Local News

Court Recommends Against Allowing Nifong to Obtain Bankruptcy

Posted February 19, 2008
Updated February 20, 2008

— A federal court administrator says former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong shouldn't be granted bankruptcy protection.

Bankruptcy administrator Michael West said in a statement filed Feb. 14 that the disbarred prosecutor makes too much money to get protection from creditors.

West's decision is not a ruling, but is a recommendation that goes to a judge.

Nifong filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection last month, citing more than $180 million in liabilities. Most of that is the estimated damages in a lawsuit filed by three former lacrosse players who sought to prosecute on charges of rape, kidnapping and sexual assault.

Nifong listed David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann, as well as three other members of Duke University's 2006 men's lacrosse team who filed a separate federal lawsuit, as unsecured creditors and said each is owed $30 million.

Shortly after West's action, Nifong's attorney amended court documents to reclassify his client's potential debt as non-consumer debt. That could keep the case in bankruptcy court because it raises the allowable income level.

Nifong's attorney, Jim Craven, said the change in the paperwork was a result of a glitch in which a box on a form was not checked. He said the problem should not prevent Nifong from declaring bankruptcy.

Nifong won indictments against Evans, Finnerty and Seligmann after an exotic dancer hired to perform at a March 2006 party reported being raped, but the case unraveled in the face of the accuser's constantly changing story and a lack of evidence.

The state attorney general dropped all charges last April and declared the players innocent victims of Nifong's "tragic rush to accuse." Nifong was later disbarred for his handling of the case and spent a night in jail for lying to a judge.

In January, a judge removed Nifong as a defendant in the players' lawsuit but said Nifong could again be added to the suit, depending on the outcome of his bankruptcy case.

If the bankruptcy judge determines Nifong willfully and maliciously injured the players, bankruptcy rules won't protect him from civil litigation.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • VT1994Hokie Feb 20, 2008

    Nifong is getting exactly what he deserves. He was willing to take out three college students, and ruin their lives. I don't feel the least bit sorry for him. Justice is served.

  • workerbee Feb 20, 2008

    Ooooh..SNAP! Ghostwiter.
    Sorry...but we all know the facts and you're right, this is the way it will be. But the discussion at hand was whether Mike should be allowed to claim bankrupcy, or has he been penalized enough. The thought that I would have liked to have seen him serve jail time was to make my point that up to this point, he's gotten off easy.

  • Adelinthe Feb 20, 2008

    "I just said, if I could have my way, the man would serve some time. And he would. But since he didn't, he needs to get nailed in civil court. And he will (I hope)."


    Still...am praying for his family. They too are victims of his crimes.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • TruthBKnown Banned Again02 Feb 20, 2008

    I just said, if I could have my way, the man would serve some time. And he would. But since he didn't, he needs to get nailed in civil court. And he will (I hope).

  • blast20332 Feb 20, 2008

    i agree ghostwriter

  • soke96675 Feb 20, 2008

    i agree ghostwrit3r.

  • airway96196 Feb 20, 2008

    i agree ghostwrit3r, and ncdoc1279. people need to stop complaining and get over it.

  • Defcon Labs Feb 20, 2008

    i agree Ghostwrit3r, people need to stop complaining, and If they don't like the law of this land, go run for office and try changing the law, your self.

  • ghostwriter Feb 20, 2008

    you all need to stop complaing about nifong needs to go to prison, he has not criminally charge, he only been found guility for contempt of court. The alledge victim can not go to jail, because she has not yet been charge with a crime yet. This is not a criminal case, this is only a civil legal matter, so stop complaining and get over it. They have to list everyone in the lawsuit, except the alledge victim, but they know it going to be hard to collect from these people, whom they list except the city, and the county, and the police department, whom they know can cough up 30 million dollars anyday of the week. They listed everyone else just to put them on notice. The Feds, the state attorney office, or the local courts are not going to charge the alledge victim or nifong with any thing. If you do not like that, go run for office and change the law.

  • TruthBKnown Banned Again02 Feb 20, 2008

    "As for Nifong, I think he has suffered enough. He has already been deprived of his primary vocation. Everything else is just being vindictive and greedy. These guys aren't the first, and won't be the last, individuals to be falsely accused of a crime."

    I disagree. This was more than a false accusation. This was an intentional false accusation. Nifong knew they were innocent, or at the very least, that the charges would certainly not stand up in court, not even a chance. He pursued the case to boost his career. He needs to lose not only his vocation, but pay a big financial penalty, too (since he only had to serve one day in jail). I would put him jail for a few years if I could get my way. I just don't see why people are so forgiving of this guy. Imagine if he had done the same thing to three black students at NCCU. There would have been marching in the streets, if not riots!