Justice Considers Limited King Assassination Probe
Discussions continue with slain civil rights leader's family
By Terry Frieden/CNN
WASHINGTON (July 30) -- A high-ranking Justice Department official said Thursday the family of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. continues to express "concerns" about the department's tentative proposals to open a limited Justice investigation into aspects of the King assassination.
Associate Attorney General Ray Fisher said "a constructive dialogue" with the King family continued, with discussions Wednesday.
"We have discussed with them not a draft, but we have discussed with them orally what kind of process we would follow to see if that meets their concerns. And we think it should, but they're thinking about it," Fisher said.
The King family has said it does not believe James Earl Ray was responsible for the 1968 assassination in Memphis. Ray, who died in April from liver failure, originally confessed to the killing but later recanted that confession.
The King family has consistently called for an independent, presidentially appointed commission to conduct a full investigation into the assassination. Coretta Scott King, her children and advisors have indicated a deep mistrust of the FBI, and publicly expressed doubts about the Justice Department and FBI handling any new probe.
Fisher said the Department was awaiting a reply to the Wednesday discussions. "We flushed out sort of what the kind of process would be, and they, I think, took it in a very positive and constructive manner, and they're reflecting on that," he said.
An announcement by the Justice Department has been delayed for several weeks, as Attorney General Janet Reno and top aides have struggled for a solution to the King family's request for an investigation.
Fisher said he hoped the issue could be resolved soon.