Nifong faces hot water hearing

On April 14, 2007, Mike Nifong's lawyers will try to convince the state bar to drop some of the ethics charges against him. It's a fight that could save or end Nifong's career.

This is the motion Nifong's attorneys filed last month requesting some of his ethics charges be dropped. The state bar prosecutors fired back dismissing his explanation for withholding DNA evidence.

The heated debate will play out tomorrow during a hearing. It follows the collapse of the very case that put the determined DA's career in jeopardy and caused him to receive a public scolding from the Attorney General Roy Cooper.

"There were many points in the case where caution would have served justice better than bravado," Cooper said.

Nifong returned to work today, but declined our requests for an interview. His attorney, however, took to the airwaves in his defense.

"I would ask the same people who are accusing Mr. Nifong of rushing to judgment to not rush to judgment as well," said David Freedman, Nifong's attorney.

"I'm not going to allow Durham's few in the minds of the world to be a bunch of lacrosse players from Duke raping a black girl in Durham," Nifong said.

Nifong has acknowledged he made several inappropriate comments to the media early on. He's said he never intended to mislead the public, but tomorrow DNA evidence will take center stage. Evidence Nifong's lawyers said he handed over well before a trial date was set.

According to Defense Attorney Joseph Cheshire, "It will be interesting where he finally ends up for his excuse." An excuse Cheshire doubts will save the DA's job, which is an unblemished record.

Until now "his explanations for the DNA are kind of like the false accuser in this particular cases," Cheshire said.

There's a chance the state bar could make a decision whether to dismiss some of the ethics charges during tomorrow's hearing.


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