Civil Liberties

Nifong Folds

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Durham DA Mike Nifong has dismissed the rape charges against three Duke lacrosse players. That means the case is done, right?

Not so fast.

There are still sexual assault and kidnapping charges pending. One guesses. Actually, who knows what comes next in this mess. But it certainly seems impossible to sustain the other charges.

The defense is not going to plea bargain with Nifong, that much is certain.

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  1. Nifong seems to be taking lessons from Bush: no WMD were found, but we’re going to continue this war anyway. Pick your moron.

  2. (sigh)
    In the minds of cretins, all roads lead to Bush.

  3. n the minds of heterosexual men, all roads lead to bush.

  4. I just cannot believe that Nifong would continue down this path if the case was really as weak as the media presents it. There’s got to be something more. Nifong is a respected career prosecutor. I simply can’t accept that he’d keep pushing if all he had was the absolute nuthin’ that we keep hearing about.

    Mind you, I’m certainly not convinced that the accused are guilty, but there’s got to be something that will come out in the trial. Nifong would have to be insane to keep going forward if there wasn’t. As in, willing to destroy his reputation and career, and leave himself open to a giant civil suit.

    I guess we’ll find out.

  5. DURHAM, N.C. – Prosecutors dropped rape charges Friday against three Duke University lacrosse players accused of attacking a stripper at a team party, but the three still face kidnapping and sexual offense charges, a defense attorney said.

    Joseph Cheshire and attorneys for the other players have said for months the woman told several different versions of the alleged assault.

    Cheshire said Friday that the accuser now says she does not know if she was penetrated, which he said led District Attorney Mike Nifong to dismiss the rape charges.

    Nifong did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

    The accuser, a 28-year-old student at North Carolina Central University, has said three men raped her in a bathroom at a March 13 team party where she was hired to perform as a stripper.

    The players – Dave Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann – all say they are innocent. Their attorneys have consistently said no sex occurred at the party and have cited a lack of DNA evidence in the case as proof of their clients’ innocence.

    “It’s highly coincidental,” Cheshire said, that the charges are being dropped a week after the director of a private DNA testing lab acknowledged that he initially, with Nifong’s knowledge, withheld from the defense test results showing none of the players’ DNA was found on or in the accuser’s body.

    Testing also showed that genetic material from several males was found in her undergarments and body.

  6. ” Nifong would have to be insane to keep going forward if there wasn’t. As in, willing to destroy his reputation and career, and leave himself open to a giant civil suit.”

    Can You Say “Nixon”?

  7. Joe, you are being way to nice about Nifong. Why would a respected procecutor NOT interview a victim about a crime which you are about to charge individuals? Is that common practice?

    I don’t think there is anything that could win this case now. I agree with rm2mov. Nifong is just trying to “stay the course”.

    How on earth could he possible prove kidnapping and sexual assault. It going to be her word versus theirs.

    I think John had mentioned it as being political due to the coming elections. I don’t know, but it makes the most rational sense. Then again maybe Nifong just wanted to believe this woman, and has stuck to “faith” in lieu of facts.

  8. Nifong was in a tough position. Had he not pressed charges, he would have been killed by the media for letting the rich white boys off and ignoring the poor black accuser. Especially given what massive tools the accused men appear to be.

    By the time it became obvious what a shit sandwich this case was, he was too far down the road to just drop the case.

  9. Yeah, I imagine it would be hard to prove kidnapping, especially as one of the accused has a valid alibi as to where he was when the alleged kidnapping was taking place.

  10. Ahem, the closest thing to this case that anybody associated with the Bush Administration ever did was the over-reaching prosecution/persicution of Arthur Anderson, LLC which destroyed the accounting side of that firm.

    Otherwise, you guys are just blowing smoke.

    However, I to support your right to smoke and blow.

  11. Nifong seems to be taking lessons from Bush: no WMD were found, but we’re going to continue this war anyway. Pick your moron.

    I agree. This Nifong guy really pulled a W.

  12. joe,

    I suppose it is possible there is “something” which that scum sucking politician known as the prosecuter (persecutor?) might have not revealed to the media after he has been seriously lambasted for the total lack of evidence in his case.

