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Friday, June 15, 2007

Nifong Hoax Hearing — Day 4 — June 15, 2007

“It has become increasingly apparent, during the course of this week, in some ways that it might not have been before, that my presence as the district attorney in Durham is not furthering the cause of justice,” — Michael Byron Nifong
Updated — today's items:

Nifong wipes away tearsNifong Resigns -- A teary-eyed Mike Nifong said whatever the outcome of the ethics hearing he will resign as Durham DA.
Joe Cheshire, attorney for Dave Evans, said of Nifong's tearful resignation: “It was an obvious cynical ploy to save his law license, and his apology to these people is far too little and comes far too late.”
Mandy Locke, News & Observer:
Nifong says he'll quit as district attorney -- Mike Nifong announced he would resign as Durham County's district attorney regardless of the outcome a disciplinary hearing on ethics charges against him.

Nifong's wife and son watch him as he resignsIn a tearful apology to the State Bar, Nifong said he never meant to hurt anyone or "bring disrepute to the State Bar."

He refused, however, to admit he lied by withholding evidence favorable to the three accused Duke lacrosse players.

"Much of the criticism against me is justified," Nifong said. "... the accusation that I'm a liar is not justified." ...
Embattled Nifong Says He'll Resign -- "Throughout the years I have served as a prosecutor I have always tried to do the right thing," a tearful Nifong said. "In this case, I was trying to do the right thing. Much of the criticism directed to me in the is case is justified. The allegations that I'm a liar, however, are not justified."

Nifong resignsdiscussion:
KC Johnson: Nifong Resigns
LS forum: Nifong RESIGNS!!!
FreeRepublic: Mike Nifong Resigns as DA of Durham

HotAir [video of resignation]:
Disgrace to his profession apologizes, resigns as D.A.
News & Observer:
Reactions to Nifong's resignation --
"When Mr. Nifong accepted his appointment as Durham's leading law enforcement officer, he committed to ensure the fairness and integrity of the legal system that we rely on to resolve conflicts in our society. His handling of the Duke lacrosse case was deeply unfair to the young men involved and damaged the criminal justice system itself. Mr. Nifong brought great harm to these Duke students and their families, to the Durham community, and to Duke University and all who care about it.

"Even though his decision to resign comes under threat of sanctions by the North Carolina State Bar, I welcome it. It sets the stage for a healing process to which we all are committed."

— Duke president Richard Brodhead

LieStoppers: Nifong to Resign

Kathleen Eckelt RN, FNE; Forensic Talk:
Nifong Resigns! CGM Had Pregnancy Complications -- Nifong: "My focus at that time was after we got her through the child-bearing complications if she wanted to proceed with the case... Problem was that Mangum was pregnant, and having a high-risk pregnancy. " Complications means problems with the pregnancy...
Ann Givens & John Valenti, Newsday:
Duke prosecutor will resign -- Embattled Durham District Attorney Michael Nifong tearfully told a packed courtroom Friday afternoon that he will resign from his office because he no longer is "furthering the cause of justice" by staying in the job...

"I will go to my grave being associated with this case, and that's okay," he said through tears in a voice that was barely audible. "I took responsibility on myself and I don't intend to pass it off on anybody else." ...
AP/USA Today:
Duke D.A. says he will resign -- A tearful Mike Nifong said Friday he will resign as district attorney after admitting that he made improper statements about three Duke University lacrosse players who were once charged with raping a stripper.

"My community has suffered enough," Nifong said from the witness stand at his ethics trial on allegations that he violated rules of professional conduct in his handling of the case...

Nifong said he did not make all the mistakes alleged by the bar, "but they are my mistakes."

"It has become increasingly apparent, during the course of this week, in some ways that it might not have been before, that my presence as the district attorney in Durham is not furthering the cause of justice," Nifong said...
Duff Wilson & John Holusha, NY Times:
Duke Case Prosecutor Says He Will Resign -- Durham County district attorney Michael B. Nifong said today he plans to resign his job, after admitting that he had “crossed the line” of ethical standards in some of the public statements he made about the Duke University lacrosse players he charged with rape...

