Tomorrow in Durham, Mike Nifong faces a criminal contempt hearing before Judge Osmond Smith. (I am heading down to Durham later today and will be live-blogging the event.) At issue, did he lie to the court on September 22, 2006?
Here’s Nifong on September 22, 2006:
Judge Smith: So his report [Meehan’s May 12 report] encompasses it all?
Mr. Nifong: His report encompasses ever -- because we didn’t -- they apparently think that everybody I speak to about, I talk about the facts of the case. And that’s just, that would be counterproductive. It did not happen here.
Judge Smith: So you represent there are no other statements from Dr. Meehan?
Mr. Nifong: No other statements. No other statements made to me.
Mr. Bannon: Just so I’m clear, Mr. Nifong is representing that the facts of the case weren’t discussed in those meetings.
Mr. Nifong: That is correct. The facts of the case, other than the fact that we were seeking a, the male fraction DNA.
Here’s Nifong in an impromptu press conference, after the December 15, 2006 court session, saying that he did know about the unidentified male DNA, but consented to its non-reporting for privacy concerns:
And we were trying to, just as Dr. Meehan said, trying to avoid dragging any names through the mud but at the same time his report made it clear that all the information was available if they wanted it and they have every word of it.
And here’s Nifong in his deposition before the Bar, conceding that—at some point—Meehan told him about the multiple unidentified male DNA, but that “I was not thinking of that in terms of having much relevance to the night in question . . . I really wasn’t thinking of that as having a whole lot of relevance.”
Bar attorney Doug Brocker pressed on this point, asking the obvious question:
Mr. Brocker: At the time did it occur to you odd or unusual that they were able to recover DNA on some of these rape kit items from a single cell, but there was no DNA remaining from an alleged gang rape that had happened that same night?
Mr. Nifong: Not specifically, because as I said, the SBI lab had said that there was no ejaculation from that . . . I was aware that the victim [sic] that night had been in—she came in one car. She left in a separate car. She was in a police car. She was at the access center. She was at Duke Hospital. There were a lot of places where a fractional amount of DNA could be picked up from something that she was sitting on. But I really, as I indicated, wasn’t thinking very strongly about the possibility of that particular—those particular results having anything at all to do with the assault. And, you know, certainly in retrospect I believe that I probably should have paid more attention to that. I didn’t at the time, and I think that led to some of the issues that resulted from, you know, my not having made notes and having paid more attention to it.
In addition to proving Nifong lied to the court in September, this statement represents a bizarre analysis of DNA evidence. Did Nifong really believe that Mangum could have picked up DNA from unidentified males by sitting in a police car?