RALEIGH, N.C. – The North Carolina bar filed ethics charges Thursday against the prosecutor in the Duke lacrosse case, accusing him of breaking four rules of professional conduct when speaking to the reporters about the sensational case.
The punishment for ethics violations can range from admonishment to disbarment.
Among the rules District Attorney Mike Nifong was accused of violating was a prohibition against making comments "that have a substantial likelihood of heightening public condemnation of the accuser."
The charges will be heard by an independent body called the Disciplinary Hearing Commission, made up of both lawyers and non-lawyers.
In a statement, the bar said it opened a case against Nifong in March 30, a little more than two weeks after the party where a 28-year-old student at North Carolina Central University hired to perform as a stripper said she was raped.
Nifong did not immediately return a call for comment.
Nor did defense attorney Joseph Cheshire, who represents one of the three lacrosse players charged with sexual offense and kidnapping.
Last week, Nifong dropped the rape charges against the athletes after the stripper wavered in her story.