Mr. Cheshire said defense lawyers planned to file a motion requesting that Mr. Nifong be found in criminal contempt of court for misstatements to the judge and lawyers in pretrial hearings. The charge, if upheld, could result in fines or jail time...
Did Levicy Just Bust Gottlieb? -- Duke University Medical Center Nurse Tara Levicy may have offered a nice bonus for those who endured the marathon fourth day of Defendant Nifong's trial. Under oath, Levicy testified that, following her interview with Investigator Benjamin Himan by telephone on March 16, 2006, she was not interviewed by law enforcement again until January 2007.
Levicy's testimony appears to belie the assertions made by DPD Sgt. Mark Gottlieb in his homegrown notes and willingly published by the NY Times to lead off Duff Wilson's Save-the-Hoax front page editorial disguised as a news story. Although Levicy claims to have had no LE interviews from her initial March 16, 2006 chat with Inv. Himan until January of 2007, Wilson recounts details of the miracle fill-in-the-blanks interview of Levicy, supposedly conducted by Sgt. Gottlieb, on March 21, 2006...
LS forum: Gottlieb v Levicy, Somebody told a whopper!
Flip Flop Flipper -- [multitude of lies Nifong has tried to pass off on the Disciplinary Hearing Committee]
Aaron Beard, AP/USA Today:
Duke DA says he 'maybe got carried away' -- District Attorney Mike Nifong acknowledged Friday that he "maybe got carried away a little bit" in talking about the three Duke University lacrosse players who were once charged with raping a stripper. He also said he expects to be punished.

"I think clearly some of the statements I made were improper," Nifong testified Friday at his ethics trial...
Mandy Locke, News & Observer:
Nifong defends actions in lacrosse case -- Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong insisted this morning that he had not deliberately omitted important information from a DNA report that went to lawyers for three Duke lacrosse players accused of rape.

Nifong's handling of the report is among the issues at the center of a misconduct case against the prosecutor. The report left out the finding that DNA from unknown men had been discovered on the escort service dancer who made the rape accusation.

"I hadn't taken any steps to keep it out," Nifong testified before a disciplinary panel. "I hadn't taken any steps to keep it in, because I really didn't know that it wasn't there."
Mike Nifong Testifies at State Bar Ethics Trial -- Facing ethics charges that could lead to his disbarment, Mike Nifong took the witness stand Friday to testify in his own defense about his handling of the Duke lacrosse case.

"I'm glad we've gotten to the point in this situation where, you know, my side can be told," Nifong said Friday morning as he entered the state Court of Appeals building. "But it's obviously not the most comfortable week in my life." ...
Forum discussion of hearing:
LS forum: Day of Reckoning Part IV

LS forum: Judge Smith Unseals Chamber Transcript, Could be the Last Nail in the Coffin -- Little noted in yesterday's procedings was a comment by the presiding State Bar Committee chairman, Williamson, that Judge Smith has agreed to unseal part of the transcript of the December 15th in chambers hearing in which Mike d a Knifong said "Whoa" to Brad Bannon's assertion that there was non-lacrosse DNA from more than four men in/on CGM's items of evidence. "This is the first I've heard of this--when I got this motion" Nifong said...

FreeRepublic: Live Thread - Reid Seligmann's testimony in Duke/Nifong Case

TalkLeft: Nifong Trial Day Four: Nifong Expected to Testify
Jon Ham, JohnLocke.org/Right Angles blog:
Blogging hearing proceedings --
Time for an adult beverage [8:44 pm] -- I’ve been typing for 12 hours. Time for a nice cool Manhattan. Will resume tomorrow.

Ready to close up, now recessed [8:42 pm]
Witt has some documents, oops another witness
[8:20 pm]
Kendra Montgomery-Blinn [7:59 pm]

Judge Elaine Bushfan [7:57 PM by Jon Ham -- Chief District Court Judge Elaine Bushfan. Also thinks Nifong hung the moon. She also thinks he still has a good reputation.

Marcia Morey on the stand [7:53 pm]

James Coleman on WRAL
[7:41 pm] -- Duke law professor James Coleman is on WRAL now. He says Nifong still resisting the idea that the players are innocent. Says he has no credibility. He says “he drove straight off a cliff” despite a good reputation for past prosecutions.

“He took the investigation from the police and he botched it.”

Coleman: “His defense is that I may be incompetent but I didn’t lie.” Says Duke students look at his resignation “as something that should have happened.”

He doesn’t have the reputation or integrity to represent the county. That’s it.

