The Final Chapter In The Duke Lacrosse Case
Former Prosecutor Michael Nifong has filed for bankruptcy protection:
Jan. 15 (Bloomberg) — Michael Nifong, the former North Carolina district attorney who pursued rape charges against three Duke University lacrosse players, then resigned after he was accused of withholding evidence, has filed for bankruptcy.
Nifong, stripped of his law license by the North Carolina State Bar for his handling of the case, listed debt of $180.3 million and assets of $243,898 in documents filed today in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Durham, North Carolina. He resigned from his post as Durham County District Attorney in July.
Three Duke lacrosse players were indicted after a Durham woman alleged she was raped at a March 2006 team party. The charges were later dropped, and the young men sued Nifong for prosecutorial misconduct. Collin Finnerty, David F. Evans and Reade Seligmann are listed as unsecured creditors, each owed $30 million, in Nifong’s bankruptcy filing. Three other current and former players who sued Nifong are also listed as creditors.
“This looks like a smart move for Mr. Nifong,” said Charles Tatelbaum, a Florida lawyer who has represented doctors who filed for bankruptcy to shield themselves from lawsuits. “This stops all the cases against him so he doesn’t have to pay legal fees if he doesn’t have insurance.”
And, yes, that probably is the end of it. There are some exceptions to complete discharge under bankruptcy law, but they wouldn’t seem to apply in this situation.