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It’s been whispered in barbershops, beauty salons, and church pews for decades: The murder of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wasn’t the act of a lone, crazed gunman, but an intricate plot by the U.S. government to silence the powerful civil-rights leader. For years, lawyer and journalist William F. Pepper hunted for the facts behind the conspiracy theories, but, despite a high-profile civil suit, his findings have been largely ignored. An Act of State: The Execution of Martin Luther King is Pepper’s attempt to again bring the controversy into the public eye and disassociate his work from rants about Area 51 or the Illuminati. The book is filled with amazing informationtons of small anecdotes from people who were near the Lorraine Motel on April 4, 1968, a theory on the role of Memphis, Tenn., barkeep Loyd Jowers, and even a link to Jack Ruby. But can it all really be true? Pepper makes his case at 7 p.m. at Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 364-1919 (Sarah Godfrey)