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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Nifong/Mangum Hoax — July 26, 2007 — Nifong Apologizes

Destiny is but a phrase of the weak human heart - the dark apology for every error. The strong and virtuous admit no destiny. On earth conscience guides; in heaven God watches. And destiny is but the phantom we invoke to silence the one and dethrone the other. — Edward Bulwer-Lytton (1803 - 1873)
Updated — today's items:

Mike Nifong July 26 Court Statement --

"The last 16 months have proven to be a difficult and painful journey for my family and myself. This has also been a difficult and painful journey for Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and David Evans, for their families, for Durham and the state of North Carolina.

"We all need to heal. I believe, however, that this healing process cannot truly begin until all proceedings involving this matter are concluded and everyone is able to go forward.

"I have resigned my position as Durham District Attorney as a part of this process.

"I have read the report released by the attorney general, including his recitation of evidence that I did not have, obtained from his own investigation. I agree with the attorney general’s statement that there is no credible evidence that Mr. Seligmann, Mr. Finnerty and Mr. Evans commited any of the crimes for which they were indicted or any other crimes during the party that occurred on March 13 and 14 of 2006 at 610 N. Buchanan Blvd.

"Mr. Seligmann, Mr. Finnerty and Mr. Evans were entitled to the presumption of innocence when they were under indictment. Surely, they are entitled to more than that now as they go forward with the rest of their lives. And that is what the attorney general tried to give them in his declaration that they are innocent.

"I have admitted on more than one occasion that I have made mistakes in the prosecution of these cases. For that, I sincerely apologize to Mr. Seligmann, Mr. Finnerty, Mr. Evans and to their families.

"It is my hope that all of us can learn from the mistakes of this case, and that all of us can begin to move forward. It is my hope that we can start this process today. Thank you."
Joseph Cheshire Response
"For many months, we have sought a real and meaningful apology from Mr. Nifong for the pain he has caused these families and these young men — and the entire Duke lacrosse team, the state of North Carolina and others.

"And we have sought from him a statement of the innocence of these young men so that the world can know what everyone else knows — that they are completely innocent.

"We are very appreciative (that) Mr. Nifong decided to do that today. And the families are immensely appreciative and the boys are immensely appreciative. We don't deny it was a difficult thing under all of the circumstances, and we've heard the statement."
Former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong speaks with attorney Jim Glover during recessAnne Blythe, News & Observer:
Nifong apologizes to lacrosse players --At the beginning of a hearing today on criminal contempt charges rising out of his handling of the Duke lacrosse case, former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong apologized to the three former lacrosse players he had tried to prosecute on sexual assault charges, and to their families...

Nifong's lawyers, Jim Glover and Ann B. Petersen, asked the judge for a grand jury indictment before proceeding with the case, but Smith denied their request. They also asked for a jury trial, which also was turned down.

The lawyers did not get into the heart of the contempt case today. The judge scheduled a hearing on the matter for Aug. 30 and 31.

Nifong could face a possible fine as well as a jail sentence of up to 30 days....

WRAL: Nifong Apologizes, Admits Nothing Happened -- Following an apology Thursday from Mike Nifong to three cleared Duke University lacrosse players, defense attorneys in the case withdrew their motion for criminal sanctions against the former district attorney...

[Joe] Cheshire said the disbarred lawyer's statement was not negotiated in exchange for the sanctions being dropped and that Nifong's apology was his own decision.

"To his credit, I think the people should know that he didn't have to give a statement," Cheshire said.

"He took a big step today," Seligmann's former attorney, James Cooney, said. "And I know my clients, for one, are glad he took it, and they're ready to move on with their lives." ...

"It was an amazing fall from power, an amazing fall from grace by an elected official and a prosecutor – the most amazing fall I've seen," Cheshire said. "It was a long journey of suffering for innocent people." ...

WRAL video gallery:
Aaron Beard, AP/FOX News:
Nifong: Offers Apology, Says No 'Credible Evidence' of Crime in Lacrosse Case

Nifong admits 'no credible evidence' in Duke lacrosse case -- It took three tries for disgraced former prosecutor Mike Nifong to utter the words that three Duke lacrosse players falsely accused of rape were determined to hear him say.

On Thursday, more than 16 months after beginning a disastrous prosecution of the former players, Nifong offered a complete and unqualified apology...

LieStoppers forum: Smith/Nifong preliminary hearing, July 26
KC Johnson: Nifong Unqualified Apology
FreeRepublic: Nifong Admits: No Crime in Lacrosse Case
TalkLeft: Nifong Admits No Crime Occurred
John in Carolina:
Nifong's Apology: Some Thoughts (Post 1) -- If his apology is meant to be a first step in a full disclosure process, then Nifong has my admiration for stepping forward and at last starting to be honest with his victims - the three indicted players and their families most of all, the other players and their families who were trashed and endangered, the Durham community and the NC justice system.

On the other hand, what Nifong did today may be part of a calculated "time to move on, forget and forgive" strategy.

If that's the case, while I feel his acknowledgment of the players' innocence has value, we still must deal with a man who's working to deceive us in order to avoid both fully admitting what he did and the just consequences of his actions.

And let no one minimize the seriousness of Nifong's actions.

He used police officers, police investigative powers, the resources of the state and his own prosecutorial powers to indict, arrest and attempt to put in jail people who'd committed no crimes....
John in Carolina:

Your story today, "Nifong apologizes to lacrosse players," includes this:
Defense lawyers have said the players scattered in the wee hours of the morning after the team party because the second escort service dancer threatened to call police about racial slurs uttered by partygoers.
I'm not aware of the defense attorneys saying any such thing.

Can you show me where they did? ...
Andrew T. Durham, American Chronicle:
Nifong Taken Down By A Savage Nation -- Nifong apologized today. Doesn’t that warm your heart? Bring a tear to your eye, maybe? I know I lost a lot of body fluid on that, but that’s a different matter altogether and it’s way too late. I mean, I believe in giving people the benefit of the doubt: I start doubting them right away, it saves time. But, to echo independent radio talk show host Michael Savage, Nifong should serve the same amount of prison time the boys at Duke would have if they had been convicted. I think, though, I could deal with Nifong just being sued into the Stone Age. Thank God at least one person of national prominence, in this case talk radio, took this travesty on from day one....
FreeRepublic: Nifong Taken Down By A Savage Nation
KC Johnson:
The Vick Case -- Today is Michael Vick’s first court appearance following his indictment on federal charges relating to dog fighting. In the nation’s sports columns, a conventional wisdom has emerged on how to interpret the allegations. The storyline: the lacrosse case is a cautionary tale regarding the need for due process and the dangers of rushing to judgment...

Perhaps the greatest failure in most early coverage of the lacrosse case (excepting the N&O and the Chronicle) came in the failure to give Nifong’s procedural improprieties appropriate emphasis, and to recognize that due process is impossible when a prosecutor and police routinely break the rules...

[Lester Munson of ESPN.com] might be many things, but the foremost American sports investigative journalist is not among them.