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Judge seals deposition in Martin Luther King Jr. suit

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    NMU         GEORGIA         Secret Courts         Mar 28, 2002    

Judge seals deposition in Martin Luther King Jr. suit

  • A deposition made by King’s son as part of a copyright dispute between CBS and the civil rights leader’s family has been closed off for five years by a federal judge.

A federal judge in Atlanta sealed a deposition given by Martin Luther King Jr.’s son for five years, granting only part of a request by the civil rights leader’s family to keep that testimony and other court information sealed indefinitely.

Information on a book deal involving the King estate, Time Warner Inc. and Intellectual Properties Management is all contained within Dexter Scott King’s deposition that U.S. Senior District Judge William O’Kelley ordered removed from public record.

King’s deposition was taken as part of a lawsuit that was settled in 2000. The case centered on copyright ownership of his father’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech delivered in Washington, D.C., in 1963.

O’Kelley, who presided over the suit, also sealed the deposition of the King estate’s general manager Phillip Jones.

However, O’Kelley denied a request made by King’s attorney Joseph M. Beck to have the depositions from ever being available to the public. Beck’s move to turn the depositions over to the King family was denied as well.

Both CBS and the King estate wanted the entire case files sealed, but the two parties eventually dropped their requests. The bulky file will be kept as part of the government’s permanent archive and not destroyed in 20 years as it would be if it were labeled a “non-historical” court record.

(King v. CBS) KC

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© 2002 The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

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