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Nifong Clears Things Up - Well, Sort Of

The Herald-Sun has some
more extensive coverage of Mike Nifong's press conference,
with some
interesting tidbits:

  • Nifong claims he didn't understand that a media storm would ensue.
  • Nifong says "I have not backed off from my
    initial assessment of the case. Obviously, there were some things we hoped
    we would have as evidence that we ended up not having."
  • There is a disagreement about a meeting he had with
    Lewis Cheek and former Sheriff Roland Leary. Nifong says they offered an an
    opinion about something he refused to discuss with the media.
  • Cheek says he and Leary only met with Nifong once, to
    discuss campaigning with the neophyte politician (this was Nifong's first
  • He quoted a defense attorney as saying "I
    couldn't live in a county where I don't own the D.A." The
    Herald-Sun either did not or could not name the attorney.
  • He also said that no one should be allowed to make
    "an end run around the electorate."

So some thoughts on his thoughts.

If Nifong didn't understand the potential media
firestorm, he's living on another planet. Here's what we said on March 26th:

"Because regardless of the outcome of the criminal investigation, Duke
cannot allow this situation to simply fade away. Indeed, given the
confluence of race, gender, privilege, and Durham politics, there's an excellent
chance that events will prove completely unmanageable. "

No one gave us a course in the media, either, but we watched O.J.

Nifong's admission that the evidence is substantially weaker than he had
expected - we're guessing he's referring to the DNA (or lack thereof) here, but
could also be referring to Reade Seligmann's alibi, or the flawed lineup
procedure, or perhaps the AV's various scenarios of the night's events - is
important. But if the defense points are all correct, there is a lot of
ambiguity in the case. He might have acknowledged that as well.

Interestingly, in a polite Southern sort of way, Cheek has called Nifong a
liar: "I don't know why something like that would have
been said. All we were talking about, as best I can recall, was being involved
in campaigns and politics," Cheek told the Herald-Sun. "And so I'm not
sure how something like that would have been said given the context of the

The final two points are just, again, ways Nifong
strokes his ego publicly It's like when he said "I wouldn't want to
face me in court either," or when he insults the other attorneys before the
judge, or talks about his integrity.

The ground has shifted substantially since the early
days of the investigation, and between the flaws in the investigation, the
various accounts the AV has offered, the alibi, the lineup which violated every
reasonable standard, the absence of DNA and a toxicology test, which Nifong must
have known about before he suggested a possible date rape drug scenario, between
all of this, regrettably, his integrity, and the integrity of the investigations
and indictments, has to be questioned.

He has admitted errors, but hasn't come close to making
up for them.

We wished Cheek had run, but at least he has given the
public a way to register a no-confidence vote. We'd suggest they take it.