Friday, August 15, 2008

Nifong: "$34.99 Is My Final Offer"

The N&O reports that Nifong attorney Jim Craven filed a brief today asserting that the three lacrosse players unethically prosecuted by the disgraced ex-D.A. "will never collect so much as $35 from Mike Nifong." Apparently, then, $34.99 is still on the table.

Attorney Jim Craven also implied that Nifong was being victimized by the system and the lacrosse players, who knew of his inability to pay more than $34.99, "yet still they come." His brief also cited a heretofore unrevealed "Duke University alumnus" of unknown identity (the tooth fairy, perhaps?) who allegedly paid off all the players' legal bills.

Even if Nifong had more than $34.99 to spare, Craven implied, the case against his client would be without merit. Craven dismissed the civil suit filings (which detailed Nifong's decision to press ahead with the case despite having no credible evidence, his decision to instruct the DPD to run a third lineup violating the department's own procedures, his ethically improper and factually inaccurate public statements, his lying to the court--resulting in a criminal contempt conviction, and his decision to withhold exculpatory DNA evidence) as "hyperbolic pleading, unworthy of belief."

The filing did not disclose how much of Nifong's remaining $34.99 went to pay Craven's bills. Based on the quality of the argument, I suspect not too much.

[Update, 11.38pm: The full filing is now online. Craven describes Nifong as "unemployed, with
little else to do" than to "testify" in the various cases resulting from his misconduct. Remarkably, Craven also contends that the findings of disbarment and criminal contempt against Nifong do not rise to the level of "willful and malicious" conduct. Such a claim is difficult to take seriously.]


Anonymous said...

What a rotten jackass! And how fitting that his attorney is named "Craven!"

I hate to tell Mikey this, but he ain't in Kansas, anymore. Barry Scheck will wipe the floor with Nifong, and he won't have Victoria Peterson there to help him.

Marco2006 said...

Dear Nifong,

Yep! All 34.99 including your guitars and bathrobe! Those are the consequences for trying to frame three innocent young men for a crime which never happened. It wasn’t just them, it was the entire Duke Lacrosse Team you put through hell. You knew in March 2006 the charges were false, if you had done the honest thing all of those families wouldn’t have suffered.

You will cost Durham & Duke tens of millions before this is over so your personal cost is nothing. You have one option out of this mess. Go to the plaintiff attorneys and spill your guts. Tell them everything and everybody who had a part in this and your life will be better! You might even save yourself.


Debrah said...

Oh Mikey!

$34.99 ???

That's brutal.

We told you to start auditioning for gigs long ago. You still have your guitar, don't you?

Just put out a tin can.

Anonymous said...

This knucklehead still doesn't get it. To borrow a phrase, "it's not about the money anymore." They are going to get his sorry skin in court and force him to testify to what he did and who else was involved, and how.

One Spook said...

After reading the link to the N&O article, it occurred to me that a more craven defense might advance the argument that the N&O's coverage of the lacrosse player's lawsuit against Nifong has been almost "laughably tilted" in the plaintiffs' (players) favor.

Perhaps Nifong can enlist the aid of Victoria Peterson or a few Group of 88 "scholars" to develop seven or eight "Talking Points Memos" to convincingly detail just such an argument ...

One Spook
(removing tongue from cheek and promising to all that I will not revisit this subject)

Anonymous said...

Is Craven a Communist?

Anonymous said...

Jim Craven sounds like a man who thinks he won't get paid. Or who knows will will spend many hours sitting depostions trying prevent Mike Nifong from telling what he knows. My guess is if Mike talks the Jim will lose business.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Craven is just doing his job. If anybody has a better defense for Nifong than "he's judgment-proof" I haven't heard it.

Reading Baldo's comment, I'm reminded it unlikely that the lacrosse team is Nifong's only victim. He was in a position of power for a long time. He apparently had reason to believe he would get away with his dishonesty, as did his DPD cronies.

