Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Nifong and the Special Prosecutors

ABC-11 is reporting that last week the special prosecutors interviewed Mike Nifong as part of their continuing investigation into the case. The AG's office confirmed that the meeting took place, but did not release details; perhaps the prosecutors received a preview of the line of defense that Nifong will offer in his Friday bar filing.

Somehow, I doubt this will be the only occasion in which Nifong will have to answer questions regarding his handling of the case.

50 comments:

Anonymous said...

JLS says...

Wow that is big news. He was not a witness in the Mangum rape allegation. So they must be investigating him? Or maybe it was to congratulate him on DA appreciation week?

At some point to continue the Nifong case they would have to drop the remaining charges against Evans, Finnerty and Seligmann and interview them?

Anonymous said...

At least the SP's are doing something. A lot of us have been wondering. It doesn't sound good for Nifong, though. There's really no need for the SP's to interview him to determine if there is sufficient evidence to proceed with the prosecution. Also, it provides yet another opportunity for Nifong to say something that may be held against him later.

John Kaiser said...

I would love to have been a fly on the wall in that meeting. I wonder if they gave him a stern talking to.

-J. Kaiser

Anonymous said...

Question: what evidence do you have?

Answer: the accuser.

Question: which story?

Answer: we'll see when she testifies.

Anonymous said...

I am not sure what Evans, Finnerty and Seligmann think, but I think I would want the trial to go ahead...put the evidence (or lack of it) on the stand...if it is thrown out, there will be rumblings of "cover-ups" or "rich white boys" getting preferred treatment...

Anonymous said...

JLS says...

re: John Kaiser

They probably did not lecture him. He is a potential defendant. He probably had his attorney with him. I wonder if he REFUSED TO COOPERATE.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if they Mirandized Nifong?

gs said...

If and when they interview the "accuser", they will video tape and have witnesses.

They will have to give the defense her latest story. It will not hold up to simple questioning.

This case will be gone before the one year anv.

Anonymous said...

Now that Nifong has lawyered up, did he refuse to meet the special prosecutors without his lawyer present?

Anonymous said...

I remember when Cooper had the press conf. about taking over the case, he said that the AG would cooperate with the BAR. Nifong has to be very careful what he says. It's also interesting that the AG chose to interview the defense first and then the state (Nifong). They probably had a lot of questions for him about what the defense had to offer. Not a fun day. Whenever I have a bad day, I say, "At least I'm not Nifong."

Dan Rather said...

ok, I guess now it is a good time to start the inevitable congressional campaign. There is always a room for a racist and corrupt lawyer in congress. I'm sure congressional black caucus will welcome him, along with other notable lawyers, such as Alcee Hastings (corrupt judge, removed from office by congress) and "Freezer" Jefferson.

www.nifong2008.com

or perhaps Attorney General or national security advisor for Hillary (Sandy Berger was convicted already so the place should be open) ?

Anonymous said...

I am not sure what Evans, Finnerty and Seligmann think, but I think I would want the trial to go ahead...put the evidence (or lack of it) on the stand...if it is thrown out, there will be rumblings of "cover-ups" or "rich white boys" getting preferred treatment...

12:15 PM


Are you out of you mind? Let's wait how many months before the trial date, then how many months to complete the trial? All the while the threat of decades in a NC state prison hangs over their heads.

Personally, I don't give a rat's ass about "rumblings" from the race baiters.

WJD said...

Question to GS:
The year you refer to is it within 1 year of the incident or the indictment?? Maybe we could start a pool on the date it will be tossed.

Cedarford said...

If I was with the SP office, I would be asking Nifong (and his legal counsel) obvious questions:

1. What was your reasoning not to interview the accuser? What led you to conclude that would be unproductive for so many months?

2. During the period the accuser was incommunicado with family and others, who in your office was in contact? What was said? What records exist of these activities with ADAs, investigators, others assigned to your office?

2A. And in that regard, from April 8th to the day you recused, what state funds were expended on Crystal Gail Mangum, the main witness, on housing and other expenses on top of her welfare check?

3. What is the extent of your involvement with Ms. Mangum, Kim Pittman prior to this case? Are you aware of a prostitution ring and kickbacks that explain why Durham has rampant prostitution, but hardly any arrests over a 5 year period?

