Stephanie Grace (left), Yelena Shagall

*Turns out that the exposed email from a Harvard Law student that suggested blacks are inherently less intelligent than whites was leaked as the result of a catfight between the author and her former friend, who sent it to the Boston Globe out of spite.

Gawker.com got to the bottom of the scandal that started six months ago, when Stephanie Grace — in November 2009 – joined two friends for a conversation in the Harvard cafeteria.

Gawker reports:

One of these students was fellow 3rd-year law student Yelena Shagall. At the time, the three were close friends and regularly had heated discussions about controversial subjects. That day, we’re told, the topic was affirmative action. They discussed.

Afterward, Stephanie apparently had additional thoughts regarding the possible genetic inferiority of black people, which she could not stop herself from typing into a computer and emailing to her friend Yelena and the other friend: She said she could not rule out “the possibility that African Americans are, on average, genetically predisposed to be less intelligent.”

Stephanie and Yelena had a falling out last week, we’re told. We don’t know what the fight was about, exactly, but at least one mutual acquaintance is pretty sure it was about a boy. The Harvard tipster tells us:

Stephanie’s close friend Yelena Shagall forwarded the email out after Stephanie confronted her because Yelena had slept with a mutual friend’s ex-boyfriend. During this fight, Yelena told Stephanie she would “ruin her life.”

Yelena soon embarked on a mission. She began posting mean messages on pictures of Stephanie on Facebook. Unsatisfied, she apparently dug up the email and forwarded it to a few choice recipients—either directly to members of the Black Law Student Association or people she knew had connections to the BLSA. She wanted the now six month-old email to cause a splash.

It worked: Members of the BLSA passed the email among themselves, understandably enraged by the content. The legal gossip blog Above the Law caught wind of a scandal brewing and posted the email. Lots of blogs picked up the ATL post and the email—some, including us, the Huffington Post and the Boston Globe named Stephanie Grace as its author.

The Dean of HLS issued a denouncement of the email. Students began contacting Judge Alex Kozinski, demanding Stephanie Grace be stripped of her clerkship. Eventually, Stephanie apologized to the BLSA. As the story broke, Yelena apparently changed her Facebook status to read “Karma ;)”

But here’s the thing: A number of people have told us Yelena holds extremely conservative views on race herself. (She used to be an officer in the te super-conservative Federalist Society.) Skimming the op-eds she wrote for the school newspaper at the University of Illinois, Chicago—where she got her bachelor’s—supports this. For example, Yelena wrote an op-ed titled “Racism plagues college admissions process.” Reverse racism.