"... these three individuals [David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann,] are innocent of these charges."
North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, Apr. 11, 2007
Since Wednesday, the second day of Nifong’s ethics trial, I’ve been traveling in the Northeastern part of the country. I’m now in upstate New York at a conference attended by people from all over America and parts of Europe.
Everywhere I’ve gone, the interest in Nifong’s trial has been great.
When people hear I’m from North Carolina, many bring up the trial. They wonder how Nifong could’ve “gotten away with it for so long” and why “someone didn’t stop him before now.”
I usually don’t say much because I want to draw people out and learn more of what they’re thinking.
But when I do share my thoughts, here is some what I say to people:
A major reason why Nifong got away with it for so long has to do with Duke University.
When Nifong said those things last March and April about the players being “hooligans,” ridiculed them for getting attorneys, and flat out said they must be guilty not a single Duke administrator, trustee or senior faculty member even cautioned Nifong about his remarks.
In fact, Duke’s president kept issuing statements saying he wanted everyone to cooperate with the police.
Those statements from Duke’s president – his name is Richard Brodhead but he introduces himself as “Dick” - made Reade Seligmann and the other players look like they weren’t cooperating with police.
Brodhead issued his statements at a time when the Durham Police and our major newspaper, the Raleigh News & Observer, were telling people the players weren’t cooperating.
Sure, that was all false. Brodhead and any trustee who cared to know knew that.
But ordinary citizens in Durham didn’t know that.
Most of them thought that if the President and Trustees of Duke University had no objections to what Mike Nifong was saying and doing, than what could be wrong with any of it.
Duke's Dick Brodhead went nine months before he could ever bring himself to say a single word critical of Nifong. Meanwhile, Nifong sailed on attempting to frame the players and winning two elections in the process.
And that make’s a certain kind of sense, doesn’t it?
Wouldn’t we expect a university president and its trustees to speak up if their students were being ridiculed for exercising their constitutional rights; and were being falsely accused of throwing up a "wall of silence” when they were actually providing police with more answers about their conduct than Dick Brodhead and Duke’s trustees have ever provided about theirs?
I’ve talked enough. What do you think?