Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Nifong on Nifong

With Mike Nifong narrowly leading in voter surveys as the polls open in Durham, it seemed reasonable to turn today’s post over to the county’s “minister of justice” himself.

On His Role as a District Attorney

1.) If a case is of such significance that people in the community are divided or up in arms over the existence of that case, then that in and of itself is an indication that a case needs to be tried. [emphasis added]

2.) You can make the case go away pretty easily . . . But that does nothing to address the underlying divisions that have been revealed. My personal feeling is the first step to addressing those divisions is addressing this case. That is not the kind of thing that you can really assign to somebody else and say, “You go do this for me. The future of Durham’s in the balance and I don’t really want to get my hands dirty.” [emphasis added]

3.) Being in court is similar to performing improvisational theater, and I think music brings out my performer’s ego.

4. ) Some people believe that the job of the District Attorney is simply to run the District Attorney’s Office. But I believe that the District Attorney’s responsibility extends well beyond the limits of that office.

On HisHis Skills as a Demagogue

1.) I’m not going to allow Durham’s view in the minds of the world to be a bunch of lacrosse players at Duke raping a black girl from Durham.

2.) There’s been a feeling in the past that Duke students are treated differently by the court system. There was a feeling that Duke students’ daddies could buy them expensive lawyers and that they knew the right people.

3.) They have endeavored to make this election something it is not: a referendum on a single case that that view as a threat to their sense of entitlement and that they do not trust a jury of Durham citizens to decide: a referendum on a single case that that [sic] view as a threat to their sense of entitlement and that they do not trust a jury of Durham citizens to decide.

4.) I would like to think that somebody [at the party] has the human decency to call up and say, “What am I doing covering up for a bunch of hooligans?”

On the Political Benefits of the Case

1.) Now I must say that the single good thing about all the publicity that I’ve gotten is that so many people know my face now that it’s really easy for me to meet people. Before, literally very few people had any idea who I was, so I had to go up and introduce myself to everybody. And now I don’t have to do that.

2.) I haven’t been in the courtroom in the last year because I haven’t had a case that was assigned to me. Obviously, there is now a case that the national media has shown real interest in.

3.) It was obvious to me early on that we did really well in the predominantly black precincts. As I would go through the black community before the [primary] election, people would stop me and say, “Keep your head up. We’re with you.”

On the Nature of His Early Statements

1.) No, I wouldn’t say I regret anything I’ve said . . . I did not accuse anybody of any crime.

2.) All of my public comments in this case . . . were essentially restricted to 1) my belief that the victim had in fact been sexually assaulted at the 610 N. Buchanan Blvd. address, and 2) my hope that one or more of the persons who were present but not involved with that assault would cooperate with the investigation.

3.) My initial cooperation with the press was based not on any perceived political advantage to be had, but on my (in retrospect, admittedly naive) belief that such cooperation would help effectuate a more accurate public discourse on an issue with great social resonance.

4.) The first message I intended to portray was that the community was in good hands with respect to this case, and they did not need to worry about it.

On His Commitment to Due Process

1.) One would wonder why one needs an attorney if one was not charged and had not done anything wrong.

2.) Lawyers are always saying that people are innocent.

3.) Their way of trying a case in the media is not to call press conferences, but to simply file motions and court papers that contain outrageous or false statements and assume that people will report them as if they were facts.

4.) I know that it looks sometimes over the course of the last few months that some of these attorneys were almost disappointed that their clients didn’t get indicted so they could be part of this spectacle here in Durham.

On His Courtroom Skills

1.) You have to understand that obviously the defense attorneys would probably prefer to try the case against somebody who is less experienced than I am, or get somebody who is less committed to the case than I am, and you can certainly understand that. I mean, if I were one of those attorneys, I wouldn’t really want to try a case against me either.

2.) I have earned the reputation among my colleagues in the court system as a prosecutor of the highest level of professional skill.

On the Duties of a Lead Investigator (his role in the case after March 24)

1.) Why do I have to be the one that’s interviewed somebody? . . . It’s not necessary for me to ask you about a specific event from your life for me to get a sense of whether or not you’re a reliable individual.

2.) I think that really nothing about my view of the case and my view of how the case ultimately needs to be handled has been affected by any of the things that have occurred.

3.) I would wonder what . . . evidence [Kirk Osborn] thinks he’s entitled to from that [accuser’s cellular] telephone.

4.) I just don’t have as much time for reading fiction right now.
[Nifong was referring to Osborn’s motion laying out Reade Seligmann’s alibi.]

On His Methods of Evaluating Scientific Evidence as a Lead Investigator (his role in the case after March 24)

1.) If a condom were used, then we might expect that there would not be any DNA evidence recovered from, say, a vaginal swab.
[The accuser repeatedly denied that condoms were used.]

2.) How does DNA exonerate you? It’s either a match or there’s not a match.

3.) Just as an example—speaking hypothetically—if I had a witness who saw her right before this and she was not intoxicated, and then I had a witness who said that she was given a drink at the party and after taking a few sips of that drink acted in a particular way, that could be evidence of something other than intoxication, or at least other than voluntary intoxication.

4.) DNA results can often be helpful, but, you know, I’ve been doing this for a long time, and most of the years I’ve been doing this, we didn’t have DNA. We had to deal with sexual assault cases the good old-fashioned way.

