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Judge: Ex-President of National Baptist Convention Resorted to Fraud

July 8, 1995

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) _ The former president of the National Baptist Convention USA resorted to fraud in an attempt to keep his allies in power, a judge has found.

``This court has never witnessed and hopes never again to witness the kind of fraud perpetuated on this court, as well as the despicable, conscious and collusive conduct,″ District of Columbia Superior Court Judge Zinora M. Mitchell-Rankin wrote on June 21.

The Rev. T.J. Jemison of Baton Rouge and his allies submitted false and forged affidavits and gave the court an inaccurate copy of the Washington-based convention’s constitution, among other things, the judge said.

She ordered them to pay a $150,000 fine and the court costs of their opponents _ the officers elected last year to lead the nation’s largest black Baptist denomination.

Jemison, president of the 8.2-million-member denomination from 1982 to 1994, denied any fraud or collusion, called himself an innocent bystander and promised an appeal.

When a Jemison ally lost the race for the convention’s presidency last year, that camp claimed some voters were kept from casting their ballots, and went to court. The judge found in October that she had no authority to rule in the election and told the sides to work that out themselves.

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