Now in a 10-minute break [7:39 pm]
Judge Anthony Brannon on the stand [7:37 pm]
Tara Levicy, the SANE nurse [7:14 pm]

More panel-member questions [6:57 pm] -- Williamson: Why did you serve the warrant on Mr. Elmostafa? Nifong: That’s just our policy when we have outstanding warrants. Blames a spelling error for it not being served sooner.

Williamson: Were you aware at the time of his trial that he was being tried? Nifong: Learned later. Williamson: Were you aware that Elmostafa was being used as Seligmann’s alibi? Nifong: Yes I did. Had no concern about it, Cites as proof that they arrested the other dancer on a probation violation.

Williamson: Didn’t it strike you that this might be viewed as coercive? Nifong: No. It’s just our policy. [This sounds really lame.]

DHC Chair F. Lane Williamson reacts to Nifong's Mr. Magoo defenseWilliamson questions Nifong [6:32 pm] -- Williamson: As you sit here today, do you believe a sexual assault occurred? Nifong: At this point what I would have to say honestly is that something happened in that bathroom but maybe not a sexual assault. Maybe a non-sexual assault, an intimidation. Something happened to make everybody leave that scene very quickly.

I think Dave Evans already explained that. They thought she was going to bring her pimp to shoot them or something...

Brocker resumes [6:24 pm]

Williamson’s had enough [6:13 pm] -- Williamson is burying his head in his hands as Nifong speaks. I think he’s actually tuned Nifong out and is letting him drone on.

Williamson: “I think you told me more than I asked but not what I asked.”

OK, they’re back [6:00 pm] -- New flash: Nifong pretty much called CGM a whore just now, though he said it this way — she was involved in a business where she came in contact with many men.

My head is spinning. He won’t shut up. This is making no sense. Absence of DNA, he says, is inculpatory or exculpatory, depending on the phases of the moon or something. (Just kidding.)

Taking a break [5:40 pm]
Even more on discovery [5:19 pm]

More on the discovery [5:00 pm] -- When you provided discovery on May 18 you knew about the other DNA. Nifong: Yes. Brocker: And this was the hearing where you said you had given them everything, so this was a false statement. Nifong: Wasn’t thinking about it, didn’t know I hadn’t given it, not an intentional misrepresentation.

Brocker: Regardless of intent, it was a false misrepresentation of material fact. Nifong: Yes.

Pretrial statements again [4:54 pm]
Discussing the lacrosse party and who was there [4:47 pm]

Freda Black [4:32 pm] -- Brocker: You were in a hotly contested primary at this time were you not? Nifong: Yes.

Looking at a poll from the Freda Black campaign showing Black with 37 percent of the vote and him with 20 percent. Since it was a three-way race Black was only three percent from winning the race since you only need 40 percent to win a multi-candidate primary...

Importance of details [4:24 pm] -- Brocker: You’ve never used the word alleged in relation to this case. Nifong: I’m willing to accept that representation...

Meeting with defendants [4:16 pm]
They’re back [4:07 pm]
15-minute break [3:50 pm]

Resigns as DA [3:47 pm] -- Says his family and Reade, Collin’s and Dave’s families have been joined at the hip for a year. So his intention is to resign as DA. “My community has suffered enough.” “To the extent my actions have caused pain” to the families of the accused, “I apologize.” To the extent he has brought shame on his community, the Bar, he also apologizes. “But I cannot admit that I told a lie I did not tell and I intend to defend myself from those allegations.” WOW!

A huge moment [3:44 pm] -- Calls Seligmann “a very impressive young man.” Says he thinks if he had met with Reade and if he’d presented himself the way he did today he might very well have interviewed Mangum again and re-evaluated the case.

He almost started crying again. This is a big moment. He knows he screwed up and he’s finally admitting it.

Says he’s always tried to do the right thing. Says he made mistakes, “But the allegations that I’m a liar are unjustified.” Says he felt it was important to come here and defend himself. [He’s trying to keep from breaking up.] ...

Talking with defense attorneys [3:41 pm]

The Bar complaint [3:32 pm] -- Nifong: Met with Mangum shortly before the AG took over the case. Says he wanted to explain why he couldn’t continue, that his presence would hurt the case and not allow her side to presented in a way that was fair to her. Wanted to know she would give her full cooperation to the new special prosecutors. Also explained the difficulties the case would have for her. And also the emotional trauma she would undergo during a trial. “She indicated she wanted to continue with the case” so I transferred it to the attorney general.