4. According to the accuser's testimony, Ms. Pittman and at least 20 unindicted Duke players were witnesses to - even aided in pushing Mangum in or otherwise facilitating the rape. Yet none were interviewed by you or staff from your DA's office on their observations of behavior and actions of the Duke 3 or Mangum as the "rape" started in their very midst in a packed room of 25 people the bathroom led off of. Or what they saw when the "rape" was concluded and the witnesses saw Mangum and the 3 exit the bathroom?

Tell us Mr. Nifong, why were none of these 20 witnesses interviewed 10 months ago? How good will their recollections be now?

5. After being convinced that DNA would resolve this case and learning that the accuser was full of or wearing clothing soaked with, the semen of 5 men - but none of the suspects - why did you not go back and test the untested participants at the party or reinterview the accuser Mangum to determine why she had all that unidentified semen in and on her, but none from the 46 Duke players tested. It can't be money - you had all the funding you requested and queque priority for state and private testing. It can't be you stayed away from the "traumatized" Mangum because she was stripping and hooking days after the "rape" and your office knew it.
"Please, take your time, Mr. Nifong. We want your best-reasoned explaination."
"Was it because you knew there was no point in tracking down the sources of the DNA because those "donors" were innocent?"

6. Why did you refuse to listen to various other DA's in the state warning you that your conduct in this case was undermining respect for the State, and prejudicing the administration of justice?

[It will be interesting how any times in ongoing legal proceedings that the man who scorned Lacrosse players for having lawyers if they have nothing to hide - himself uses defenses of immunity of the prosecutors officeholder from being subject to laws himself, evoking the 5th Amendment, lawyer's priveleged counsel with other lawyers (ADA)]

Anonymous said...

Why is there no need to question Nifong?
If they are doing a thorough investigation, isn't it relevant to find out why he decided this hoax was a viable case?

Anonymous said...

Only if Nifong is truly as stupid as he appears can I envision him answering the SP's questions. Any sane person in Nifong's situation--with even a whiff of a clue about the serious legal exposure Nifong confronts--would immediately take the 5th. This doesn't strike me as a close call. That said, Nifong has yet to disappoint when it comes to illustrating his rank stupidity, vanity, and depravity.

Anonymous said...

KC,
To change the subject a bit.

Have you registered for the Duke "conversation" meeting in NYC on the 1st of March yet?

Do it today!
Link: http://www.adukeconversation.com/newyork.html

We need you there.
Kemp

Anonymous said...

A question for the lawyers from a non-lawyer / retired professor: Can DA Nifong refuse to cooperate with the Special Prosecutors by taking the 5th and still retain his job as DA? Can a sitting DA refuse to cooperate with the ongoing investigation?

Anonymous said...

JLS says....

re: Cedarford and 2:07

Cedarford's questions show exactly how unusual this is. It really make my point. Nifong is not a witness in NC v. Evans, Finnerty and Seligmann.

Why is there no need to question Nifong?
If they are doing a thorough investigation, isn't it relevant to find out why he decided this hoax was a viable case?


The reason 2:07 is that Nifong's opinion is now merely an opinion. He is not a witness. He has nothing to contribute to the current case.

I guess the SP's would want to disclose what Mangum said while in "protective custody" or the defense has requested to know how she is benefiting from her testimony. But I am not even sure why they need Nifong for that.

Anonymous said...

12:15 PM

If you were the defendant in this case and you think you would want a trial to go forward, you're not thinking very clearly.

You give the citizens of Durham way too much credit. Too many of them have already demonstrated that "the evidence" has no bearing in how they would decide on the case.

Let's see, what would be worse:
1. rumblings of "cover-ups" or "rich white boys" getting preferred treatment... OR
2. being found guilty by the Durham version of the jury that found OJ not guilty and spending 30 years in jail.

I wouldn't want a trial even if someone told me I could pick the jury from the people who comment on this blog. Ever heard of Murphy's Law?

And let's face it, there is an incalculable distance between the typical commenter at DiW and the typical juror that Durham will provide, now isn't there?.

Anonymous said...

