Saturday, June 16, 2007
Duke Prosecutor Resigns
North Carolina District Attorney Mike Nifong resigned and admitted that he got “carried away” during the prosecution of three Duke lacrosse players for allegedly raping a stripper at a team party in March 2006.
Using aspects of the mortification strategy described by Benoit, Nifong said he regretted making improper statements about the players.
"Whatever mistakes I made in this case were my mistakes. But they're not all the ones that the bar says I made, but they are my mistakes," Nifong said.
In addition to mortification, Nifong used a strategy that Goffman describes as a variation of denial—that is, admitting that the act occurred, but that he isn’t ultimately responsible for the negative outcome because it wasn’t foreseeable or intentional.
In response to claims that he withheld DNA test results from the defense, Nifong said that he didn't know additional DNA information was missing at first. However, months later, he realized the mistake.
"My first reaction was a variation of 'Oh crap. I didn't give them this?"' Nifong said.
The missing DNA results indicated that no evidence was found from any lacrosse player. Despite knowing these results, Nifong pressed ahead and won indictments against Seligmann, Evans and Finnerty.
State prosecutors later concluded that the three players were not only innocent, but were also victims of Nifong’s "tragic rush to accuse."