Saturday, September 08, 2007

Nifong To Prison? I Think So

Press reports say when he left jail today after serving a one day sentence for criminal contempt involving lying in court, disgraced and disbarred former Durham DA Mike Nifong “ thanked the jail staff for 'the professionalism of which I was treated and the respect which I was shown.’” The entire story is here.

I think it's very likely Nifong will get another chance to thank professionals who keep him incarcerated.

Why do I say that?

I’ll start my answer by reposting Cheshire's News; JinC Comments which was posted May 19. The post ends at the star line, after which I’ll offer some commentary concerning events since May 19 that make it even more likely than it was on May 19 that Nifong will go to prison.

Now let's start with Cheshire's News; JinC Comments

News from Duke’s student newspaper, The Chronicle:

A six-page internal report on the Durham Police Department's conduct during the lacrosse case has left some calling for an external investigation. …

"I would not be surprised if [an independent investigation] would uncover conduct that was criminal in nature as it relates to obstruction of justice and creation of evidence," Joe Cheshire, an attorney for Evans, wrote in an e-mail. …
Commentary from JinC:

Some people reading Cheshire’s statement may be saying: “What else is new? I’ve been saying that for months.”

Yes, haven’t we all. But only one of us could possibly be Joe Cheshire, one of North Carolina’s most experienced and best criminal defense and appellate attorneys, and certainly its best known.

When in reference to the Durham Police investigation, Cheshire says publicly and in a written document that he “would not be surprised if [an independent investigation] would uncover conduct that was criminal in nature as it relates to obstruction of justice and creation of evidence,” what he’s really saying it he feels very sure it will.

At this point, with his client David Evans out of legal jeopardy and actually declared innocent along with Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann, Cheshire can only hurt his reputation if he makes such serious charges and they’re not sustained.

Cheshire will also damage his working relationships with honest law enforcement personnel (there are many) if they view him as irresponsibly throwing charges at crime investigators and police.

Cheshire knows all of that, and he doesn’t want to hurt his reputation and working relationships he’s worked very hard to build. He's also a fair person who doesn't cheap-shot.

So we can be very confident Cheshire feels sure criminal acts were committed by members of the Nifong/DPD “team;” and that it can and will be proven to the public beyond a reasonable doubt that the Nifong/DPD “team” committed those crimes.

That, to me, makes The Chronicle’s Cheshire news item hugely important.

What do you think?

The Chronicle story is here.

***************************************************************************
Now let's look at some of what's happened since May 19.

Nifong admitted during a July 26 apology in court to the players and their families that there never was any evidence of the players' guilt.

Yes, he subsequently went back on that admission during his contempt trial Aug. 30 & 31, but his doing that only adds to his reputation as a chronic liar. Being known as a chronic liar isn't a crime, but it makes it tougher for you to defend yourself when you're accused of crimes and try to convince a jury: "I didn't do any of that stuff. Honest, I didn't."

Also, the brief defense attorneys prepared for Nifong's contempt trial, depositions and contempt trial testimony, all strengthen the case that Nifong's conduct during the "investigation" was criminal.

And, of course, there was Judge Smith's finding at the conclusion of the trial as reported by the AP:
Reading his decision from the bench minutes after the end of two days of testimony, Judge Smith said Mr. Nifong "willfully made false statements" in September when he insisted he had given the defense all results from a critical DNA test.
If a prosecutor "willfully" makes "false statements" to a court regarding a case in which he was the de facto lead investigator as well as the prosecutor, it's hard to see how he could not have committed crimes in addition to criminal contempt of court.

And how many times during his live blogging of the trial did KC Johnson call attention to statements other witnesses made that contradicted statements Nifong made?

Now add in the recent request then interim Durham DA Jim Hardin made that the NC Attorney General launch a criminal investigation of the Nifong-led "Duke lacrosse investigation."

What does it tell us that Hardin, the man who in 2005 recommended Nifong succeed him as DA, now recommends a criminal investigation of the Duke lacrosse case after he's had many weeks to study the case file?

