Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Nifong’s Apology: “On rye?”

Most of you know there’ve been differing reactions to Mike Nifong’s apology during a July 26 court hearing concerning criminal contempt charges pending against him.

I posted my initial reactions here.

Now a few other comments:

Some folks were dissatisfied with what Nifong said. They feel he should have said more about what he did wrong. Others wonder why the attorneys for David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann accepted his apology and agreed to drop their request that he reimburse them for the time they’ve spent preparing for the criminal contempt hearing.

I can understand why Nifong isn’t more forthcoming now about what he did wrong. If there’s a criminal investigation into his conduct (as there should be), his knowledge of what he did wrong will be a useful “bargaining chip” should investigators believe they have grounds to recommend his prosecution.

Any sensible person in Nifong’s situation wants to be able at the right time to possibly trade information and cooperation for leniency.

Something else: he was not in court on July 26 as a prosecutor and officer of the court. He’s been removed from office and disbarred. He was there as a defendant and private citizen.

I hope there comes a day when we can reasonably expect from Nifong full disclosure along with an apology.

Nifong’s July 26 apology is, I think, one of the few things he’s done in connection with the Hoax case that’s in his own best short- and long-term interests.

Short-term it appears to have reduced the anger directed toward him by North Carolina’s public. It’s likely also done some of that with the people he’s most harmed – the players and their families.

And to some he appears less haughty and more sympathetic. That’s always good for defendants.

As to the defense attorneys accepting his apology and agreeing to waive their request for reimbursement, I think they were looking past July 26 and had a long-term goal in mind.

You all know that when you’re trying to negotiate a hostage release, you don’t begin by demanding the release. You try to start working back-and-forth with the hostage taker(s), first about something small and easily done. You want reasonableness and cooperation.

“We can send in food.”

“OK, hostage-taker, I’ve got you down for a tuna sandwich. Is that on rye?”

Excepting those who conspired with him, it’s in everyone’s interest – Nifong’s, the players’, their families’, the public’s, - for Nifong to be reasonable and cooperative.

It’s a safe bet one thing the attorneys were doing on July 26 was something like saying: “Is that on rye?”


Anonymous said...

John brings this down to my level!

At some time the State of North Carolina will have to confront the basic reality of this case. Nifong & the Durham PD indicted three innocent young men for a crime which never happened and for which they never had any evidence it did happen. That sounds like a Frame Job to me and that is a criminal conspiracy in my book!

Can I have a Reuben please?

With much respect,


Anonymous said...


I think you are right on target.

The case has started to evolve into North Carolina's version of the abestos litigation.

While Nifong's apology may be accepted in public, in private, scores are yet to be settled.

In preparation for the larger battle, the lawyers for the three lacrosse players and families are gathering information. I suspect there's no end to the number of knowledgable people with an axe to grind. Crimestoppers is about to learn a whole new meaning to the term "anonymous informant".

Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of people.


laRrY said...

Its so much easier to go after the DPD's crimminal activity by giving nifong some "sugar" to cooperate than it is to go after the top poop first.