Morris Dees -- Child Molester, Pervert, and Liar?

Part I



For the past several years, the Major Media has portrayed Morris Dees of the Southern Poverty Law Center as an "expert" on terrorism, militias, and the Patriot Movement.

Is Morris Dees a trustworthy and truthful source of information, on a subject so dear to the American people as their liberties?

Decide for yourself after reading the following court document. This was forwarded to me by email several years ago. I make no claim as to it's authenticity... Research the facts for yourself. I merely reproduce it here in the public interest. WEB



IN THE ALABAMA COURT OF CIVIL APPEALS

MAUREENE BASS DEES              )
                                )
                Appellant,      )
                                )
                -vs-            )       CASE NO. CIV. 2114
                                )
MORRIS S. DEES,                 )
                                )
                Appellee.       )

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                ON APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF
                     MONTGOMERY COUNTY, ALABAMA

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                                        ------------------
                                        BRIEF OF APPELLANT
                                        ------------------
                                                MAURY SMITH
                                                JULIA S. WATERS
                                                CHARLES M. CROOK
                                                Attorneys for the Appellant

OF COUNSEL:
SMITH, BOWMAN, THAGARD,
CROOK & CULPEPPER
P.O. Box 78
Montgomery, Al 36101
Telephone: (205) 834-6500

                           ORAL ARGUMENT REQUESTED
                           ------------------------

                              TABLE OF CONTENTS
                                                                PAGE
                                                                ----

STATEMENT OF THE CASE  ........................................    4
THE ISSUES  ...................................................    4
STATEMENT OF THE FACTS  .......................................    5
    A. Morris' Financial Condition  ...........................    5
    B. The Cause Of The Breakup; Vicki Booker McGaha  .........    6
    C. The Reconciliation  ....................................    6
    D. Morris Can't Give Up His Mistress  .....................    7
    E. Maureene Is Compelled To Seek Divorce  .................    8
    F. Morris Sets A Trap  ....................................    9
    G. Morris' Trap Works: The Hotel Room Agreement  ..........   11
    H. Morris' Sexual Appetite  ...............................   12
        A. Dianne Hicks  ......................................   12
        B. Cathy Bennett  .....................................   12
        C. Judith Rogers  .....................................   13
        D. Deborah Levy  ......................................   13
        E. Pamela Horowitz  ...................................   13
        F. Charlie Springman  .................................   14
        G. Morris' Step-Daughter  .............................   14
        H. Morris' Future Daughter-in-law  ....................   15
ARGUMENT  .....................................................   15
    A. The Trial Judge Plainly And Palpably Abused
        His Discretion  .......................................   15
        1. The Conduct Of The Parties With Reference
           To The Cause Of Divorce  ...........................   18
        (a) Even If The Parties Were Equally At
            Fault, The Present Decree Is Indefensible  ........   20
        2. The Source Of Their Property  ......................   20
        3. The Parties' Standard Of Living During The
           Marriage And Their Potential For Maintaining
           Or Exceeding That Standard After Their
           Divorce  ...........................................   22
        4. The Financial Circumstances Of The Parties  ........   23
        5. The Parties' Future Prospect  ......................   23
        6. The Length Of The Marriage  ........................   24
    B. Morris Dees' Entire Estate Has Been Used Regularly
       For The Common Benefit Of The Parties  .................   24
       1. The Real Estate  ....................................   26
       2. Morris' Other Assets  ...............................   27
            1968 through 1975  ................................   27
            1975  .............................................   29
            1976  .............................................   30
            1977  .............................................   30
            1978  .............................................   30
    C. The Trial Court Erred In Prohibiting The Wife
       From Calling The Husband As A Witness  .................   30
CONCLUSION  ...................................................   31
CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE ........................................

   At the time of the divorce, Morris' net worth, based upon his own
calculations, was $3,876,029 (R. 1252, et. seq; Def. Ex. 86-87; Stipulation,
R. 231).  His annual income exceeds $230,000 (Def. Ex. 76-79), of which more
than $160,000 annually is derived from municipal bonds upon which Morris 
pays no income tax (Def. Ex. 28).

