In a deposition, former Governor Bill Owens says he was glad the University of Colorado didn’t immediately fire professor Ward Churchill, as Owens (pictured) had urged, in the wake of a controversial essay about the 9/11 terrorist attacks that triggered national outrage when it came to the media’s attention in 2005.

That’s according to the Rocky Mountain News, which reports that Owens feels that had Churchill been fired, Churchill’s free-speech rights would have been violated.

Yet CU eventually did fire Churchill, in 2007, after a faculty committee questioned whether he plagiarized and misrepresented historical facts in his writings.

Churchill is suing and will go to trial on March 9 in District Court in Denver. His lawyer, David Lane, who released the week-old deposition to the Rocky yesterday, says Owens failed to uphold the Constitution and pressured the university to get rid of Churchill.