Local News

State Bar to Hold First Hearing on Nifong Charges

Posted January 24, 2007

— Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong was expected to attend a hearing Wednesday into the North Carolina State Bar's charges against him for his handling of the Duke lacrosse sexual assault case.

The bar was expected to hear a request from Nifong's attorney for an extension so he and Nifong can examine records and formulate his response to the bar's ethics complaint.

Nifong was expected to attend the hearing, though he is not required to be there.

David Freedman of Winston-Salem, who represents Nifong, said it is common for attorneys facing ethics complaints to ask for an extension. Tom Lunsford, with the state bar, said he does not object to an extension.

Last month, the bar cited dozens of pretrial comments Nifong made to the media early on in his investigation of three Duke University lacrosse players accused of sexually assaulting an exotic dancer.

"You only have 20 days, and that's not enough time to take in this case," Freedman said. "There's volumes and volumes we need to review. We need to discuss the case with him, and we need to get a better feel before we respond to the case."

The case against Nifong could go to trial as early as May.

"Anytime a lawyer has to go before a disciplinary hearing committee, it's a big thing because your reputation is under attack," Freedman said.

Last month, Nifong dropped rape charges against the three defendants in the case after the accuser wavered in her account of key details in the case. The three men, Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and David Evans, still face sexual assault and kidnapping charges. All three men have maintained their innocence.

Nifong stepped down from the case earlier this month because the pending ethics charges created a conflict of interest, Freedman said.

"He regretted having to leave the case," Freedman said. "It was no indication of his views on the strength or weakness of the case. It was in no way a concession to the allegations against him."

State Attorney General Roy Cooper has appointed two lawyers in his office to take over the lacrosse case. They are reviewing all the files in the case.

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  • thelmasgirl Jan 25, 2007

    Nifong should not be exempt from prosection just because he happens to be a DA they should strip the office from him and put him in jail, let somebody else that he has probably railroaded get him. None of this would ever have seen the light of day except these youn men's families had the will and the sources to suport them. So much for justice for all,not if your poor

  • deerslayer Jan 24, 2007

    Crucify him!!! Crucify Him!!!!

  • NC Forester Jan 24, 2007

    smoothtip99: Here is your bible reference.


    if the link doesn't work do a search on capital punishment at bible.com

  • 0 Tolerance aka Ms.Turner Jan 24, 2007

    Wow it sounds like Nifong has really gotten under a lot of peoples skin. Justice will come to ALL who have acted against the law. That means everyone including the "boys".

  • 777 Jan 24, 2007

    "Nifong is a terrific lawyer."

    Whether you believe the alledged victim or the Lacrosse boy's side of the story, there is no way a sane, rational person who has watched even just one episode of Law & Order, could possibly think Nifong is a good attorney. IF the victim really was raped, Nifong is directly responsible for her rapists getting away with it. And if she wasn't, then he's responsible for dragging 3 men though the mud for something they didn't do.

    Beyond Nifong creating a media fiasco (for whatever reason he did it) he allowed the accuser to pick out her "attackers" from a Lacrosse team photo. If it didn't happen, she could have picked any random 3 men to accuse of the crime, and could, from that, have later picked out the same men from a line-up including outsiders. This bit of tainted evidence alone is enough to throw out the charges and end the victim's chance at ever seeing justice (if she was, in fact, a victim)

  • seankelly15 Jan 24, 2007

    In the words of Nifong, 'If someone is innocent, why would they need a lawyer? Or, 'We sought their cooperation but they lawyered up'.

  • KevinUNC97 Jan 24, 2007

    What a coincidence that Julia Lewis is reporting on this? This has been the most BIASED reporting throughout by Ms. Lewis. It is amazing how ignorant and whiney people are about this case. You are calling a girl a "sex worker" and she is "expected to work", insinuating that she was a prostitute. She was/is a college student, who was sodomized (in police reports). Also the accused are not innocent victims like most of these people say.
    It is really time that all of those who champion the rights of the accused, also do the same when it comes to others who are wronlgy accused, but just happen not to be rich and caucasian. I bet you that these people will not be heard from in those instances! God forbid whatever happened to that young college student happen to your daughters! Let's see if you will be whining for the accused then!

  • abf1 Jan 24, 2007

    Do we really think that anything will actually happen to Nifong? Probably not.

  • dclark Jan 24, 2007

    I think the " boys " in this case are the victims. If what has been stated is true, and all I know about this case is what has been reported, the " girl " is a paid sex worker. How can you press charges against your employer just because he expects you to work? Rape.... I don't think we will ever know what went on in that house that night. We should teach our children, and this applies to both the " boys " and the "girl" in this case, that if you play in the hog pen, you gonna get muddy!

  • RDUTEC Jan 24, 2007

    OK he (Nifong) violated ethics standards big time. He appears to have tired the accused in the media before they even went to trial. Logic would demand that he be treated the same. However the law (which it appears he ignored) says he is inocent untill shown to be guilty by someone other than any of us or the media. He must still get his day in court whether we like it or not. BTW I don't like it.