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Lawyer: Bernice King lied about letters

Sept. 16, 2009 at 1:53 PM
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ATLANTA, Sept. 16 (UPI) -- The daughter of slain civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. ignored a court order to hand over love letters written by her mother, attorneys say.

Lawyers for Bernice King's brother, Dexter Scott King, contended in a court case Tuesday in Atlanta that Bernice was legally compelled to turn the letters over to Dexter, who controls the company that manages their father's estate, but ignored the demand, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

One of the letters was written by Coretta Scott King to her famous husband. Bernice King said she found them in a safety deposit box that once belonged to her late older sister, Yolanda King, who died in 2007. It and the other contents of the box have become the subject of a bitter legal battle between Bernice, who is allied with her other brother, Martin Luther King III, against Dexter Scott King, the newspaper said.

"Regardless of what your last name is, if you have willfully withheld then you must suffer the consequences," Dexter's attorney Lin Wood said at the hearing, noting that Bernice King denied the existence of the safety deposit box several times while under oath.

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