Thursday, June 14, 2007


(Sarah Ovaska - Raleigh News & Observer)

When Mike Nifong leaves the N.C. Court of Appeals Building at the end of a day of hearings in his disciplinary case before the N.C. State Bar, television camera crews follow him for a block, and then they stop.

Gone are the days when he'd have reporters camped outside his office at the Durham County Courthouse, pushing to follow him even as he headed into to the men's room for comment on his attempts to prosecute three Duke lacrosse players on charges of raping a woman hire.

On both Tuesday and Wednesday, he walked into the courtroom used for the disciplinary proceedings with little fanfare. Heads turned and throats cleared, but little more than a heavy silence greeted Durham County's top prosecutor as he took his seat at the defense table.

A courteous routine has evolved in which reporters ask but don't pry for comment. Absent is the frenzied, almost insatiable attention that surrounded the case in the initial stages in spring 2006.

The 72 seats in the room being used for the hearing at the N.C. Court of Appeals building are mainly occupied by people closely linked to the case.

Among them: Reade Seligmann, one of the now-exonerated players, his family and mothers of the two other players, defense lawyers, their staff and representatives from local and national media.

The requests to attend from media came from bloggers, cameramen and reporters from Court TV, National Public Radio and the Today Show.

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