According to a divorce court appellate brief obtained by Big League Politics, the co-founder of one of America’s most influential law firms had an affair with an employee in 1973.
“In his deposition, Morris [Dees] admits that in the spring of 1973, or during the summer of 1973 he had an affair with Dianne Hicks, a Mobile lawyer who was working for the Southern Poverty Law Center,” the brief says. “He had sex with her during a canoe trip down the Tallapoosa River, and also in Brewton where they were working together on a trial.”
At that time, Morris was married to Maureene Dees, his now ex-wife. The two had a rocky marriage which ended in divorce after Morris allegedly attempted to blackmail Maureene and allegedly physically abused her.
“Maureene and [new lover Brian] O’Daugherty had dinner together on the night of March 4th, and returned to her hotel room,” the brief says. “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.’
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. He hit her and gave her a busted jaw. He then started writing something on paper which he then gave her to sign. This document, entered unto evidence as Plaintiff’s Exhibit 43, was a separation agreement.”
BLP Passage Ends.
Morris and Maureene were separated at the time of the incident, and had agreed to see other people.
According to the appellate brief, Morris also took a road trip with another SPLC employee and shared hotel accommodations with her. The brief does not detail whether Morris was conducting an affair with this employee.
“In the spring of 1977 Morris planned a trip to Kentucky and invited Maureene to go with him, knowing that she could not go becuase [sic] she was in rehearsal for a play,” the brief says. “Over Maureene’s objection, he took with him, on his motorcycle Pamela Horowitz, a lawyer working for the Southern Poverty Law Center at that time . He drove the motorcycle and she rode behind him from Montgomery to Kentucky, and they were gone for four or five days, during which they shared the same hotel accomodations [sic].”
SPLC has still not responded to an email request for comment regarding whether they condone Dees’ behavior. When Big League Politics called for comment, SPLC’s media contact briskly hung up the phone.
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