Local News

U.S. judge gives green light for suit against Nifong

Posted December 4, 2008

— A federal district judge has agreed with a bankruptcy judge's ruling that a civil rights lawsuit against Duke lacrosse prosecutor Mike Nifong can move forward.

The former Durham County district attorney filed for bankruptcy in January, which temporarily protected him from the civil litigation brought by the three Duke University lacrosse players prosecuted on charges of rape, sexual assault and kidnapping.

Following a bankruptcy hearing in February, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge William L. Stocks put the bankruptcy case on hold until the civil action was resolved.

In June, Nifong appealed Stocks' ruling.

But U.S. District Judge James Beaty, in his ruling Thursday, agreed with Stocks that if the claims against Nifong result in a judgment, the matter would then be referred to bankruptcy court for further proceedings.

Nifong won indictments against David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann after a stripper hired to perform at a March 2006 team 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 prosecutors who eventually took over the case dropped all charges and declared the players innocent victims of Nifong's "tragic rush to accuse." He was later disbarred for his handling of the case and spent a night in jail for lying to a judge.

Nifong’s January bankruptcy filing came on the same day he and others involved in the criminal case were to submit responses to the players' federal lawsuit.

Nifong listed Evans, Finnerty and 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, each owed $30 million.

More than 30 other lacrosse players from that team are also listed as creditors, each owed $1; the North Carolina State Bar, owed $8,397.71 for costs related to his disbarment; and nearly 70 other people involved with or associated in some way with the nearly yearlong criminal investigation.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • Iamcornholio Dec 5, 2008

    Those guys need to go after that chic who lied!!

  • missingVA Dec 4, 2008

    ...can you say Karma?

  • GALNC Dec 4, 2008

    I think Mike Nifong needs to be sued by the boys. He deliberately destroyed their college lives...several switched schools for false charges and he had DNA evidence which proved them innocent and sat on it.

    As far has the boys or their parents having money..what or how does that excuse what happened to them.... Put your child or self in their shoes.

    I also think Ms Mangum should be sued and put in jail for this.

    As for Nifong....he deserves what he gets...he has a pension that he will be getting and he abused his authority to win a election. He shouldn't hide behind a bankruptcy filing.....

  • dws Dec 4, 2008

    "Nifong created his own problem. Now he's got to live with the consequences."

    nothing more, nothing less

  • ifcdirector Dec 4, 2008

    Perhaps the saddest thing of all is if Nifong ran for DA again in Durham he would be elected by the same cabal of wild eyed liberals who put him in to start with.

  • ifcdirector Dec 4, 2008

    If every lawyer and prosecutor in NC who ever lied to a judge had to spend a night in jail the NC Department of Corrections would have to sublet the basement of every single citizen of this state for about a month for alternative places of incarceration and that is what is wrong with the whole system.

  • shepherdss Dec 4, 2008

    Lets see where this goes.

    Firstly Mike was totally wrong in how he handled this case and knew what he was doing. He deserves no slack.

    However on the other hand the female is getting off without even a hand slap. Some charge needs to be lodged against her at least a minor felony.

    Then the boys and their friends. Where do we start? At the beginning the group hired her and her friend to "dance" for them. According to reports this wasn't the first time.

    No party is a party without alcoholic beverages. So these same boys obtained some.

    Was everyone at a legal age? Well we'll practice a "don't ask, don't tell" policy. By the by, all were not legal.

    So to sum up the boys role. They hired some questionable ladies and provided the beverages to all like they had on at least one time before.

    Has anyone realized or even given a passing random thought,that had not the boys provided the stage for all the drama that followed, none of this tragedy would had happened?

    Shame on them all.


  • makeitright Dec 4, 2008

    Take everything he's got, or will ever have. This system needs honest, law abiding lawyers and judges. Not too many around....

  • whocares Dec 4, 2008

    If any of these people get any money it will surprise me. He has no job, he cannot practice law, and as far as I know he has no money coming in at all from anywhere else. Just because he owes it doesn't mean that he cay pay it, so good luck with that.

  • teacher56 Dec 4, 2008

    I do not feel sorry for the three men in this case. They are rich beyond most and when people like this get "wronged" (which I still wonder about...are they truly innocent or is it simply a situation of not having enough credible evidence to bring to trial)they always get way more compensation through legal proceedings than most of us as they can afford the top attorneys. I am sick of this case and just wish all these people would just go away. It is over...enough!