Thursday, August 30, 2007

Nifong’s contempt trial: a few comments

I posted earlier here on Mike Nifong’s contempt trial today.

Since then, KC Johnson has posted on the afternoon session. The Johnsville News has an omnibus post reporting and linking to many Hoax related matters including today’s trial. Liestoppers has also posted on the trial (scroll down).

I’m going to use KC Johnson’s “highlights” of the morning session to make a few comments. KC’s “highlights” are in italics; my comments are in plain.

At times, the goal of Nifong attorney Jim Glover appeared to be to put everyone in the courtroom to sleep. "Wandering" is a charitable description of his questioning style. It didn't help that Brad Bannon knew the basic facts of the case so much better than Glover did.

In the most emotionally charged moment of the morning, Brad Bannon eviscerated Glover’s claim that the multiple male DNA found by Meehan was “not significantly exculpatory.”

Bannon responded, “That’s absolutely false.” He then paused before adding, “And you know it.”

Bannon surely believed he “had” Glover and Judge Smith knew it; otherwise Bannon wouldn’t have said to Glover, first, “false,” and then followed that with “you know it.”

Glover is there to defend his client but he’s also an officer of the court. He’s not supposed to knowingly say things that are false. That’s one of the things that got his client in trouble.

Glover better be careful. Maybe he should spend less time with Nifong.

In any case, what a telling exchange.

A critical item from the Himan testimony: the officer offered much more clarity on the April 21 meeting between Nifong and Meehan than we previously have heard. Meehan told them, Himan remembered, that he had discovered DNA from four unidentified males.

This revelation would seem to have strongly damaged Glover’s other line of defense—that Nifong couldn’t have been expected to have remembered what Meehan told him, because he took no notes. Himan, it seems, had no trouble recalling this important fact.

What’s so important here is the “story gap” that continues to widen between Nifong and Himan.

Remember at Nifong’s disbarment trial Himan testifying that he questioned Nifong’s plan to indict Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann: “With what?”

Now Himan remembers very important facts from the April 21 meeting that Nifong “couldn’t have … remembered.”

Do you think it’s very likely that further down the legal road Himan will be a cooperative witness when Nifong faces much more serious criminal charges than the one he’s facing now? I do.

There were at least two occasions in which Glover almost seemed to imply that Nifong never should have moved ahead with the case after the SBI returned its DNA findings, noting that the SBI lab showed that there was no semen evidence “to support this story that she told.”

Glover could have added: “and no other credible evidence as my client admitted before you, Judge Smith, on July 26.”

But they were all in the courtroom today because Nifong didn’t start wraping the case up last April. He pushed resolutely ahead using all the powers and resources of the state in an attempt to frame three young men he knew were innocent.

Today Nifong was reaping some of what he sowed.

Finally, Glover portrayed Nifong in such a way to provide a further reminder that this man never should have been a prosecutor:

Nifong, said Glover, “simply didn’t pay any attention(!)” to what was in the DNA Security report, since he had “developed a habit of not paying much attention to the details and specifics of what was in these reports.” Glover concluded, “What he did in this case was what he did in other cases.”

This statement was nothing short of astonishing.

Ah, the old “incompetence defense.”

“I’m not guilty. I’m just a dummy. How was I to know I shouldn’t have done all that stuff.”

Think of the irony of it, folks. This time last year we here in Durham were being told we should elect Mike Nifong DA because he was a smart prosecutor with 27 years experience.

Now today we get “the incompetence defense”: the last refuge of those who know they’re guilty and cornered.

Of course, Nifong didn’t himself offer it; his attorney did. But you can see where things are heading down the road.

What a difference a year can make.


Anonymous said...

Anyone care to rate

"...absolutely false. And you know it."


"...who really cares about Nancy Grace?"

for courtroom wakeup calls?

-- no, not that Glenn

Anonymous said...

Surely it is proof of contempt to provide such idiotic answers at a contempt trial.

Brant Jones

kbp said...

Thanks John

Reading your posts, I can't tell if you had the chance to watch the show.

Mikey's attorney kept pushing the nails as if that soup tested was the only thing Mikey really wanted DSI to test.

A problem there is that the nails were not on the order that allowed the tests at DSI, nor was testing requested for them until much later when they sent that soup sample over to be tested.

Glover then pressed the topic a few times that there were negative results on the semen tests and he tried to downplay the results from what is indentified as "sperm fractions" (spelling?).

He wandered into the matter of results from skin cells could have came from any place Crystal had sat throughout the evening, and tried to infer that skin cells would not be a product of sexual acts.

I can't say for certain what the strategy is, but it's starting to resemble an effort to show that the testing at DSI had nothing to do with the first indictment, was only used to determine if they should charge Evans.

If that is accurate, it makes the unreported results look to be of little or no value in Mikey's head, as he only wanted to have the results from the nails to get Evans.

The excuse for him overlooking the missing information in the report is that all he gave attention to was the results on the nail soup so he could be certain that the 90% ID was worthy of an indictment?

Anonymous said...

Ron Stephens really helped out Nifong today! When is HE up for re-election?

bill anderson said...


While people understandably are not happy with the one-day sentence Nifong received, nonetheless I believe it is not the end of his troubles. My sense is that Nifong and others will be facing real criminal charges in the future, and the end result will be more than just a day in jail.

Keep up the good work. If the N&O is demanding that an insurance company take a hit so Durham "can get to the bottom of this mess," then perhaps the N&O should be reminded that some of us would like to get to the bottom of the "Dancer Recalls Details" mess, too.

Anonymous said...

Once again, Bill Anderson is right on target. Thanks to John, the Raleigh newspaper won't be allowed to forget its role in the frame.

JWM said...

To No, not the Glenn,

Wake up, indeed. And if Wendy Murphy had been there?

To Brant Jones,

You got truth and wit in one sentence. Well done.

To kbp,

I didn’t watch. Thanks for adding to what I said.

I’ve read you here, at EB and at the forums. You’ve been on top of things and are an outstanding citizen journalist.

Please keep commenting.

To Anon @ 6:48,

I’ll very likely post concerning Stephens in the next few days.

As for judges up for re-election, when is Morey up?

To Bill,

You say: “My sense is that Nifong and others will be facing real criminal charges in the future, and the end result will be more than just a day in jail.”

You’ve been right about so many things; I think you’ll be right on this one, too.

As for “the N&O should be reminded that some of us would like to get to the bottom of the "Dancer Recalls Details" mess, too.,” right on.

It’s clear the N&O worked with Nifong to frame the players. That included not only publishing and failing to correct things it knew were fraudulent but sustaining the attempted frame-up of the players by withholding critically important news that was exculpatory for the players.

Anon @ 9:45 PM,

I know Bill joins me in thanking you for those nice words.

I hope on Judgment Day you’ll whisper some of those words in the Judge’s ear. I don’t know about Bill but I’ll be needing all the help I can get.

Thank you all for the fine thread.


Anonymous said...

Look forward to your posts on Stephens. His release of the McFadyen email is just not defensible.