Every time I'm tempted to feel sorry for Nifong, I wonder how many less-affluent victims he put through hell.

It is the less-affluent citizens of Durham that have gained the most from this whole affair.


Anonymous said...

Since Nifong has so many financial problems (despite collecting his state pension) is Craven working pro bono? Or does this filing mean that Nifong will have no more than $35 after attorneys' fees?

Michael said...

Nifong should hold a chicken-dinner fundraiser.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm... The filing says "The 12
causes of action alleged against Mike Nifong (not all are) are as follows". It then goes on to list 15, not 12, causes of action...

Anonymous said...

Granted, there won't be much left to collect from this crook after winning the civil suit. But just like O.J. Simpson, he will be dogged to the end of his days.

Ordinarily he would receive the standard payoff from one of his elite admirers in the form of a fat book deal. That becomes very unlikely if the proceeds end up going straight to the plaintiffs.

I imagine that is a strong motivation for the families to see this through.

Anonymous said...

Now that he's reassessed his potential debt to them at 34.99, someone should rerun the numbers on his bankruptcy filing -- he surely no longer has enough debt to qualify under any interpretation. :)

I find especially amusing the way he deals with the question of whether the harm was willful and malicious by saying "Those orders are damning in their language,
but they both stop just short of the willful and malicious standard of 11 U.S.C.
523 (a)(6)." My goodness, if even Nifong's number two supporter (himself, just half of a step behind VP) thinks the earlier findings against him stop "just short" of willful and malicious, what might a less biased reviewer conclude?

Anonymous said...

What Nifong and his attorney fail to reailize is that the case is not about money - it is to reveal in all the sordid details for all to see just how and why Nifong was able to subvert the legal process for his own ends and to force (by way of the revelations) real changes in the DPD to make sure that no one, no matter their color, class, or creed, can fall victim to a subverting of the system as did the three men in the lax hoax.
I too have questions how someone can declare bankruptcy and still have so much in assets. What is Nifong doing for a living? Is he still living in his home? Who is paying his legal bills? Or has there been some fancy financial maneuvering involving his wife and his legal buddies in the NC court system to protect him in fear that if he is "left to dangle" that his lips might become unsealed and remark on the extent to which friendship and chumminess with certain judges allowed him to get through measures on the lax hoax that any other judge would have thrown out of court?

Anonymous said...

s Craven a Communist?

8/15/08 6:29 PM

No, he just is engaging in lawyerly practices that are based on his last name.

One thing is quite telling to me. These people are shocked, SHOCKED that someone would be engaging in principled behavior, especially since we saw so little of that in Durham and at Duke. These players and their families know that they cannot squeeze millions out of Nifong, but the lawsuit is one being made out of principle.

We cannot forget what the government of Durham and the administration and much of the faculty at Duke did to these families, and not just the three players who were indicted. They are serious when they say that they want to see safeguards in place that will keep Durham officials from engaging in this behavior again.

Throughout the ordeal and in the time since, there has not been one smidgen of admission from the people at Duke and Durham that they did anything wrong. These are people who fully believe that it is just fine for police officers to lie to grand juries, for nurses to fabricate false evidence, for prosecutors knowingly to seek and obtain false indictments, and to attempt to throw innocent people into prison.

North Carolina has a history of doing these things, and it is time that decent people stood up to those in power and said: "Enough!" That is what these families are doing.

And let us not forget that Nifong was trying to make an extra $15 grand a year with a larger pension, and trying to pay off campaign debt. (And we are "indebted" to K.C. for finding out information that, apparently, mainstream journalists in North Carolina could not seem to discover.)

So, who is the real money-grubber here? It is Michael Byron Nifong. Thus, the money grubber needs to have as much of his money taken away as possible. No one in the world deserves this treatment more than this guy.

Debrah said...

More Nifong

Anonymous said...