It's not 100% certain that Nifong will be convicted of crimes, sentenced, and wind up spending time behind bars.

But it's all very likely to happen. Nifong had to do an awful lot criminal to indict three innocent young men on multiple felonies when he had no real evidence (recall Cheshire's term "creation of evidence").

Nifong then had to do an awful lot criminal to cover-up what he did to get the fraudulent indictments.

I'm betting and hoping Nifong goes to prison for what he did. And I wouldn't rule out that he'll be convicted of both state and federal crimes.

What do you folks think?

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nifong, Gottlieb, Himan, Addison, the assistant DA's, higher-ups in the police department — all need to undergo a real criminal investigation. At this point, who trusts Easley, Cooper and North Carolina to conduct such an investigation? Where is the U.S. attorney for this part of North Carolina?

Anonymous said...

John:

The sheer number of lawsuits that will be filed will force the feds to make a move. They will put the squeeze on one or two participants and the whole house of cards will collapse.

Ironically, the alleged victim in this case, CGM, may turn out to be Duirham's worst nightmare.

Ken
Dallas

Anonymous said...

Could Congressman Jones help get a federal probe started?

Anonymous said...

JinC

for almost 19 months DUKE admin, DPD, "courthouse crowd", G88, NAACP, NYTimes and MSM, etc
have lied about this case.

Justice is blind, justice is slow -when will justice be served ?.... when will feds, state understand and do something about this?

Anonymous said...

I think that NC will get what the citizens ask for... insist on... and persist in asking for... until the officials can no longer run, hide or ignore the irritation that they are suffering from people like John and others who care that justice be done.

Anonymous said...

Apparently, Gov. Easley doesn't care about how much he has embarrassed North Carolina — first with his terrible appointment of Nifong, then with silence while Nifong was framing the lacrosse players, and now with his naming of Saacks, who signed the infamous NTO.

Anonymous said...

John: Just noted the posters at LS are talking about the "buzz" around Durham that something's happening. If true, it could be a USDOJ task force, finally. If any one of the principals involved in the frame-up can be squeezed or if one of them decides to turn state's evidence, we could be in for very wild ride.

Anonymous said...

Where are seeing this "buzz" at LS?
I can't find anything....

Anonymous said...

Go to LS Discussion Boards and click on Nifong/Mangum Hoax, then look for "Something's afoot" posted by Tony Soprano.

Anonymous said...

Thanks! I didn't look in
"Tony!"

bill anderson said...

John,

Good post. I would say that there is a good chance there will be criminal investigations. First, this was done in the wide open spaces. Nifong and the police made no real effort to cover up what they were doing. They figured they were invulnerable, and a Durham jury would do the rest.

Second, the pressure on the authorities to act will be great precisely because everyone else can see these crimes, so it is hard for the authorities to whitewash something when it is obvious what has happened.

Third, I believe there are some people in authority who are genuinely angered by what they have seen.

Fourth, Nifong's continued arrogance has not helped his cause one bit. By telling the state bar that the hearing was a "travesty," he condemns himself. He basically has given the system itself the middle finger, and I can assure you he will pay for that attitude.

Ralph Phelan said...

If even a half-serious attempt is made to prosecute Nifong he will wind up behind bars.

I remain unsure as to whether the political will to so exists at either the state or federal level.

kbp said...

Thanks John!

A busy long weekend has me trying to catch up now!

I fear the actions by the AG's office - which I anticipate will produce very limited results - will be used by the fed's as an excuse to avoid what could be a political mess coming close to election time.

The Special Prosecutors had to work hard to avoid seeing misconduct and crimes committed by those wrongfully used the authority of law as a tool in this case. Cooper's record there is not shining well.

I anticipate they (the AG's office) are trying to figure out what is the LEAST they can do in this investigation and still keep the fed's out of North Carolina.

Anonymous said...

The Feds are not coming to NC to investigate this case. For most of Durham, police, Duke and even the Whichard Committee - this case is dead. What sheer number of lawsuits?