        B. The Cause Of The Break-up: Vicki Booker McGaha

  Although Maureene was subjected to a number of degrading sexual episodes
by Morris during the marriage which will be discussed hereafter, neither
Morris nor Maureene ever wanted or sought a divorce until Morris established
his permanent relationship with Vicki Booker McGaha in August of 1977.  It
was Morris' absolute refusal to give up his mistress, whom he was supporting
and whom he had made pregnant, that directly caused termination of 
Maureene's marriage and forced her to institute these divorce proceedings.
   In August, 1977, Morris tried the "Weisenhunt case" in Birmingham, and
became acquainted with Vicki Booker McGaha, who was a member of that jury 
(R. 1459).  Thereafter, Morris and Vicki began a sexual affair which has 
still not ended, and which was the cause of termination of two marriages.
   Following their meeting in Birmingham during the Weisenhunt trial in 
August, 1977, Morris had sexual relations with Vicki at Oak Mountain State 
Park in Shelby County (R. 1461), the Prattville Holiday Inn, the Holiday Inn 
East, the Governor's House Hotel, and the Howard Johnson Motel (R. 1462).  
  The first trip that he took with her was a four day trip to the "Cajun 
Country" in Louisiana on a motorcycle in April, 1978 (R. 1464-1465).  In 
August, 1978, Vicki joined Morris in Columbus, Georgia, where she stayed 
with him at the Holiday Inn (R. 1468).
   Maureene first found out about Vicki when she was contacted by Vicki's
husband, who subsequently turned over to her letters that Morris had written
to Vicki and tape recordings of conversations that Morris had had with Vicki
(R. 361-362).  Mr. McGaha divorced Vicki McGaha in May, 1978 (R. 1469).
   Around this time, at Morris' request, Maureene met with Morris and Vicki 
at the Sheraton Mountain Brook Inn to discuss the situation (R. 358). During
this conversation Morris told Maureene that he was in love with Vicki, that
they wanted to be together, and they didn't care if they had anything but a
shack with a dirt floor if they could be together (R. 358).  Morris told
Maureene that he and Vicki were going to live together and they they hoped
she would understand.  Maureene learned that the affair had been going on
since August of 1977 (R. 280-281, et seq).  In later conversations Morris
cried and told Maureene that he loved them both, and that "Vicki has such
beautiful blue eyes and she can see right through you" (R. 360).  Following
this meeting, Maureene separated from Morris for the first time and filed 
the first suit for divorce (R. 361).

        C. The Reconciliation

   After Maureene and Morris had been separated for about four to six weeks,
Morris telephoned her and said that he had made a mistake, that he did love
Maureene and wanted her back, and he swore never to see Vicki McGaha again
(R. 282).  To assure her of this Morris arranged another meeting among the
three of them as Joe Levin's lake cabin on July 3, 1978 (R. 367, et seq).
  This meeting was bizarre.  In a three-way conversation Morris would first 
ask Vicki to state how much she loved him, and he would then turn to 
Maureene to ask her to state how much she loved him (R. 367).  It was as if 
he were staging a contest to see who loved him the most, or who would do 
the most for him (R. 367).  After a lengthy conversation, during which 
Morris had taken his socks off, he announced, "Alright, I'll tell you girls 
my answer when I get my socks on."  After taking an inordinate amount of 
time putting his socks on, he got up, walked around behind them, put an arm 
on each girl, and ceremoniously stated, "I tell you this day, July 3, 1978, 
I, Morris Dees, can't live without either one of you."  (R. 368).  At that 
point, Maureene said, "I'll tell you what, Vicki, you can have him." 
(R. 368).
   In response to these statements by Morris, Maureene made it clear once
again that Morris could not have them both, that he could not remain married
to her and live with Vicki, and that he must make up his mind one way or
another.  At the conclusion of the meeting, Morris promised never to see
Vicki again (R. 282).  He told Vicki that he and Maureene had reconciled, 
and that he could not see her anymore (R. 1357).  Morris himself testified 
that in Maureene's presense he told Vicki that it was all over and that he
wouldn't see her anymore (R. 1357; 1522-1523).

        D. Morris Can't Give Up His Mistress

   Morris' promises did not last long.  Although Maureene didn't know it at
the time, less than two weeks later he resumed his relationship with Vicki
(R. 1523).  By his own admission, he found himself unable to terminate the
relationship with Vicki, in response to questions by his own attorney:

   (At R. 366)

   Q. (By Mr. Byrne) Now, give the Court some judgement about how many times
   you attempted during 1978 and 1979 to break off your relationship with
   Vicki Booker?

   A. Oh, gosh, about every month I'd say.  It was a continual off and on
   relationship.
                                    ***
   (At R. 1367)

   A. (By Morris, describing Defendant's Exhibit 103, a letter from Morris
   to Vicki)  Well, its an undated letter.  I think it was in January of
   1979, and it basically described the continuing problem of we ought to
   end this relationship.  I'm telling her that I don't really think I've
   got the strength to and I wish she would do it herself."

                                    ***
   (At R. 1434)

   Q. (By Mr. Smith)  Let me ask you if you said this or this in substance
   in response to a question by Mr. Byrne.  'I attempted every month to
   break off my relationship with Vicki'.