"What is Nifong doing for a living? Is he still living in his home? Who is paying his legal bills? Or has there been some fancy financial maneuvering involving his wife and his legal buddies in the NC"

Nifong has fat pension (one of the key reasons for the whole mess) and her wifey has probably money. Apparently, the wifey owns the house and other assets?

As for who pays his legal bills: Is it possible that his malpractice insurance or Durham picks up the tab?

Anyway, he has a good pension and there are plenty of rich people ready to sponsor nifongs of the world. For example, ambulance chasing trial lawyer Fred Baron bankrolled other NC activists who got caught in the John Edwards scandal and cover-up.

Anonymous said...

I was curious about how the sum of $35.00 was arrived at. The last page of the filing footnotes William Shakespeares play "The Merchant of Venice".

Can any of the scholarly historians here confirm if the three thousand ducats owed to Shylock would = $35.00?

Or could the issue of the pound of flesh, or begging of mercy by Antonio be what Craven is alluding to?

I think a wonderful opportunity for this blogs further ridicule may be that Craven would footnote a tragic comedy.

Anonymous said...

The comment that Nifong should be prevented from profiting by selling his life story in a book deal seems to me to go to the only ethical issue involved in this side legal issue of whether district court or bankruptcy court is where the law requires claims against Nifong to be heard. Nifong should be left with as little as the very generous bankruptcy laws allow.

The 6:36 commenter who said that the real issue is "to force (by way of the revelations) real changes in the DPD to make sure that no one, no matter their color, class, or creed, can fall victim to a subverting of the system as did the three men in the lax hoax" is of course absolutely right about the big picture, but Nifong is now irrelevant to any prospective remedy that will benefit future victims of Durham's injustice system. Craven's brief makes the obvious but incontentestable point that the party controlling the DPD is Durham, not Nifong.

The brief is about the proper forum for hearing monetary claims against Nifong, and nothing else. It is mainly about technical provisions of the bankruptcy code and seems to a non-lawyer to revolve around what constitutes a "personal injury" under that code. I have no idea why it is craven for a lawyer to base a legal argument on a statutory definition. Moreover, as the brief points out, the resolution of what is the proper forum to adjudicate claims against Nifong personally in no way limits the ability to depose or examine Nifong in the case against Durham.

Although I agree that the brief is not a model of clarity, the claim of "hyperbolic pleading" seems intended to cover only allegations that the Duke defendents suffered "bodily harm." (I have not reviewed the original complaint to see whether in fact such allegations were made.) I wonder whether KC had an opportunity to read the brief before posting or whether he had to rely on the N&O's pathetic summary.

As for how the lawyer is going to get paid, my invariable (and rather extensive) experience of bankrupts and their lawyers is that the lawyers get as much money paid in advance as possible. Indeed, one of the best ways to predict an imminent bankruptcy is to examine the payees of the checks issued by the potential bankrupt.


Debrah said...

If anyone remembers this from a week after the Hoax began.

A small example of the trouble Nifong was just beginning to cause.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to say that the only way Nifong will learn anything about what the damage he has done is for the "SAME THING TO HAPPEN TO HIS SON".

His son has not spoken out publicly either way. He must not care.

The whole Nifong family must be cold blooded.

Debrah said...

Perhaps Cy Gurney should have acquainted herself with the XX Factor long ago before nuptials with Mikey.

Since she's just as sleazy as he, this bit of information might have saved her from marrying someone so similar.

Anonymous said...

Now . . . lookey here . . . if'en we can get 'em into court and try 'em . . . well, we can pretend that them-uns got a fair trial, and et don't matter that we don't have a damn thing to even charge 'em with . . . ain't dems soccer player or whatever faerine lookin' and that faerine lookin' game is . . . whatever . . . nobody knows what it is . . . must be from Russia . . . and looka here everybody knows they's guilty . . . they's white and male and deys atheletes and well, they's even Pope lovers and Yankees and dey play a forein' game . . . it must have been invented by . . . what? . . . Russian communists? I sure wish dey would leave Mikey and Dukey and Durham alone . . . this is a great place to live . . . when I was attorney whatever, we cold do any damnned thing we wanted . . . nothing was above the law . . . we'un was all above the law . . . miss the good old days. Jim Bob Beauhuunk

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to say that the only way Nifong will learn anything about what the damage he has done is for the "SAME THING TO HAPPEN TO HIS SON".

