Mike Nifong Begins Ethnic Trial This Week

Michael Nifong, candidate for Durham District Attorney

Mike Nifong spent nearly three decades building a reputation as an honest prosecutor. Yet he is seen today as a bane to peers, many of whom feel tarnished by his mistakes in the now-infamous Duke Lacrosse rape case.

His colleagues at the courthouse in Durham remain at a loss to explain how it happened. Woody Vann has been a lawyer in Durham for nearly as long as Nifong has been a prosecutor there. He calls Nifong's slide a "tragedy."

This Tuesday Nifong will stand trial on ethics charges ranging from lying to the court to withholding potentially exculpatory evidence.

It's been more than a year since Nifong took the lead in investigating claims three men raped a stripper at a March 2006 party thrown by Duke's highly ranked lacrosse team.

These days he keeps a low profile in the Durham County Judicial Building as he prepares for a fight that could end with his disbarment.