A disciplinary committee said Saturday disgraced prosecutor Mike Nifong will be disbarred for his disastrous prosecution of three Duke University lacrosse players falsely accused of rape - a punishment the veteran prosecutor admitted was appropriate.
"This matter has been a fiasco. There's no doubt about it," said committee chairman F. Lane Williamson.
Nifong sat motionless, one hand resting over his mouth, as Williamson recounted how he engaged in dishonest and deceitful conduct. The veteran prosecutor would not appeal the punishment, his lawyer said.
...State Bar prosecutor Douglas Brocker told the committee that as Nifong investigated the allegations that a stripper was raped and beaten at a March 2006 party thrown by Duke's lacrosse team, he charged "forward toward condemnation and injustice," weaving a "web of deception that has continued up through this hearing.".
"Mr. Nifong did not act as a minister of justice, but as a minister of injustice," Brocker said..
The verdicts and the punishment did not appear to surprise Nifong, who acknowledged during sometimes tearful testimony Friday that he would likely be punished for getting "carried away a little bit" when talking about the case..
Disciplinary committee chairman F. Lane Williamson also hinted during Saturday's closing arguments the three-member panel was likely to conclude that Nifong kept from the defense DNA test results that found genetic material from several men in the accuser's underwear and body, but none from any lacrosse player..
"How can you possibly explain that away?" said Williamson, who repeatedly interrupted Nifong's attorney, Dudley Witt, as he discussed the DNA testing during his closing statement..
"It wasn't just one little oversight," Williamson said later. "This was conduct over an extended period in a very high-profile case."
Nifong made "multiple, egregious mistakes" as he pursued the charges, but not intentionally, his attorney said in closing statements..
"It didn't click," Witt said as he tried to explain one of his client's errors. "His mind is just his mind. That's the way it works. It just didn't click.".
Brocker said Nifong had to have known he was making improper comments to reporters....
The players' attorneys have pledged to seek criminal contempt charges next week in Durham.
Saturday, June 16, 2007
Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong has been disbarred by the Disciplinary Hearing Committee of the North Carolina State Bar following a five day trial. In announcing the Committee's decision, DHC Chair F. Lane Williamson strongly denounced the Hoax as a "fiasco" which hijacked the criminal justice system. Citing the extraordinary and unprecedented measures required by the State Bar and the Attorney General to rescue the State's justice system from the consequences of Defendant Nifong's "self-deception arising out of self-interest," Williamson meted out the maximum punishment to the disgraced District Attorney.