Sorry, but I don't wish what happened to those kids on anyone. I am not willing to visit the sins of Nifong the father upon Nifong the son.

Two wrongs don't make a right.

Anonymous said...

The extent to which popular opinion believes that our legal system provides for punishment in a civil dispute is quite interesting.

One can argue that the civil litigation and the sought remedies are of a first impression and extends beyond the single villian. And an adverse consequence may be awaiting that villian, Nifong. But even if so and if a decision was or could be adverse to Nifong, it would in no way implicate an adverse consequence for either Nifong's son or his wife or any other member of his family.

I respectfully disagree with "eyes wide open" @ 11:57.

river rat said...

Nifong's misery will extend to the end of his miserable life..

I recall one of the mothers of the LAX 3, who promised on television that Nifong would regret for the rest of his life, that he attempted to persecute her son....and that she would use her financial resources to make it happen.

That mother made good on her promise.
Bless her heart!

Anonymous said...

Michael Barone asked this question:

"Is he a cynical and vicious man, or only a stupid and dangerous one?"

This case is about that question. The tone of Nifong's brief is sarcastic and dismissive. Nifong may have a fool for a client and have written it himself.

Many of us would answer Barone's question that he is a cynical and vicious man. The absolute proof will come out in court for all the world to see.

Anonymous said...

river rat: To be honest, I'm not sure if there are any real consequences for Nifong. Yes, he lost his job, but he got to keep the pension (not necessarily the maximum, but very good pension). Most assets are owned by her wife so he faces little financial consequences.

His political base in intact and he could very well win a congressional elections.

Alcee Hastings had identical political base in Florida and he too faced a similar set of events. He was a corrupt judge who took bribes and sold wiretapping data to mafia. Eventually, US congress removed him from office. This didn't matter to his base, and he is now one of the most powerful sitting congressmen in the most ethical congress in history.

Debrah said...

Just got an invitation to this Fiona Terry lecture.

I get something from them each year about this time.

Often, they feature a national journalist and sometimes a Duke professor or two.

How I would love for one of the Gang of 88 to be included in this series again.

Kenan Distinguished Lecture in Ethics


I would show up with bells on.

Debrah said...


Everyone must read this

Wahneema has suddenly seen the light!

Exhibiting whip-lash signing habits.

Debrah said...

TO 11:54 PM and 1:10 AM--

I don't necessarily agree with your statements.

At least not 100%.

Speaking generally, other members of one's family have enormous power to influence and sway.

Concerning Nifong, perhaps some forget the facts. His wife, Cy Gurney, played a vital role in his political ambitions. Even directing the campaign manager on what to do. Speaking and planning and organizing while Mikey sat back and ate a sandwich during the meeting which was made public.

Of course, his son is a grown man, although not in a position to do anything but follow his family's lead and not responsible for Nifong's criminal behavior.

He did, however, have the option of voicing disdain and showing displeasure.

With the son, I partially disagree with the idea that he had no power.

When I was that age, I frequently told my father what to do.


Anonymous said...

Deborah -
Regarding Nifong's son. Perhaps he is dismayed and mortified by his father's actions. However, he may have been brought up to voice his disdain, unhappiness, displeasure, anger or whatever within the confines of the four walls of the family home - not to make a public spectacle.
Frankly I would have been very disappointed if his son would have lambasted his father publicly. It is one thing to be mortified by one's parents actions - it would be a whole other thing to excoriate one's parents publicly - just as a parent might lambast a child privately but it would be wrong to do so in a public forum.

