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Saturday, September 1, 2007

Mike Nifong Found Guilty of Criminal Contempt

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Mike Nifong found guilty of criminal contempt, will spent one day in jailJoseph Neff & Anne Blythe, News & Observer:
Nifong to spend a day in jail for contempt -- Former District Attorney Mike Nifong will spend a night in jail after being found guilty of criminal contempt by Superior Court Judge W. Osmond Smith III.

Smith ordered Nifong to report to the Durham County jail at 9 a.m. next Friday. He will stay there until 9 a.m. the following day.

The judge could have sentenced Nifong with a $500 fine or up to 30 days in jail.

After a two-day hearing, Smith found that Nifong lied in court when the former prosecutor assured the judge in September 2006 that he had provided the lawyers of three Duke lacrosse players charged with rape with everything he had learned from DNA tests performed by an independent lab.

Nifong testified today that the lab director, Brian Meehan, had briefed him in April 2006 about DNA of several unidentified men found in samples taken from the accuser. Nifong did not disclose that information at the September hearing.

Smith called Nifong's September statements regarding the tests "willfully contemptuous" when he entered his guilty verdict just before 5:30 p.m. today. Nifong was sentenced at about 6:15 p.m. [...]
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Judge W. Osmond Smith III sentences Mike Nifong to 1 day in jail for criminal contemptMSNBC:
Nifong sentenced to 1 day in jail [video] -- Former Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong, the prosecutor in the Duke lacrosse rape case, was sentenced to one day in jail for being found guilty of criminal contempt of court.

WRAL:
Nifong Contempt Hearing Video Gallery

WRAL:
Nifong Guilty of Criminal Contempt; Sentenced to 1 Day in Jail -- Joseph Cheshire, another attorney for Evans, said he felt sorry for Nifong's family, but not Nifong.

"I think what he did was willful and intentional and damaged seriously this state and the lives of these boys and their families," he said. "I don't feel sorry for Mike Nifong. Sorry if that sounds cruel, but I don't." [...]
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Mary Ellen FinnertyMichael Amon, Newsday:
Nifong gets jail time -- When the judge read the sentence Friday evening, Mary Ellen Finnerty of Garden City broke down and cried -- Mike Nifong, the disbarred Durham County, N.C., district attorney who tried to put her son in jail on false rape accusations, was going to jail himself.

Nifong was sentenced to one day behind bars for criminal contempt of court in connection with his attempted prosecution last year of Finnerty's son Collin and two other Duke University lacrosse players.

"It does give us closure," said Collin Finnerty's father, Kevin, who attended the hearing in Raleigh with his wife. "I think the three boys have their reputations back." [...]
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Aaron Beard, AP/ABC News:
Judge Finds Duke Prosecutor in Contempt -- Mike Nifong, the disgraced former Durham County district attorney, was held in criminal contempt of court Friday for lying to a judge when pursuing rape charges against three falsely accused Duke University lacrosse players.

Superior Court Judge W. Osmond Smith III immediately moved to consider a punishment for Nifong, who has already been stripped of his law license and has resigned from office. He faces as many as 30 days in jail and a fine as high as $500.

Reading his decision from the bench minutes after the conclusion of two days of testimony, Smith said Nifong "willfully made false statements" to the court in September when he insisted he had given defense attorneys all results from a critical DNA test.

In fact, Smith found, Nifong had provided the defense with a report on the DNA testing that he knew to be incomplete. The omitted data contained test results showing that DNA of multiple men, none of whom were lacrosse players, was on a woman who said she was attacked at a March 2006 party thrown by Duke's lacrosse team.

Taking the stand in his own defense, Nifong insisted Friday that he didn't intentionally lie about whether he had turned over the DNA evidence. But he acknowledged the report he gave defense attorneys was incomplete.

"I now understand that some things that I thought were in the report were in fact not in the report," Nifong said. "So the statements were not factually true to the extent that I said all the information had been provided." [...]
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Nifong takes stand at contempt hearingLieStoppers blog:
GUILTY -- Disgraced, disbarred, and former Durham DA Nifong was found guilty today of being in criminal contempt of the court. Judge Smith made his ruling after two days of hearings. The evidence was clear, Nifong withheld exculpatory DNA for months while he prosecuted three innocent Lacrosse players over a crime that did not happen.

Nifong has lost his job, his license to practice law, and now his freedom...

While LieStoppers is disappointed that Judge Smith gave him a minimum sentence we relish the thought of the Nifong Perp Walk...
related:
LieStoppers: Mark Your Calendar -- 9 A.M. Friday, Sept 7th
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Mike NifongKC Johnson:
Guilty -- Nifong afternoon testimony:

Nifong is a bit more subdued—perhaps because at the lunch break he saw ABC-11’s story that the US Attorney’s office is monitoring the contempt proceedings with the possibility of opening a criminal investigation. [...]

Smith: [...]

Court must be able to rely on representations to court by attorneys.

“strong sense of setting a deterrent”

Stephens testimony “strong mitigation” as to the offense committed

Nifong sentenced to one day in jail.
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La Shawn Barber:
Mike Nifong Held in Criminal Contempt Today…
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Forum topics of note:

LieStoppers:
FreeRepublic:
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Mike Nifong testifies at contempt hearing

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