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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Duke/Nifong Hoax: Day #282

Updated - today's items:

Nifong reads additional complaints brought against him at The North Carolina State BarNews & analysis of amended State Bar complaint:

State Bar complaint: Nifong's actions constitute a "systematic abuse of prosecutorial discretion ... prejudicial to the administration of justice"

WRAL: Amended Bar Complaint, State Bar v. Michael B. Nifong - filed Jan 24th (33 pages)
N&O: Amended complaint against Nifong (PDF 1.4 MB)
Jim Avila & Lara Setrakian, ABC Law & Justice Unit:
Exclusive: The Prosecutor's Defense -- Lawyer for Ex-Duke Prosecutor Nifong Speaks Out — Mike Nifong, the embattled prosecutor once at the helm of the Duke lacrosse rape case, revealed little as he appeared in court Wednesday to face serious ethics charges by the North Carolina Bar. In an exclusive interview with "Good Morning America," though, Nifong's attorney said that his stone-face expression buried the true feelings of a man under siege.

"He's devastated. It's very upsetting to be attacked. … It's like he's public enemy No. 1," said David Freedman, Nifong's attorney. "Here's a man who's trying to do his job as an elected DA in Durham County. He's always held himself up as an ethical individual. … It's a bit of a surprise."

"Obviously he's feeling dejected because he's got these new charges against him. He feels as if the world is turning against him," Freedman said.
  • Would Still Bring the Charges Against the Duke Players
  • Nifong's written response to the ethics complaint will be filed by Feb. 23 and will contain more details about his defense, Freedman said.
LieStoppers forum: The Prosecutor's Defense, ABC News, Thurs., Jan 25th
TalkLeft: Lawyer for Ex-Duke Prosecutor Nifong Speaks Out
Joe Neff & Benjamin Niolett, News & Observer:
Nifong goes on the defense — When Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong took his seat at the N.C. State Bar defense table Wednesday, the role-reversal became complete: The hunter is now the hunted. Nifong was handed new, more serious ethics charges that accuse him of withholding favorable DNA evidence from defendants in the Duke lacrosse case and then repeatedly lying about it to judges and the state bar.

Wednesday's complaint heaped a new layer of legal troubles on Nifong, who was charged by the bar in December with making inflammatory public statements to reporters and misrepresenting the facts in the case. If prosecutors Katherine Jean and Douglas Brocker prevail, Nifong could face punishment ranging from a reprimand to losing his law license.

"Lying is really at the top of the list in terms of things lawyers just can't do. The whole thing is premised on integrity," said Joseph Kennedy, a UNC law professor. "And then lying about something as important as evidence suggesting innocence in a serious case, it just doesn't get any worse than that." ...
LieStoppers forum: "The hunter is now the hunted", I love this lead..
NY Post headline: NAIL IN D.A. COFFINAndy Soltis, NY Post:
NAIL IN D.A. COFFIN — The prosecutor in the Duke lacrosse case lied to the court and withheld evidence from the defense about the sensational rape charges, the North Carolina state bar charged yesterday....

Yesterday, the bar filed a much tougher, amended complaint, saying Nifong violated legal ethics when he learned last year that DNA tests would clear the suspects but decided not to tell the defense...he lied in court at least five times about having turned over all evidence that could benefit the defense, the bar said. It also said Nifong lied to bar investigators probing his handling of the case, which garnered national media coverage....

comment: The Johnsville News first called Mike Nifong a "Liar" in a headline on June 15th - Duke Lacrosse Scandal: Mike Nifong the Liar. Glad to see the MSM catching up. Now if they would just start using the word "Hoax" before Christmas.
Duff Wilson, NY Times:
More Ethics Charges Brought Against Official in Duke Case — The North Carolina State Bar filed a second, more serious round of ethics charges yesterday against the district attorney in Durham, N.C., accusing him of “systematic abuse of prosecutorial discretion” in the sexual assault case against three former members of the Duke University lacrosse team.

The bar complaint said the district attorney, Michael B. Nifong, had illegally withheld DNA evidence from defense lawyers and then intentionally misled the presiding judge and bar officials about doing so.

