Ni­fong pleads not guilty to Duke lacrosse charges

The Covington News - - SPORTS -

DURHAM, N.C.— Dis­graced for­mer pros­e­cu­tor Mike Ni­fong pleaded not guilty Thurs­day to crim­i­nal con­tempt charges stem­ming from his fail­ure to turn over com­plete DNA test­ing re­sults dur­ing the now-dis­cred­ited Duke lacrosse rape case.

If found in con­tempt, Ni­fong could face up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $500.

As Durham County dis­trict at­tor­ney, Ni­fong led the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into a wo­man’s al­le­ga­tions that she was raped at a 2006 lacrosse team party where she was hired as a strip­per. He won in­dict­ments against three lacrosse play­ers, but even­tu­ally re­cused him­self from the case, and state prose­cu­tors dropped all re­main­ing charges.

De­fense at­tor­neys for the three falsely ac­cused young men asked a judge to pun­ish Ni­fong for ini­tially telling the court he had turned over all DNA test re­sults when he knew, and failed to dis­close, that ge­netic ma­te­rial from mul­ti­ple men was found on the ac­cuser— but none from any lacrosse player.

Ni­fong’s at­tor­ney, Jim Glover, said Ni­fong never in­ten­tion­ally tried to mis­lead the court. He be­lieved he was be­ing truth­ful when he told the judge he had given the de­fense all the DNA test­ing re­sults, though he didn’t al­ways know the specifics in ev­ery re­port, Glover said.

Ni­fong was dis­barred in June for more than two dozen vi­o­la­tions of the state’s rules of pro­fes­sional con­duct dur­ing his pros­e­cu­tion of the lacrosse case.

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