The Amazing Mendacity of Mike Nifong

The New York Times recently ran this story on the dismassal of rape charges against the Duke Three. The story raises till further questions about Mike Nifong’s competence as a prosecutor, as well as his integrity. Read more below the fold.

I do not want to engage in a full sclae fisking of The Times story, but there are several statements attributed to Nifong that I would be remiss if I let them pass without commenting on at least the most egregious.

First, Nifong apparently claims that his dismissal of the rape charges against the Duke Three shows that he is “willing to go in whatever direction the evidende” takes him. This is laughable. As many have noted, and as I have discussed in previous posts, there is not one iota of evidence that any rape, assault or other offense was perpetrated by the lacrosse players. If Nifong were really willing to go wherever the evidence led, he would never have indicted, and would dismiss this case now in its entirety. Where Mike Nifong was most willing to go was into the fever swamp of false accusation so as to shore up his electoral prospects.

Second, Nifong has said he will dismiss the charges if, at the preliminary eharing set for February the false accuser wavers in her identification, but that is she says that one, two or all of the Defendants assualted her, then he has an obligation to move forward. Mr. Nifong plainly misunderstands his proper role as a prosecutor. In this case, where all of the evidence except the uncorroborated accusations point to innocence, Mr. Nifong had, and has, an obligation to exercise his discretion to assure that a prosecution does not move forward based upon unsupported and un provable allegations. He has an obligation to evaluate the evidence objectively and with a cold eye, and on that basis decide whether to proceed. His duty is to do justice, not to win or to act as an advocate for an accuser who has zero credibility.

Third, Nifong admits that he failed to turn over DNA test results that showed that there was no physicazl evidence linking any of the accused to the accuser. Nifong tries to minimize his ethical lapse here by calling the evidence “potentially exculpatory.” I am not sure where Nifong went to law school, but I was taught that anything that tended to prove that the accused did not commit the offense charged was exculpatory. The Brady case and a long line of precedent obligates prosecutors to turn evidence like this over. Nifong fsiled to do so, and admits it. This is prosecutorial misconduct, plain and simple.

Fourth, Nifong further tries to minimize gis failure to turn over the DNA test results by saying that it “wasn’t something [he] was concentrating on.” Here he is either lying or, if telling the truth, incompetent.

Fifth, he now says that he regrets calling the lacrosse players “hooligans.” Too little too late, here, Mike. After trying to inflame the community andprejudice the defendants he says he’s sorry. Isn’t that nice.

This is just the tiniest tip of the iceberg. There is serious misconduct here, and Mike Nifong must be held to account.

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