LS Update: Cameras were waiting on March 23 as the forty-six innocent lacrosse players were paraded into the police station to submit to DNA samples and photographs. Cameras were waiting when hand-cuffed Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann were picked up by sheriff deputies, requests to present themselves at the jail having been denied. Yet Defendant Mike Nifong's required oath taking for a public position is shielded from the public.
"The swearing-in ceremony for embattled Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong apparently took place inside the Durham County Courthouse this morning while the press and other observers stood outside on the courthouse steps."The ceremony was scheduled for 8 a.m. But the courthouse doesn’t normally open until 8:30 a.m., and a sheriff’s deputy told reporters and others that the doors would remain locked until then."
Update: News 14
"Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong has been sworn in for another term in office.
"The ceremony took place at 8 a.m., 30 minutes before the Durham County Courthouse was scheduled to open.
"Nifong says he scheduled his swearing-in so his assistants could be in court at 8:30 and not disrupt the day's work. Reporters weren't allowed to witness the swearing-in."
Update: Jon Ham, Right Angles
"Durham DA Mike Nifong was indeed sworn in this morning at 8 a.m. in the Durham Judicial Building. The only problem is the building does not open to the public until 8:30 a.m.
"Consequently, a gaggle of upset media types were stuck outside until the ceremony was over. At 8:03 a.m. there was a bit of excitement when a deputy opened one of the doors and said, “Come on in, cameras in hand.” But he was shouted down by two other deputies who yelled, “Don’t let them in.”
***Ham's 3:08 video of Nifong commenting after the swearing-in is up now at Right Angles
Update: John in Carolina
"While campaigning for election, Durham DA Mike Nifong conspired to hide exculpatory DNA evidence from defense attorneys and the public.
"Today, at the start of new term, Nifong effectively turned the Durham County Courthouse into a bunker so he could hide from the public as he swore the two oaths of office all NC judicial office holders must swear.
"Both oaths required Nifong to swear to uphold the Constitution of the United States.
"No wonder he hid." More
Update: Associated Press
"After the building opened to the public, Nifong said he scheduled the ceremony early so his assistants could attend and it wouldn't interfere with the work day.
"The whole point of this was this was not a media event," Nifong said. "This was an event that was required of us so we could get back to work and do our jobs. The message we tried to send was this: This is 2007. We're here to do our jobs. We're not here to basically help you guys sell newspapers or press coverage."
Update: KC Johnson
"Only in Durham is the swearing-in of a public official not open to the public.
"This morning, Mike Nifong was sworn in at 8am for a four-year term as Durham County's "minister of justice." Present for the event was his wife, Cy Gurney, and their son.
"The public, including the media, were not allowed into the courtoom until 8.30am. By then, the ceremony was over. N&O staff photographer Shawn Rocco was able to get a picture of Nifong skulking in the background.
"All this from the man who once ridiculed defense attorneys as "poultry" and a "bunch of chickens."A few months ago, Ruth Sheehan jokingly referred to the city as the "People's Republic of Durham." This type of behavior is reminiscent of the "peoples' democracies" at their worst."
Update: News 14 Charlotte (AP)
"The embattled prosecutor of the Duke University lacrosse case was sworn into office Tuesday and said he planned to be part of the "healing process," though he wouldn't say whether that meant stepping aside after being charged with ethics violations.
"If we get to the point where it appears that my presence in an investigation or anything like that is a hindrance, then we can deal with that at that time," Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong said, while declining to specifically discuss the lacrosse case. "But I've been elected to do a job and I intend to do that job."
"Durham has some healing to do. I intend to be part of that healing process. And I need to have something to do with how we move forward in light of the events ... that happened over the course of the last year."
Update: KRD Durham, LS Forum
"Man, Tivo is one of the greatest inventions…
"When asked who made the call to keep the press out, Nifong replied, “I don’t know that there was such a call.” Then a reporter tries to clarify, “But it wasn’t you?” Nifong replied, “There’s no reason for me to make such a call, I scheduled it at 8:00 knowing full well the courthouse opened at 8:30.”
"Then the sheriff’s deputy is interviewed, Capt. Bill Wrenn, “I went up and asked did they want to let anyone in the building, and I was told no.”
"Anthony Wilson (wtvd11 reporter) then asks, “Who told you no?”
"Capt. Wrenn replies, “I asked Mr. Nifong.”
Considering the possibility of lightening striking the courtroom in response to Nifong's taking his oath of office, perhaps it was prudent that the courthouse remained closed for the ceremony.