View Full Version : NC Bar Association files ethics charges against Nifong

12-29-2006, 12:25 AM
About fuggin time.....


RALEIGH, N.C. -- Nine months after the Duke lacrosse scandal broke, the prosecutor has become the accused.

The North Carolina bar filed ethics charges Thursday against District Attorney Mike Nifong, accusing him of saying misleading and inflammatory things to the media about the athletes under suspicion when the case unfolded last spring.

The punishment for ethics violations can range from admonishment to disbarment. The complaint could also force Nifong off the case by creating a conflict of interest.

"He's got this hanging over his head," said Thomas Metzloff, a Duke law professor and member of the bar's ethics committee for the past 10 years. "It relates so much to his underlying conduct in the case."

Among the four rules of professional conduct that Nifong was accused of violating was a prohibition against making comments "that have a substantial likelihood of heightening public condemnation of the accused."

In a statement, the bar said it opened a case against Nifong on March 30, a little more than two weeks after a 28-year-old woman hired to perform as a dancer at a lacrosse team party said she was gang-raped.

The ethics allegations come as legal experts on both sides of the criminal bar have warned that the case against the three athletes is pitifully weak.

The ethics charges will be heard by an independent body called the Disciplinary Hearing Commission, made up of both lawyers and non-lawyers. A date for the hearing has not been set.

Nifong did not return several calls and e-mails seeking comment. But in an October interview with The Associated Press, he said his only regret in handling the case was speaking so often to the media early in the investigation.

"Certainly what I was trying to do was to reassure the community, to encourage people with information to come forward," Nifong said. "And that was clearly not the effect."

The bar cited 41 quotations and eight paraphrased statements made to newspaper and TV reporters, saying many of them amounted to "improper commentary about the character, credibility and reputation of the accused" or their alleged unwillingness to cooperate. Most of the comments were in March and April.

Among them:

Nifong referred to the accused men as "a bunch of hooligans."

He declared: "I am convinced there was a rape, yes, sir."

He told ESPN: "One would wonder why one needs an attorney if one was not charged and had not done anything wrong."

He told The New York Times: "I'm disappointed that no one has been enough of a man to come forward. And if they would have spoken up at the time, this may never have happened."

Nifong also was charged with breaking a rule against "dishonesty, fraud, deceit and misrepresentation." The bar said that when DNA testing failed to find any evidence a lacrosse player raped the accuser, Nifong told a reporter the players might have used a condom.

According to the bar, Nifong knew that assertion was misleading, because he had received a report from an emergency room nurse in which the accuser said her attackers did not use a condom.

Defense attorney Joseph Cheshire, who represents one of the three athletes, declined to comment Thursday.

Last week, Nifong dropped the rape charges against the athletes after the accuser wavered in her story, saying she was no longer certain she was penetrated vaginally with a penis, as she had claimed several times before. The men still face charges of kidnapping and sexual offense.

In recent months -- and especially after last week -- legal experts and even Nifong's own colleagues have warned openly that the case appears weak.

"One wonders what the effect of this will be," Stan Goldman, who teaches criminal law at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, said after the ethics charges were filed. "Is this going to result in him treating the case more gingerly and deciding it's not worth pursuing, or is he going to get his back up and decide he's got to pursue this case to the end regardless?"

The athletes, Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and David Evans, have maintained their innocence and called the charges "fantastic lies." The case is not expected to go to trial until at least the spring.

The weaknesses in the case include the lack of DNA evidence; the accuser's ever-shifting story; one player's claim to have an alibi supported by receipts and time-stamped photos; and the defense's insistence that the photo lineup that was used to identify the defendants violated police procedures and was skewed against the men.

Before the ethics charges were filed, Bob Brown, an attorney in private practice who once worked with Nifong in the prosecutor's office, predicted the case would be a "bloodbath" for the prosecution if it went to trial.

Among other questions raised in recent weeks: Why did it take months for anyone from Nifong's office to interview the accuser? And why did Nifong initially withhold from the defense DNA test results that found genetic material from several men -- none of them Duke lacrosse players -- on the accuser's underwear and body?

"I don't see how any member of the public can have confidence in this case. I think it's making a mockery of our criminal justice system to permit this guy to keep fumbling along," Duke University law professor James Coleman, one of Nifong's leading critics, said before the ethics charges were filed. "It's either total incompetence or it's misconduct on a scale that is extraordinary."

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press

12-29-2006, 12:32 AM
If this f**king c**k sucker doesn't go to jail for life he got off easy.

12-29-2006, 12:44 AM
I would love to see this bastard go to prison, and find out firsthand how serious a crime it was that he charged those young men with.

12-29-2006, 01:08 AM
Far more likely is that he hands the case off to another office which decides not to pursue it. The ethics investigation won't end in anything but a slap on the wrist. The case is too big with too many interested parties for it to be outright dropped, at least not by Nifong himself.

12-29-2006, 11:25 AM
bump for the AM crew....

12-29-2006, 11:27 AM
Deservedly so. Nifong was a bastard about this case from the beginning, for plainly obvious political reasons (he was in the middle of trying to get re-elected, for those that don't know). I hope he ends up getting disbarred.

12-29-2006, 12:28 PM
Nifong's burgers can I take your order? LMAO

12-29-2006, 12:52 PM
Nifong's burgers can I take your order? LMAO
Yeah, I'd like a triple bulls**t with a side of lies.

12-29-2006, 12:57 PM
Nifong's burgers can I take your order? LMAOHe needs to open up a Hooters-style joint, then he can hire the hag who started the whole thing. It'll be a step up in the world for her.

12-29-2006, 01:02 PM
He needs to open up a Hooters-style joint, then he can hire the hag who started the whole thing. It'll be a step up in the world for her.

Then she can sue him for sexual harrassment and take over the whole business. Now that would be justice.

Mr. Laz
12-29-2006, 01:04 PM
good :clap:

12-29-2006, 03:00 PM
Baliff.... Whack his pee-pee.

12-29-2006, 03:24 PM
He should be forced to eat out the STD hooker that brought the charges in the first place.