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A Mississippi man is seeking financial compensation from Ku Klux Klan member Edgar Ray Killen, for slander and defamation. In the suit, filed in the Hinds County Circuit Court Monday (June 19), James Stern, states that Killen, plus Killen’s wife and lawyer, seek to ruin his reputation with statements made about a land transfer, and book and movie rights.

Stern served time with Killen at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman, and would converse since their cells were  near one another. During his time behind bars for mail fraud, Stern claims that Killen admitted to taking part in civil rights killings, and signed over his power of attorney right to his lawyer and wife. Stern was hoping to turn his conversations with Killen into a book and movie deal, and alleges that the reformed Klansman “unexpectedly signed over the deed to his 40-acre property,” to Stern’s nonprofit organization Racial Reconciliation. One of Killen’s lawyer, Rover Ratliff is crying foul, telling the media that Stern has no right to the land.

In short, Stern claims his character was defamed by Ratliff, when he accused him of taking advantage of the 87-year-old who is serving  60-year sentence, and suffers from a brain injury.

According to Stern all three parties involved “have made public remarks that are totally untrue, with evil malicious harmful intent to do the reputation and character of the plaintiff unrepairable harm.”

While he is acting as his own lawyer, Stern told the Associated Press that he will drop the suit, if Ratliff apologizes.


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Photo: The Grio