The atmosphere for this hearing differed considerably from the October version. In light of the bombshell defense motions of the past couple of days—dealing with DNA and with suppression of the photo lineup—the room was filled to capacity by 8.35 for a 9.30 hearing.
The media contingent had expanded dramatically: the last hearing attracted the contingent of reporters from the N&O, the Duke Chronicle, and a Nifong scribe from the Herald-Sun, but no national correspondents.
The hearing room contained a number of other lacrosse players and their families, as well as several people from the Recall Nifong-Vote Cheek effort; Nifong, as he looked through his peripheral vision, got to see a row of lacrosse players. This turnout reflected the the balance of sentiment among anyone who has followed the case. A plurality of
The hearing opened with judge calling all attorneys into chambers. Linwood Wilson came late to the hearing. The hearing started around 10am—the preconference dealt with medical evidence from the accuser, with the judge ordering material to be handed over to both sides.
Susan Filan of MSNBC positioned herself behind Nifong’s table and eagerly chatted with his assistants.
Best line of the day went to Jim Cooney. Before the session started, defense gave material in a box to Nifong, who awkwardly attempted to joke about its being appropriate for the season. After Cooney explained the contents of the box, Nifong tried to joke again, “This has your fingerprints all over it.” Cooney’s clever response: “But does it have my DNA on it?” When Nifong, again half a step too slow, replied, “I’ll let you know,” Cooney, walking away, got the last word: “Just make sure we get it in writing.”
[Corrected last p’graph after getting information from those sitting nearer to the exchange.