However wrong Nifong's behavior was (and I will say that it was beyond godawful)his son, I am sure, must love him. One does not publicly excoriate someone that one loves (no matter their faults) in public.

Debrah said...

TO "cks"--

I wasn't suggesting that Nifong's son "publicly excoriate" him.

And I agree that family business shouldn't be discussed in public.

This is a case---and even the most dispassionate observer could agree---which was so clearly void of evidence that even members of Nifong's family had to know it was a sham.

There are ways of responding and not responding which send messages. Certainly without saying anything about a parent in public.

In my case, I have no sympathy for a grown guy such as Nifong's son. He's got his mother there to cover and create their own distorted reality inside the home.

At that age I played the role of grown-up to two divorcing and bickering parents....all the while negotiating high school and then university demands and trying to have a life of my own at the same time.

Very young adults can cope.

They can also voice opinions if they, themselves, are paying attention and care about not harming innocent people.

Nifong's son could have started by not showing up at the disbarment hearings, support of his father who thought nothing of doing great harm to young men not much older than himself.

Anonymous said...

Deborah - Perhaps Nifong's son could have made the decision not to show up - then again, perhaps his parents told him that he had to - I would hesitate to make a sweeping statement on what the dynamics are within a family. If I remember correctly, his son was in high school when this all occurred. Not all teenagers have a freedom of choice about what they can or cannot do when it comes to family responsibilities.
Who can really say for sure? Frankly, I would never put my children in such a situation in which they would be embarassed about my behavior - either personal or professional. And, even if I would, I would be mortified to have my children there to witness my public humiliation. But on the same token, as my children (all of whom are in college and grad school) have pointed out, no matter what I may have done, they would still be there because I was their mother - if for no other reason than that and that they love me. (Thus their presence would not have anything to do with voicing their approval of the nefarious actions in which I had been engaged).

For all anyone knows, Nifong may be a very loving and caring father and his son may be devoted to him. Yes, one could argue that if a person acted the way Nifong did in his official capacities as prosecutor that it could call into question the concern he has for others but the world is not a black and white world - it is one with many shades of grey. I would think that Nifong's son must have thought at some point in time, "I could easily heve been one of those who found myself in a similar situation as the lax boys - if he was raised with the ability to "walk around in someone else's moccasins".
You sound as if you are a very strong person - to have negotiated your teen years in a home where the adults were at each other's throats would have been awful. Some children grow up to be independent and feisty, others not so - even within the same household as I so well know. Therefore, I think that Nifong's son - who has had his world turned upside down (not through his own choosing) should not be given too hard a time.

Anonymous said...

I don't necessarily agree with your statements

While I realize that you put a qualifier on your statement, the fact of the matter is that what happened at Duke to the lacrosse player was horrific and never should happen to anyone.

Nifong's son is included in that "anyone."

Gayle Miller said...

Mikey, Mikey, Mikey - here's the deal. In the words of the theme song to "Baretta" (the old folks will "get it"), "don't do the crime if you can't do the time"! Nifong cannot deny that he committed egregious and indefensible errors in his persecution of the Duke lacrosse players. He was reprimanded by the State of North Carolina Attorney General because he VIOLATED THE LAW multiple times and completely undid any concept of "equal protection" when he went after three INNOCENT young men solely because of their wealth and privilege. He flat out lied to a court of law. That's a huge no-no and so-called MENSA member Nifong cannot possible be trying to claim he didn't know that.

What - do we live in Cloud Cuckooland now?

Anonymous said...

My friend and I were recently discussing about how we as a society are so hooked onto electronics. Reading this post makes me think back to that debate we had, and just how inseparable from electronics we have all become.

I don't mean this in a bad way, of course! Societal concerns aside... I just hope that as memory gets cheaper, the possibility of copying our brains onto a digital medium becomes a true reality. It's one of the things I really wish I could see in my lifetime.

(Posted on Nintendo DS running [url=]R4i[/url] DS Fling)