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Memphis: Settlement to unveil photos, records documenting Ernest Withers' work as FBI informant

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A legal settlement finalized Monday is expected to unveil dozens of photographs and records documenting the late Ernest Withers’ secret work as an FBI informant in Memphis during the civil rights era. The agreement between the FBI and The Commercial Appeal allows the newspaper to access portions of 70 investigative files in which Withers participated as an informant.

Settlement to unveil photos, records documenting Ernest Withers' work as FBI informant

By Marc Perrusquia
Commercial Appeal
February 25, 2013

A legal settlement finalized Monday is expected to unveil dozens of photographs and records documenting the late Ernest Withers’ secret work as an FBI informant in Memphis during the civil rights era.

The agreement between the FBI and The Commercial Appeal allows the newspaper to access portions of 70 investigative files in which Withers participated as an informant.

Those 70 cases, ranging from the FBI’s investigation of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. while in Memphis in 1968 as well as examinations of his Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the NAACP and the black power and peace movements here, represent a fraction of the celebrated photographer’s work for the FBI between 1958 and 1972.

The settlement also requires the FBI to pay $186,000 in attorney fees and legal costs the newspaper accumulated since filing suit in 2010. In turn, the newspaper agreed to drop its lawsuit, which it did Monday morning by filing a stipulation of dismissal in U.S. District Court in Washington.

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