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Front Page - Friday, July 12, 2019

Nicely to read at Southern Lit event

Evans Harrison Hackett attorney Maury Nicely will read from his historical nonfiction book, “Hoffa in Tennessee,” Aug. 22, 6 p.m., at the Arts Building. - Photograph provided

Maury Nicely is not just a well-known attorney with Evans Harrison Hackett. He’s also a passionate student of local history and an author.

His first book, “Chattanooga Walking Tour & Historic Guide,” is a guidebook to downtown Chattanooga and a compendium of little-known historical facts about many of the sites.

Now Nicely has published a work of historical nonfiction through the University of Tennessee Press called “Hoffa in Tennessee.”

Acquitted in a Nashville court during the Test Fleet case, Hoffa was under investigation for jury tampering and subsequently tried and convicted in Chattanooga after a judge in Nashville granted a change of venue.

Nicely explores Hoffa’s time in Tennessee, the major players in the case and the development of Bobby Kennedy as Hoffa’s main antagonist.

While many books overlook this tipping point in Hoffa’s career and instead focus on his disappearance, Nicely mines court transcripts and presents the Tennessee trials as both the height of Hoffa’s perceived invincibility and the beginning of his downfall.

“As Nicely shows in vivid detail, Hoffa’s Chattanooga trial became the story of a lone, embattled judge struggling to control a legal proceeding that teetered on the edge of bedlam, threatening to spin out of control,” says a news release issued by Southern Lit Alliance.

In the end, Hoffa was convicted – an extraordinary change of fortune that forecast his downfall and mysterious disappearance a decade later.

Nicely will read from his book Thursday, Aug. 22, 6 p.m., at the Arts Building, 301 East 11th St. The event will be part of Southern Lit Alliance’s South Bound Lecture Series. Tickets are $10 and will be available at the door.

Nicely graduated from Vanderbilt University and University of Georgia School of Law. He concentrates his practice in the areas of employment litigation, labor law and general business litigation.

Originally from Chattanooga, Nicely lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their sons, Charles and William.