    It is also possible that George Bush actually believed that there were WMD in Iraq, and that this wasn’t merely an excuse to invade that they didn’t really believe.

    It is also possible that Hilary Clinton is a commodities genius and racked up $100,000 in gains instead of the plausible alternative that her broker effectively stole $100,000 from some other suckers in Arkansas because she was the Governor’s wife and he could avoid local prosecution this way.

    It is also possible that the K-12 history books are more accurate than the college history books and that Lincoln started the Civil War so as to free the slaves, instead of it actually being a cynical and reluctant ploy that was decided upon only after the war was under way and it was unclear who would win.

    Why do I have a feeling that if three black men had been accused in this manner of raping a white women down south that you’d be among the first and loudest to castigate this apparent egregious abuse of government power for mere political gain? As opposed to saying a politician wouldn’t be likely to lie to get elected?

  13. in the minds of red necks all roads lead to busch.

    It must be friday.

  14. How are you “kidnapped” for 30 minutes (while being paid) and then call a cab?

  15. Maybe we can start a new meme where “Nifong” means a folded penis.

  16. Joe,

    Under NC discovery law, Nifong can’t be hiding something special up his sleave. From a factual standpoint, his entire case has been put on the table and poured over by the defense and the Raliegh News and Observer. The only piece of evidence he has is the word of the accuser, which is contradicted by all the eyewitnesses, has changed several times, and whose timeline of events is disputed by even Nifong himself (her version of events make it impossible for all three to have been there, so Nifong is just assuming she’s wrong about that). This is not an “experienced prosecutor”. It’s a career civil servent who has been doing trafic court cases the majority of life. He also has cancer, which I wouldn’t normally bring up, but given his bizarre conduct in this case, I’ll offer it up as a possible defense. His meds may be making him crazy.

  17. Wasn’t there some other President that was lying under oath in a federal court about sex? I mean actually lying, saying something he knew was false – not being wrong although actually believing what he said (like Bush was)?

    Even tho I suppose he’s most famous for lying about getting BJs from one of his underlings. Nothing illegal about that – after all he wasn’t a CEO of a company or something.

  18. “His meds may be making him crazy.”

    No, it’s his soon-to-be-discovered drinking problem that’s to blame. A couple of weeks in rehab and everything will be forgiven.

  19. Tricky Vic,

    I have no idea. The whole thing is baffling.

    Gimme Back My Dod,

    “Had he not pressed charges, he would have been killed by the media for letting the rich white boys off and ignoring the poor black accuser.” Maybe for the first week or two, but he’s been taking a lot more heat from the other side for months now. If he was merely interested in avoiding bad press, he would have dropped this stinker a long time ago. There have been many opportunities to declare that the new lab reports, new evidence, or whatnot had changed his mind. I don’t accept the excuse that he’s been trying to avoid criticism – he’s been getting nothing BUT criticism.

    happyjuggler, the problem with your theory is that dropping the case would be a much more popular thing to do than staying the course as he had. As far as your feelings, I neither know, nor care.

    FatDrunkandStupid, your theory is a reach, but it’s the only one I’ve heard that makes any sense.

  20. “””Had he not pressed charges, he would have been killed by the media for letting the rich white boys off and ignoring the poor black accuser.””””

    Maybe that’s true. But it seems to me a wiser approach would have been the “we will wait till we have all the facts and make a jugement after that” approach. It was not necessary to charge the lacross players BEFORE he interviewed the woman. He would have saved himself a lot of problems.

  21. Maybe Nifong’s not such an idiot after all. (But it’s entirely possible he is).

    I happened to visit the Duke campus in April, and the whole place was in an uproar… every militant minority group trying to scream the loudest about the tremendous injustice of it all. Vigils, speeches, rallys, marches, leaflets, propaganda… the works.

    If I was the prosecutor and got handed a groundless case that was already so wrapped up in race, class and gender politics, I couldn’t simply drop the charges as that would only fuel the hysteria.

    The only option is to appear to be actively investigating, while slowly letting the facts trickle out to the awaiting media, and letting the court of public opinion make a decision that the activist groups can’t object to or protest against.

