Nifong Complains of 'Fundamental Unfairness'

Disgraced Duke prosecutor Mike Nifong officially ended his career as a lawyer last week, sending his law license back to the North Carolina State Bar along with a letter complaining about the "fundamental unfairness" with which he was treated.

In his Aug. 7 letter, a copy of which was obtained by ABC News, Nifong notes that he is returning his law license, which he said he never framed or displayed because it was damaged by "a puppy in her chewing stage."

The state bar stripped Nifong of his license in June for unethical conduct in his handling of the Duke lacrosse case. The bar's ethics committee found Nifong guilty of violations of the state's rules of professional conduct, including lying to the court and withholding DNA evidence that suggested the lacrosse players were innocent.

At the time, Nifong's attorney, David Freedman, said the punishment was appropriate. Freedman told the disciplinary panel that Nifong "has told me that he believes this has been a fair and full hearing of the facts, that he believes disbarment is the appropriate punishment in this case."

But Nifong was apparently upset when the panel subsequently included an additional violation that was not in the initial disbarment order.

The panel's written disbarment order did not include one of the ethical violations, said F. Lane Williamson, who chaired the disciplinary panel. That finding concluded that Nifong "knowingly disobeyed" an ethical rule by telling a state forensics expert to prepare a DNA test report that did not include evidence that indicated the lacrosse players could be innocent, according to Williamson. A Duke law professor sent an e-mail to the state bar, asking about the discrepancy.

Williamson amended the order to include the missing violation, calling it a clerical mistake. The amended order was sent to Nifong.

The addition clearly angered Nifong.

In his Aug. 7 letter, Nifong wrote, "Mr. Williamson's e-mail assertion that the addition of a new conclusion of law based on the request of a Duke University law professor is merely a 'clerical correction' is preposterous beyond belief, and is further evidence of the fundamental unfairness with which this entire procedure has been conducted."

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