[Ppnews] Churchill Update

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Tue Apr 7 15:07:57 EDT 2009

Churchill wants $1 million if not reinstated


Last week, a Denver jury determined that the University of Colorado 
did, in fact, violate Ward Churchill's First Amendment rights when 
they fired him for academic misconduct after increased scrutiny due 
to Churchill's controversial essay about 9-11.

The jury was split between those who wanted to award Churchill around 
a year's salary, $110,000 or more, and one juror who insisted he 
should get nothing. They compromised and awarded $1 in damages.

The judge, Chief Denver District Judge Larry Naves, will decide 
whether Churchill is reinstated or will instead receive a lump sum. 
CU has indicated that they will oppose Churchill's reinstatement. If 
the judge does not reinstate him, Churchill has said he will seek 10 
years worth of lost pay (over $1 million). Churchill's attorney, 
David Lane, also says that CU is responsible for hundreds of 
thousands of dollars in attorney fees.

One juror stood between Churchill and lump sum


Five out of the six jurors deciding Ward Churchill's wrongful 
termination civil suit against the University of Colorado supported 
giving Ward Churchill a much larger award, of $110,000 or more. The 
one resisting juror believed Churchill should get nothing, and after 
hours of deliberation asked to be removed from the jury, a move Chief 
Denver District Judge Larry Naves would not allow.

One juror, 24-year-old Bethany Newill, called into local KHOW radio 
show Caplis and Silverman to correct claims that only one juror 
supported awarding Churchill a larger award than the $1 that was 
finally decided upon. Newill noted that the jury did not believe CU's 
defense regarding Churchill's academic misconduct, but because 
Churchill's attorney David Lane had not presented any evidence 
regarding damages, they were unsure what amount to award.

On Thursday, after the judge denied the lone juror's request to be 
removed from the trial, the six jurors finally settled on a $1 award.

Churchill's case against the university settled a wrongful 
termination dispute. The University of Colorado claimed that 
Churchill was fired for academic misconduct (including plagiarism and 
inaccuracies), while Churchill argued (and the jury agreed) that his 
work was scrutinized solely because of controversial comments he 
made, a violation of his First Amendment rights.

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