Duke Prosecutor Will Do One Day Behind Bars

Nifong sentenced to 24 hours for lying about evidence
By Colleen Barry,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 1, 2007 8:24 AM CDT
Former Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong testifies during his criminal contempt hearing in Durham, N.C., Friday, Aug. 31, 2007. The former prosecutor who led the now-discredited Duke lacrosse...   (Associated Press)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Mike Nifong, the disgraced district attorney in the Duke rape case, will spend a night in jail for contempt of court, a Durham, NC, judge ruled yesterday. The judge concluded that Nifong, who has already been disbarred, "willfully" withheld DNA evidence that exonerated three lacrosse players accused of raping a stripper after a team party.

Nifong had argued at the two-day hearing that he hadn't lied, but had been unaware of the evidence when he told the defendants' attorneys DNA testing had not been possible: "At the time I made the statements, I believed them to be true."  The judge explicitly rejected that argument. "We saw the system break down," said the father of one of the players, "and today we saw the system right itself."