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Court has more questions about Silent Sam

An Orange County Superior Court still has questions about Silent Sam. 

On Friday, Dec. 20, Superior Court Judge Allen Baddour denied a civil rights group’s motion to intervene in a lawsuit over Silent Sam, the Confederate statue illegally toppled on UNC Chapel Hill’s campus in August 2018. The lawsuit in question sealed a Nov. 27 deal between the University of North Carolina System and the Sons of Confederate Veterans organization. As part of a pre-planned settlement, UNC gave Silent Sam to the SCV, along with a $2.5 million trust fund for the statue’s repair and display. 

The decision, which was kept secret until the day before Thanksgiving, drew public outrage. 

The Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, an advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., filed a motion to intervene in the case on behalf of some UNC Chapel Hill students and faculty members. 

Plaintiffs didn’t have grounds to intervene, Baddour said, but questions remain about the legal standing of the Confederate group that now possesses Silent Sam. Many, including Durham attorney and former UNC Board of Governors member Greg Doucette, have questioned whether the SCV had grounds for the lawsuit in the first place. 

Baddour will reconsider the settlement between UNC and SCV once attorneys from both sides file briefings about whether the Confederate organization had legal standing in the initial complaint, WUNC reporter Liz Schlemmer said in a tweet. 

The judge may also consider court oversight for the $2.5 million trust fund that has followed Silent Sam, Schlemmer tweeted. 

Read more about UNC’s transparency issues in the deal here