The new charges added to a previous ethics complaint accusing Mr. Nifong of making false and prejudicial remarks about the case to the news media. A three-member independent panel is expected to hear the matter against him this summer. Penalties could include disbarment...

Richard Fausset, LA Times:
Ex-prosecutor in assault probe is hit with more ethics allegations

Jerry Seper, The Washington Times:
Duke prosecutor's troubles mount

Victoria Ward, Duke Chronicle:
Nifong faces more ethics charges

KC Johnson:
Nifong's Legacy of Misconduct — These charges suggest that the Bar’s intent is to strip Nifong of his license...The amended report paints a picture of a prosecutor who has flagrantly violated multiple rules of professional conduct over a period of many months, and showed no indication that his behavior was going to let up in any way even as he turned the case over to the attorney general.
Dr. Melissa Clouthier blog: Mike Nifong Victim — Mike Nifong had no love of justice, law, fairness or equity as he brought this Duke case, justice for him will be more than he deserves. False mercy mocks justice.
State Bar Files Additional Charges against Defendant Nifong (1/24) — In painstaking detail, the amended complaint details Defendant Nifong’s pattern of deception that helped prolong the hijacked Hoax. Now totaling thirty-three pages, the revised complaint charges Nifong with violations of several Rules of Professional Conduct and North Carolina laws...Initially, Defendant Nifong was charged with violating four ethics rules. He now stands accused of repeatedly violating ten ethics rules, three NC general statues, the United States Constitution, and the June 22 Court order compelling discovery...
LieStoppers forum: Bar Adds Additional Charges against Nifong - still going strong...
TalkLeft: More Charges....
FreeRepublic: State Bar Amends complaint
Court TV: Lisa Bloom just said Nifong trial should be first
Nifong at State Bar hearing 1/24comment: On Wednesday, Mike Nifong had the look of a man who knew his professional goose was cooked. The cocky arrogance we have seen for the last ten months was gone. Mike Nifong did not say a word during his 30 minute State Bar hearing. His lawyers, David Freedman and Dudley Witt did all the talking. Now defendant Nifong is on the other side of the table watching his career go kaput and his legal expense meter go tic-toc. His two attorneys have their office in Winston-Salem. It is 108 miles or about a 1 hr 51 min. drive from the Winston-Salem office to the hearing at the State Bar (208 Fayetteville St, Raleigh). How much will Nifong's attorneys bill him for just their travel time on Wednesday?

Mr. Witt did most of the talking for Nifong. David Freedman traveled to Raleigh for the 30 minute conference to say about 45 words on behalf of client Nifong:
That's correct....Based upon the disclosuers, we have no objection to any members of the DHC hearing this....Would there be grounds, if one party said that and the other party decided they would object to that, to be heard on that? ...All right....No.
Of course, Freedman also talked to reporters. Nifong will pay very dearly for his hoax.

David Whitley, Orlando-Sentinal:
Ex-Duke coach is the fall guy in lacrosse scandal — Remember Mike Pressler? You probably don't. Anonymity comes with being a college lacrosse coach. Unless you happened to be the coach at You-Know-Where last spring. Pressler was at Duke, which meant he was partially to blame for one of the year's seamiest scandals. Unless, of course, the scandalmongers had it all wrong. The real scandal continued to unfold Wednesday as two new ethics charges were lodged against Durham, N.C., District Attorney Mike Nifong.

In the interest of fairness, we must assume Nifong's dog ate the DNA evidence. We also will assume that a meteorite hit the "exotic dancer" on the head, causing her to change her story 294 times....

KC Johnson:
Duke Law School Panel — Metzloff ...Coleman - His comments were succinct and brilliant...Neff - The coverage of this case, he noted, changed from a criminal case to investigation of someone else’s investigation; hidden agendas therefore played a more substantial role.... Tigar - He was a mesmerizing performer. He stated that the Nifong case will serve us well only if first step to addressing serious injustices in the system....

John in Carolina:
Five for every “thank you” list — Duke's 2006 Women’s Lacrosse team led by coach Kerstin Kimel had it right from day one: “Innocent.” ... National Journal columnist Stuart Taylor ... Professor James Coleman chaired a committee that produced a fair assessment of the team at the height of the witch hunt ... NY Times columnist David Brooks ... professor Robert KC Johnson has made extraordinarily effective use of the scholar's skills to expose the falsehoods...