“it was probably a mistake” [3:13 pm] -- Nifong discussing Wilson’s background. Used to be a cop, then a P.I., then he retired. Nifong hired him in 2005. Williamson: Did Wilson every tape record, digitally record any witness, other than taking notes? Nifong: Don’t know. Williamson: Why did you ask him to do it? “This was a pretty critical interview.”

Nifong: “I wanted a starting point” for the interview that he was going to do later. Williamson: Why didn’t you do it yourself? NIfong: I chose not to do it. “It was probably a mistake.” ...

Why Linwood Wilson? [3:09 pm] -- Nifong: Wilson memorialized his meeting with Mangum in a memo but did not record it. Williamson: Why not? Nifong: Don’t know...

Meetings with Mangum [2:53 pm] -- Had three meetings with her before December. Somebody always there with them. Says he never discussed any facts of the case with her.First time he met her was April 11 with Himan, Gottlieb and others. “She seemed to be at that point, the word I would use, is somewhat traumatized. When she sat in a chair she sort of shrunk." ...

The Dec. 13 motion [2:44 pm] -- On Dec. 13 was the first time he realized they hadn’t gotten the non-player DNA report until Oct. 27, Nifong says. “It was something I hadn’t thought about until I got the motion on Dec. 13 and I said, ‘Oh, crap.’”

“I did nothing” [2:38 pm] -- Witt: What actions did you take to make sure DSI complied with the court order?

Nifong: “i did nothing.” Says he relied on DSI to provide it.

Sept. 22 hearing [2:25 pm] -- Witt: Did you believe the May 12 report from DSI was final or interim or what? Nifong: Never thought much about it.

Exculpatory or not [2:20 pm]

“Oh, crap!” [2:04 pm] -- Says he learned on Dec. 13 when the defense filed motion for discovery. “I got the motion and I read over it and my first reaction was a variation of ‘Oh, crap!’”, the information [DNA findings] was not in there “in a direct form.” ...

Completeness of the discovery items
[2:00 pm]

Court reconvenes [1:48 pm] -- Discussing his policy on discovery during his career. Says he’s always believed in open-file discovery. Said if he was worried about turning something over then that meant he should turn it over and if he wasn’t worried then there was no reason not to turn it over? Huh?

it’s worse than I thought [1:28 pm] -- Nifong and his team have set a new standard for sleaze.

New evidence to be viewed at lunch [12:25 pm]
The 1,844 pages and the indictments [12:13 pm]
Meehan’s report [12:01 pm]
The other DNA [11:59 am]
DNA Security enters the picture [11:47 am]
Mangum’s IDs [11:36 am]
Himan and Gottlieb [11:25 am]
Aiders and abettors, blue wall of silence [11:17 am]
Comments to the media [11:04 am]
The investigation [10:57 am]
March 2006 [10:45 am]
Nifong takes the stand [10:35 am]

On 10-minute break [10:19 am]

Witt asks for directed verdict [10:11 am] -- Wants a directed verdict because evidence presented by Bar from Meehan “clearly establishes there was no agreement” between Nifong and Meehan to withhold evidence. It was done by Meehan alone. Says State Bar has not proved its case...

Williamson to Witt: Has been concerned that the order from Nifong asked for less than all the information from DSI. Said he heard Meehan say over and over there was no agreement, but we don’t just listen to his words but look at the actions and the whole record. Says sufficient evidence presented here to continue. The panel members agree. He denies motion for directed verdict...

Cross of Reade by Freedman [10:09 am] -- This should be good. Oh. Freeman’s smart. He didn’t cross-examine.

“Another person like this” [10:05 am]

A sick joke [10:03 am] -- The hardest point was when they dropped the rape charges, because this was the Duke lacrosse rape case and the rape charges were dropped. But we still had sexual assault and kidnapping charges. “It felt like a sick joke, that he was doing this maliciously to us.”

The court prodeeding [9:55 am]

His first court appearance [9:46 am] -- Inside the courthouse, his [Seligmann's] first experience in a courtroom, there were “tons of people” in the “pews.” People were yelling and shouting. “I thought I’d walked into a cafeteria or a gymnasium.” Sat in the first or second row and a “guy behind me” yelled “I don’t want to sit next to this piece of s-h-i-t mother effer.” Then someone in the back screamed out “You’re a dead man walking.” “I was doing my best to try to keep it together.” This was behind him and he couldn’t see anything. It started to settle down. The entire time “Mr. Nifong was standing there shuffling his papers around while this was going on.” Then Judge Stephens came in and admonished the crowd. Then things finally started to settle down...

