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Charles Montaldo

Convicted Klansman Sues FBI

By February 26, 2010

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A former Klansman convicted in the deaths of three civil rights workers in 1964 is suing the FBI for using a mobster known as "The Grim Reaper" to force information from witnesses. Edgar Ray Killen claims his rights were violated in the multi-million dollar lawsuit.

Killen, 85, was convicted in 2005 in connection with the deaths of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner.

The lawsuit filed this week in federal court seeks financial damages from the FBI and a declaration that his rights were violated.

"Money is secondary, we really just want the truth out," said Robert A. Ratliff, Killen's attorney. "What we're looking for is the complete, unredacted FBI file. Stand up and tell us what happened."

Federal Lawsuit Claims

Some of the claims made in the lawsuit include:

  • Clayton Lewis, one of Killen's defense lawyers in his 1967 trial, was a paid FBI informant.

  • Known gangster and killer Gregory Scarpa Sr. was paid by the FBI to coerce witnesses to find the bodies of the three civil rights workers.

  • Some of the testimony from deceased witnesses from his 1967 trial, used to convict him in his 2005 trial, was obtained by Lewis and Scarpa.

Killen was sentenced to 60 years in prison. He is appealing his conviction. He was once granted bail while he appealed the conviction, but the judge revoked his bail when Killen was spotted by deputies pumping gas into his car without the use of his wheelchair and oxygen mask that he utilized throughout his trial.

See Also:
Former Klansman Convicted in '64 Slayings Sues FBI

Background:
The 'Mississippi Burning' Case
The Trial of Edgar Ray Killen

Photo: © Getty Images

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