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Lawsuit against Nifong can proceed, judge rules

Posted May 27, 2008

— Former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong's claim that he's bankrupt can't stop a civil rights lawsuit that three former Duke University lacrosse players filed against him, a U.S. bankruptcy judge's ruling Tuesday.

Listing a debt of more than $180 million that included possible losses to the players from the suit, Nifong filed for bankruptcy in January. He did it on the same day he was to submit a response to a civil complaint filed by David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann.

Last year, they were cleared of all charges stemming from an exotic dancer's claims she was raped at a party in March 2006. Special prosecutors found no evidence to proceed with the case.

In the lawsuit they filed in October, the trio alleged the city of Durham, Nifong and others conspired to keep a weak case alive as he faced election in the Democratic primary for district attorney.

Nifong's bankruptcy filing sought to protect him from the civil suit by making the players' claims part of the bankruptcy case instead. At the time, Nifong listed his house, car and personal belongings as being worth $243,898.

In January, U.S. District Judge James Beaty took Nifong out of the players' case until the bankruptcy case was decided, though he left open the possibility that Nifong could again become a defendant in the civil suit.

Tuesday's decision by Bankruptcy Judge William L. Stocks turned the tables, putting the entire bankruptcy case on hold and tossing the players' claims against Nifong back to the district court to decide.

In February, a federal court administrator recommended the disbarred prosecutor not be granted bankruptcy protection, saying he makes too much money. Tuesday's decision did not address that point.


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  • beachboater May 28, 2008

    I think of what Nifong is going through and I can't help but feel sorry for him. But then I think of the 3 men he charged, and I get over feeling sorry for him and get mad at him.

    As for Crystal Mangum, she deserves something for sure. I don't think she will ever have a problem. Maybe the men involved should sue her for ruining their lives.

  • pwilliamson53 May 28, 2008

    No sympathy here for Nifong. He is getting what he deserves. He used his position to bring light on himself for his campaign at the expense of 3 young men. Let him stand before his peers as they did and plead for mercy and pay for his actions.

  • steelslinger512 May 28, 2008

    This is the best news we have heard in a long time...

  • Adelinthe May 28, 2008

    "You know I feel this "dead horse" has already been beaten to death"

    Tell that to the young men he railroaded - all because he thought that he himself was above the law he purported to represent.

    No! I want to see him lose everything, but I pray for his family daily.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • Mmaker52 May 28, 2008

    You know I feel this "dead horse" has already been beaten to death

  • Scubagirl May 28, 2008

    "The poor man, hasn't he been through enough?" f6rider

    Absolutely not! And I agree with all those asking where is Crystal now.

  • mtr May 28, 2008

    Southern Fried Yankee
    We are already in trouble.

  • Doodlebug May 28, 2008

    I'm so glad!!! Nifong put those 3 innocent young men and their families through a nightmare and Nifong should pay and so should Magnum........after all she lied just like Nifong did.

  • Southern Fried Yankee May 28, 2008

    Mike Nifong is lucky it's only money those young men are after. Mikey committed prosecutorial malfeasance and malicious prosecution of the worst kind and that should be a felony.

    When you can't trust the legal system, we're ALL in trouble.

  • Go Georgia Tech May 28, 2008

    So they get a civil case against him and win- they will never get paid. He is jobless and seems to have lost everything. His name is trash now and his children's children will never live down the disgrace he has brought on.

    if I was him- pack up- move to Mexico or Europe where hopefully no one knows and start all over. Your time in the states has came to an end. Anywhere you go- someone is going to recognize you.