http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,281018,00.html Durham DA Nifong in Court Over Duke Lacrosse Rape Ethics Charges Tuesday, June 12, 2007 Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong DURHAM, N.C. â€” More than a year after shocking allegations emerged about Duke University's lacrosse team, prosecutor Mike Nifong is heading to trial â€” as a defendant. The North Carolina State Bar has charged Nifong, the district attorney in Durham County, with several violations of the state's rules of professional conduct, all tied to his handling of the lacrosse case. Among those expected to watch from the gallery of a packed North Carolina Court of Appeals courtroom are Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty, two of the once-charged and now cleared players. Several defense attorneys and family members of the three players are also expected to attend. Nifong is expected to testify at the trial. *snip* "Public opinion is not going to weigh in on how the proceeding develops and will not weigh in on the ultimate decision by the bar," Freedman said. "Our purpose is not to sway public opinion but to present his case to the State Bar." If convicted, the veteran prosecutor could be disbarred. Nifong won indictments against the three players â€” Seligmann, Finnerty and David Evans â€” last year, after a woman hired to perform as a stripper said she was raped at a March 2006 party thrown by Duke's highly ranked lacrosse team. He aggressively pursued the case, at one point calling the lacrosse team "a bunch of hooligans" in a newspaper interview. That interview, along with several others made in the case's early days, formed the basis of the bar's initial complaint against Nifong, which said he made misleading and inflammatory comments to the media about the athletes. The bar would later add allegations that Nifong withheld evidence from defense attorneys, and lied to both to the court and bar investigators. Worried the pending ethics charges might result in an unfair trial, Nifong asked the North Carolina Attorney General's office to take over the lacrosse prosecution in January. By then, most experts and legal observers had long since concluded the case could not be won. North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper agreed in April and dropped all charges against the three players. In a stunning rebuke, Cooper said there was no rape or attack, calling the indicted players "innocent" victims of a rogue prosecutor's "tragic rush to accuse."