RALEIGH, N.C. – The prosecutor who indicted three former Duke University lacrosse players for rape will urge the state bar association to drop the ethics charges against him on Friday.
Durham, N.C., District Attorney Mike Nifong will seek the dismissal of the ethics charges filed against him for his handling of the Duke case. In that case, an exotic dancer hired to perform at an off-campus lacrosse party on March 13, 2006, claimed she was repeatedly raped in a house bathroom by three members of the team.
But DNA failed to conclusively prove any member of the team raped the accuser, and it was later revealed that Nifong didn't turn over potentially exculpatory evidence to the defense regarding other DNA results.
Nifong is also accused of lying to the court and to bar investigators and making misleading and inflammatory comments about the players. He called the defendants "hooligans," publicly suggested that the "rape" — which the accuser has since said may not have happened — was racially motivated, and he possibly withheld evidence.
"Unfortunately, one of the things that created the different climate were Nifong's own comments in the beginning," said Norm Early, a former district attorney in Denver who now works with the National District Attorneys Association. "They were comments that didn't need to be made and they added to the atmosphere."
Nifong turned the case over to state prosecutors in January after the bar charged him with violating several rules of professional conduct.
If the charges are not dismissed, Nifong goes on trial beginning June 12. He could eventually face disbarment.
Nifong was meeting with his attorney in Winston-Salem on Wednesday — the same day North Carolina Roy Cooper was to announce whether charges against the players would be dropped.
"Since he recused himself in January and turned the case over to the attorney general's office, he has had no involvement in the investigation," said David Freedman, Nifong's lawyer. "At the time he turned the case over — and now — he has had complete confidence in the attorney general's office to make the appropriate decision."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.