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Martin Luther King children in court over estate case

  • Story Highlights
  • Two of King's children accuse third of wrongfully taking money from estates
  • Dexter King has denied claims by Bernice King, Martin Luther King III
  • Civil rights icons at courthouse to support family
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ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- A judge has ordered the children of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to meet in their capacity as the sole shareholders of the corporation that manages their iconic father's estate.

Dexter King has denied taking "substantial funds" from his parents' estates.

Dexter King has denied taking "substantial funds" from his parents' estates.

King's children were in Fulton County, Georgia, Superior Court Monday in a dispute over their parents' estates.

Two children of the civil rights icon are suing their brother, accusing him of wrongfully taking money from their parents' estates.

The Rev. Bernice King and Martin Luther King III allege Dexter King took "substantial funds" out of Coretta Scott King's estate and "wrongfully appropriated" money from their father's estate.

Dexter King has publicly denied the accusations.

It was unclear what outcome having a shareholder meeting for the Estate of Martin Luther King Jr., Inc. would have on the dispute. The three siblings have not held such a meeting since 2004, corporation attorney Luke Lantta said. The removal of Dexter King as the estate's administrator is unlikely because that would require a meeting of the board of directors.

Judge Ural Glanville on Monday also ruled in favor of dismissing some of the allegations against Dexter King, but left the question of whether he failed to act in the best interest of his father's incorporated estate to a jury. A trial on the allegation of breach of fiduciary duty could happen as early as next month.

The lawsuit reveals a very public fissure in an iconic family that has always professed unity, particularly as questions have swirled around some of their financial dealings.

Martin Luther King III and Bernice King were in the courtroom Monday, but Dexter King was not. He had been injured in an accident in California and did not make the trip to Georgia.

Dexter King had filed a counter claim against his sister, asking the court to force her to hand over to the corporation some items that belonged to Martin Luther King Jr.

In a special hearing Monday, the court ruled that the items, including Martin Luther King Jr.'s Nobel Peace Prize and his love letters to Coretta Scott King will be turned over to the court to hold until a resolution is reached.

The courtroom was packed with supporters of the King family.

Among those in attendance were the Rev. Joseph Lowery and former Ambassador Andrew Young, friends of Martin Luther King Jr. who worked with him during the civil rights movement.

CNN's Aaron Cooper contributed to this report.

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