Tonight at newsobserver.com:
The U.S. Department of Justice will not investigate whether former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong engaged in criminal misconduct in his handling of the Duke lacrosse case, a DOJ spokesman said today.The entire newsobserver.com story is here.
"We believe the State of North Carolina has the primary interests in this matter: protecting the integrity of its judicial proceedings, holding Mr. Nifong accountable for his actions as an officer of its courts, and vindicating the principles of justice under state law," Peter Carr, a DOJ spokesman, said in a prepared statement.
"North Carolina has begun that process," he said. "Well-established principles of federalism and comity discourage federal intervention when the state has the primary interest and the state is taking remedial action. We believe the allegations relating to the North Carolina state proceedings should be addressed and resolved by the State of North Carolina." . . .
The announcement that no federal investigation will ensue does not mean Nifong won't face criminal charges.
As Carr pointed out in his statement: "Recently, the former interim Durham District Attorney Jim Hardin requested that the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation determine whether any person involved in the Duke Lacrosse prosecution engaged in criminal misconduct."
N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper this spring declared Dave Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann innocent of the charges made by escort service dancer Crystal Mangum. . . .
ABC 11 Eyewitness News’ report includes:
[…] Sources told ABC11 Eyewitness News that federal investigators had collected testimony and other court documents from Mike Nifong's ethics trial and his contempt hearing. There was also the possibility a potential federal probe would have targeted current and former members of Durham's Police Department and the Durham County District Attorney's Office.Questions:
Now it's up to the State Attorney General's Office whether to proceed with an investigation alone or not at all.
Spokeswoman Noelle Talley said without federal assistance, it would be difficult to launch an investigation into criminal wrongdoing in the Duke Lacrosse case. Unlike federal prosecutors, North Carolina cannot convene and investigative grand jury that would hand up indictments.
Talley said the State Attorney General's Office and the State Bureau of Investigation are discussing their options.
Will this DOJ decision be final as to any DOJ investigation into events related to the attempted frame-up and on-going cover-up of same?
I ask the question because since early in the case a number of attorneys I respect who have no direct involvement in the case have told me what would most likely bring the DOJ into the case, if it entered it at all, would be evidence suggesting violations of the victims’ civil rights.
From tonight’s news reports it sounds like the DOJ is responding to a request it become involved in matters involving state law.
At least that’s my lay person’s reading of DOJ Acting Deputy Attorney General Chris Morford’s letter to NC Senior Deputy Attorney General James J. Coman. (pdf form)
Is it possible, therefore, that evidence uncovered during discovery proceedings as part of the civil suits brought by the victims against Nifong, Durham City and others could result in DOJ finding a basis to investigate that presently it does not see?
I hope some of you out there with legal knowledge will respond.