more than a mistake," Easley said. "You need to leave."

Governor Easley is awaiting legislation that would give him the power to remove Nifong immediately. He would be overriding the prosecutor's right to stay in office for 30 days after being disbarred. If the governor had that power to remove Nifong, he says he'd use it. "I do it today if I could," Easley said...
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Evans, Finnerty, & SeligmannDuke.edu:
Duke University, Three Lacrosse Players Announce Settlement -- On Monday, Duke University leaders announced they have reached a settlement with David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann. Below are statements about the settlement.
STATEMENT OF THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES AND THE PRESIDENT OF DUKE UNIVERSITY:

This has been an extraordinary year for Duke students David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann, who were accused of serious crimes they did not commit. In April, after a thorough review, the North Carolina Attorney General declared that they were innocent of all charges and that the charges never should have been brought. We welcomed their exoneration and deeply regret the difficult year they and their families have had to endure. They conducted themselves with great dignity during their long ordeal.

These young men and their families have been the subject of intense scrutiny that has taken a heavy toll. The Board of Trustees and the President have also determined that it is in the best interests of the Duke community to eliminate the possibility of future litigation and move forward. For these reasons, and after considerable deliberation, the trustees have agreed to a settlement with each student. Beyond this statement, the resolution is a private matter among the students, their families and Duke.

This past year has been hard for many people who care about Duke -– for students, faculty, staff, alumni, families and friends –- and for the three students and their families most of all. We resolve to bring the Duke family together again, and to work to protect others from similar injustices in the criminal justice system in the future.

STATEMENT OF DAVID EVANS, COLLIN FINNERTY AND READE SELIGMANN:

Today, we are pleased to announce that we have reached an agreement with Duke University to resolve any differences between us...

discussion:
LS forum: Duke U Press Release
KC Johnson: Duke and Three Families Settle
FreeRepublic: Duke, lacrosse players reach settlement
Duke Basketball Rpt: Duke/Lax 3 Settlement -- three cheers...

LieStoppers: Duke Reaches Settlement... -- [Cover letter from John Burness]
Captain's Quarters: That Didn't Take Long -- Duke must have ponied up a lot of money to get the three players to talk about "love" and the university in the same breath...

Prof John Banzhaf, FODU: Duke U settles -- Decision Provides One More Reason to Sue Nifong..

Jeralyn Merritt, TalkLeft: Duke University Settles With Wrongly Charged Lacrosse Players
Gateway Pundit: Duke Lacrosse Players Win Settlement From University
Michael Winter, On Deadline: Duke reaches settlements with 3 lacrosse players
Sue Sturgis, Facing South: Justice in Durham? — The social disaster that began unfolding …
related:
AP/CBS News: Duke And Lacrosse Players Reach Settlement
CNN: Duke, ex-lacrosse players reach settlement
ABC News: Duke Univ. Settles With Three Ex-Players
News & Observer: Duke, lacrosse players reach settlement
WRAL-TV: Duke, Lacrosse Players Reach Settlement

Duke Chronicle:
Duke announces settlement with indicted laxers -- John Burness, senior vice president for public affairs and government relations, said Monday that the agreement was several weeks in the making but was signed Monday...
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Nfiong Resignation Letter:

June 17, 2007

Dear Governor Easley:

Consistent with my publicly-announced intention, I am writing to tell you that I am resigning my elected position as District Attorney for the Fourteenth Prosecutorial District (Durham), effective at the end of the business day on Friday, July 13, 2007.

Should the person you appoint to suceed me wish to speak with me during the remainder of my term of service about facilitating the transition to a new administration, I would be more than happy to attempt to accommodate his or her need.

Sincerely yours,
Michael B. Nifong
District Attorney

cc: Judge Ralph Walker, Director, Administrative Office of the Courts
Judge Orlando F. Hudson, Senior Resident Superior Court Judge
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Anne Blythe & Joe Neff, News & Observer:
Nifong to quit as DA in July -- In a letter delivered today to Gov. Mike Easley, Nifong said he would leave office July 13...

