Nifong Suspended, House Passes Removal Bill

Lawmakers have unanimously approved legislation that allows Governor Easley to immediately remove Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong from office.

The measure passed just hours after a judge suspended the disbarred prosecutor.

Representatives in the House voted 116-to-nothing in favor of the bill. It now heads to the Senate, which approved it unanimously in early April and must sign off on minor changes made in the House before Easley can sign it into law.

Nifong was disbarred Saturday for breaking more than two dozen rules of professional conduct in his handling of the Duke lacrosse rape case. He said in a letter released Monday that he would leave office July 13th -- a date that could arrive before the legislation becomes law.

That wasn't soon enough for Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson,
who today suspended Nifong with pay. The county sheriff immediately
stripped Nifong of his badge and the keys to his office.