Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Contemptible Nifong, IV

Today in Durham, Mike Nifong faces a criminal contempt hearing before Judge Osmond Smith. (I’ll 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 himself, at the DHC hearing, saying that, in fact, Meehan had told him about the multiple unidentified male DNA, but that he considered the item “non-inculpatory.” That rationalization, of course, wasn’t relevant to the question Smith had asked him on September 22.


Anonymous said...

JLS says....,

Of course he is and will be found guilty. The issue is will he spend even a day in jail? Just think he could spend tommorrow night locked up.

Anonymous said...


I hope any speed-reader who picks up K.C.'s book on September 4th will use the "spoiler alert" warning before posting any interesting new tidbits from his book on his blog.

At Nifong's abbreviated first hearing, his attorney filed a couple of the most bizarre motions I have ever seen (or heard about). A request for a jury trial in a contempt hearing is just plain weird. A request for a grand jury indictment for the contempt charges? LOL! I can't wait to see what Nifong's attorney has prepared for this hearing.

To JLS at 12:22 - Lock up watch, 16 hours and counting.

"Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer and deader." K.C. Johnson. MOO! Gregory

Anonymous said...

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.

Is it just me or does the fact that Mikey couldn't string together an understandable sentence signal something? KC has given us that statement a couple of times lately.

Obviously he's hopeing to seat a jury that includes the "something happened", potbanging, perverted statement-signing crowd who will be sympathetic to his cause. We all know that the percentage of loons in Durm is significant and could infect a jury enough to get him off the hook.

Will Mikey spend time in jail? Judge Smith probably won't give Mikey anything more than token time. He may be ok with lying to the court to advance one's own cause. We will see what the ruling is to know how Judge Smith feels.

Why not just take all the court recordings and analyze them. Give Mikey one month for every lie or evasive answer given. What's unfair about that?

mac said...

6:14 am

Considering Judge Smith's warning about Nifong "one day" appearing before him again...and now the day has come...I'm guessing that Judge Smith will give Nifong 90 days, 30 suspended. (Probably house-arrest, because of jailhouse issues.)

That would still be short, considering that an officer of the cours, lying to the face of a judge makes the judge look impotent. Hint: judges don't like to look impotent, and there are precedents to be set here.

Always remember: precedents count.

Anonymous said...

Will Judge Smith permit Nifong to "revise and extend" his story?

mac said...

I'm guessing that Judge Smith will only allow this if he -(the Judge, who represents the offended party here, as a representative of the state) - will also enter into evidence the transcripts from the Bar hearing.

Anonymous said...

According to the Herald Sun, Nifong's case "is a far cry from the garden-variety contempt cases that routinely arise in Durham.

"Most involve more predictable issues, like mouthing off to a judge or failing to show up for jury duty. For example, a man was fined $500 last weekend and jailed 30 days for being loud and boisterous in the Magistrate's Office, which is considered a court of law."

Since it appears from the article that $500 and 30 days would be about the worst penalty Nifong could expect, this means that trying to throw three people in jail for 30 years for a non-existent crime is tantamount to talking too loud in the judge's chambers.

Debrah said...

Good editorial--finally--in the N&O today:

...truth and risks

Debrah said...

Nifong faces judge

Anonymous said...

Inre: N&O article, "...the financial risk is what the insurance business is all about..."

In typical fashion the N&O has it backwards. It is about risk avoidance, the laying off of risk, based upon information provided from the insured.

It will likely be shown there was a pattern of failure with little or no controls. If the committee finds this failure they are in trouble, and if the committee covers-up this failure they are in trouble. Clearly AIG did not like what they were finding.

A policy would never had been issued in the first place had AIG understood there was no standard of care.

One wonders if insurance fraud is another card about to be dealt the City. If Durham fraudulently conveyed process controls that didn't/don't exist, then they may have additional problems.

The "good hands" industry is very skilled at reaching hands into others pockets.

Anonymous said...

According tp WRAL: The hearing will be broadcast live on and the WRAL NewsChannel (digital cable channel 256 or over the air at 5.2) beginning at 9:30 a.m. I believe the hearing is scheduled for two days. Don't forget to tune in.

mac said...

Good points about the potential for insurance fraud.

I would guess that AIG doesn't want to be charged with interfering with an investigation, because that might put them in a position of criminal liability (RICO etc.) They must know this.

They also must know how deep the hole is dug, how deep it's been filled with crap, and how they are being expected to cover for someone else's behavior.

