Local News

Nifong Plans to Testify at State Bar Trial

Posted May 23, 2007 12:08 p.m. EDT
Updated May 23, 2007 7:36 p.m. EDT

— Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong plans to testify at his upcoming trial for his handling of the Duke lacrosse case, his attorney said Wednesday.

David Freedman said his client has already provided some testimony to prosecutors with the North Carolina State Bar for his trial, which is scheduled for June 12 before a three-member disciplinary panel.

The State Bar alleges that Nifong withheld DNA evidence from defense attorneys representing the three indicted lacrosse players -- Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and David Evans -- and violated professional rules of conduct by making misleading and inflammatory comments about the defendants.

State Bar prosecutors have also deposed Dr. Brian Meehan, the director of DNA Security, the lab that tested DNA evidence in the case. Meehan testified last year that he and Nifong agreed only to report to defense attorneys positive DNA matches to certain pieces of evidence and that they agreed to omit DNA matches to other men found on the accuser.

Durham City Manager Patrick Baker told WRAL Wednesday afternoon that several police investigators, including Sgt. Mark Gottlieb and Inv. Benjamin Himan, who headed the case. Baker said he expects some to testify at the trial but didn't know which ones would.

In addition to Nifong and Meehan, the State Bar will call several defense attorneys in the case, as well as Nifong's private investigator, Linwood Wilson, to testify. 

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper dismissed kidnapping and sexual assault charges against Seligmann, Finnerty and Evans in April, stating the accuser, Crystal Mangum, was not credible.

Nifong stepped away from the case in January, less than a month after he dropped rape charges against the defendants, saying the ethics complaints presented a conflict of interest for him.