   A.  I think that would be a pretty accurate statement before Maureene
   left home."

   Morris had been supporting Vicki since her divorce from her husband in
May, 1979, and he continued to do so as they continued their affair even
after promising Maureene in July, 1978 that the affair was over for good.
Morris admits to having provided the following support to Vicki during the
eleven-month period from may, 1978 through March, 1979 (R. 1504, et seq):

      May 30, 1978            $1,500
      June 6, 1978               500
      June 22, 1978            1,500
      July 6, 1978             1,000 (after "reconciling" with
      July 30, 1978            1,500  Maureene July 3rd)
      Aug. 26, 1978            1,500
      Aug. 27, 1978            1,625
      Sept. 20, 1978           1,500
      Nov. 27, 1978            5,000
      Jan. 25, 1979            5,000
      March, 1979              2,000
      Total                  $22,625

  Morris stopped sending Vicki money only when the present divorce suit was
filed (R. 1506).  In addition, Morris loaned Vicki $28,000, at 8% interest,
to enable her to purchase her former husband's interest in their home at the
time of her divorce (R. 1351).

        E. Maureene Is Compelled To Seek Divorce

   In November, 1978, Morris finally admitted to Maureene that,
notwithstanding the promises that he had made in July to abandon Vicki and
reconcile with Maureene, he had continued to see Vicki in Birmingham, that
she was then five months pregnant with his child, and that he would be going
to Birmingham in a few days to be with her while she had an abortion which
Morris was paying for (R. 364). Over the next sixty days, Maureene concluded
that he simply could not accept the situation any longer.  It was apparent 
to Maureene that Morris was not going to stop seeing Vicki, and Maureene 
was not willing to live in a situation where she knew for a fact that her 
husband really had, in effect, two wives (R. 412).  Morris was supporting 
Vicki and had been doing so for almost a year.  He treated Vicki like a 
wife, supplying all of her financial and emotional needs.  He was there when 
she needed him. He was spending almost half a week going back and forth 
to Birmingham two or three times a week, attempting to divide his time 
between them (R. 412).  In January or February, 1979, Maureene told Morris 
that she could simply no longer accept this situation, and that she was 
going to leave (R. 385). Following this conversation, Morris started trying 
to induce Maureene to execute certain agreements (which will be discussed 
in detail hereafter) that would permit each of them to have sexual relations 
with other parties (R. 385).  Maureene refused to sign any of these 
agreements (R. 387).
  While trying to induce her to sign these agreements, Morris continued to 
tell Maureene that he loved her and that he would stop seeing Vicki (R. 390). 
However, he did not stop seeing her.  During this period he took Vicki and 
her children to the ballet in birmingham, and spent the night at Vicki's 
house (R. 390).  He met Vicki in New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl in January, 
1979, where they spent two days together (R. 1473).
   In March, 1979, Maureene left Morris for the last time, and she has lived
separate and apart from him ever since (R. 370).  Morris and Vicki moved 
into the family home in Mathews (R. 370).  Maureene commenced the present 
suit on March 8, 1979.
   Following the final separation, Morris openly continued his relationship
with Vicki.  Taking his daughter, Ellie, with him, Morris met Vicki in Los
Angeles on March 10, 1979 (R. 1473).  He introduced Vicki to Ellie as "Pat"
(R. 1475), and after leaving Los Angeles the three of them flew to Las Vegas
together (R. 1475).  They had only one room for the three of them, but 
Morris claimed that Vicki sat up all night in the hotel lobby (R. 1476).  
Morris took Vicki to the White House signing of the Israel-Egypt Peace 
Treaty on March 26, 1979 (R. 1518).  On June 4, 1979, Morris took his 
daughter Ellie, and Vicki and her family, to the Grand Hotel (R. 1479).

        F. Morris Sets A Trap

   In February, 1979, Morris Dees realized that he was in a precarious legal
position.  He had been conducting an affair with Vicki McGaha for almost two
years; she had become pregnant by him and had received an abortion which he
had paid for; he was supporting her and spending most of his time with her
and planned to continue to do so; and Maureene, who was fully aware of all 
of these facts, and stated that she could not tolerate the situation any 
more and was leaving him to institute divorce proceedings.  To protect 
himself in the impending litigation, Morris had to find a way to neutralize 
Maureene.
  In February, 1979, after Maureene informed Morris that she was leaving him,
Morris wrote out an agreement, which he showed to her on a Sunday afternoon,
and asked her to stay and live by this agreement (R. 385).  This agreement,
identified and introduced as Plaintiff's Exhibit 30, purported to permit the
parties to lead separate lives but stay married, and provided that they 
would not hold anything against each other that had happened either before 
or after the date of the agreement (R. 386).  The first such purported 
agreement (Pl. Ex. 30) provided in part as follows:

      "Whereas they "Morris and Maureene) feel that they can better work
      toward a more complete and satisfying relationship in their marriage
      if they have an open marriage, i.e., where each party, while still
      living together as man and wife, be free to have relationships with
      the opposite sex, which said relationships may consist of sexual
      intercourse. . ."

