Harper Lee's lawyer defends herself against exploitation accusations

Tonja Carter, the lawyer who found Harper Lee's 50-year old sequel to 'To Kill a Mockingbird' has been replying to suggestions that she exploited the 88-year old author by getting the new discovery published against the real wishes of Ms Lee.

Gregory Peck played Atticus in To Kill A Mockingbird Featureflash

When asked about suggestions that she was exploiting the 88-year old who now lives in a care home, Ms Carter said: 'Nothing can describe how I feel” about that. She was then asked why she had not previously provided more information on how she found the manuscript. She replied: I am a lawyer, not a celebrity. The focus should be on the gift Harper Lee is giving the world.'

Firm played role in Mockingbird

Ms Carter works at Barnett, Bugg, Lee & Carter in Monroeville, Alabama - a firm which still closes for an hour at lunch. Alice Lee, Harper's sister, used to work at the firm. Her father, the model for Atticus in 'To Kill a Mockingbird' was also at the firm. Ms Carter passed her bar exams at the Alabama School of Law in 2006. She began going through papers that were held for Harper Lee last summer and started reading the manuscript. Seeing the same characters at a different stage in their lives, she was confused and said: 'I was so stunned. At the time, I didn’t know if it was finished.' 

Happy as hell

Some living in Monroeville question whether Harper Lee would have freely allowed the sequel to be published as she has shunned more exposure to the world after To Kill a Mockingbird came out. To counter suggestions that Ms Carter was driving the project and bamboozling an elderly woman who was losing her clarity of mind, Ms Harper issued a statement to say that she was 'happy as hell with the reactions' to the new book,  Go Set a Watchman, due to be published in July. ’Source: New York Times

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