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Ten Commandments Case Takes Twist

September 26, 2002

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) _ A lawyer suing to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the Alabama Judicial Building’s lobby mistakenly sent a letter to his adversaries in which he calls the state Supreme Court’s chief justice a ``religious nut.″

Last year, Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore had the 5,280-pound monument secretly moved into the lobby of the Judicial Building in the middle of the night without notifying other justices.

Southern Poverty Law Center director Morris Dees, who is suing to have the monument removed, intended the letter for another attorney on his legal team.

``I was laying our trial theme, i.e., how this was the act of a lone religious nut,″ Dees wrote.

Moore’s lawyer, Stephen Melchior, received the letter and filed it in the court record in response to a motion asking a federal judge to order removal of the monument without a trial.

Dee is seeking to have the letter stricken from court record, saying it was private correspondence that got into the hands of Moore’s attorneys through ``a clerical error.″

``Because of their motion to strike, it would not be appropriate for me to comment, but the letter speaks for itself,″ Melchior said.

Dees also declined to comment.

Moore has said he installed the monument because he believes the Ten Commandments were the foundation for the American system of laws.

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