The second DNA report [9:44 am]
Trying to show his alibi [9:38 am]
Making bond, media attention [9:34 am]

Learned of his indictment
[9:27 am] -- It was on April 17, his mother’s birthday. Was watching the movie “Capote.” His father was there and they learned that there were two sealed indictments and the names weren’t going to be released. “I feel terrible for whoever it is, but I hope it’s not me.”

Attorney Julian Mack got a call from Mike Nifong. Mack’s face color changed. Mack told them to wait in a conference room. The room felt like it was spinning. “Julian came in and said, ‘She picked you.’” Seligmann tears up briefly. “My dad just fell to the floor and I just sat on the ground and said my life is over.” The first thing I thought of was how was I going to tell my mom.

Called Father Luke, the headmaster at Delbarton, and told him to be by his mom when he called her. His mom was at his brother’s lacrosse game. He called and said “She picked me.” “I could hear her on the phone. The life was sucked right out of her.” He told her things would be alright, they’d prove it didn’t happen.

Seligmann still tearing up. These are obviously painful memories. He had to go back to Duke and put a smile on his face and pretend everything is OK. His girlfriend had been calling all day. She was angry he hadn’t called back, was worried. When he told her, she collapsed. He had to carry her to his dad’s car. The next morning they turned themselves in.

I felt so helpless [9:23 am] -- He said he felt helpless and quit wearing his Duke lacrosse apparel. Used to go to Rick’s Diner, his favorite restaurant. There had never been racial tension with the black staff there. One day they walked in and there was one of the infamous wanted poster on the wall...
KC Johnson
Live blogging from hearing --
Bar Rebuttal [8:20 pm] -- Currently testifying is Tom Anglim--ass't DA in two different prosecutorial districts, graduate of NCCU Law...

Nifong's conduct has affected the "public trust in the integrity of our justice system." The whole purpose of open-file discovery was to avoid problems like this one.

We're now adjourned for the evening.

Nifong Character Witnesses [7:35 pm] --
This is an astonishing event: two current Durham judges and one retired Durham judge have publicly stated that--even now--Mike Nifong has a reputation for truthfulness...

Tara Levicy [7:15 pm] -- In a short cross-examination, Levicy admits her 3-14-2006 report was clear: no condoms were used.

Nifong: "Something Happened" [6:30 pm] --
Q: As we sit here today, do you have a personal belief as to whether a sexual assault occurred?
A: [Pauses for several seconds.] I think something happened in that bathroom, but it was not a sexual assault. Could have been non-sexual assault or intimidation. Something happened to make everybody leave that scene very quickly...

TJN Comment:
Kevin Finnerty appearing on the Fox News, Greta Van Susteren Show, Friday night, said that Nifong's apology was shortlived when two hours later he restated that he thought "something happened that night."

Nifong: "I Don't Read Files" [6:01 pm] --
The DHC chairman seems baffled by Nifong's approach to the unidentified male DNA issue...

N&O: Nifong Is Out [5:14 pm]

More Nifong Cross [4:55 pm] --
Nifong admits: He wants DHC to maintain that he did not intentionally mislead the Court because he believed the Meehan report contained everything and he hadn't read the report--even though in Sept., Nifong reads into the record a letter to the Court from Meehan explicitly stating that he had provided only a limited report.

Nifong Cross [4:07 pm] -- Nifong appears to be admitting that the March 23 NTO was fraudulent.

Brocker: where did 4-4 photos come from?
Nifong: NTO. But "it was a done deal by the time that I got into the case." "Nothing about the order that struck me as improper." The evidence was there, so why not use it--even if obtained improperly? [An extraordinary argument.]

Nifong Resigns [3:46 pm] -- In a whisper, Nifong is suggesting that it does not serve the cause of justice for Durham for him to remain as DA...

Nifong Implodes
[3:25 pm] -- Has just claimed that he never spoke with an attorney who offered to speak with him about the case and his client. (Jim Cooney made this offer in a November meeting with Nifong.)...

