With legal bills estimated at more than $3 million, families of the accused in the Duke lacrosse case may sue disbarred Durham Districty Attorney Mike Nifong, reports the Raleigh News & Observer. A three-member panel of the State Bar’s disciplinary committee disbarred Nifong on Saturday after finding that he violated ethics rules in his prosecution of three innocent men who had been accused of sexually assaulting an escort service dancer at a party. On Friday, Nifong announced from the witness chair that he intended to resign as district attorney — a job he has tenaciously held onto despite repeated and resounding calls for him to step down — and give up his law license.
The bar panel found that Nifong had intentionally made inflammatory and prejudicial statements about the case to news reporters. It found that he intentionally tried to keep hidden DNA test results that were favorable to the accused. The defense plans to ask a judge to hold Nifong financially responsible for the 60 to 100 hours of legal work it took a lawyer to ferret out the hidden test results in 1,844 pages of DNA documents. Of particular interest to the accused’s families was a Nifong statement during his testimony that he still thinks something wrong happened at that party. “His continued efforts to smear the members of the Duke lacrosse team, which were recognized by the panel, did not endear him to the players’ families or anyone he hurt in this,” said Joseph B. Cheshire V, who represents a former player.