A (possible) scenario: AIG knows Whichard is a sham, only scratching the surface; they know that the crap goes much deeper, and they know that once they begin writing checks (based upon an incomplete investigation) - the check-writing will never stop.

AIG's best interest lies in the discovery of criminal intent/activity in Durrhh by the insured. They're looking for the whole story to come out, not just a dusting of the truth, because Durrhh's criminality means they don't have to write any checks at all.

I had interpreted AIG's intent as possibly shutting down a legitimate investigation in order to save themselves money: I still believe that, but for vastly different reasons.

A whitewash does AIG no good, and the truth (potentially) lets 'em off the hook.

Durrhh is a fine representation of Ninevah, as described in Nahum. Whomever Jonah would have been in this case, he's not in the vicinity any more. This Ninevah didn't repent.

Debrah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Debrah said...

A provocative must-read:

Blacks and law school discrimination

Anonymous said...

mac said:

"I had interpreted AIG's intent as possibly shutting down a legitimate investigation..."

I never thought there was any chance of it being a legitimate investigation. From the committee member race/class/gender quotas designed to exclude civilian white males, the victim class int the case, to the committee's dependence on Baker, very possibly one of the wrongdoers in this case, the investigation was a sham from day 1. Whichard's comment about having anticipated being shut down by the insurance company before even starting (but not mentioning it at the time) only adds to the pointlessness of the exercise.

Debrah said...

I'm watching the hearing now live.

Brad Bannon is up.

Debrah said...

I'm looking for KC, but the camera hasn't focused on the audience.

Only the back of Mikey's head was in view.

Debrah said...


They're still having to talk about Mangum's dirty laundry.

Gary Packwood said...

Debrah 8:20 said...
...Good editorial--finally--in the N&O today:
...truth and risks
Yes. Excellent.

Also, Durham citizens have a opportunity now to study their municipal government and then compare and contrast municipal government with Durham County government.

Municipal governments are notoriously inefficient compared to county government across the USA, but Durham municipal government takes the cake.

I doubt that Linwood would have been considered for employment by the County.

This may be a good time for Durham County government to take over or at least be given oversight, of many of the functions of municipal government.

Reorganization might solve many problems for Durham City and Durham County.

Debrah said...


Yes, a few other posters have echoed your ideas.

Anything would improve the way the city of Durham is run. Despite the silly efforts of their Visitors Bureau, Durham is known all over for incompetence and corruption.

Debrah said...

Mikey's lawyer was trying to get Dr. Meehan there to testify, but was overruled.

Anonymous said...

JLS says...,

That point about black lawyers is the point Thomas Sowell has often made about black college grads in general. The black kid who should be at Michigan or Duke earning a high quality degree ends up at MIT struggling and too often does not finish.

Debrah said...

Kevin and MaryEllen Finnerty are in the courtroom.

Anonymous said...

Gary Packwood-

There's a risk that by absorbing Durham city government functions and inevitably organizations and personnel the county government would be infected with the city's rot.

It might be even better if Durham declared bankruptcy and went into receivership. A court-appointed administrator who doesn't need or even want to be reelected has a lot more power in cleaning up corruption and waste. Consider Felix Rohatyn's work cleaning up New York's financial mess in the 1970s. No mayor can ever have the power to say what he said to municipal employee unions, which was basically "We don't have the money. Go ahead and strike. See if I care."

Yes, receivership is a form of (hopefully) benevolent dictatorship, but then it only happens to political entities that have proven themselves incapable of self-government.

cathyf said...

I'm still worried about Nifong "out-dumbing" the judge. (As in: "If you can't outsmart 'em, you can try to outdumb 'em.") On September 22, 2006, Nifong was talking about a meeting that they had in person. I'm sure that everyone agrees that Nifong leaving out any incidental chit-chat or meeting-related trivialities (here's the conference room; do you want cream and sugar in your coffee? the men's room is down that hall turn left; etc.) does not constitute him lying when he said "everything".

Nifong has already made several semi-coherent statements to the effect of thinking that the simultaneous presence of multiple unidentified male DNA and absence of party-goer DNA was not significant and not exculpatory. Can he successfully make the argument that he is too stupid to get it, and as such the falsity of his September 22 statements was a result of stupidity rather than perjury?

Debrah said...

TO 10:53AM--

He can in Durham....if anywhere.

Gary Packwood said...