Mangum and the Case [ 2:53 pm] -- Nifong is again describing Mangum as a victim--and is now suggesting that previous versions of events that she had given had been inaccurately transcribed.

[This is an astonishing line of argument by Nifong--effectively suggesting that he proceeded for months on a case based on "inaccurate" or "inconsistent" statements provided by police, some of which had been "mistranscribed."]

More from Nifong [2:30 pm]

Nifong: Afternoon Session [1:49 pm] -- Williamson: Was it your practice not to take notes, so it wouldn't be discovered?
Nifong: No, sir.
Williamson: Why didn't you take notes?
Nifong: Usually, I only took notes if there was something I needed to remember--assumed that contents of conversation would be in the report. [This is a new excuse.]

Nifong and G.O. 4077 - [12:18 pm] - Didn't consider the 4-4 event to be a lineup. A lineup is something you need a suspect in.

Admits he didn't know about General order 4077 (five fillers per suspect) before the 4-4 lineup.

Anyhow, at least 43 of the 46 people who were in the 4-4 lineup were innocent; therefore, they could be considered fillers...

Nifong and DNA [11:46 am]
Nifong and the Police: The Lineups [11:25 am]
Nifong Timeline: Statements [11:04 am]
Nifong and the Police: March [10:54 am]
Nifong and the Case [10:45 am]
Nifong to the Stand [10:36 am]
Nifong Motion [10:11 am]

Reade Seligmann Testimony [9:12 am] -- Seligmann opens by talking about his athletic and academic prowess in high school, and then moves on to discuss finding out about the allegations (from the newspaper).

Q: Were you reluctant to give DNA?
A: No--was told that this would be the best way to prove innocence.

As he was leaving the police station following his giving of DNA, Gottlieb told him that the police would take care of everything, and clear the case up; that everything would be just fine. "Don't you worry." ...
Editorial, Orange County Register:
Today's editorial: Nifong called to account -- Ethics trial of 'Duke lacrosse' prosecutor a healthy development for American justice system. -- We do not presume to prejudge the North Carolina State Bar's ethics hearing on the case of Michael Nifong, the Durham County district attorney who brought dubious charges of rape and sexual assault against three members of Duke University's lacrosse team last year.

The state attorney general, of course, who took charge of the case after it had unraveled amid inflammatory comments from Mr. Nifong, declared the three students not simply "not guilty," but "innocent," and labeled Mr. Nifong a "rogue prosecutor." It is nonetheless just possible that enough exculpatory evidence will emerge that the Bar could decide not to lift Mr. Nifong's license to practice law.

Whatever the outcome, Mr. Nifong's ethics trial is at least a rare and welcome moment of accountability for a public employee who seems to have abused his power in ways calculated to advance his political campaign and encourage the polarization of a community. Although it is far too early to tell whether it will serve as a warning to other prosecutors in the country who are sometimes tempted to abuse their power, it suggests a certain self-correcting mechanism that still abides in the American justice system...

it is heartening that a public employee is being called to account for the damage he inflicted on three innocent young men.
prosecutor Marsha Goodenow testifying at hearingAnne Blythe, Joseph Neff & Benjamin Niolet, News & Observer:
Prosecutor: Nifong did it all wrong -- Marsha Goodenow of Charlotte says prosecutors across the state are suffering for Mike Nifong's conduct in the Duke lacrosse case. Nifong is expected to testify today in the disciplinary hearing -- Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong, pummeled by witness after witness the past three days for his handling of the Duke lacrosse case, will finally get his chance today to explain himself.

The veteran prosecutor is expected to take the stand in the N.C. State Bar's professional misconduct case against him.

His testimony would come the day after the top homicide prosecutor in the state's busiest courthouse -- Marsha Goodenow, an assistant district attorney in Charlotte -- picked apart Nifong's actions in a case that she said had heightened skepticism across the state about prosecutors in general.

Goodenow said that if she had known that DNA from unidentified men was found on the rape case accuser -- as Nifong had known in April 2006 -- she would immediately have told defense lawyers...
Mike Nifong confers with his wife, Cy Gurney, during a break in misconduct hearing.AP photo (right) Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong confers with his wife, Cy Gurney, during a break in the State Bar's professional misconduct hearing.

