Legal Ethics

Duke Lacrosse Prosecutor Disbarred

The Durham, N.C., prosecutor who came under intense fire for his rape prosecution of three former Duke University lacrosse players was disbarred today after a state ethics panel found he violated numerous professional conduct rules.

Mike Nifong tearfully testified during disciplinary proceedings on Friday that he intended to resign no matter the result of the hearing. And shortly before the panel’s decision Saturday, Nifong announced that he thought he should be disbarred, according to the Associated Press.

Nifong, 56, found himself in legal ethics hot water after he continued to prosecute the players despite evidence that appeared to exonerate them. A stripper at a team party had accused the men of rape. North Carolina’s attorney general declared the former players innocent in April.

The disciplinary committee deliberated for just more than an hour Saturday before finding Nifong had violated several ethics rules, most notably that he lied to court and bar investigators and withheld critical DNA evidence from defense attorneys representing the lacrosse players.

Nifong’s lawyer, David Freedman told the panel that Nifong accepts the findings, agrees the disbarment is the “appropriate” punishment and will not appeal.

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