Local News

Trial Date Set for Nifong on State Bar Charges

Posted March 21, 2007 5:17 p.m. EDT
Updated March 21, 2007 8:00 p.m. EDT

— The North Carolina State Bar on Tuesday set a June 12 trial date to hear complaints against Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong for his handling of the Duke lacrosse sexual assault case.

If found guilty, Nifong could be disbarred.

In a complaint filed in December, the State Bar cited more than 100 examples of public statements Nifong made to the media, including WRAL, since the case broke in March 2006. In part, the Bar said those comments "have a substantial likelihood of heightening public condemnation of the accused."

Three lacrosse players were indicted on charges of rape, sexual assault and kidnapping. The rape charges were dismissed in December.

In January, the Bar amended the complaint, adding that Nifong allegedly had withheld DNA evidence from defense attorneys—exculpatory evidence that could show a defendant is not guilty.

In a written response to the accusations, Nifong said he did not intentionally violate ethics rules and denied that he intentionally withheld evidence.

Amid mounting scrutiny of his handling of the case, Nifong in January recused himself and turned the case over to the North Carolina Attorney General's Office.

Since then, special prosecutors have been examining the case and interviewing people involved, including the woman who accused the players. The attorney general's office said Wednesday that it hopes to finish its review within the next few weeks.