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Judge orders Bernice King to turn over MLK Bible, Nobel prize

10:57 AM, Feb 20, 2014   |    comments
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FULTON COUNTY, Ga. -- A Fulton County judge held an emergency hearing on Wednesday in the legal battle over possession of some of Dr. Martin Luther King's historical items.

Dexter and Martin King filed a complaint in Fulton County Superior Court on Jan. 31 asking a judge to force Bernice King to relinquish their father's items, which include Dr. King's 1964 Nobel Peace prize medal and personal Bible.

None of Martin Luther King Jr.'s children were in attendance in the first court hearing Monday afternoon.

Bernice King says her two older brothers want to sell the Bible and Nobel medallion. In a press conference on Feb. 6, Bernice King said he was disassociating herself from her brothers after the lawsuit.

William Hill, a lawyer for the two brothers, told the judge that there was a "time sensitive opportunity" to sell and lease the property. He said that the funds are necessary to sustain the King estate. Hill did not specify who would receive the medal and the Bible. 

When asked by the judge what makes the sell time sensitive, Hill noted that it took a decade to sell MLK papers. 

"That's been the experience of the estate with reference to the sale of the papers or any other memorabilia," Hill said.  "That, when there's an opportunity, it has to be taken advantage of, otherwise it may not arise again for quite some time."

Hill said that a corporation created by the heirs of Dr. King controls the estate. There are three votes on that board, consisting of the three offspring. Hill said that Bernice King lost a 2 to 1 vote to sell the medal and the Bible.

Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney ordered Bernice King to turn the items over. They will remain in a safe deposit box and the judge will control the key as the issue is debated.

WATCH | See what Bernice King had to say about her brothers and the lawsuit. Full Press conference video here.

READ | Bernice King's statement about her brothers' plan to see MLK's memorabilia

WATCH | Extended video of Bernice's statements about her brothers' lawsuit

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