http://wral.com/news/local/story/1459913/ Embattled Nifong Says He'll Resign The man who pursued ****, sexual assault and kidnapping charges against three former Duke lacrosse players who were later declared innocent by North Carolina's attorney general says he will resign. "Throughout the years I have served as a prosecutor I have always tried to do the right thing," a tearful Mike Nifong said. "In this case, I was trying to do the right thing. Much of the criticism directed to me in the is case is justified. The allegations that I'm a liar, however, are not justified." Nifong made the announcement during his testimony Friday at his State Bar ethics trial to the surprise of the families and defense attorneys of the cleared lacrosse players, as well as others. Some of Nifong's staff said they were surprised to hear the announcement and heard it on television while they watched his testimony. Nifong said regardless of the State Bar's decision, it would not be fair to the people in Durham County to be represented by "someone who is not held in high esteem." The North Carolina State Bar has charged Nifong with withholding critical DNA test results from defense attorneys, lying to the court and Bar investigators and making misleading and inflammatory comments about the players. If the Bar's three-member Disciplinary Hearing Commission decides he violated ethics rules, he could be disbarred. Nifong said he did not make all the mistakes alleged by the bar, "but they are my mistakes." "It has become increasingly apparent, during the course of this week, in some ways that it might not have been before, that my presence as the district attorney in Durham is not furthering the cause of justice," Nifong said. Nifong's soft-spoken statements were barely audible in the courtroom, where observers leaned forward in their chairs as they struggled to hear Nifong through his tears. "To the extent that my actions have caused pain to the Finnertys, Seligmanns and Evans, I apologize. To the extent that my actions have brought disrespect and disrepute to the Bar, to my community, I apologize," he said. But the families of since-cleared players Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and David Evans watched with little emotion, and Evans' attorney rejected Nifong's attempt to take responsibility. "It was an obvious cynical ploy to save his law license, and his apology to these people is far too little and comes far too late," said defense lawyer Joseph Cheshire. A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and 1978 graduate of the UNC School of Law, Nifong began his law career in 1978 as a volunteer for the 14th Prosecutorial District in Durham and became an assistant district attorney in April 1979. In April 2005, Gov. Mike Easley appointed Nifong to the district attorney post after naming then-District Attorney Jim Hardin to a judgeship. Nifong ran for office in 2006 and won with 49 percent of the vote, narrowly defeating Durham lawyer and Democrat Lewis Cheek, who received 40 percent, and Republican Party Chairman Steve Monks, who got 11 percent as a write-in candidate. In February, Easley publicly stated that Nifong was "probably the poorest appointment" he ever made. And in April, Cooper called Nifong's pursuit of the Duke lacrosse case "a tragic rush to accuse and a failure to verify serious allegations." Copyright 2007 by WRAL.com.