Local News

Attorneys Ask to Continue Lawsuit Against Nifong

Posted April 10, 2008

— Attorneys for three former Duke University lacrosse players filed a motion this week asking a judge to lift a stay that keeps them from suing former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong.

Nifong filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in January, listing a debt of $180.3 million and David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann – as well as three other players who filed suit – as unsecured creditors, each owed $30 million.

Attorneys for Evans, Finnerty and Seligmann, however, say in the April 8 filing that bankruptcy was a tactic he used to avoid a federal civil rights lawsuit by their client and a jury trial.

A judge removed Nifong's name from the lawsuit – which also names the City of Durham and others as defendants – in January but said he could again be added to the suit, depending on the outcome of the bankruptcy case.

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

A federal court administrator said in February Nifong shouldn't be granted bankruptcy protection because he makes too much money.

For 13 months, Nifong pursued first-degree rape, kidnapping and sexual assault charges against Evans, Finnerty and Seligmann in connection with an exotic dancer's claims she was raped at a player hosted by several lacrosse players.

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper dismissed charges of first-degree sexual assault and first-degree kidnapping against the three men a year ago Friday, calling the case "a tragic rush to accuse."

Nifong had dropped the rape charge against the three men on Dec. 22, 2006, after Crystal Mangum told an investigator she was no longer certain a rape, as defined by state law, occurred.

Last summer, the North Carolina State Bar disbarred Nifong, and he resigned as district attorney. A Superior Court judge held him in contempt of court for statements he made in court and sentenced him to a one-day jail sentence.

Mangum hasn't spoken publicly since granting a single interview in the early days of the case, and people close to her family have said she's cut ties while trying to rebuild her life.

Cooper never pursued a case against Mangum saying she likely believed the allegations. With records under seal, he said, he would not talk about it why he didn't pursue a case.

Evans is now working in New York; Finnerty is a sophomore at Loyola College in Maryland and Seligmann is a junior at Brown University – both continue to play lacrosse.


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  • Scubagirl Apr 11, 2008

    dwntwnboy-good point. She has certainly disappeared from view. She should definitely be called upon for what she set in motion.

  • Scubagirl Apr 11, 2008

    nifong deserves everything he gets-what he did was completely self-serving and did nothing good for the city of Durham
    I also doubt he's that broke. If he is tuff!

  • Mmaker52 Apr 11, 2008

    dwntwnboy....I so totally agree with you!!

  • discowhale Apr 11, 2008

    those guys were not all rich. The family net worths were reported long ago. Get your facts straight. Besides, would their being rich change that fact that their accuser lied and Nifong manipulated evidence? Being rich doesn't make you guilty. BTW, you're saying the inverse of what we usually hear. "Oh the poor boys grew up poor, from such deep poverty, from broken homes, they HAD to rob someone to eat, so that means they're not really guilty".


    Guilty is guilty!! it's defined by breaking the law, and not by the balance in daddy's check book.

    Nifong needs to wind up broke. He needs to be flipping burgers at night, driving a Yugo and living in a small apt or 40 y/o single wide. For those of you that say leave him be, you're WRONG! He needs to live under the same cloud of doubt that those accused will live under. Even though this has been done away with legally, the Ms Mangum's lie will follow them forever. Nifong actions need to follow him just as long.

  • kenloe3981 Apr 10, 2008

    I will never forget Mr. Nifong adressing a crowd during his re-election bid and claiming "Durham is not going to be know as the city that let a buch of thugs get away with raping a little black girl". The guys didn't have a chance ...Black Panters , Jessie Jackson and most of Durham had them convicted. They didn't even consider that the accuser was lying. A stange twist of fate for Mr. Nifong and now he needs to man up and get what is coming to him!

  • Jeff_W Apr 10, 2008

    My question is.... how can he claim a debt of $180-million if he hasn't actually lost the judgment? Or is he conceding the fact that he owes the money -- in essence an admission of his culpability to a civil rights violation?

    Sounds like he is cutting off his face to save his nose (i.e. some bassackward stuff)

  • dws Apr 10, 2008

    lol, Mikey has a LONG, TOUGH row to hoe.....those young men and their families will be on his back as long as he is alive.....hell on earth, if you will

  • nodoginthisfight Apr 10, 2008

    He's got $$ somewhere he's still paying his lawyers. They don't work for free!!

  • squid90 Apr 10, 2008

    I dont think the 3 former duke LAX players want any of nifongs money. What they do want is to prevent him from making any money in the future by publishing a book, etc. They want to prevent nifong from nifonging these guys again in the future by making lots of money off of this case at their expense and reputations.

  • chivegas Apr 10, 2008

    Mike Nifong deserves to be in jail. He willingly and maliciously pursued false charges against the Duke players. No one should get to go free after attempts to destroy innocent peoples lives like this.

    I think Nifong should be tried under the federal hate crimes statute. These players went to Duke, Nifong is a 2x graduate (UG and Law) of UNC. Since UNC fans are so obsessed with Duke, a case could be made that he only pursued these kids cause he was jealous they went to Duke...