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Nifong Publicly Releases 'Angry' E-mail To Newsweek

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DURHAM, N.C. — Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong responded Monday to a Newsweek magazine article about the Duke lacrosse rape investigation that refers to an "angry" e-mail he sent to one of the magazine's reporters.

In a written statement, Nifong said he thought the article "mischaracterized" the tone of his response and that he was releasing the full contents of the e-mail he sent to Newsweek.

In the e-mail, Nifong wasted no time blasting national media outlets.

"What has surprised me is the utter lack of any degree of skepticism on the part of the national media with respect to the claims of the defense attorneys, many of which are misleading and some of which are absolutely false," he writes in the e-mail.

He continues to say that some of the defense claims are misleading and that the job of defense attorneys is to create reasonable doubt. He suggests defense attorneys might deliberately leave out facts and hints at how the defense might make some documents public record.

"Is anyone surprised that the defense attorneys are spinning this case in such a way that things do not look good for the prosecution?" he asks.

Nifong refers to the 2003 murder trial of Durham novelist Michael Peterson, saying the same thing happened then and points out that the prosecution got a conviction in the case.

In the lacrosse case, three players -- Reade Seligmann, 20, Collin Finnerty, 19, and David Evans, 23 -- are charged with raping an exotic dancer at a March 13 party.

Defense attorneys have said the players are innocent and that the allegations are false.

Still, Nifong has remained confident in pursuing the case, and makes it clear in the Newsweek e-mail that he has no plans to back down.

"None of the 'facts' I know at this time, indeed, none of the evidence I have seen from any source, has changed the opinion that I expressed initially," he writes in the e-mail.

He continues on: "The only people I have to persuade will be the twelve sitting on the jury, and if you want to know how I am going to do that, you will need to attend the trial. If in the meantime, you and other 'journalists' want to continue your speculations in the competition to come up with the most sellable story … then please spare me the recriminations when you get things wrong, as you inevitably will."


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