In the latest instance of the old media following up on items first presented on the blogs, we find ourselves in the rare position of being grateful for a John Stevenson article. Quite frequently, we have been critical of Mr. Stevenson and the Snooze Room as a whole for their tilted coverage of the Hoax. Today, Stevenson takes a baby step towards redeeming himself as he follows up on research first presented by the Blog Hooligans at the LS Forum, then incorporated into Beth Brewer‘s 7A-66 affidavit, and published here at LieStoppers.
In noting that the infamy of Defendant Nifong’s misconduct has become so well accepted that it has been noted on multiple occasions by multiple US Circuit Court judges, Mr. Stevenson helps to build local awareness of the extent of disrepute the disgraced District Attorney has brought to his office, to Durham and to the entire criminal justice system.
"[District Attorney Mike] Nifong added that if defense attorneys were angling for a change of venue, they wouldn't have much luck. "After all the media that have been here this week," he said, "we'd have to move it to China." USAToday March 30, 2006
"Defendant [Nifong] further admits that at the time he made said statements that he did not fully understand the extent of the national media interest in this particular investigation and as such, he did not comprehend the effect said statements may have on any matters related to the case." Defendant Nifong's Response to the State Bar 2/28/07
In his reply this week to N.C. State Bar charges against him, Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong contended he didn't at first comprehend the impact of national media interest in the Duke lacrosse case.
But one of his own comments to a national newspaper indicated otherwise.
USA Today quoted Nifong on March 30, 2006, as saying that if defense lawyers wanted to shift the case out of Durham because of extensive publicity, they wouldn't have much luck.
"After all the media that have been here this week, we'd have to move it to China," Nifong told the newspaper, referring to the perceived impossibility of receiving a fair
trial anywhere in the United States.
Nifong made the comment about two weeks after an exotic dancer claimed three Duke lacrosse players sexually assaulted her during an off-campus party at 610 N. Buchanan Blvd.
At the time, defendants Collin Finnerty, Reade Seligmann and David Evans hadn't been indicted.
But Nifong, responding to allegations that could cost him his law license, told the State Bar in his response Wednesday he "did not fully understand the extent of the national media interest in this particular investigation" when he granted numerous interviews between March 27 and April 3 of last year.
He added that he "did not comprehend the effect [his] statements may have on any matters related to the case."
One well-known Durham lawyer, asking not to be identified, described the apparent inconsistency Friday as "devastating" for Nifong.
But lawyer John Fitzpatrick, president of the Durham Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, was willing to give Nifong the benefit of the doubt.
"He may have recognized the magnitude of the media exposure without appreciating the possible effects of it," said Fitzpatrick. "One could interpret his response to the bar as somewhat of an apology. It might have been a cry for forgiveness. We in the community should embrace that."