   During the time that he was discussing this agreement and urging her to
sign it, Morris continued to tell Maureene that he loved her and that he had
stopped seeing Vicki (R. 390), which was another lie.  Plaintiff's Exhibit 
31 is another agreement which Morris drafted because he did not like the
language of the first agreement, and contains this provision:

     [PAGE 11 MISSING]

      A. Prior to even drawing up these agreements, I agreed to it orally.
      I have already said that . . .
      Q. When did you first orally agree that your wife, your lawful wife,
      could have sexual intercourse with other people?
      A. About a day before this agreement was drawn up.
      Q. This was some time in February?
      A. Yes
      Q. And it was one day preceeding the first agreement?
      A. Approximately."

                                    ***
      (At page 253)
      "Q. You knew she (Maureene) knew about you and Vicki?
      A. About the abortion, and she said, I am going to use that and I
      said, Maureene, look if you have somebody you want to have sex with,
      go ahead and have sex with them.  We said that that night at the bar.
      Q. That was clear and unmistakable?
      A. Clear and unmistakable.
      Q. You encouraged her to and if there was anybody --
      A. If you call that encouragement --

        G. Morris' Trap Works: The Hotel Room Agreement

   On March 4, 1979, Maureene walked naively into the trap which Morris had
set.  On that date, she flew to Washington, D.C., where she met Brian
O'Daugharty (R. 576).  Maureene knew Mr. O'Daugherty in connection with her
work on the National Endowment, and he was the Director of the Media Arts
Program (R. 341).  Morris had told her that she could see anyone she wanted,
as long as she was discreet (R. 578), and her flight to Washington was 
booked under the name of Better Foster (R. 576).  Maureene and O'Daugherty 
had dinner together on the night of March 4th, and returned to her hotel 
room (R. 578).  When they were in bed together, Morris and a Montgomery 
private detective, both of whom had been hiding in the bathroom, jumped out 
and started taking photographs, Morris said word in substance as follows:

   "Alright sister, you wanted a divorce.  Now I want one, because I've
   got you where I want you." (R. 586)

   Morris was acting crazy, and Maureene thought he was going to kill
everybody in sight.  He told her that he had five detectives with him (R.
592).  He hit her and gave her a busted jaw.  (R. 592).  He then started
writing something on paper which he then gave her to sign (R. 422-423).  
This document, entered unto evidence as Plaintiff's Exhibit 43, was a 
separation agreement (R. 423).  The agreement provided that Morris was 
to have custody of Ellie, the parties' nine-year old daughter.  Maureene was 
to receive "25,000 alimony-in-gross upon the "execution" (sic) of a divorce, 
and that in addition she was to receive $1,500 per month as alimony for a 
period of three years from the divorce.  Under this agreement, Maureene 
relinquished all claims to any real estate owned by Morris, and agreed to 
return to him the diamond ring which he had given to her.  The agreement 
recites that, although it is execute on March 5th in Washington, D.C., it 
will be notarized by an Alabama notary (the detective) and shall be 
governed by the laws of Alabama. Maureene signed the agreement because 
she was afraid not to (R. 423).
   After returning to Montgomery, Morris asked attorney Paul Lawrey to
handle the divorce based upon the hotel room agreement (R. 412). Although 
he knew that Maureene was already represented by Maury Smith, Morris 
instructed her to go to Paul Lowery's office for this purpose (R. 427). She 
declined to do this, and later Paul Lowery came to the house where Maureene 
was staying, with papers for her to sign, but she refused to do so 
(R. 428-429).
   Apparently in a last effort to induce a settlement with Maureene, Morris
later told her that he was sorry he had the photograph taken in the hotel
room, that he should not have taken them, and that he wanted her to have 
them (R. 426).  He gave them to her with instructions to destroy them, 
telling her that these were the only copies (R. 426).  He also gave the 
original signed copy of the hotel room agreement.  She tore up both 
envelopes without looking inside (R. 426).  Morris' statement that these 
were the only copies of the photographs was another lie, since he introduced 
the photographs into evidence at the trial.


Morris Dees - Part II