Mike Nifong, the North Carolina district attorney who brought trumped-up rape charges against three now-vindicated Duke lacrosse players, announced his resignation as D.A. while testifying today in his disbarment trial.
“It has become increasingly apparent, during the course of this week, in some ways that it might not have been before, that my presence as the district attorney in Durham is not furthering the cause of justice,” Nifong said, fighting back tears. “To the extent that my actions have caused pain to the Finnertys, Seligmanns and Evans, I apologize. To the extent that my actions have brought disrespect and disrepute to the Bar, to my community, I apologize.”
Joseph Cheshire, the defense attorney for one of the accused players, was not impressed: “It was an obvious cynical ploy to save his law license, and his apology to these people is far too little and comes far too late.”
Meanwhile, so far as I’m aware, there have been no apologies — not even too little, too late ones — from the “Group of 88” Duke professors who were co-architects, along with Nifong, of this tragic and deplorable rush to judgment, publicly and stridently presuming their own students guilty until proven innocent.
Anyway, Durham-in-Wonderland has more on the Nifong trial.
P.S. Duke, incidentally, was the 2007 NCAA runner-up, losing 12-11 to Johns Hopkins in the title game last month. And in a rare example of the NCAA doing the right thing, the entire team has been granted an extra year of eligibility to make up for the one they lost when the 2006 season was cancelled because of the false allegations.
UPDATE: Nifong found guilty; disbarment decision soon:
A North Carolina prosecutor broke several rules of professional conduct during his disastrous prosecution of three white Duke University lacrosse players falsely acussed of raping a black stripper, a disciplinary committee ruled Saturday.
The committee must now decide if the longtime prosecutor, who tearfully pledged Friday to resign his post as district attorney, should be stripped of his law license. That decision was expected later Saturday.