Nifong attorney David Freedman.
Who was the second person quoted?
Nifong’s wife, Cy Gurney.
Then, almost as an afterthought, Wilson got around to Chairman Williamson’s remarks. In his statement, Williamson twice termed the case a “fiasco”—a comment that appropriately led the N&O, AP, and the Chronicle stories on the day’s events.
The quote never appeared in Wilson’s article.
What did Wilson quote?
We had a prosecutor who was faced with a very unusual situation in which the confluence of his self-interest collided with a very volatile mix of race, sex and class,” Mr. Williamson said of the media spectacle that accompanied the case in which a black woman who worked as a stripper accused three white lacrosse players.
Brocker’s closing was a masterful performance—a highly organized summary of the case complete with visuals outlining Nifong’s myriad, mutually contradictory, excuses on why he didn’t turn over the exculpatory DNA evidence. Brocker’s PowerPoint slide with headshots of Nifong’s various media appearances was particularly effective.
He also delivered one of the best lines of the entire case, describing Nifong as a “minister of injustice.”
Even for those who have followed the case closely, many new facts emerged from the hearing. A partial list:
The language in the non-testimonial order stating that the DNA tests would exonerate the innocent was written not by Nifong or his office but by Sgt. Mark Gottlieb.
On March 27, the first business day after he had assumed personal control of the investigation of the case, Nifong met with Gottlieb and Ben Himan. After the two summarized the case, with its many holes, Nifong said, “You know, we’re fucked.”
According to his calendar, Nifong nonetheless had already scheduled interviews with the state and national media almost all the afternoon of March 27, in which he began his defamatory pre-primary publicity barrage.
Nifong sought indictments against Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty without watching the video presentation in which Crystal Mangum “identified” them—and probably without, he conceded, even reading the transcript of this presentation.
Nifong sought an indictment against Reade Seligmann without even knowing whether Seligmann attended the party.
In his deposition to the Bar, Gottlieb claimed that Nifong and Meehan went over the May 12 report line by line. Nifong said he never read the report.
The chief staffer for NC’s Innocence Inquiry Commission was willing to testify in Nifong’s defense.
One of Nifong’s predecessors as Durham DA, now-retired judge Anthony Brannon, openly admitted that he did his best to refrain from handing over discovery, of any type, to defense lawyers.
Two Durham judges, Marsha Morey and Elaine Bushfan, declared under oath that a man soon to be disciplined on 27 matters, many of them for fraud, deceit, and misrepresentation, has a reputation for truthfulness in Durham.
In his Friday testimony, Nifong eight times referred to Mangum as the victim.
According to Nifong, his behavior in this case was typical; he rarely reads files.
Even Himan was worried by the decision to ahead with indictments.
Steven D. Michael, president of the North Carolina State Bar, issued the following statement on Nifong’s disbarment:
I am satisfied that justice was done in the Nifong case and am proud to say that our system of self-regulation worked well. Mr. Nifong received a fair trial. All interested parties – but especially the citizens of North Carolina – were finally able to see all the evidence relating to this extremely unfortunate case of professional misconduct.
I was very impressed with the effective and thoroughly professional presentation made by the State Bar’s lawyers, Katherine Jean, Doug Brocker and Carmen Hoyme. I also thought Mr. Nifong was well represented.
The members of the DHC’s Hearing Committee deserve thanks and commendation as well. They presided over a very difficult case in a fair and extremely competent fashion.
In my experience, misconduct of the sort Mr. Nifong engaged in is very rare and not at all typical of prosecutors in our state. We deeply regret the serious harm caused to these young men and their families. We hope the decision today will lessen the likelihood that anything like this will happen again.
The Bar’s strong response to this situation made clear that the ethical rules restricting pretrial public comment and requiring prosecutors to turn over exculpatory evidence will be strictly enforced. Those rules are important because they ensure the fundamental right to a fair trial that every citizen is guaranteed in our constitution.