200px-ward_churchillWard Churchill, the former University of Colorado professor who ignited national furor after writing an essay comparing the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks to the Nazi who engineered the Holocaust, was himself the victim of a “howling mob” that led to his firing for academic misconduct in 2007. That’s according to Churchill’s attorney, David Lane, who yesterday argued in court that the university should have instead defended his client’s freedom of speech, reports The Denver Post.

It was the opening foray into what will be weeks of testimony, as Churchill fights to get his job back. Churchill’s lawsuit has spawned loads of blow-by-blow blogging, including from Boulder’s Daily Camera, which writes that CU Provost Phil DiStefano faced intense questioning for his role in Churchill’s firing.

RaceToTheBottom blogs that the real star of the trial on Tuesday afternoon was CU’s law school (DiStefano acknowledged that he turned to dean David Getches at times for advice on whether Churchill’s controversial essay “constituted protected speech”).

And Westword cartoonist Kenny Be recently took a stab at the Churchill controversy (twisting the knife) here.