JLS says...

re: 3:04

Apparently a DA in NC CAN NOT be removed for any reason but CAN also be removed for any reason. Odd as that sounds it seems to be the case.

Nifong is an elected official and taking the fifth would not change that and apparently no state legislative or administrative agency could do anything about that. But as we recently saw, any citizen can file a petition to have a DA removed. And if the head judge of the district agrees a DA can be and was recently removed despite being elected for as little as calling someone a name.

Anonymous said...

JLS,
I understand Nifong's opinion is merely hearsay, but when he took over the investigation from the Police, doesn't that leave him open to be questioned about the case, as a Prosecutor would question a Police Investigator.

gs said...

3:27 JLS..

Normally I would agree, but not in this case...

Nifong assumed the role of lead investigator, before anyone was charged. Hence no DA immunity in that limited role.

As lead investigator he can be called as a witness (limited to that role). As lead investigator his notes and actions in that role are fair game. If there is a trial expect him to be called.

Why did the lead investigator order the unusual (fixed) lineup?

Why did the lead investigator not turn over the DNA evidence.

Nifong was not just the DA he was the lead investigator.

Anonymous said...

JLS says...

re: 3:42

Well Nifong:

1. Did not witness anything that night.

2. Claims to have had no contact with Mangum.

3. Is not an experienced police officer and thus has no frame of reference to compare this case to as a police officer/lead investigator.

4. While lead investigator for this case directed the investigation from afar. He was not at the photo array, but rather Gottlieb explains to Mangum Nifong told them how to conduct this one.

So I am at a loss as to what the SP would ask him about NC v. Evans, Finnerty and Seligmann?

The SP promised a new unbiased look at the evidence. Asking Nifong's opinion could only bias their conclussions.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:15- I've thought of that too. But, aside from the other problems with having a trial that have been pointed out, I'd never trust a Durham jury. If they fly twelve jurors in from Tokyo- 12 who will use cold hard logic- then I'd be confident enough that they'd be cleared in a trial. Otherwise, maybe no trial is safer.

gs said...

Looks like Mikey needs more time to come up with a good story.

Nifong given extension

Ex-prosecutor said...

Nifong will have to make specific admissions or denials to each paragraph of the bar complaint. He will not have to answer "why" until the hearing on the complaint. However, the replacement prosecutors will have wanted his explanations as to why he he utterly failed to investigate this case as every other prosecutor that I know would have done, why he took over the case from the police, set up the unconstitutional lineup, etc.

I cannot conceive that any prosecutor would be willing to take a disaster like this and be willing to go against lawyers as talented and prepared as those representing the defendants. In fact, without very substantial investigative efforts, which Nifong should have done before any charges were made, there's no way even to evaluate the case, except the replacement prosecutors know they are stuck with hugely varying stories of a complainant who would come to court with massive baggage.

A trial in this matter would be the biggest legal matter with which the replacement prosecutors, or virtually every other lawyer I know,would be involved. I cannot believe they would want to be involved in a prosecution disaster, as this surely would be.

HumboldtBlue said...

"I'm sure congressional black caucus will welcome him, along with other notable lawyers, such as Alcee Hastings (corrupt judge, removed from office by congress) and "Freezer" Jefferson."

And perhaps during their welcoming, they can call In Duke Cunningham, Mark Foley and Scooter Libby, just to keep it "Fair and balanced."

gs said...

JLS says...

Nifong as lead investigator would be called in any trial as a witness. Just the title is enough for the defense to call him.

They would then ask about the line up, the DNA, the public statements etc.

Nifong would have to take the 5th.

Even if you believe that Nifong has no info, the only way to prove that is to swear him in and take a desposition.

No judge will not grant the defense the right to question the lead investigator in the case, especially one that has in the past mislead the court. Who knows what else he may know.

Hence if this case goes forward, which I doubt, Nifong will have to take the 5th.

Picture lead investigator taking the 5th on the stand.

gs said...

I still expect Nifong not to answer the DNA "misleading the court" questions. The judge can still charge him. Everything has to connect with his other statements.

Nifong's lawyers should tell him run while he can, just had in his license to practice law.

Anonymous said...