    In a year it all blows over, and the frat boys learn a few valuable lessons about race, class and gender politics, and if they’re smart write a book about it and get rich from the made-for-TV-movie royalties.

  22. All-Tawana Chrithmath…

  23. I’ve certainly learned a lesson from all of this…Don’t ever hire black crack whore’s as strippers!

  24. I just cannot believe that Nifong would continue down this path if the case was really as weak as the media presents it. There’s got to be something more. Nifong is a respected career prosecutor. I simply can’t accept that he’d keep pushing if all he had was the absolute nuthin’ that we keep hearing about.

    Mind you, I’m certainly not convinced that the accused are guilty, but there’s got to be something that will come out in the trial. Nifong would have to be insane to keep going forward if there wasn’t. As in, willing to destroy his reputation and career, and leave himself open to a giant civil suit.

    I guess we’ll find out.

    rm2muv got it right. Substitute “Bush” for “Nifong,” “WMDs” for “sexual assault,” “Saddam” for “the accused,” “impeachment” for “civil suit,” etc.

  25. joe,

    You may not be aware of this, but the community wants those men strung up.

    historically, there is a great deal of tension between Duke university students and the people who live near the university.

    In essence, Duke students are viewed by local activists as spoiled rich kids, the children of the establishment that exploit the poor people living around them.

    When the case broke, Nifong was struggling in th epolls and looked like he would lose the election.

    He made himself popular by fanning the flames of popular outrage. he was assisted in this by the facultry and administration of Duke university, who seemed desperate to behave like the caricatures painted by right wing demagogues of left-leaning university culture.

    In effect, they became scape-goats. Several faculty seemed to feel that regardless of whether or not they actually commited the crime, the tem members should be convictedbecause they were guilty of other malfeasances.

    The notion that class enemies are guilty of something so must be punished is incompatible with a free society, and bothers me greatly.

    In this case we owe a debt to the controversion Lew Rockwell, who published Dr Anderson’s analyses of the case.

  26. “Had he not pressed charges, he would have been killed by the media for letting the rich white boys off and ignoring the poor black accuser.”

    So you’re saying the media are raciss?

  27. “rm2muv got it right. Substitute “Bush” for “Nifong,” “WMDs” for “sexual assault,” “Saddam” for “the accused,” “impeachment” for “civil suit,” etc.”

    Like, “shit” for “brains?”

  28. i just figured he continued with the suit despite the evidence to avoid a suit against himself. if he loses in court – he can just say that the jury didn’t see it his way. if he admits there’s no case, well then he’s open to some legal action against himself.

  29. Nifong has violated at least two rules of ethics: prosecutors must disclose all information that tends to negate guilt or mitigate the offense in a timely manner (his failure to disclose results of DNA test in a timely manner), and prosecutors cannot make public statements that increase the likelihood of public condemnation unless the statements are necessary to inform the public of the prosecutor’s actions (see any of his early statements that essentially declared the defendants guilty).

    I hope he gets disbarred.

  30. “””In a year it all blows over, and the frat boys learn a few valuable lessons about race, class and gender politics, and if they’re smart write a book about it and get rich from the made-for-TV-movie royalties.”””

    This is a very light way of looking at it. Often those wrongfully accused never get past the stigma of the accusation. Time will tell, but ask Richard Jewell.

    If you were the one being procecuted, I’ll bet you would be singing a differnt song.

  31. Testing also showed that genetic material from several males was found in her undergarments and body.
    I don’t know about all of you, but the lesson I learned from this was “wash your underwear more often.”

  32. ‘rm2muv got it right. Substitute “Bush” for “Nifong,” “WMDs” for “sexual assault,” “Saddam” for “the accused,” “impeachment” for “civil suit,” etc.’

    To follow this metaphor to its logical conclusion, we have to posit some “Spreading Democracy Crusade” motive to Nifong. Are you saying he wanted to screw these three kids for some reason completely unrelated to sexual assualt, and just latched onto a shaky story about that for cover, as Bush did with the WMD scam?

    tarran, that’s an interesting take.

  33. Isn’t this a real-life version of The Bonfires of the Vanities?

    And for a similar tale of someone being railroaded in a University town, check out the case of SFU Swimming coach Liam Donnelly who was falsely accused of sexual harrasment by then student (now frequent O’Reilly commentator) Rachel Marsden.

