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Conservative suing University of Iowa has contract to write book about her discrimination case

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IOWA CITY, Iowa — A woman who claims the University of Iowa law school rejected her for faculty jobs because of her conservative beliefs is writing a book about her discrimination lawsuit even before the case is over, her attorney confirmed Thursday.

Teresa Wagner has a contract to publish the book this year with Encounter Books, which has published many books by conservative authors, attorney Steve Fieweger said. She has already submitted a draft for editing and review.

The book deal comes at an awkward time in Wagner's long-running lawsuit, in which she claims the school's liberal professors denied her jobs teaching legal writing in 2007 because she is a Republican and outspoken opponent of abortion.

Both sides are gearing up for the second trial in the case, scheduled to begin June 22, after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the university's request to block it. A 2012 trial ended in an unusual mistrial. Jurors said they believed Wagner suffered discrimination but that the named defendant, former law school dean Carolyn Jones, wasn't responsible.

Asked why Wagner was writing the book now, Fieweger said: "She's a writer and she wanted to put forth what her thoughts were." He declined to reveal the financial details of the contract, but acknowledged they may be relevant to her earnings and come out at trial.

Wagner mentioned the book contract during a speech in Washington last month at the Family Research Council, a social conservative group where she once worked. She made her manuscript available to those who attended the speech, and asked anyone interested to sign up so they could order the book after publication. She is expected to write about her legal claims, the personal and professional problems suffered while pursing them, and her arguments for why law schools aren't serving students well.

After seeing video of Wagner's speech posted online, an assistant attorney general representing the university asked a judge to reopen discovery so that he could obtain Wagner's book contract, manuscript and correspondence with conservative groups who are helping publicize it. The attorney, George Carroll, argued the documents could show inconsistent statements by Wagner and shed light on financial motives driving the lawsuit.

Wagner's attorney opposed the request, saying her book covers testimony she's already given and the other materials are irrelevant to the facts at issue.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Helen Adams granted the university's request Wednesday.

"To the extent any new facts may be found in the documents and presentation materials which contradict statements plaintiff has previously made, defendants are entitled to discover them," Adams wrote.

She said the university should promptly seek the information from Wagner and serve any subpoenas on outside groups such as the Family Research Council. The university can also conduct limited depositions of Wagner and others if necessary, Adams ruled.

In her speech last month, Wagner solicited donations for legal fees to continue pursuing the lawsuit, saying the "well has run dry."

"I hate to take away from any other worthy cause ... but this will end and we are on the precipice," she said. "We are poised to come away with a victory. I certainly hope so. But even if not, we have a historic moment to call the country's attention to the malfeasance of these law schools."

Encounter Books is run by a nonprofit that is largely funded by donations from the Bradley Foundation, a Milwaukee-based group that bankrolls conservative causes.

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