The only real questions I would ask Mikey are:

Why given the lack of evidence did you bring charges?

Is there any way to take the evidence you have collected and turn it into a triable case?

Anonymous said...

JLS says....

re: GS

I certainly understand why the SP would want to inteview Nifong in the case of NC v. Nifong, they are not investigating that case now that we know of. Right now we know they are investigating NC v. Evans, Finnerty, and Seligmann.

Nifong has nothing more than an opinion about NC v. Evans, Finnerty, Seligmann just like me. His advantage over me is that he as an NC attorney should know more about NC law. My advanages are that I have apparently read more of the witness statement evidence by a long shot than he has and I can think.

Certainly if Evans, Finnerty and Seligmann came to trial, he might be called by either side as an investigator, but again he did not personally investigate but rather directed the investigation.

gs said...

JLS

How do you know what else Nifong knows or did in this case without interviewing the lead investigator for the 3 players?

No real DA, SP will not interview the lead investigator on the case.

Imagine dropping charges and people ask did you interview the lead investigator in the case?

Anonymous said...

JLS says....

re: GS

Whatever Nifong did has nothing to do with NC v. Evans, Finnerty and Seligmann. He was NOT there that night. he took NO witness statements. He conducted NO DNA or other scientific test.

Evans, Finnerty and Seligmann were charged based on what they were alledged to have done. The charge of the SPs' is to determine whether or not the case against Evans, Finnerty and Seligmann should go forward. They are charged with and PROMISED to look at the evidence and determine where to go from here. This has nothing to do with anything Nifong did other than go to a grand jury.

Nifong has nothing to offer on this but his opinion. I can understand why the SPs might want to bring him in an yell at him for bringing this case, but that is not professional. This is why I concluded in the first post in this thread that Nifong being called in might be a sign the SP might be looking into filing charges in NC v. Nifong. Other than that I can not see why they would want to hear a thing from him.

Cedarford said...

So I am at a loss as to what the SP would ask him about NC v. Evans, Finnerty and Seligmann?

The SP promised a new unbiased look at the evidence. Asking Nifong's opinion could only bias their conclussions.


I strongly disagree.

SP would be looking at the evidence, and would be highly interested to know why obvious investigation paths were not pursued by the lead investigator and prosecutor, but would have to be covered by them if they pursued a new case a year later. Why the omissions that defy all logic, in:

1. Not interviewing the accuser.
2. Not interviewing the 20 or so Duke witnesses and Pittman who were in the room adjoining the bathroom according to the accuser and in a position to see and hear much. With the passage of time, and publicity, the value of those 20 witnesses was negated by Nifong.
3. Why no effort was made to collect DNA from other suspects.
4. Why the evidence of the police calls made regarding the "rape", investigation at Duke were allowed to be destroyed..

Perhaps they are hoping for a Perry Mason moment that will enable them to drop charges. Such as Nifong saying he didn't interview the accuser or 30 other witnesses because he was secretly convinced no crime happened, but needed to push the case to an exonorating jury "because the community would explode in racial riots" if he didn't.

Or Nifong admitting that he didn't make any effort to find out who the 4 of 5 unknown "semen donors" were because by then he "secretly" knew no rape happened.

**********************
Another strong reason why they had to interview Nifong is that of the paltry little evidence he had and used for his Grand Jury indictments - was simply the photo lineup and the trainee's telling someone that Mangum had had rape trauma.

SP would be highly interested to see if Nifong's judgement and decision-making was good enough to preserve the ID as credible for prosecutors to use and defend in a future case...or that Nifong was so fouled up in his rationale to change lineup protocols that the ID was unusable in any future trial. Same with the SANE trainee's judgement and who heard it.

Anonymous said...

JLS says...

re: If a lead investigator were charged with a crime in connection with a case and had a case removed from him, the new lead investigator and the DA most certainly would NOT interview the former lead investigator, in part because that person is conflicted.

Now the defense might call this conflicted lead investigator to argue he had a different theory of the crime, but that is a different matter than the SPs wanting to talk to that perosn.

Gayle Miller said...