Easley today said Nifong's replacement must have an impeccable reputation, known for honesty and character.

related:
WRAL: Nifong Submits Resignation Letter -- Two days after he was stripped of his law license, Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong indicated Monday that he will remain on the job for another month...

discussion:
LS: Mike has submitted his resignation, He is gone July 13 2007 -- The taxpayers get soaked a bit more by Nifong...

KC Johnson: Nifong Resigns . . . Eventually - for all practical purposes, a "non-resignation" resignation...

TalkLeft: Nifong submits resignation (hangs on until July 13)
--------
John Springer, Today Show/MSNBC:
Ex-Duke lacrosse player doesn’t ‘feel’ for Nifong -- Reade Seligmann says his lawyers will file a suit against former prosecutor -- Seligmann says he was hurt by Nifong’s statement last week at a North Carolina bar disciplinary committee hearing that the former prosecutor still thinks “something happened in that bathroom” at that now-infamous team party last year.

“It was probably one of the most difficult parts of the hearing,” Seligmann, 21, told TODAY host Meredith Vieira during an exclusive interview on Monday. “I really did feel sympathy for his family ... It’s been a tragedy that another family is going to have to suffer because of Mike Nifong’s actions, but after hearing him say that, it really did make it difficult to feel [for him].” ...

related:
LiesStoppers blog: Video: Seligmann on Today with Meredith Vieira

discussion:
LS forum: Reade will be on the "Today" show 6/18/07, Duke Lacrosse Player Reaction
FreeRepublic: Ex-Duke lacrosse player doesn’t ‘feel’ for Nifong
TalkLeft: Cheshire Explains Why He Will Continue to Pursue Nifong and Others
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Forum topics of note:
LS forum: Court TV, 6/18/07 Case wrap up
comment: Bloom & Politan need to be throttled.

LS forum: Brodhead Expresses "Regret" for Duke Actions, Blames Nifong
--------
La Shawn Barber, TownHall.org:
Nifong’s Swan Song [see comments]-- Last year, an obscure prosecutor from North Carolina made a decision that would turn him into a national pariah and end his 28-year legal career...

Knowing his disbarment was imminent, Nifong should have reserved some level of dignity by skipping the Bill Clinton-like obfuscations and accepting full responsibility for his actions. But to the very end, he remained self-absorbed.
discussion:
FreeRepublic.com: Nifong's Swan Song
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Hearing video highlights:
YouTube:
Nifong Day 5 - Williamson Close (3) and Slideshow [9:32]

YouTube:
Nifong Day 4 - Nifong's seat is getting warm [8:09] -- Williamson questions Nifong. discussion: KC Johnson

YouTube:
Nifong Day 3 - Good for you [3:28] -- Bannon Highlight "You shouldn't have to have your day in court" if you're innocent. discussion: KC Johnson

YouTube:
Nifong Day 3 - Marsha Goodenow (2) [3:38] -- Marsha Goodenow tells us how Nifong should have conducted himself. discussion: KC Johnson

YouTube:
Nifong Day 3 - Crystal Sperm Bank [2:31] -- Brad Bannon explains the sperm bank that is Crystal Gail Mangum. discussion: KC Johnson
------
LieStoppers blog:
Flip Flop Filan -- In an op/ed published at MSNBC's website last October, the network's Senior Legal Analyst, Susan Filan, confidently assured her readers that Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong was not withholding evidence from the Duke Innocents. Further, Ms. Filan chastised the defense attorneys for questioning Mr. Nifong's ethics, informing the world that Mr. Nifong had an obligation to take the Hoax to trial. Blaming supposed pretrial prejudice created by those same defense attorneys, Filan bemoaned the difficult time Mr. Nifong would now have winning his "tough" case...

Ms. Filan's condemnation of Mr. Nifong is welcome and deserved, her failure to acknowledge her very public support of the actions that cost him his license to practice law, and apologize for doing so, reveals that she, like Nifong, would prefer to have it both ways.

