Easley names Hardin to replace Nifong

RALEIGH (AP) -- Governor Easley has named Jim Hardin to replace Mike Nifong as acting Durham County district attorney.

The move comes just after the state Senate gave final approval today to a bill directing Easley to remove Nifong, who was recently disbarred for his handling of the Duke lacrosse rape case.

Nifong was originally appointed to replace Hardin. This movr allows the governor time to choose a replacement to serve the rest of Nifong's term through 2008.

The Senate voted unanimously to accept minor changes made by the House to the bill, which directs the governor to immediately remove any judge or district attorney who is disbarred, once appeals are exhausted. The person's pay would also be suspended, but he or she would be reimbursed if the disbarment is reversed.

The measure now goes to Easley's desk. He's pledged to sign the bill into law.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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