News & Observer:
LieStoppers: Photo Gallery
KC Johnson: Cast of Characters
David Zucchino, LA Times:
Duke defender tells of quest for DNA data -- The legal team sought the report for 6 months, the witness tells the bar in an ethics case against prosecutor Mike Nifong. -- For months, a defense lawyer testified Thursday, Durham County Dist. Atty. Mike Nifong rebuffed all requests for detailed DNA test results in a highly publicized rape investigation, saying he had provided all relevant results.

After six months of legal sparring last year, Nifong suddenly released 1,844 pages of highly technical DNA data. Defense lawyers then uncovered what they say Nifong tried to hide: DNA from at least four unidentified men had been found on the clothing and body of a stripper who had accused three Duke University lacrosse players of raping her — but none of the DNA was from a defendant.

"We were bewildered by the fact that it had never been provided to us before," defense lawyer Brad Bannon told a North Carolina State Bar panel investigating Nifong's conduct...

Just before a pivotal hearing Dec. 15, according to Bannon, Nifong told a judge in chambers that he knew nothing of exculpatory DNA results in the full report until he received a detailed defense motion just days earlier.

Bannon testified that Nifong had described his own reaction to the motion as " 'I was, like, whoa.' "

"It was my impression that Mr. Nifong was saying he was just as much in the dark about this as we were," Bannon testified.

Nifong is expected to testify today or Saturday...
Collin Finnerty & Reade Seligman during break at Nifong hearing--------
Ann Givens, Newsday:
Ex-Duke player now on the accuser's team -- Collin Finnerty was greeted in a North Carolina courtroom Thursday with hugs and handshakes as he arrived this time on the side of the accusers, rather than the accused.

Finnerty, 20, one of three men falsely accused of raping a stripper at a Duke University lacrosse team party a year ago, has come back from Garden City to seek justice against the man who relentlessly pursued criminal charges against him, Durham District Attorney Michael Nifong, said Collin's father, Kevin Finnerty.

Collin Finnerty, who sat somberly all day in court, did not comment.

"What happens to Mike Nifong is an important part of the story for these three boys," Kevin Finnerty said. "It's about justice being served. Now it's his turn to be judged by the system." ...
KC Johnson:
Nifong Trial, Day Three -- Highlights from Day Three of the Nifong ethics trial:

1.) Brad Bannon provided all the evidence of guilt needed.
2.) Bannon was the real DNA expert.

3.) Marsha Goodenow was a devastating witness...
Even Duff Wilson had to portray her as damaging Nifong's case...

4.) Some aspects of Nifong’s misconduct were almost inexplicable.
State Bar Grievance Committee chairman Jim Fox pointed out transparent misstatements of facts in Mike Nifong’s Dec. 28 letter responding to the Bar...
N&O: Letter from Mike Nifong to NC State Bar, Dec. 28, 2006 [.pdf, 7 pages]
5.) Forecasting tomorrow.
Reade Seligmann is the Bar’s last witness. To the extent a Nifong defense has emerged, it involves the following principles ...

a.) SANE Nurse Tara Levicy said there was a rape, so it was acceptable for Nifong to publicly say a rape occurred...

d.) Meehan’s report mentioned “non-probative” items, which everyone should have known meant multiple, unidentified male DNA, even if no one interpreted it that way at the time and Nifong has never used this excuse before...
Wretchard, The Belmont Club blog:
Nifong is nigh fonged -- KC Johnson is all over the Mike Nifong hearing, summarizing DNA testimony, establishing chronologies, etc. In short, following every nail as it is driven into a coffin. . . Some of the nails are being driven into the New York Times. There's probably some justice in this. If Nifong was playing to a gallery, it is proper to ask who was in the gallery.
Duff Wilson, NY Times:
At Ethics Hearing, Duke Prosecutor Is Called Unprofessional -- The state bar’s expert witness on prosecutorial conduct testified Thursday that Michael B. Nifong, the Durham County district attorney, repeatedly violated professional standards in his handling of evidence in the case of the stripper who accused Duke lacrosse players of sexual assault, and in many of his public statements related to that case.

Mr. Nifong should have interviewed the accuser, taken evidence from defense lawyers, disclosed DNA results that would have been favorable to the defendants, done more to seek the truth and kept his opinions out of the media, the expert witness, Marsha L. Goodenow, said in the third day of the hearing of Mr. Nifong on ethics charges brought by the North Carolina State Bar, a state agency.

Ms. Goodenow, an assistant district attorney in Charlotte, N.C., said Mr. Nifong’s actions and tactics during the Duke case had harmed the justice system.

