RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Department of Justice will not
investigate former Duke lacrosse prosecutor Mike Nifong for his
handling of the case, a spokesman for the federal agency said Wednesday.
The department decided the case was better resolved inside the
state, spokesman Peter Carr said in a prepared statement.
"We believe the state of North Carolina has the primary
interests in this matter: protecting the integrity of its judicial
proceedings, holding Mr. Nifong accountable for his actions as an
officer of its courts and vindicating the principles of justice
under state law," Carr said.
Jim Hardin, who stepped in as an interim Durham district
attorney after Nifong resigned from the office, requested that the
State Bureau of Investigation determine whether any person involved
in the case should be prosecuted.
State officials, however, said that although federal prosecutors
could seek an indictment on a charge of lying to investigators,
North Carolina prosecutors cannot.
"It would be difficult to conduct additional investigation into
this matter without federal participation," SBI spokeswoman Noelle
Talley said. "Our attorneys and the SBI will discuss the impact of this refusal."
Nifong pursued charges in the spring of 2006 against three Duke
lacrosse players falsely accused of sexually assaulting an exotic dancer during
an off-campus party. He resigned from his seat after state
prosecutors dropped the charges against the players, saying they
were innocent victims of Nifong's "tragic rush to accuse."
He has since been disbarred. Nifong also spent a night in jail
after a judge held him criminal contempt of court for his conduct
during the case.
In October, the three lacrosse players filed a federal lawsuit
against Nifong, the city of Durham, several police officials and