Monday, June 18, 2007

Panel Disbars Duke Lacrosse Prosecutor

In a hearing before a disciplinary committee of the North Carolina State Bar Trial on June 16, 2007, District Attorney Mike Nifong gave an eight minute, 47 second statement on his behalf prior to being disbarred for his prosecution of three Duke University lacrosse players falsely accused of rape. Was he truly repentant for engaging in what the committee considered to be dishonest and deceitful conduct, including lying to the court and withholding critical DNA test results?

Let's go to the video tape.

While the committee chair is asking Nifong if there is "Anything else you might want to say to the members of the panel?" Nifong shows disgust, sadness but also fear. Knowing that judgment on losing his license is at hand, Nifong reveals fear for the one key time during his statement.

Nifong says, "Much of the criticism directed against me in this case has been justified." Despite the conciliatory remark, however, his face shows a more mixed response – including contempt, disgust, anger and sadness. The contempt is notable for suggesting that he doesn’t regard the criticism as justified.

In contrast, Nifong now adds that "The allegations, however," that I am a liar are not justified." Here he shows anger only, and is if anything more repentant than in the comment of a moment earlier.

As he asserts that he "never misrepresented," and was raised "to do right" anger gives way to increasing degrees of sadness. He’s obviously shattered by having ruined the image of his character.

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