“There is a perception that justice might depend on who your lawyer is, it might depend on how much money you have, it may depend on whether you’re white or black,” she said, echoing remarks by one of the three accused lacrosse players two months ago after Roy A. Cooper, the state attorney general, declared them innocent of the charges. . .
Our Collective Voice: Journalistic Integrity, or the unfortunate lack thereof --
I have been a lifetime daily reader of, and a subscriber to, the Times since adulthood, and I am soon turning 45 years old...

The reporting of the Duke lacrosse case by that sub par hack, the biased headline hunter Duff Wilson, has reached new lows not even conceivable for the Times only a few short years ago. The troubling reports coming out of the Nifong trial over Mr. Wilson's selective memory, his absurd continued defense of Nifong long after all his other defenders had run out of town, and his near-manic desire to hang the now-exonerated defendants out to dry are disheartening at the least, and grossly unethical at best. I cannot sit idly by without letting you know that this kind of grandstanding and self-important behavior has no place at a venerable institution like the Times...

Andrew Rosenberg
New York, NY
John in Carolina:
INNOCENT: Nifong, The N&O and Race -- The Raleigh N&O's falsehoods about the players and racist remarks were made to order for Nifong as he fought a close Democratic Party nomination fight in which racial issues could be decisive.

All Nifong had to do was embrace the N&O's falsehoods and say, in effect, "I believe!"

We can be sure the N&O was the first news organization to peddle the lacrosse players as racists libel.

But we can't be sure why the N&O did it. We can't even be sure what "police report," if any, the N&O used.

Editor Sill has never identified the “police report” the N&O felt met its “standards of verification.” Nor have any of the other N&O editors and reporters who've worked on its Duke Hoax coverage.

I'm glad Nifong is finally being held to account for his Duke Hoax actions. But others should be held to account, too...
comment: The wanton warped journalism of the News & Observer will not be forgotten.

John Drescher, managing editor, News & ObserverJohn Drescher, Editor's blog, News & Observer:
Nifong: "We're f---ed" -- Himan said Nifong had expressed reservations about the case at the same time he was telling reporters a gang rape had occurred. Himan recounted: “He said, to the effect, ‘You know we’re f---ed.’” That gave us a dilemma. How do you report the f-word in a general interest newspaper...

Reader Comments to N&O:

I understand and share your chagrin at what DA Mike Nifong said to DPD invesigators last April. Compared to the big picture, though, it really isn't important.

What's important is that you and your newspaper find out how the Durham Police Department and the Durham DA framed 3 innocent citizens for a crime that never was. Find out how for an entire year, they managed to carry it off. Find out who knew about the frame, but kept silent for whatever reason. Find out who in the command structure of the DPD approved of the frame. Find out which ADA's knew what Nifong was up to and said nothing. Find out why the US Attorney is missing in action on this case.

Yes, you poeple have a lot to do. Finding out who uses foul language and whether it should be printed in the paper is way down on the list, in my opinion.

Walter Abbott
Ruston, LA

Comment from: sweetmick [Visitor]
You fools are incredible.One of the great prosecutorial hoaxes in US history, something Kafka couldn't dream up, and you post about profanity. You are the profane ones, especially that unholy triangle that should have the worst misfortune befall them---sill, sheehan and williams.
Mike Nifong and his attorneys David Freedman (left) Dudley Witt (center)John in Carolina:
INNOCENT: Cheshire Made Me Smile -- In today’s Durham Herald Sun’s account of testimony yesterday at DA Nifong’s ethics trial and reactions to the testimony, we read this excerpt..
Fellow Evans attorney Joe Cheshire said if he were questioning the Durham prosecutor, he would ask, " 'Who are those two people sitting with you, Mr. Nifong?' He would answer, 'They're my lawyers.' "

Cheshire said he'd remind Nifong of that pre-trial remark about not needing an attorney when innocent and ask, "What is going on here?" ...
John in Carolina:
INNOCENT: Poetic justice & The Herald Sun -- The H-S set out to publish two excellent letters to the editor excoriating Durham Police Cpl. David Addison and his enablers for a letter Addison wrote which the H-S published Sunday...

when it came to publishing the letters at Durhamsun.com, a mistake was made that is poetic justice.

The letters with their headlines were placed in the editorials section...