RALEIGH -- Gov. Easley tapped a man Durham knows well to replace former District Attorney Mike Nifong. Former Durham District Attorney and current Superior Court Judge Jim Hardin will leave the bench to fill the job temporarily.
A spokesman for Easley said Hardin is expected to serve as district attorney for two months as the governor looks for a permanent replacement. That person will serve the remainder of Nifong's term through 2008.
Meanwhile, Nifong remains suspended with pay. He was disbarred Saturday for his handling of the Duke lacrosse rape case.
State lawmakers sent Easley a bill that would allow the governor to remove Nifong immediately.
Gov. Easley has pledged to use his new power in this case, but the process could be held up. The state bar has not yet issued its disbarment order in writing, and Nifong must make it clear he does not plan to appeal.