Legal Ethics

Ethics Case Against Durham DA Begins


A North Carolina bar prosecutor said in opening arguments today that Durham District Attorney Michael Nifong intentionally concealed evidence in his prosecution of three Duke lacrosse players.

Katherine Jean said Nifong seized on the case and sought out the world’s attention, according to a report in the News & Observer.

He is accused of withholding DNA tests showing genetic material on a woman who said she had been raped did not match that of the defendants. Charges against the men have been dismissed.

“Nifong repeatedly and intentionally misled the media and therefore the public about a very serious case, caused racial unrest in Durham, intentionally concealed evidence to which he now admits the defendants were entitled to but which was extremely harmful to his theory of the case, and made false representations to two judges in an effort to keep the defendant from discovering it,” Jean said.

David Freedman, a lawyer for Nifong, countered that his client did not intentionally commit ethics violations. Nifong believed a rape had occurred and was standing firm on the case, he said. The report on DNA results was not meant to be the final word, and Nifong did not seek to hide information from the report, he said.

Nifong could be disbarred if he loses the case, the Washington Times reports.

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