Meadow, LieStoppers:
Only Race Matters: A Duke Woman Speaks About A Disturbing Aspect of the University’s Response to the Lacrosse Scandal — I am a woman who graduated with an English degree from Duke in the late 1990s. My all-time favorite course was Professor Laurie Shannon’s thought-provoking Shakespeare class. I was heartbroken to learn that Professor Shannon signed both the Group of 88’s “listening” ad and the Concerned Duke Faculty’s non-apology. ...As the facts of the case have fallen apart and the obvious fraud has been exposed for what it is, more attention has been directed in recent weeks to Duke’s response as an institution...

Letter by Wahneema Lubiano,"Gang of 88" member and author of 'listening' statement -
Duke Chronicle: Kleban's column misuses magazine quote — I write to correct the misrepresentation of my thoughts about the "listening ad" currently under discussion in The Chronicle. In Dave Kleban's recent column ("Time for understanding, not caricatures," Jan. 23) he continues a misrepresentation of my views from the source that he consulted: an article published in ESPN Magazine. Kleban quotes from that article without letting his readers know that he is not quoting "my" language. Instead, he simply repeats what the writer of that article asserted-that I "knew some would see the ad as a stake through the collective heart of the lacrosse team." I said no such thing. In the original article, the absence of quotation marks around those words that Kleban quotes indicate that the writer of that piece was imagining what I thought, not reporting what I actually said.

New Video - The Fugitive (humor)
Don't Answer the door (cartoon) - O'Reilly's Pajama Party

Mike McCusker, Crystal Mess:
What Really Happened in Durham (humor)

Editorial, Herald-Sun The Organ:
Needed changes to court calendar — The controversial Duke lacrosse case has undoubtedly caused District Attorney Mike Nifong many sleepless nights. Durham residents, those involved with the judicial system in particular, ought to be thankful it hasn't consumed his every waking hour. Even amid the circus of media attention surrounding the case, Nifong has somehow managed to concentrate on other matters, most notably a major revision of Durham's case management system. The revision, which is near completion and has the support of Durham's senior judge Orlando F. Hudson, would speed up felony trials by making more time for them on local court dockets....

Nifong deserves credit for seeing beyond the distraction of the Duke lacrosse case to tend to other important judicial business.
comment: The H-S is going to bat for Nifong until the bitter end.
Yesterday (1/24):

John in Carolina:
Mar. 24 - The N&O begins to frame — Ten months ago today, the Raleigh News & Observer "broke" the Hoax story. ("DNA tests ordered for Duke athletes. Lacrosse team reports to lab in rape inquiry," Mar. 24)...if you read the N&O's story and the rest of this post, you'll see the N&O was already on Mar. 24 telling readers the woman was "the victim" and framing the lacrosse players as her victimizers. The N&O would continue for weeks relantlessly and shamelessly framing the Duke lacrosse players.

When Nifong began speaking publicly about the case he knew he had only to recall and restate what the N&O was already telling the public and the rest of media.

The N&O is the largest and most influential news organization in the Duke/Durham area...

Jon Ham, Right Angles blog:
Freepers onto something? — Just as the Dan Rather hoax began unraveling when a Freeper named Buckhead first posted his suspicions (a Freeper, by the way, is someone who posts on the FreeRepublic.com message board), a Freeper calling himself “maggief” has posted a string of news stories that indicate that Durham DA Mike Nifong knew some members of the Duke rape accuser’s family as early as 1995...

Thomas F. Liotti (attorney), editorial, Newsday.com (NY):
A lesson for Duke — When news of the Duke lacrosse team story broke last spring, my wife, Wendy, was at an alumni reunion in Durham, N.C. We know the Finnertys of Garden City, and their son, Collin, was among those falsely accused of rape. We offered our assistance, knowing Collin to be an outstanding student-athlete. The university's response to the controversy was disturbing. The accused were suspended, a resignation was demanded of the coach, and the lacrosse team's season was terminated...

The prosecutor should be removed from office, disbarred and sued. The president of Duke should resign and be sued by those falsely accused.

