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Lawsuit Claims Mafia Helped FBI in Probe In 1964 Civil Rights Slayings

Edgar Ray Killen/msnbc

Edgar Ray Killen/msnbc

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

Former Ku Klux Klan leader Edgar Ray Killen, serving 60 years for the 1964 slaying of three civil rights workers, has filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit alleging that J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI paid an organized crime figure to beat and intimidate people to extract information in his case.

In all, the 16-page lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Jackson, Miss., against the FBI and Mississippi Attorney General’s Office, claims the FBI used secretive and illegal tactics that violated Killen’s rights to a fair trial and suppressed his constitutional right to speak freely over the years. It alleged the state of Mississippi knew about the FBI abuses but chose to cover it up during Killen’s second trial, in which he was convicted.

The suit alleges that the FBI in 1964 became frustrated with the investigation into three missing civil rights workers and turned to Colombo crime family mobster Gregory Scarpa Sr. (aka the “Grim Reaper”), saying Scarpa intimidated, assaulted and pistol-whipped local residents to help locate the “burial site of the murdered civil rights workers and obtained confessions for the prosecution.”

In turn, the suit alleges the FBI paid Scarpa at least $30,000 and gave him “carte blanche to engage in all types of legal and illegal activities.”

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