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With the Rev. Al Sharpton at his side and dozens of cheering supporters behind him, Alton Maddox defiantly refused a court order to apologize for calling an opposing lawyer a "bald-faced racist" at the Tawana Brawley defamation trial.

Maddox arrived at the Dutchess County courthouse Monday amid shouts that he was a "warrior" and a "hero." In a four-page response to State Supreme Court Justice S. Barrett Hickman's order to apologize by Jan. 25, Maddox said that an apology would be "an act of treason to my Creator, my ancestors."

"I would prefer to be standing before a firing squad, than to ever apologize," he said. Maddox, a lawyer, has been suspended since 1990 for making outrageous statements and charges. His actions Monday could result in his disbarment.

Maddox made the remarks to attorney William Stanton near the start of the turbulent eight-month trial. Stanton was the lawyer for Stephen Pagones, who sued Maddox, Sharpton and C. Vernon Mason for accusing him of raping Ms. Brawley in 1987. A grand jury later concluded Ms. Brawley's story was a hoax.

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