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A Closer Look At Nifong's Response

As people take a closer look at Mike Nifong's response to the N.C. bar's accusations, his response seems weirder and weirder.  Here are some observations from the N&O.

  • With regards to the April 10 meeting with Brian Meehan, Mark Gottlieb, and Benjamin Himan, he doesn't deny the meeting took place, but say he has "no recollection of that meeting and that I have no documentation or other evidence that I ever attended such a meeting."
  • With regards to the photo lineup and fingering of suspects:  "For me, this case was an eyewitness identification case, one in which I was looking for DNA evidence that either corroborated that identification or refuted it."
  • With regards to the the allegedly withheld DNA tests:  "They neither suggested that no assault took place nor that the assault was committed by someone else."
  • He also suggests that the bar is looking for a scapegoat.
  • the case heated up "during the last few weeks of a hotly-contested Democratic Party primary in which I was seeking to retain my office...I was not always able to give the case my full attention."
  • With regards to whether or not things were delivered to the defense in a in a timely manner: "These people were neither concentrating on the actual contents of the documents being copied nor familiar enough with the facts of the case to have known whether anything was missing."
  • "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."

So quick translations and/or comments:

  • It is beyond belief that he has no memory or documentation of the meeting when everyone else does.  Does he not remember driving to Burlington?  That's not like walking around the corner to the post office.  It's a bit of a drive, and it was to discuss key evidence in a critical case.  That just is not believable. Moreover, later in the same document, he refers to the April 10 meeting:  "He also discussed with us the results of the tests he had performed since our April 10, 2006, meeting."
  • No mention here of the nature of the lineup, which failed to conform to every known local, state, and federal guideline, but the DNA evidence, or lack of it rather, would seem to refute it.
  • How can lack of DNA fail to suggest no assault took place?  You swap DNA when you shake hands; surely in a sexual assault, or any sexual contact,  it could not be avoided.
  • While a hotly contested election takes a lot of attention, if Nifong's priority is the election over justice, he is in the wrong job (big surprise).
  • Boo hoo hoo.  It's his office, and his employees.  They report to him and he's responsible. He can't pass the buck to his underlings.  That's pathetic.
  • The suggestion of a conspiracy is interesting, but in our experience, the people who are opposed to him are genuinely and deeply offended by how he has handled this case.  We're not exactly insiders, but no one has ever invited us to join a conspiracy, nor has anyone (other than perhaps Cash Michaels) even alluded to any such thing.  This case, based on an ever-shifting story by an accuser with serious credibility issues, with the rigged lineup, the controversies over the DNA, the ignored exculpatory evidence, the story retrofitted to accomodate Reade Seligmann's alibi, the 30 pages of notes produced from memory long after a key meeting, not to mention the prosecutor's many interviews during an election season - there are plenty of reasons to be offended by this case.

Here's one more, which a couple of people have mentioned and which bears repeating:  this case is going to make some much less likely to report an assault.  That's truly a depressing outcome.

At whatever point the new prosecutors publicly discuss the evidence and their intentions, we'll know more, and they should be given the benefit of the doubt it they decide to move forward.  But unless there is something remarkable which hasn't been publicly mentioned - and we know Dan Abrams and reporters for the New York Times have seen the entire file (given to them by the defense and prosecution respectively), so you'd think if there were any smoking guns they'd bring them out - barring something like that, it's hard to see how this case can be sustained.