Mike Nifong: Where is Ex-DA of Durham County Now?

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Jean-Xavier de Lestrade’s ‘The Staircase’ is a renowned docuseries that revolves around the murder of Kathleen Peterson and the subsequent trial of her husband Michael Peterson. The docuseries offers interviews with several individuals connected to the case, starting from defendant Michael to lead prosecutor Jim Hardin and his team. The first episode of the docuseries includes an interview with Mike Nifong, who talked about the lacerations in Kathleen’s skull. As he talks about a pivotal aspect of the case, one must be eager to know more about Nifong and his current whereabouts. On that note, here’s everything you need to know!

Who is Mike Nifong?

Mike Nifong was part of the prosecution team of Durham County district attorney Jim Hardin during the Michael Peterson trial as assistant DA. In 2005, when Jim Hardin got appointed to Superior Court, Nifong was appointed as Durham County DA to fulfill the term of his predecessor. In 2006, he ran for DA as the Democratic candidate and won. In 2006, Nifong charged Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty, and David Evans, then members of the Duke University men’s lacrosse team, with rape, sexual assault, and kidnapping charges. During the earlier phase of the case, Nifong talked to the press extensively and released several statements.

In December 2006, Nifong dropped the rape charges of Seligmann, Finnerty, and Evans, reportedly due to a change in the victim’s story. Soon, it was revealed that Nifong withheld DNA evidence that would have exonerated the three defendants after an agreement with the lab director. The director testified in court that the DNA of the three young men didn’t match with the genetic material found in the body and underwear of the alleged victim. Eventually, Nifong had to transfer the case to then-North Carolina Attorney General Roy A. Cooper, who dropped the charges against the three young men due to the lack of conclusive evidence.

In December 2006, the North Carolina State Bar filed ethics charges against Nifong for breaking four rules of professional conduct concerning the Duke lacrosse case, including charges of “dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation.” In June 2007, the North Carolina State Bar Disciplinary Committee unanimously voted to disbar Nifong, leading to the surrender of Nifong’s law license and the eventual end of his career as a DA. He was imprisoned for a single day in Durham County jail for contempt of court. In 2007, Evans, Finnerty, and Seligmann filed a federal lawsuit against Nifong seeking damages.

Nifong filed for bankruptcy in 2008, listing assets of almost $244,000, which included his house, car, and personal belongings. He listed a debt of $180.3 million and named David Evans, Collin Finnerty, Reade Seligmann, and three other members of Duke University’s 2006 men’s lacrosse team as the unsecured creditors, each owed $30 million. Nifong also listed several others as creditors as well.

Where is Mike Nifong Today?

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Mike Nifong’s legal battles didn’t end with the Duke lacrosse case. In 2016, the conviction of Darryl Howard, who was sentenced to eighty years for the 1991 strangling and sexual assault of a mother and daughter, was overturned. Nifong handled Howard’s case and in 2014, a judge found that Nifong failed to share evidence that pointed to other suspects with Howard’s attorneys. After Howard’s exoneration in 2016, Nifong has been keeping his life private. He seemingly still lives in Durham County, North Carolina, with his wife Cy Gurney. He has a daughter from his first marriage and a son with Gurney. His current employment is unknown.

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