The ideal outcome would be the following, all happening contemporaneously (and SOON):

1. All charges against Reade, Finerty and Seligmann dropped with an APOLOGY from the authorities;

2. Mike Nifong disbarred for life;

3. Arrest of Nifong and the rest of his bunch of idiots on any and all charges available to authorities including abuse of process.

If some of the potbangers and professional victims in Durham don't like it - the heck with them!

And before Nifong and his gang that couldn't shoot straight are convicted, civil suits should be filed by the parents of all three of the victims in order to recover the costs expended to defend their three INNOCENT sons from a prosecutor run amok. Sue the City and County, sue Duke University and the Trustees, as well as personally suing each and every member of the Gang of 88 (I'd love to see them making asses of themselves in a courtroom while they are finally forced to take responsibility for their LIBELOUS locutions), President Brodhead, Mike Nifong and Meehan and his company.

Anonymous said...

My point about the boys wanting a trial does not mean that would be a great option...I am assuming they would be found innocent (maybe I do give Durham residents too much credit).

I am just thinking for their futures as they go to the business world looking for jobs, it might be better to say the facts and lack of evidence got them off...not incompetence.

Of course I do not know what I would want...either way it's a travesty.

Anonymous said...

JLS says...

re: Cedarford

SP ... would be highly interested to know why obvious investigation paths were not pursued by the lead investigator and prosecutor, but would have to be covered by them if they pursued a new case a year later.

Why this evidence was not looked at 10 months ago is irrelevant whether or not to go forward in the case of NC v. Evans, Finnerty and Seligmann.

Anonymous said...

It is not surprising that the SP would interview Nifong. If they plan to do any kind of thorough job with this case they need to ask Nifong why he chose to seek indictments. I would not attribute the meeting to be any more than a "let me know what you got" kind of session.

The troublesome thing about the meeting would be if they had a political discussion about the case and the SP ends up making the same political calculations that Nifong made.

There is a obviously a part of the Durham voting population that will not be satisfied that justice has been served unless a trial is held and a verdict delivered by a local jury. They want to let the accuser have her day in court even if there is no evidence to back up her claim. They will not be satisfied until she tells her side even though her past statements have contained obvious lies and her numerous versions have contained impossible contradictions. Some people in Durham will go to their grave believing it was a fix if the charges are dropped.

What frightens me is that this is the calculation that has driven the case from the beginning and that the SP will feel pressured to pursue the case for the same reason.

This is why the behavior of the Duke community has been such an integral part of this travesty.

The time for strong statements about not prejudging the case was last March when it could have discouraged the rush to obtain indictments. Instead of emphasizing that the students had denied the accusations, members of the Duke community made inflammatory statements about the lacrosse players and issued statements of support for the noisy demonstrations outside their house. The administration suspended the students, cancelled the lacrosse season and fired the coach. These prejudicial activities contributed to a political climate in which any DA would have felt pressured to produce indictments.

Now that it is clear to virtually everyone that the charges are false, they should be demanding that the charges be dropped. Instead the group of 88 is holding forums and writing letters denying that they had prejudged the case, the provost is making statements lamenting that signers of the "Listen Statement" had been receiving nasty emails, and virtually nobody on the Duke faculty has made a public statement demanding that the charges be dropped.

The political consideration of placating a Durham community that wants a trial must be weighed against the potential outrage of a Duke community that sees the case as an expression of town vs. gown hostility.

This is where the cowardice of the Duke administration and faculty is so troubling. It may very well be that their continued silence is the one thing that keeps this prosecution alive.

The Tawana brawley hoax never resulted in false arrests and indictments. When it was quickly revealed as a hoax, that was the end of the charges. This monstrosity has been revealed to be a hoax and it keeps on going. It is time that the Duke community let's everyone know that it is time to end this travesty.

Anonymous said...

I would just love to see Nifong answering questions under oath...seeing the exasperation in the questioner's face...all the while the three boys are sitting there watching and planning their many suits.

Maybe they never will have to look for a job when all is said and done...

Anonymous said...

4:56 -- your questions for Nifong (and his answers) might be relevant for a trial (civil or criminal) against Nifong, but they are not relevant for a trial of the sexual assault/kidnapping charges still pending against the three defendants.

