Thomas Sowell

Another damaging action that Nifong has tried to portray as an oversight on his part was failing to disclose that the DNA evidence from the panties and nearby areas of the accuser showed that a number of other men had had contact there, even though none of the Duke students' DNA was found.

It might seem plausible that a busy district attorney might have forgotten to include that. But the sworn testimony of the head of the laboratory that conducted the DNA tests is that Nifong specifically asked him not to reveal that fact.

That was not an oversight or a misjudgment. That was a deliberate attempt to suppress evidence in a felony case.

When it finally came out, months after the indictment of the Duke students, that the stripper who accused them could not even be sure that a rape had occurred -- despite her previous various accounts of rape -- only the rape charge was dropped, while other serious felonies still hung over the students' heads, based on the same unreliable accuser.

It is hard to believe that Nifong believed that these other charges would stand up in court. But they didn't have to.

After months of mounting pressure and growing legal bills, many people would have plea-bargained, "confessed" to something minor, just to get the nightmare over with.

Such a "confession" might have spared Nifong from being hauled up before the state bar association on ethics charges.

Everything in this case, from start to finish, makes perfect sense when seen as being about Nifong's career, not justice.

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

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