Local News

Judge Will Stay Latest Complaint Against Nifong

Posted February 9, 2007

— A judge said early Friday evening he will issue an order on Monday to stay any action on a Durham resident's attempt to remove former Duke lacrosse prosecutor Mike Nifong from office.

Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson said the civil complaint filed Friday by Elizabeth Brewer basically mirrors ethics charges the North Carolina State Bar filed against the Durham County district attorney within the past two months.

Citing provisions in North Carolina General Statutes Chapter 7A-66 on the removal of district attorneys, Brewer charges Nifong with willful misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice that brings the office into disrepute.

Last year, Brewer organized a political action committee, "Recall Nifong -- Vote Cheek," to elect Durham County Commissioner Lewis Cheek as district attorney, even though he had decided he was not running for the office.

"This was filed by a woman who tried to defeat me through the political process," Nifong told WRAL's Julia Lewis early Friday evening after he had a chance to review the complaint. "Since that wasn't successful, she obviously tried to pursue this through this particular remedy."

The complaint is significant, former federal prosecutor Dan Boyce said, and raises questions not only about Nifong's ability to serve as district attorney, but also his right to practice law.

"I think he's got to consider whether, in the interest of justice and in fairness to the people of Durham County, whether it's time to resign," Boyce said. "There's too much attention being focused on him and not enough attention being focused on the (Duke lacrosse) case itself."

Nifong also said Friday he is looking forward to defending himself against the State Bar's ethics charges and that he is working with his attorneys on a response, which is due Feb. 23.

"I wish everyone would withhold judgment until they hear the evidence, as well as my response," he told WRAL, adding that there is more to the Duke lacrosse case than what the media has reported.

Last month, the State Bar amended the ethics complaint it filed against Nifong in December, alleging he withheld exculpatory evidence from defense attorneys representing the Duke lacrosse players and misrepresenting the truth to the judge in the case.

December's complaint had accused Nifong of violating professional conduct rules by making misleading and inflammatory comments about the athletes under suspicion.

The lacrosse players, Reade Seligmann, 20, Collin Finnerty, 20, and David Evans, 23, were indicted last spring on charges of first-degree rape, first-degree sexual assault and first-degree kidnapping after an exotic dancer told police she was raped at an off-campus lacrosse party.

In December, however, Nifong dropped rape charges against the three men after the accuser wavered in her account of key details in the case.

In January, Nifong asked for a special prosecutor in the case, and the state attorney general’s office is now handling it.

Nifong said Friday his office is moving forward with other cases as the ethics charges tied to the Duke case are pending.

Nifong said there were 2,692 cases pending in Durham's Superior Court when he was appointed interim district attorney in April 2005. That figure was down to 2,134 cases as of January, a reduction of nearly 21 percent, he said.

"I would point out that our office is operating very efficiently ... so it doesn't appear that anything alleged in here has affected our ability to do our job well," Nifong told The Associated Press.

Only one district attorney North Carolina has been removed from office with Statute 7A-66. In 1995, District Attorney Jerry Spivey was removed from office in New Hanover and Pender counties because of a racial slur he allegedly made at a bar in Wrightsville Beach.

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  • WXYZ Mar 1, 2007

    Certainly Nifong should not be allowed to resign. He should be fired!

  • ghwhitaker1_old Feb 10, 2007

    It is no surprise to me that Judge Hudson would cover the backside of a prosecutor. During my experiences with him sitting as the trial judge (2 murder trials), he did everything he possibly could to assist the prosecution in obtaining a conviction. When the jury finally came back with an involuntary manslaughter conviction, he impugned their verdict by telling them in open court that, in his opinion, the evidence certainly supported a murder conviction. He then, in the jury's presence, sentenced a 19 year old young man with absolutely no prior record to every day in prison he possibly could give him. A prosecutor in a black robe.

  • superman Feb 10, 2007

    And how many months did it take him to interview the dancer? High profile case and he didnt even take the time to talk to her and judge for himself if she was creditable. I would have been talking to her the next day. I would have wanted to hear it from her lips what happend, how it happened, when it happened. Not necessarily that she was not telling the truth but from the fact that if I was going to stand up in court I would at least have wanted to hear her story first hand.

  • clackymcsplatter Feb 10, 2007

    Looks like this democrat is gettig what he deserved...look at those rodent eyes he has...what a dirtbag

  • mmclean Feb 10, 2007

    He is washed up, just a matter of time.

  • HoldOn Feb 10, 2007


  • HoldOn Feb 10, 2007

    CAN YOU BELIEVE HE ACTUALLY SAID THIS: "I wish everyone would withhold judgment until they hear the evidence, as well as my response," he told WRAL, adding that there is more to the Duke lacrosse case than what the media has reported.

  • georgewilson11 Feb 10, 2007

    I thought he had told his side !

  • goheels Feb 10, 2007

    Oh, Mr Nifong, how childish you now sound....you want your cake and to eat it too!!! Why didn't you wait until all the evidence (or truly a lack of evidence) was in before you spoke, before you charged three innocent until proven guilty young men, before you had a lab deliberately withhold written documentation of lack of DNA matches, before you called the young men "hooligans" and have forever tarnished their reputations no matter the outcome of the charges. NOOOOOOOOOOOOO, you had rather spoke out for the sole pupose of getting elected! That is such a lame, lame reason for using your public office to OFFEND the civil rights of these young men and in general, the civil rights of all "innocent until proven guilty" persons in your district. I hope you suffer greatly as you have caused all the families concerned to suffer and be tormented by you and your "system". Can't wait to see you go...............bye bye bye bye bye bye!!

  • NC to GA Feb 10, 2007

    Sick of idiots making references to Chapel Hill. For God's sake, focus MARKDANAMAN and please stop YELLING on your posts.