Take your first question, for example. If the SP's asked Nifong why he didn't interview Crystal Mangum sooner, he might answer (1) that he believed she was too traumatized; or (2) he didn't want to stress her because she was experiencing complications from her pregnancy; or (3) he didn't know where to find her; or (4) he suspected she was lying about the alleged rape. Answers (1) - (3) may show Nifong's incompetence as a DA/lead investigator, but that's not relevant in the case of State v. Evans, et al., so that information would not be admissible(although it would be admissible and relevant in a civil suit against Nifong). Answer (4) would simply be Nifong's opinion about Crystal's credibility, and as such, it would also be irrelevant and inadmissible in State v. Evans, et al.

The SP's may indeed want to know why Nifong did a lot of the things he did, but his answers are simply not necessary for the SP's to make a determination as to whether there is sufficient evidence to continue with the criminal prosecution against the 3 Duke defendants.

Anonymous said...

People still seem to think that there is a possibility of a trial. Ain't. Gonna. Happen. Why? Because the court still has to rule on the admissibility of an in-court identification by the AV, and there will be AV testimony on that. And there is no way that woman will be able to handle the questioning by the defense. The only thing being figured out now is: (a) whether the charges will be dropped before that hearing or (b) whether they will be dropped immediately after it.

Like I said, CGM wants no part of in-court testimony. None. If she does, she will wither, and Joyner and all those other morons will be even more humiliated.

Anonymous said...

Those who are wondering what the SP's are thinking about when they interview Nifong are missing the obvious. The SP's see no case, but they have to ask Nifong what he claims he saw or else appear negligent. The only way that NC comes out with any credibility at all is to do the most exhaustive, most careful investigation human ingenuity can come up with. This means following up on every idiotic idea that flitted through the so-called brains of the police department or the DA's office.

The SPs are not going to bring a stupid case to trial. Instead, they are preparing to expose the Keystone Kops for the cretins that they are. Notice that the defense attorneys are NOT harrassing the SP's. This whole process is designed to make sure that it is quite clear to anyone with at least three firing neurons that there is no case and never, ever was one.

Like the defense attorneys, just chill and let the SPs do their job. After all, we are the ones that have been saying to take the time to do things right.

JeffM

Anonymous said...

HumboldtBlue said...

"I'm sure congressional black caucus will welcome him, along with other notable lawyers, such as Alcee Hastings (corrupt judge, removed from office by congress) and "Freezer" Jefferson."

And perhaps during their welcoming, they can call In Duke Cunningham, Mark Foley and Scooter Libby, just to keep it "Fair and balanced."

The difference? Cunningham, Foley and Libby have paid the price. They're out of office. Freezer and Alcee, hey they're still holding office aren't they?

Gary Packwood said...

I have a question about the accuser and evidence that has been entered into the record from the lab.

The accuser and her father made reference to the fact that before leaving her father's house for the party, she took a shower and dressed in her dancing clothes.

The lab report details the presence of semen from four or five different men on the accuser's body ... none from any member of the LAX team.

I can imagine that she did take a shower before the party.

The cost of the dancer was extreme even for LAX players and I can imagine that the accuser knew that she needed to look her best if she was going to be invited back. I think we call that customer service.

If the semen on/in her body did not belong to Lax players... whose semen is it and when did the accuser acquire the semen given the assumption that she took a shower?

Anonymous said...

The "deal" has been made. We will soon be reading the leaked details in the N & O

Anonymous said...

to gary packwood
hasn't that always been the suspicion? That the DNA would show a couple cops between the drunk tank/jail and the hospital?
What can been done, if anything? This would come out at trial, but we are praying that never happens.

Anonymous said...

KC,

Great work as usual. I have lost the ball in this case since the SP's office took over, so forgive me if I ask an ignorant question.

Two things come to mind:
1) When I was a prosecutor, we had a victim liason unit, who would for lack of a better term, do the hand-holding. I can't imagine the D.A.'s office would go radio-silence with her. He may not have had "direct contact" with her, but he is lying if he says he didn't know the ups and downs of her story.
2) Has Dook answered the lawsuit filed by the kid about his grades?

Anonymous said...

12:02 - written like someone from UNC. You have my pity.