At this point in the case, it would be hard to imagine anything that Mike Nifong could do to increase the contempt with which he should be viewed. But he’s managed to do so, issuing an apology that:
(1) blames Crystal Mangum and Mangum alone for his pursuing indictments without probable cause;
(2) suggests that only the new evidence brought to light in the AG’s inquiry explains Roy Cooper’s decision to dismiss and proclaim the players “innocent”;
(3) suggests that some of his initial actions might have been correct;
(4) urges those that he harmed not to pursue civil cases against him.As Collin Finnerty correctly noted, "It may be an apology, but it doesn’t make me feel any better…for what I’ve gone through. It was his actions more than anybody’s that caused the harm. I don’t think anyone is going to feel better after that apology."
Nifong blandly asserts, “we all know that no system based on human judgment can ever work perfectly. Those of us who work within that system can only make the best judgments we can based on the facts available to us with the understanding that those judgments may have to be modified as more facts become known.”
Mangum, certainly, deserves the strongly possible censure. But the idea that she is the primary person responsible for this hoax is absurd. To remind Nifong:
He—not Mangum—instructed the Durham Police Department to violate its own procedures and confine the April 4 lineup to suspects;
He—not Mangum—refused to meet with defense lawyers to consider exculpatory evidence.
He—not Mangum—made dozens of procedurally improper statements, including statements that he knew or should have known were untrue.
He—not Mangum—entered into an agreement with Dr. Brian Meehan to intentionally withhold exculpatory evidence.
Nifong’s attempt to blame everything he did on Mangum is, in short, beneath contempt.
2.) “New Evidence Was the Key”
Nifong wrote, “Obviously, they have had access not only to all the evidence that I had, but also to additional evidence that I have not seen which they developed during their twelve weeks of independent investigation. I have every confidence that the decision to dismiss all charges was the correct decision based on that evidence.”
Perhaps Nifong misunderstood the AG’s statement, though I found it crystal clear. Cooper said that there was no evidence to sustain these charges, and the players were innocent. He did not say the evidence that Nifong handed over to him could have been interpreted in such a way to establish guilt.
In this clause, Nifong effectively is saying that Cooper inaccurately characterized the evidence in the case.
Nifong also—outrageously—asserts that he and the AG’s office followed the same approach to the case. He commented, “. Those of us who work within that system can only make the best judgments we can based on the facts available to us with the understanding that those judgments may have to be modified as more facts become known. That is the process I used in these cases, and that is the process the Attorney General used in these cases.”
This is the same man who repeatedly refused to meet with defense lawyers to consider exculpatory evidence. And this is the same man who told Susannah Meadows of Newsweek that no facts that had emerged in the case after he initially expressed his opinion (March 27) altered his opinion.
In short, Nifong was the epitome of closed-mindedness, a figure who defiantly proclaimed that his judgments would not “ have to be modified as more facts become known.
3.) “I Was Partially Right”
The disgraced DA asserts, “To the extent that I made judgments that ultimately proved to be incorrect, I apologize to the three students that were wrongly accused.” [emphasis added]
To the extent? What is Nifong talking about?
What judgment he made in this case was not “proved to be incorrect”? The comment harkens back to the typical Nifong innuendo, the hint that this classic emperor with no clothes had something in reserve.
4.) “Don’t Sue Me, Don’t Disbar Me”
I also understand that, whenever someone has been wrongly accused., the harm caused by the accusations might not be immediately undone merely by dismissing them. It is my sincere desire that the actions of Attorney General Cooper will serve to remedy any remaining injury that has resulted from these cases.
In other words, the fact that Roy Cooper did his job and performed courageously means that those who committed misconduct in this case—most prominently Nifong but also the Durham Police, some Duke professors, some in the media (such as Wendy Murphy), and perhaps the Duke administration—should not be held accountable for their actions.
Such a statement suggests a figure who long ago lost touch with reality.