Washington, D.C. – In a letter today to U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Third District Representative Walter B. Jones (R-NC) renewed his request for an investigation of former Durham County, North Carolina District Attorney Mike Nifong's prosecution of three Duke University student athletes falsely accused of an alleged sexual attack on a woman at a March 2006 party in Durham.
“In light of the North Carolina State Bar’s ruling last week that Mr. Nifong will be disbarred for committing numerous acts of misconduct, it is clear Mr. Nifong’s conduct constituted an illegal abuse of authority and cries out for federal oversight,” Congressman Jones wrote.
“As you stated in your January 11, 2007 letter to me, the Department of Justice ‘is responsible for investigating and prosecuting criminal conduct,’ including ‘willful misconduct by local and federal law enforcement officers,’” Jones wrote. “I believe that the findings of the North Carolina State Bar confirm that there is probable cause to investigate the willful misconduct of Mr. Nifong, namely, his actions to deprive the accused Duke students of their right to due process as guaranteed to them by the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution.”
“The North Carolina State Bar found that Mr. Nifong, among other abuses, made extrajudicial statements to the media with the knowledge that they would be prejudicial to the defendants, failed to disclose exculpatory DNA evidence in a timely manner, failed to comply with a discovery request from the defense, made false statements to the court, and engaged in numerous acts of dishonest conduct,” Jones continued. “The North Carolina State Bar’s conclusions indicate that Mr. Nifong engaged in willful misconduct in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 242, which the Department of Justice has deemed applicable to abuses of authority under color of law.”
“Now that the North Carolina State Bar has concluded its review of Mr. Nifong’s activities and determined that Mr. Nifong engaged in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, and misrepresentation, the Justice Department has no reason not to investigate the substantial legal evidence suggesting Mr. Nifong violated these young men's civil rights, permanently damaging their reputations. I strongly encourage you to take action in this case,” Jones concluded.