He was holding a copy of the latesttimes which he

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Unformatted text preview: and such. The Wilbanks family had worked long and hard to build Clanton, then Lucien came along and had pretty much ruined a fine family name. He fancied himself as a radical lawyer, which, for that part of the world in 1970, was quite rare. He wore a beard, swore like a sailor, drank heavily, and preferred clients who were rapists and murderers and child molesters. He was the only white member of the NAACP in Ford County, which alone was enough to get you shot there. He didn't care. Lucien Wilbanks was abrasive and fearless and downright mean, and he waited until everyone was settled in the courtroom—just before Judge Loopus entered—to walk slowly over to me. He was holding a copy of the latestTimes, which he began waving as he started swearing. "You little son of a bitch!" he said, quite loudly, and the courtroom became perfectly still. "Who in hell do you think you are?" I was too mortified to attempt an answer. I felt Baggy inch away. Every single person in the courtroom was staring at me, and I knew I had to say something. "Just telling the truth," I managed to say with as much conviction as I could muster. "It's yellow journalism!" he roared. "Sensational tabloid garbage!" The paper was just a few inches from my nose. "Thank you," I said, like a real wise guy. There were at least five deputies in the courtroom, none of whom were showing any interest in breaking this up. "We'll file suit tomorrow!" he said, his eyes glowing. "A million dollars in damages!" "I got lawyers," I said, suddenly terrified that I was about to be as bankrupt as the Caudle family. Lucien tossed the paper into my lap, then turned and went back to his table. I was finally able to exhale; my heart was pounding. I could feel my cheeks burning from embarrassment and fear. But I managed to keep a stupid grin on my face. I couldn't show the locals that I, the editor/publisher of their paper, was afraid of anything. But a million dollars in...
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