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Nifong Replies To The Bar

Mike Nifong filed his response to the N.C. State bar charges against him, and he came out swinging. First, he wanted to know who specifically filed the complaint: "Specifically, I am interested in the name of the individual member of the bar who provided the basis for the grievance or, if there is no such individual, the source of the information that led to the filing of this grievance."

If the complainant requested anonymity under Rule .0111 (d), Nifong objects to the complainant getting a copy of his response.

So there!

However, he did admit making a number of the comments which the bar objected to.  Those would be hard to deny since many of them were widely disseminated.  But he argues that since his public statements were made before any suspects had been identified, that he shouldn't be punished for them.

He said his staments were intended to "to reassure the community that the case was being actively investigated by the Durham Police Department."

He denied he intentionally withheld DNA evidence from the defense, arguing that he was not required to highlight the fact that there were multiple DNA samples from men not involved with the alleged crime and that the defense had the complete evidence and that was all he was required to do.  We have said on multiple occasions that if he can do this to wealthy defendants, what could he do to poor ones?  Think a public defender would have the resources to find his duplicity in a mass of scientific documents?  Unlikely.  At the most basic level, this is our objection to Nifong:  this is a man, in our opinion, who is willing to use the power of the state to persecute, to punish those who he thinks deserve it, rather than acting as a minister of justice, which is what he's supposed to do.

Nifong also pleads naivete, suggesting he had no idea that the case would get so much attention, and that if he had, he would have kept his mouth shut.  Okay, but that doesn't explain how he discussed the medical report before it was released, or why he suggested condoms had been used when the alleged victim (AV) said all along that no condoms were used.

There's a lot to go through here - the paragraphs where he simply acknowledges a charge and admits guilt go on for a good while - but basically it comes down to this:  I didn't do anything wrong, and if I did, I didn't mean to.

An easy question to ask is this: would he accept this defense from a defendant?  Ignorance of the law is no excuse, particularly for an officer of the law.

As dismaying as much of his response is, the following passage is both amusing in that it shows just how thin-skinned this man is, and alarming in its paranoia:

A well-connected and well-financed (but not, I would suggest, well-intentioned) group of individuals--most of whom are neither in nor from North Carolina--have taken it upon themselves to ensure that this case never reaches trial. (And if this seems like paranoid delusion to you, perhaps you should check out websites such as former Duke Law School graduate and current Maryland attorney Jason Trumpbour's, which has not only called for me to be investigated, removed from this case, and disbarred, but has also provided instructions on how to request such actions and to whom those requests should be sent.)

This isn't the first time we've seen this sort of thing from Nifong: you'll recall that he threatened to resign from Durham's Animal Control Advisory Committee because he "was truly dismayed at the number of my fellow board members who signed the Lewis Cheek [petition]."  Here's a small but curious question: how did he find out? Over 10,000 people signed that petition.  So how did Nifong find out who was on it? Did he pore over the whole thing?  Does he have an enemies list?

His caustic e-mail to Susannah Meadows comes to mind also and, come to think of it, so does his insistence on knowing who filed the complaint.

It's not an impressive document, not least of all because even with his professional life on the line, he can't help but to focus on petty concerns.