Forum topics of note:
TalkLeft Alumni giving — Consider giving what you would have given to Duke to a legal defense fund for the falsely accused lacrosse players.

LieStoppers: Greta should RECUSE herself, The Rape of Girl 27
related: CalendarLive.com: Sundance — The rape of 'Girl 27' hits the big screen

Prof. John F. Banzhaf, George Washington Univ. Law School/FODU:
2nd Nifong Complaint Charges Constitutional Violations — The second just-filed State Bar ethics complaint against Durham County DA Michael Nifong specifically alleges that his actions violated the U.S. Constitution. This is telling, says public interest law professor John Banzhaf, because it provides the basis for a law suit in federal court against Nifong under 42 U.S.C. 1983 for violating the constitutional rights of the three Duke lacrosse players in actions where he does not have the absolute immunity frequently accorded to prosecutors...

Jason Trumpbour, spokesperson, Friends of Duke Univ.:
Walk of Support - I want to call (more) attention to a very special event. It is the Walk of Support which is being organized by our friends Concerned Mothers for Duke Students. The event is on Sunday, February 4. Details can be found here: Walk of Support...

Rev. Curtis E. Gatewood, Oxford , NC, OurHeartsWorld.com:
COUNTERING CONSPIRACY TO DISRUPT JUSTICE IN DURHAM (1/24) — How dare the NC Bar Association join the lynching mobs in Durham who have verbally lynched and sought to politically assassinate DA Mike Nifong for seeking to prosecute three white Duke students accused of raping a black NCCU student. And, if we are to refer to the lady as a “stripper”, allow me to refer to the men as perverted “stripper patrons”.

The conspiracy to disrupt justice in this Durham case should be obvious. It is unprecedented that the alleged criminals and/or their defense team will be given the luxury of such a high-media platform to repetitiously proclaim their “innocence” and attack their prosecutor.

I estimate over 50% of the black men packed inside the Durham County jail also profess to be “innocent”. The difference is, the media will never allow their cases to be tried in the court of public opinion. Neither will you see any form of outrage when the DA says “they did it”. Consequently we find more black men inside NC Central Prison, than NC Central University...
related update: KC Johnson: More State NAACP Hypocrisy (1/26) — Rev. Curtis Gatewood served four terms as president of the Durham branch of the NAACP from 1994 until 2002, when he moved to Oxford, North Carolina. During that time, he distinguished himself with what the (pre-Bob Ashley) Herald-Sun termed “racist cant” on Durham issues and with extremist views on foreign policy. He urged black males serving in the Army to refuse to participate in the war in Afghanistan, bringing a rebuke from then-NAACP national president Kweisi Mfume...
Older items:

Christopher G. Adamo, SocialPundit.com:
Nifong, Fitzgerald, and Earl: American Justice Defiled (1/17) — A pattern of abuse is spreading and escalating throughout America, at the hands of out of control public prosecutors, who are clearly pursuing their “duties” with no intention towards justice, but with personal and political agendas. As such, they undermine hope for justice to result from any situation....For the sake of the good people of this country, those who exploit the law as a weapon with which to bludgeon their fellow citizens ought not to be allowed to escape accountability...
FreeRepublic.com: Nifong, Fitzgerald, and Earl: American Justice Defiled
Daniel Schulman, MotherJones.com:
Plame Case: Fitzgerald is Getting Nifonged (1/17) — What do Patrick Fitzgerald and Mike Nifong share in common? Not much, beyond the fact that both are prosecutors who have pursued politically fraught cases. But don't tell that to Investor's Business Daily, which published an editorial today calling for "all the rogue prosecutors" to be reigned in....In lumping Fitzgerald with Nifong, whose case against the Duke lacrosse players appears at best deeply flawed and potentially politically motivated, Investor's Business Daily is only the latest to deploy this disingenuous bait and switch. Making a similar argument in an op-ed last summer, columnist Jack Kelly cast the Plame and Duke cases as part of the same cautionary tale. "This should remind us the greater threat to our civil liberties comes not from the measures the Bush administration has taken to protect us from terrorists, but from prosecutors who abuse their power for political purposes." More recently the columnist posed this question to his readers: "Is to 'fitzgerald' a synonym for to 'nifong?'"