Ralph Phelan 10:50 said...
...Gary Packwood-
...There's a risk that by absorbing Durham city government functions and inevitably organizations and personnel the county government would be infected with the city's rot.
...It might be even better if Durham declared bankruptcy and went into receivership. A court-appointed administrator who doesn't need or even want to be reelected has a lot more power in cleaning up corruption and waste. Consider Felix Rohatyn's work cleaning up New York's financial mess in the 1970s. No mayor can ever have the power to say what he said to municipal employee unions, which was basically "We don't have the money. Go ahead and strike. See if I care."
...Yes, receivership is a form of (hopefully) benevolent dictatorship, but then it only happens to political entities that have proven themselves incapable of self-government.
Yes, I didn't think about an epidemic of rot swirling through County government.

You suggestion makes much more sense.

Debrah said...

The busy-body loons in Trinity Park can rest easy:

Duke says students got in less off-campus trouble last year

BY RAY GRONBERG : The Herald-Sun
Aug 29, 2007 : 11:35 pm ET

DURHAM -- Duke University's students got in trouble for off-campus behavior a lot less often during the 2006-07 school year, mostly because they didn't run afoul of state and city alcohol-law monitors as often.

Statistics released by Duke's Office of Judicial Affairs show that only 48 students got in trouble last year for off-campus conduct.

They racked up 79 charges, a 67 percent drop from the count in the 2005-06 academic year. Officials found students responsible -- guilty, in Duke-speak -- on 51 of those charges.

There were 237 charges, of all types, for off-campus violations in 2005-06.

Officials reported reductions in most types of off-campus misconduct, but the biggest was in the number of alcohol-related offenses. There, they noted a 77 percent drop, from 196 in 2005-06 to 46 last year.

Campus leaders credited the reduction partly to what they termed "a subtler back-to-school operation" by N.C. Alcohol Law Enforcement.

ALE didn't run any high-profile sweeps near Duke last year and also didn't get a chance to hit a big off-campus party with a lot of underage drinking.

Duke also credited its purchases of several off-campus "party houses" in the Trinity Park neighborhood, and the post-lacrosse-case efforts of its Division of Student Affairs and student government to persuade students to stay out of trouble.

"It's a combination of peer pressure from students themselves, discussions about campus culture and discussions in the media about campus climate," said Stephen Bryan, the associate dean of students who runs Duke's judicial office. "It came down to students [understanding] that the university was going to be responding to off-campus behavior."

The falloff in state alcohol enforcement was obvious from the start of the 2006 fall semester. Duke officials warned of the possibility of an ALE sweep before last year's first home football game, but none materialized.

ALE officials waffled about their intentions, hinting that they might conduct an operation in Durham but also saying staff shortages and the agency's role in launching the state lottery had hobbled their work.

Only days later, however, ALE participated in a major sweep in Chapel Hill that produced 80 tickets or arrests.

The same pattern has been evident so far this semester. While things have been quiet in Durham, ALE has been busy in Raleigh around the campus of N.C. State University.

An operation there this past weekend yielded 72 tickets and three arrests, ALE supervisor Jeff Lasater said.

Chapel Hill police, meanwhile, conducted a move-in-week sweep around UNC earlier this month without ALE's help. That operation produced 42 tickets.

Lasater said his agency is monitoring clubs near Duke, and added that any drop in the number of tickets issued here in 2006-07 was because ALE "did not get any information about house parties and did not write [up] a large number of people at house parties."

The vast majority of the tickets during the 2005-06 school year were for conduct "at one or two" such parties, he said.

Duke's purchase of the off-campus houses has been credited by neighbors and school officials for helping quell discipline problems. But Bryan said the off-campus housing market has changed in other ways that help, as there now are more apartments available near campus for students.

The university's statistics show that Duke officials dismissed 12 of the 26 underage drinking cases they brought against students in 2006-07. Typically, if a student walked into a hearing and claimed he or she hadn't been drinking, he or she got off with a stern talking-to, Bryan said.

"We're only going to put so much of our resources into underage possession or consumption," Bryan said. "We're not going to ask a Durham Police Department officer to come in and attest that they saw a student with a beer in their hand. We're going to place the greatest value on the conversation we have with students."

Campus leaders reason that if a student lies and doesn't learn a lesson, "chances are they'll be back in our office again," Bryan said.

Bryan and other officials hope to keep problems under control by doing more this school year to get the word out among students who are preparing to move off campus in 2008-09.

There will be workshops covering "city ordinances, how to be a good neighbor and landlord-tenant issues," Bryan said. But they won't be mandatory.