Former Conn. state prosecutor Susan Filan: serious doubts case can be provedcomment: Former Conn. state prosecutor, Susan Filan is a not just a Flip-Flopper. She is a "Flip-Flop-Flipper." Susan Filan on MSNBC on June 20th, 2006, said:
Hi, everyone. I‘m Susan Filan. First up on the docket, more of our exclusive look at the 1,278 pages of evidence the prosecutor in the Duke lacrosse rape investigation turned over to the defense. Dan Abrams saw it all and I finally got to see what I‘ve been asking to see for months, the accuser‘s statement to the police and to the sexual assault nurse. I got to see that report. And now, I have serious doubts about whether this case can be proved at all...
---------
Dinesh D'Souza, Townhall.com:
Now what about those Duke professors — We know about Mike Nifong, and it looks like he's going to get his comeuppance. Yet the question remains: Why would a seasoned prosecutor like Nifong flout the rules in so many ways in the Duke case? Why would he publicly describe the Duke lacrosse players as …

Shortly after that, 88 members of the Duke arts and science faculty--the so-called Gang of 88--signed a public statement praising campus demonstrators who had distributed a "WANTED" poster that branded the lacrosse players as "rapists." The Gang of 88 didn't use that term, but its statement referred to "what happened to this young woman." Ignoring calls to wait for the evidence, the gang instead went into full social-justice gear...

Now it is time to hold these folks accountable. I know it’s too much to expect that these politically correct vigilantes have their teaching licenses taken away. But perhaps it’s not too much to ask that they be officially reprimanded by the university.
discussion:
Ed Morrissey, Captain's Quarters:
What About The Duke 88? -- In truth, the non-rape case shows just how far academia has fallen from its mission. Universities, especially top-flight schools like Duke, sprang from an age of Enlightenment, where reason and rational thought were prized and education meant learning through those processes. In the last few generations, however, reason and rational thought have fallen away, and the virtues celebrated on campuses now are histrionics, diatribe, and invective.

The Duke 88 aren't an anomaly that will receive scorn and rebuke from their colleagues. They represent the norm, and Duke as well.

Jason Steck, The Moderate Voice:
Called to Account at Duke -- The only way any accountability will come may be through Duke alumni and donors. If they really care about the reputation and integrity of their alma mater, then they will insist that Duke hold accountable those members of faculty who violated their ethics and demeaned their profession. What’s justice for Nifong should also scale the ivory tower.

ENABLER/Kim Pearson, BlogHer.org:
Nifong disbarred, but has justice been done? -- others are attacking the 88 Duke faculty members who circulated a flyer last year saying that the incident highlighted a social disaster on the campus...

Rather, they were trying to draw attention to larger issues surrounding race, rape and masculinist culture. It's an effort that Duke faculty members such as Mark Anthony Neal have been engaged in for years. If you read Neal's work, what you find is a concern for creating a culture in which men and women treated each other with mutual respect. [comment: Neal's "Thug Nigga Intellectual" summary doesn't say a word about "mutal respect"]

Given the outcome of this incident, that larger conversation seems likely to be derailed for some time.

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William L. Anderson, LewRockwell.com
My Final Open Letter to Michael Byron Nifong -- As I survey the human wreckage of this case and try to comprehend the utter damage that you did to so many people – including yourself ...
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Laura Parker, USA Today:
Disbarment may not be end for Nifong -- The legal troubles of Mike Nifong, the prosecutor in the Duke lacrosse rape case, are far from over.

Days after his disbarment for dishonesty and fraud, Nifong faces possible sanctions for lying in court and a potential criminal investigation.

Attorneys for the three accused athletes say they plan to ask Durham County Superior Court Judge Osmond Smith to issue sanctions against Nifong for lying in court about DNA evidence that later cleared the players...
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Jim Wooten, Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
The right one is punished -- If I’m the lawyer for the City of Durham, N.C., we pay. We write the checks to three members of the Duke University lacrosse team in sums that are at least sufficient to pay the millions of dollars in legal fees run up by their families. And while a civil suit is unlikely to produce much in financial compensation from the accuser, she, too, should be forced to defend herself publicly.

