District Attorney Mike Nifong will be disbarred for his disastrous prosecution of three Duke University lacrosse players falsely accused of rape, a disciplinary committee decided Saturday. Even the veteran prosecutor said the punishment 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. He said Nifong’s early comments about the case?which included a confident proclamation that he wouldn’t allow Durham to become known for “a bunch of lacrosse players from Duke raping a black girl”?were purposefully designed to boost his campaign for district attorney.
“At the time he was facing a primary, and yes, he was politically naive,” Williamson said. “But we can draw no other conclusion that those initial statements he made were to further his political ambitions.”
Nifong will not appeal the punishment, his lawyer said.
“He hopes this helps restore some of the confidence in the criminal justice system of North Carolina,” said attorney David Freedman.
Between that and the inevitable civil suits he will be dealing with shortly, I could almost but not quite scrape up a few grains of pity for him.