"It's hard to make anything mandatory, but it's going to be heavily promoted," he said. "We hope students will participate."

Duke did have an alcohol-related death last year, but it wasn't an underage-drinking case.

Graduate student Rajesh Das, 26, died in December after a night out in Raleigh with two friends from N.C. State. Medical examiners later attributed his death to accidental alcohol poisoning.

Debrah said...

I'm sure KC is sitting somewhere in an inconspicuous place in the back of the courtroom....

.....trying not to be interrogated by Victoria Peterson in some elevator.

Does anyone remember that one?


Anonymous said...

Debrah 11:06

I would guess that one reason the students have been quiet is that they have seen just how badly wrong a wild party in Durham can go.

Debrah said...

Nifong's lawyer is really an inept questioner.

Debrah said...


Debrah said...

To Ralph--

That, too.

Anonymous said...

Debrah 11:16

No I don't remember. Link?

Anonymous said...

"Nifong's lawyer is really an inept questioner."

My guess would be that any competent lawyer would advise Nifong to confess and beg for mercy, and that that strategy is not acceptable to him, so the only lawyers he will ever have are those stupid enough to think he has a chance at defense or cynical enough to deliberately take on a losing case with the intent of billing some hours for going through the motions.

Debrah said...

To Ralph--

Don't know where it would be now, but KC briefly alluded to it once.

When he was in the Triangle in months past, a time before the disbarrment proceedings, and he happened to find himself in the courthouse elevator with Victoria Peterson.

She looked at him and asked if he were Jackie Brown's husband....who used to be Nifong's campaign manager before she turned against him and Cy.

Jackie Brown is much older than KC.

It was just Peterson's way of trying to put her nose in everything.....while she was still Mikey's buddy.


Too hilarious.

Debrah said...

TO 11;23AM--

Brad Bannon was often wincing because the guy was so unclear.

cathyf said...

Sounds like the "out-dumb-em" defense is in full swing.

Anonymous said...

Since the question at hand is not "was the DSI evidence of other males exulpatory" but "did Nifong lie when he said he'd handed everying over" the only rational explanation I can find for the defense counsel's strategy is "run out the clock and bill more hours." Of course, this being Durham, the assumption that his behavior is rational is unjustified.

Debrah said...

Kiernan Shanahan who was a prosecutor in Raleigh for five years was on the WRAL panel during the recess and he said that Nifong would most likely get about 30 days in jail.

He said that if it is found Nifong lied to a judge, there is no other choice.

Debrah said...

I found this vintage tune which would make a good song for Mikey to learn on his guitar travels:

Who's sorry now?

Debrah said...

Brad is angry now!!!

Anonymous said...

"Thats is absolutely false! And you KNOW it."

Anonymous said...

You go, Brad!!!

One Spook said...

I didn't have much time to watch the proceedings, but it appears to me that Nifong's attorney is advancing the argument that the defense was told about the presence of DNA from others in the May report, and that therefore Nifong was correct in saying to the court in September that the " ... report emcompasses it all."

I'm not sure how that line of defense would explain Nifong's response to Bannon's clarifying question in this exchange:

"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."

Others have observed that the presence of other DNA was known, or should have been known, to the defense well before Bannon's cross examination of Meehan in December, and that appears to be the approach of the defense.

However, Nifong's statement that the "facts of the case" weren't discussed in the meetings seems like a direct lie.

One Spook

Debrah said...


Anonymous said...

I love the articles many papers are running today about Nifong's hearing. The first word in many of the is "Disgraced."

At least they got that right.

Anonymous said...

Det Hyman being called to the stand

Debrah said...

I think Himan was the one who told Nifong that he thought nothing happened...

....then Mikey said, We're ******!

Anonymous said...

Hello, Is KC providing a live-transcript somewhere on his site? I can't watch the recordings but would love to read the dialogue! Could somebody point me to the link for the live-blog? Thanks, -B.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Spook. Nifong has said so many different things about the first meeting with Meehan they cannot all be true.

Either he discussed the facts of the case or he did not. Clearly he did as Meehan, Gottlieb, and Himan all agree that Nifong asked questions about the DNA findings.

It's clear he lied. Now it's just up to Judge Smith to decide if he wants to put Nifong where he belongs.

Anonymous said...

The above URL will get you to a live feed...


Debrah said...

I'm watching it on digital channel 256. The one that Florida Gator posted.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone refresh my memory: who is Victoria Peterson?