For rogue prosecutor Mike Nifong, justice came quickly on Saturday, when his license to practice law as yanked. On Friday, he tearfully resigned the District Attorney position he used the three Duke athletes to win. And more punishment may be around the corner. Nifong told the judge overseeing part of the original case that he knew of no information helpful to defense that he hadn’t turned over. At the time, he knew that the stripper’s underwear and body offered up DNA from several men, but none from the defendants. The judge may act on that deceit. And, of course, the lawyers for the three would certainly include Nifong in any civil suits to be filed.
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Editorial, Rocky Mount Telegram(NC):
Editorial: Justice served -- Sadly, another person entrusted to perform a public service will leave office early in disgrace...

In the end, the only person who got what he deserved is Nifong. In order to return credibility to the Durham County district attorney's office and the state's judicial system, he must leave office as soon as possible.

The first duty of a law enforcement officer is to the truth. Nifong's disbarment should serve as an example that the cause of justice should not be used for personal gain.
-------
Sheryl McCarthy, Newsday:
Unheralded and exonerated -- Whatever humiliation and pain they suffered over being wrongly accused pales in comparison to what happens on a regular basis to countless other defendants, many of them black or Latino men, who are charged, convicted and spend long years in prison for crimes they didn't commit...

According to The Innocence Project, there have been 203 post-conviction exonerations in the United States since 1989, most of them achieved through a combination of DNA and other evidence. The average defendant had served 12 years in prison, and the wrongful convictions resulted from some of the same problems that existed in the Duke case, including eyewitness misidentification and prosecutorial misconduct...

They're the ones I thought about during all the commotion over how the Duke students were treated. We're right to raise a fuss over the miscarriage of justice in their case. But we will have missed a big opportunity if we only focus on them, and not on all the other people, like James Giles, who've gotten a much worse deal.
--------
Benjamin Niolet & Anne Blythe, News & Observer:
Easley awaiting Nifong resignation -- As of Sunday, Seth Effron, a spokesman for Gov. Mike Easley, said that the governor's office had not received notice of Nifong's resignation.

"The governor has not received anything officially," Effron said. "He will go about filling the vacancy as prescribed by law, if there is a vacancy." ...

Of particular interest to the families and Williamson was a statement Nifong made in his testimony in which he said he still thinks that something happened at that party.

"His continued efforts to smear the members of the Duke lacrosse team, which were recognized by the panel, did not endear him to the players' families or anyone he hurt in this," said Joseph B. Cheshire V, who represents one of the former lacrosse players.

With legal bills estimated at more than $3 million, the families of the accused have been weighing possible civil suits to recover their expenses and restore their reputations.
related:
N&O: Video Gallery: Nifong accepts disbarment and other clips
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Dave Evans hugs father as Collin Finnerty smiles after bar hearingKC Johnson:
Reflections on the Hearing -- After five days and more than 40 hours in the courtroom, the star of the Nifong hearings was Disciplinary Hearings Commission chairman Lane Williamson. Alternatively witty, incisive, and blunt, Williamson kept the hearings on track and consistently asked of witnesses questions—off the top of his head—that got to the heart of the case...
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Scott Kirwin, Deans World blog:
Nifong Shows No Shame or Regret -- Reading Nifong's testimony in front of the Bar, I'm reminded of Joe Welch's comment to Joe McCarthy: "Have you no sense of decency, sir?"

It's clear that Nifong still believes the Duke lacrosse players are guilty, even though they have been exonerated by DNA testing, timelines, other witnesses and evidence..
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Michael Gaynor: Duke case: Sorry, guys!
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John in Carolina:
A gutsy and wise Duke Prof -- Locomotive Breath, a Duke alum and citizen journalist, commented last evening to remind us of the gutsy and wise service Professor of Chemistry Steven Baldwin rendered Duke University as the Hoax’s criminal injustices played out on campus and elsewhere last spring.

Below is a copy of a letter Baldwin wrote which The Chronicle, Duke’s student newspaper, published last April 17. You may recall that was the same day a Durham Grand Jury indicted Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann....

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