  34. Suppose the accused had been poor white boys. They would have been decisively railroaded by now. The powerhouse attorneys in this case wouldn’t have given poor white boys the time of day.

    Here in North Carolina we’ve had several revelations of similar prosecutorial misconduct by DA’s who are just bent on winning their cases..regardless of whether justice is served. I wonder how many more Nifong-like prosecutors are out there in other states. I suppose we’ll never know about any of them unless one of them has the misfortune to pick on someone with the money to mount an effective defense that includes the ability to play the media like an insturment.

    BTW, tarran is absolutely right about the Duke faculty’s tendency to satirize themselves. You can have a coffee and people-watch in the Whole Foods store accross the street from Duke and recognize the faculty by their air of aggreived arrogance.

  35. What has yet to come to light is the fact that the real full name of “this Nifong guy” is actually Bushitlerburtonifong W. McChimplestein.

  36. Joe,
    I think there is that. It’s what Tarran mentioned–instead of “spread democracy,” the crusade is “screw the rich jerks.”

  37. DNA evidence found traces of FIVE men in her–none of whom were the 49 lacrosse players. The prosecutor hid that evidence and told the private DNA lab not to volunteer that info to anyone. That’s malfeasance. That’s not letting the court of public opinion decide. The prosecutor was out to get these guys. And the police were just tools of the prosecutor. Looking for any evidence to get any of the lacrosse team. Accepting any story, no matter how wild. They gave her a photo array of all lacrosse players and told her to pick three. Even TV detectives know you have to put some shills in a fucking line-up.

  38. “The prosecutor hid that evidence and told the private DNA lab not to volunteer that info to anyone. That’s malfeasance. That’s not letting the court of public opinion decide.”

    This isn’t malfeasance, this is practicing good law. When you don’t know all the facts, you don’t go public. By the way, please direct me to the Article or Amendment in the Constitution creating the court of uneducated opinion?

    Nifong went wrong when he didn’t drop the charges as his case hit the bottom of the sea and cracked open and skeletons rose up on a bed of bubbles.

  39. This isn’t malfeasance, this is practicing good law.

    Sorry, but it is malfeasance.

    He deliberately withheld relevant evidence from the defense. This was not information that was uncertain, vague or ambiguous, these were definite findings. And he conspired to have them suppressed.

  40. It’s a clear ethics violation, especially since prosecutors have a duty to reveal potentially exculpatory evidence. Of course, prosecutors have been violating that little tenant of legal appropriateness for a long time, with no repercussions.

    As for Constitutional limits, those are so pass

  41. Oops. Make that tenet. Wow, that reads a little risqu? the way I wrote it, doesn’t it?

  42. Conspiring to suppress evidence is wrong, but if you look (I’ll wait….), you’ll see that the quote I responded to said that the DNA lab merely wasn’t to volunteer the evidence to the public. Sometimes you actually have to read. Go back, the quote I responded to was about “letting the court of public opinion” decide the issue. Trust me, you don’t need a law degree to actually read the posts you are responding to.

  43. “You may not be aware of this, but the community wants those men strung up.”

    “He made himself popular by fanning the flames of popular outrage.”

    You must be living in a different part of Durham than I do.

  44. “””Conspiring to suppress evidence is wrong, but if you look (I’ll wait….), you’ll see that the quote I responded to said that the DNA lab merely wasn’t to volunteer the evidence to the public. “””

    Lamar, the public has nothing to do with the issue. He had a responsibility under law to report the finding to the defense, which he did not.

  45. TrickyVic:

    That’s my point. The public has nothing to do with the issue. The post I took issue with, as you can clearly see, said that the evidence should be made public so that the “court of public opinion” can decide. Nifong was right to say not to volunteer the info to the public. Don’t read into my posts anything about withholding evidence from the defense.

  46. someone needs to check mr nifongs computer for child porn.i have been told he is a child molester

  47. Nifong was appointed as DA in 2005. Elected as DA by 45% of the Durham voters in 2006. Disbarred and resigns office in 2007.

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