“Equal justice for all in
At one level, this statement is undeniable: equal justice for all would be served by Mike Nifong standing trial, an outcome prevented by then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. But the line above serves as the motto of the “Justice for Mike Nifong” committee, the organization led by
The committee has produced a 10-part, 36-question document—filled with leading yes-or-no questions, seemingly designed to demonstrate the myriad ways in which Nifong was wrongly treated.
In its statement of purpose, the two-person group plays off demagogic beliefs deep-seated within the
Perhaps the most striking element of the JMN document comes in what it does not include. Nifong was disbarred in part because of his barrage of false and defamatory public statements about the case and the lacrosse players. The JMN questionnaire makes no mention of the ethically improper statements. Justice for Nifong, it would seem, requires pretending that these statements never were made.
The JMN document likewise neglects to mention of Nifong’s decision to prosecute a case without probable cause, or his ordering the DPD to violate its own procedures and run a third lineup after Crystal Mangum couldn’t make any identifications. Justice for Nifong, it would seem, requires pretending that the rigged lineup never occurred, or that probable cause existed.
The questionnaire itself consists of ten sections, only one of which deals with Nifong’s actual misconduct. According to JMN, Nifong’s only improper behavior in the lacrosse case was his “withholding non-exculpatory evidence that had no relevance or advantage for the defense.”
That’s the description given to Nifong’s repeatedly lying to the court about the content of his conversations with DNA lab director Brian Meehan, his decision to violate North Carolina state law by not reporting all results from a DNA test obtained through a non-testimonial order, and his decision not to report evidence proving (a) that Mangum lied when she claimed she had no sex a week before the party and (b) that an innocent explanation existed for Tara Levicy’s Hail-Mary effort to suggest that “diffuse edema of the vaginal walls” suggested that a rape occurred.
JMN questions on this issue borrow from the unique legal analysis of Wendy Murphy and imply that Nifong had the right to unilaterally cherrypick which DNA test results to report, and then to lie to the court about his actions. From the JMN questionnaire: “Do you believe it is possible that the reasons Mr. Nifong may have withheld the multiple male DNA evidence from the defense are because it had no relevant value, and he may have wanted to spare [Crystal Mangum] from unnecessary shame and embarrassment?”
Nifong, of course, didn’t simply withhold this evidence from the defense—he withheld it from the court, twice falsely informing judges that nothing existed in the tests beyond what was contained in Dr. Meehan’s incomplete report. As to a possible motive of sparing Mangum “from unnecessary shame and embarrassment”:
Having described both the case and
The JMN questionnaire makes clear the central villains of the case: the three falsely accused players and DHC chairman Lane Williamson. Two sections of the questionnaire minimize the harm experienced by the falsely accused players (despite the acknowledgement on this point by Nifong’s own apology). A third bizarrely asks whether the outcome of the case would have differed had the accuser gone to Duke and the accused gone to NCCU. Given that Nifong desperately needed the black vote for his primary, it’s hard to imagine what political benefit he would have received from bringing charges without evidence against black students.
For good measure, the JMN authors assert that “for reasons unknown, each of the defendants received $1.5 to $1.7 million from
As for Williamson, the JMN questionnaire leads off with five questions insinuating that the DHC chairman had a conflict of interest because he was a law school classmate of Nifong’s who had a daughter who attended Duke. The only problem: Williamson disclosed both items publicly, and Nifong indicated that he saw no reason for Williamson to step aside from the case.
The JMN’ers wind up with a “question” asking readers if they agree with the premise that “the North Carolina State Bar should take responsibility for its mistake in unjustly disbarring Mike Nifong, and it should reinstate his license to practice law immediately and without restrictions.”
Indeed. About the same time that Bigfoot is named