On His Discoveries as a Lead Investigator (his role in the case after March 24)

1.) Somebody had an arm around her like this [demonstrating a chokehold], which she then had to struggle with in order to be able to breathe, and it was in the course of that struggle that the fingernails—the artificial fingernails broke off. Now as you can see from my arm, if I were wearing a shirt, a long-sleeved shirt or a Jacket of some sort, even if there were enough force used to press down, to break my skin through the clothing, there might not be any way that anything from my arm could get on to those fingernails.

2.) This was a struggle, wherein she was struggling just to be able to breathe.

3.) My reading of the report of the emergency room nurse would indicate that some type of sexual assault did in fact take place.
[The report was first printed the day after this statement was made.]

4.) Obviously there were some things that we hoped we would have in terms of evidence that we ended up not having.

On Conspiracy Theories

1.) They’ve come out really strong with the idea they would either scare me or the [accuser] away. That’s never worked for me, which they should know by now, and it didn’t work for her, either. And so here we are.

2.) If this is all a hoax that was . . . designed to get the lacrosse team . . . what other major lacrosse program is behind that hoax? The presumed motivation would be to end the season of the Duke lacrosse team, and that’s obviously been accomplished. Seriously, when you think about it, who would be motivated to do a hoax like that? What possible reason would somebody have to do that?

On His Personal Trials and Tribulations

1.) I think what I have learned, basically, is that if you cooperate with the media out of a sense of duty to public truth, you make yourself a victim.

2.) There have been people who have sought to paint me as some kind of evil figure in Durham or are encouraging people specifically to vote against me.

3.) I have seen quite a bit of media speculation (and it is even worse on the blogs) that either starts from a faulty premise or builds to a demonstrably false conclusion. That is not my fault (although some of [Susannah Meadows’] colleagues have acted as if it were).

4.) Since it is apparent that many of you [on the Animal Control Board] do not have confidence in me, I intend to reassess the position of my office with respect to representation on the board and to inform you of my decision about whether we will continue to participate within the next two weeks.

On His Mastery of Ironic Statements

1.) Under my leadership, the District Attorney’s office is an institution of unquestioned integrity.

2.) We’re not going to arrest anybody without evidence that the person committed a crime, and we’re not going to indict somebody for a crime that we don’t believe we can prove just to make somebody happy.

3.) A prosecutor should never be a bully, never take unfair advantage of his authority, never demean a person based on his situation. To deny dignity is to deny justice.

4.) The shortsighted prosecutor concerns himself only with victory in the courtroom and is willing to take whatever advantage he can, no matter the consequence.

On Today's Outcome

I must win on November 7.

The emphasis was in the original statement.

Hat tip: N.K.


Anonymous said...

Wonderful, KC. Do you think the governor of North Carolina, Mr. Easley, is proud of appointing Nifong? Does the governor think that his appointee's behavior and the governor's failure to speak out will be forgotten in future elections? Are the governor's college connections clouding his judgment?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this collection KC!!

..."future of Durham’s in the BALANCE."

I've read someplace that BALANCE is very important.

..."there is now a case that the national media has shown real interest in."

A star is born!

"And so here we are."

August West said...

"Among my favorites are To Kill a Mockingbird."

Anonymous said...

When I was in college many moons ago, we would yell "Get out the hook!" when someone was stinking up the stage. With Liefong's performance, we proudly can yell:


Anonymous said...

to anonymous 12:33 am:
Good point on the governor, but this whole case shows how totally messed up politics is in this country. Easley is a Dem as is Nifong. For Easley to 'protect' another Dem (Nifong) at the expense of three young men, despite overwhelming evidence of the prosecution's misconduct, shows just how badly politics have sunk in this country. Not sure about the Durham area, however where I live the political ads are so filled with lies and mudslinging, that I believe there is literally no integrity left in our current political system--none. Seriously, I don't fear terrorists as much as our own politicians. Terrorists just want to blow me up--politicians want to to totally strip me of my civil and legal rights and my money (taxes/fees).

Anonymous said...

Wow, amazing compilation KC.
Thank you so much for all you've done.

Anonymous said...

As some of you know, the word is out that Liefong is going to try to take revenge on the bloggers. Since I doubt he can pin rape charges on us, his next option would be to file lawsuits.

Keep in mind that Liefong has turned himself into a public figure (public spectacle?) by appearing on a number of national television shows and publicizing the alleged rape. Under the Walker ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1967, Liefong would be subject to the "Times Malice" standards, which are very high.

Under "Times Malice," the person would have to demonstrate either that the writer KNEW the information was false or that it was published with "reckless disregard for the truth." I can guarantee you that Liefong would not be able to meet those standards.

That might not keep him from filing a suit in Durham, where he would face a friendly jury, so he can cause some problems. Right now, I am NOT going to lay low. I only wish I could vote in Durham!

William L. Anderson

Anonymous said...

KC: This is your best post. It is really incredible. I am amazed by your talent and persistence.

Anonymous said...

This site is always extraordinary! KC, wish you were on the faculty at Duke so that our children could experience your excellent insight, experience and most importantly you excellent character.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with poster 2:08. I would love it if you taught at Duke because my daughter is a history major. It would be wonderful and a relief to know she was being educated by someone with your character and insight.
Great collection of "The Best of Nifong." It's quite a collection!

Anonymous said...

All I can say is "WOW!!!" Keep the fires burning, you have more supporters here than you imagine. I'll sit on your jury if Liefong tries anything, or picket the courthouse, or what ever!

Anonymous said...

Excellent KC

Re: Court room skills

Would it be possible to add Nifong's comment in court that some of the defense attorneys would have liked to have seen their clients indicted. I believe that was an important statement.