In a December 7th letter I asked you to look into Durham County, North Carolina District Attorney Mike Nifong’s prosecution of three Duke University student athletes accused of an alleged sexual attack on a woman earlier this year in Durham. New evidence of potential prosecutorial misconduct emerged during court proceedings last week when it was revealed that Mr. Nifong withheld exculpatory DNA results from the defendants. These findings reinforce the appearance of a pattern of misconduct that may have denied these students their constitutional rights as U.S. citizens under federal law. This matter cries out for oversight, and I again urge you to launch a federal investigation.
In an article on the court proceedings in last Saturday’s Raleigh News and Observer – a copy of which I’ve attached for your review – it is reported that the ‘head of a private DNA laboratory testified Friday that he and District Attorney Mike Nifong agreed last spring not to report DNA results favorable to Duke lacrosse players charged with rape. The article states that the lab’s testing showed DNA material collected from the accuser just hours after the alleged attack did not come from any of the defendants. But lab director Brian Meehan testified that he and Mr. Nifong decided not to include that evidence in their report to the defense despite the fact that ‘North Carolina law requires Nifong to hand over all evidence.’
Mr. Attorney General, I was encouraged to see that on Fox News yesterday you confirmed that you ‘received’ my December 7th letter and that the Justice Department is evaluating the facts it presents. The new revelations of potential prosecutorial misconduct exposed in last week’s court proceedings also require the Justice Department’s attention. At the request of a growing number of my constituents, I again urge you and your staff to fully investigate these matters to ensure that Mr. Nifong’s conduct has not illegally denied these students their constitutional rights to due process.