No federal probe of Nifong

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 yesterday.

The department decided the case was better resolved inside the state, spokesman Peter Carr said in a prepared statement.

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.

Nifong pursued charges in the spring of 2006 against three Duke lacrosse players falsely accused of raping 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.

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