Local News

Former Duke Lacrosse Coach Slams Nifong

Posted June 21, 2007 8:55 a.m. EDT
Updated June 21, 2007 11:44 a.m. EDT

— Former Duke lacrosse coach Mike Pressler said the investigation into former Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong's handling of the Duke lacrosse case should continue. 

"He maliciously pursued this case, knowing that those boys were innocent, for his own ambitions and political gain," Pressler said.

Pressler, who co-wrote a book about the Duke lacrosse case, "It's Not About the Truth," was pressured to resign after the rape allegations surfaced. He now coaches at Bryant University in Rhode Island.

Pressler said he was surprised to hear that Nifong wanted to remain in office until next month despite being disbarred. Durham Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson later suspended Nifong with pay until he resigns, citing concern that the embattled prosecutor's presence could cause legal problems with cases.

"I don't understand why that's happening. I can't believe it hasn't been done immediately. I thought the minute he was disbarred, his career as a DA was over," Pressler said.

The North Carolina State Bar's Disciplinary Hearing Commission found that Nifong broke more than two dozen rules of professional conduct during his handling of the Duke lacrosse rape case. It ordered his disbarrment, but that automatically takes 30 days to take effect.

Pressler said he has several questions to ask the former Durham prosecutor if they were to meet face-to-face.

"Why did you do this? You could have put the brakes on this numerous times. Why did put all of those boys and their families through the wringer here for your own ambition, for your own job?" Pressler said. "I've said it before, 'Hey Mike, what goes around comes around, and you are going to get yours for the mistakes that were made.'"

Pressler will be at the Regulator Bookshop at 720 Ninth Street in Durham at 7 p.m. Thursday to sign copies of his book.