Government Law

NC Won't Defend Nifong in Civil Suit Over Duke Rape Case

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The state of North Carolina has refused a request by disgraced former prosecutor Mike Nifong that it pay his legal fees or provide a defense in a civil case over the pursuit of baseless rape charges against three former Duke University lacrosse team members.

In a letter sent to Nifong yesterday, chief deputy Attorney General Grayson Kelley said that his disbarment due to numerous ethics violation during his prosecution of the the case disqualified him, under state law, from obtaining state assistance with his legal defense, reports the Associated Press.

Nifong had said the state should pay his defense costs, because the civil suit arose out of his work as a constitutional officer of the state, as discussed in an earlier post.

Legal commentators apparently have yet to weigh in on the issue. But editorials in the mainstream press expressed no sympathy for Nifong’s latest plight.

“Normally, the Attorney General’s Office would defend a judicial official against a lawsuit. That’s inconceivable in this case,” writes the Greensboro News-Record, noting that state Attorney General Roy Cooper called Nifong a “rogue prosecutor” when he dismissed charges against the three last spring and declared them to be innocent.

“A ‘rogue prosecutor’ is one who isn’t doing his job properly and deserves no state-funded representation,” the editorial concludes. “Nifong has cost too much already. Let him hire a lawyer himself.”

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