“The hunter is now the hunted,” says the Raleigh News & Observer about Durham, N.C., District Attorney Mike Nifong. Yesterday, he was handed new, more serious ethics charges that accuse him of withholding favorable DNA evidence from defendants in the Duke lacrosse case and repeatedly lying about it to judges and the state bar. The complaint heaped a new layer of legal troubles on Nifong, who has been charged by the bar with making inflammatory public statements to reporters and misrepresenting the facts in the case. If prosecutors prevail, Nifong could face punishment ranging from a reprimand to losing his law license.
“Lying is really at the top of the list in terms of things lawyers just can’t do. The whole thing is premised on integrity,” said Joseph Kennedy, a University of North Carolina law professor. “And then lying about something as important as evidence suggesting innocence in a serious case, it just doesn’t get any worse than that.” Nifong did not comment at a hearing on the case yesterday. Nifong has been intensely criticized for how he handled the lacrosse case, which began in March when an escort service dancer said she was sexually assaulted by three lacrosse players.