Debrah said...


Anonymous said...

re: 12:52

Nifong's re-election campaign manager

Anonymous said...

So being a stripper is now a "profession?"

Anonymous said...


CGM was a member of "the oldest profession."

Anonymous said... is broadcasting live, but right now everybody is out to lunch until 2.30

Steven Horwitz said...

Most of the folks involved in this case have been "out to lunch" a lot longer than that!

Anonymous said...

V. Peterson,collegue of MALIK EL SHABAZZ,NBPP is the person who threatened Mary Ellen Finnerty at the Ethics Hearing in June.

Debrah said...

Where is our Midnight Rider dah-ling?

mac said...

Ralph and GP,
inre: receivership.

That's what I meant in recent posts about "disincorporation" and "receivership." I'm thankful I'm not the only one who sees this as a potential silver lining for Durrhh, particularly for those suffering under it's terrible leadership.


Anonymous said...

If I recall the NYC 1975 situation properly it was a "voluntary receivership," wherein the City of New York agreed to cede a limited portion of its sovereignty to a receiver chosen by its creditors, in return for said creditors helping them not miss their next payroll.

The situation here is a little different as it isn't due to a long pattern of financial mismanagement, but instead due to a single hugely expensive misdeed.

If the players get a judgement against Durham so huge it drains the city's coffers completely, what happens?

Do they get to be first in line for grabbing any tax revenue that comes in, and if the city can't pay its employees, tough on them?

Can the city do a deal like NYCs, where some large lender gets to select a Rohatyn-like caretaker in return for bailing them out?

Do they get to choose between that and disincorporation? If they disincorporate, do the usual sorts of bankruptcy rules apply? Would we then see Durham City Hall on the3 auction block, porceeds to be divided up by Evans, Finnerty & Seligman (and their lawyers, of course;-)? Could a bankruptcy court, or whatever equivalent comes into play when a city wants to disincorporate, choose to subject them to restructuring/receivership instead, with a court appointed receiver?

Would the county feel political pressure to bail the city out and/or absorb it so it didn't have to suffer the fate of being run by dreaded "outsiders"?

Is there any plausible or even theoretically possible chain of events whereby the defendants, as the primary stiffed creditors, get to pick the receiver?

I'd welcome input from some of the commenters here who seem to be knowledgeable about how city governments work. I can't imagine there is a lot of precedent for what happens when a city is dued out of existence....

mac said...


Usually - from what I've read - when a city disincorporates, it's voted on by the citizens. It appears to be different from state-to-state. It is usually a response to local depopulation, but not always (read the last couple of paragraphs.)

In North Carolina, disincorporation is also called "abolition." In an article from a book on state government, it states that "only the General Assembly may unincorporate, or abolish, a legally established city." it further states:

"In practice the General Assembly takes such an action only on the request of the affected community, normally because the city has ceased to operate." (yup: sounds like Durrhh)

Abolition would be a novel practice, under the circumstances that Durrhh (potentially) faces, but it might be the only way to avoid years and years of litigation between the City, the falsely accused, the insurer and the State of North Carolina.

As you suggested, it's possible (IMOO) that it could be folded into a county.

There are different responsibilities inherent in city and county governments (at least in my state!) and the small city I live in had certain elements throwing the idea around, mostly because of unfunded and underfunded mandates by State and Feveral law. This clearly indicates that liablility for certain government functions are ameliorated or terminated, and that might include aid to the indigent etc.

In Durrhh's case, it would likely send the unemployable fleeing to cities where checks are written on solvent accounts. You may decide for yourself if that is desirable or not, and I will not speak my mind upon those issues, since I have opinions on both sides.

mac said...

I know I haven't answered most of your questions, but I've offered what I do know. Not very helpful. Sorry.

It would be unimaginable for a city the size of Durrhh to do this, but it's also unimaginable that there is such a deep layer of corruption - (they've been sued, according to KC in another thread, several times.)

Washington DC was a topic of conversation in a much earlier thread, along these same lines of receivership (or "oversight.") That's a situation where the federal government handled many/most of the functions of the city. In NC, it would likely be an issue for the legislature to decide, and they would probably (IMO) appoint a government.

Unfortunately, we saw what happened the last time a DA was appointed in Durrhh.

mac said...

BTW, the quotes I used were from David Lawrence: "City and Municipal Government in North Carolina."

Anonymous said...

Thanks a bunch.

And you're right, the state will probably take on the role of enabler and bail them out.