Va. high court considers ex-King confidant's case

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- A lawyer has asked the Virginia Supreme Court to throw out the incest conviction of a former top adviser to Martin Luther King Jr.

The Rev. James Bevel, the architect of the 1963 Children's Crusade in Birmingham, Ala., died in 2008 at age 72 while his appeal was pending. His attorney, Bonnie Hoffman, is seeking what's known as an abatement. The idea is that a conviction is not final until the appeals process is complete.

However, Senior Assistant Attorney General Virginia Theisen (THIGH'-sun) said that under the law, convictions are presumed to be valid.

A Loudoun County judge refused to abate the conviction after hearing emotional testimony from Bevel's victim. The Virginia Court of Appeals upheld the decision.

A ruling by the Supreme Court is likely in early November.