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Attorneys respond to Nifong's bankruptcy appeal

Posted September 15, 2008

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— Attorneys for three former Duke University lacrosse players arrested and charged on false accusations of rape want the federal district court to side with a bankruptcy judge's decision that a civil rights lawsuit against Mike Nifong be able to move ahead.

The former Durham district attorney filed for bankruptcy earlier this year in response to David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann's claims that he, the city of Durham and others conspired to keep a weak case alive as Nifong faced election.

The bankruptcy filing meant Nifong was temporarily protected from litigation. Judge William L. Stocks ruled in May, however, the lawsuit could proceed.

Nifong filed for an appeal in June.

"Nifong admits that his bankruptcy filing was not an attempt to work out debts with creditors but a tactic to short-circuit the District Court action and obtain a discharge that would free him to avoid responsibility for his alleged wrongdoing," a motion filed on Monday in U.S. District Court states.

In his January 15 bankruptcy filing, Nifong listed a debt of $180.3 million, listing the Evans, Finnerty and Seligmann as unsecured creditors, each owed $30 million.

Nifong won indictments against the three players in Spring 2006 following exotic dancer Crystal Mangum's accusations that she was raped and sexually assaulted at a lacrosse party in March 2006.

Amid ethics charges and growing criticism of his handling of the case, Nifong asked the state attorney general's office in January 2007 to appoint a special prosecutor to the case.

Three months later, Attorney General Roy Cooper dismissed all charges against the players and declared them innocent victims of a prosecutor's rush to accuse.

The North Carolina State Bar later stripped Nifong of his law license, and he spent a night in jail for lying to a Superior Court judge.

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  • Nutfong Sep 15, 2008

    unc83,

    I beg to differ, my fellow Tarheel. Nifong clearly was NOT doing his job, per the state statutes investing him with authority to prosecute crimes.

    Nifong brought charges without evidence. All he had was Tara Levicy, an ideologue employed by Duke Medical who'd witnessed a partial and wholly insufficient examination of Mangum. And who then lied about the nature of Mangum's slight injuries, none of which indicated an assault and which couldn't be tied to the players at any rate. The SBI had run the DNA tests he'd requested and they came back totally empty. So empty the only reasonable explanation was the allegations had been made up. Not only was no player's DNA in the rape kit, there was no semen, saliva, or tissue upon which to run DNA testing. Nada.

    As Himan himself asked when told to ready for a presentation to the Grand Jury, "With what?"

    Nifong acted outside the scope of the law for personal gain. This is not only illegal, it is most decidedly not part of his job.

  • pwilliamson53 Sep 15, 2008

    Let Crystal Mangum and Mike Nifong pay!! No pity here and neither should be allowed to get away with this. Together these two people costed the tax payers thousands of dollars for the trials and time spent. The book deal Crystal is getting out of this should be taking away from her and paid to the young men who's lives were put on hold cause of her false statements. And Mike Nifong should lose everything he owns cause he thought he could build a case which he knew was false. Pay up Crystal you don't deserve to gain & neither does Mike. You caused the mess now pay up.

  • unc83 Sep 15, 2008

    Please leave Mike alone!!!!! He was just doing his job!!!! He made a mistake!!!! Have mercy on him!!!!! NO WAY JOSE!!!!!!!!

  • cowman Sep 15, 2008

    If I lied to a federal judge, I wonder how many nights in jail I would spend ?????????????????????????/

  • whatusay Sep 15, 2008

    Poor Mike. I wish I could feel some sympathy for him, but I don't. He deserves everything he gets. Millions of tax payers dollars wasted and dozens of innocent lives disrupted so he could be re-elected....