From ABC News:
Sarah Palin’s family attorney John Tiemessen has written a letter to Maya Mavjee, the publisher of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, that Palin may sue her, the company, and the book’s author Joe McGinniss “for knowingly publishing false statements” in his book released last week, “The Rogue,” ABC News has learned.
The book was widely panned by critics for using unnamed sources to criticize Palin and her family. Tiemessen cites an email they have access to in which McGinniss writes that attorneys from Crown Publishing told him “nothing I can cite other than my own reporting rises above the level of tawdry gossip. The proof is always just around the corner, but that is a corner nobody has been able to turn” and that McGinniss “ran out of time” to sufficiently source the book.
A source close to the Palins tells ABC News that the “Palins are fighting back and demanding answers from Random House.”
“Random House is at the top of the food chain and published a book based upon acknowledged unsubstantiated gossip,” the source said. “The revealing email is key as evidence of this defamatory approach to politics through proxies.”
Tiemessen writes in the letter that the email “clearly describes the fact that Mr. McGinniss researched and investigated many false and scurrilous allegations, and concluded that there was absolutely no evidence anywhere backing these allegations.”
Palin’s attorney writes that it is “malicious” for Crown to publish the book when it has proof McGinniss and Crown “were fully aware the statements in the book were false, intended to be false, and were intended to harm.”
“The final work that was published contains most of the stories that Mr. McGinniss complains were nothing more than ‘tawdry gossip’ that amounted to the wishful fantasies of disturbed individuals,” Tiemessen writes. “Since both your company, and the author, clearly knew the statements were false, admitted they had no basis in fact or reality, but decided to publish in order to harm Governor Palin’s family, you and Mr. McGinniss have defamed the Palins.”
Dave Weigel of Slate reports that Crown/Random House, publisher of The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin, has released the following statement on allegations that Joe McGinniss’s book is a literary hoax:
Joe McGinniss’s book The Rogue is based on the author’s extensive on-the-ground reporting in Alaska, as well as in-depth interviews he conducted with approximately 200 people who have known Governor Palin at different stages of her life and career. After a thorough and careful examination of the book, including probing discussions with the author about his sources, we are confident that the reporting it contains is solid, reliable, and well-substantiated.
Yet McGinniss revealed in an e-mail in January 2011 that Random House lawyers had informed him–after all of that “extensive-on-the-ground reporting in Alaska, as well as in-depth interviews”–that his manuscript contained nothing beyond “tawdry gossip,” and that his most “salacious stories” lacked “factual evidence.”
Yesterday, McGinniss told Mediaite: “My reporting continued beyond the date of the email.” In an attempt to prove that claim, he has released e-mails to Weigel showing his correspondence with prostitute Shailey Tripp, as he attempted to substantiate his claim that “Todd had sex with a hooker.”
But the new emails only highlight McGinniss’s decision not to include allegations about a “hooker” in the published book. They do not show why McGinniss chose to include almost every other allegation in The Rogue about which he had admitted in January that there was no “factual evidence.” McGinniss omits any emails relating to those claims.
As Big Journalism wrote yesterday, the only new “evidence” that McGinniss appears to have obtained between January 2011 and the book’s release this week concerns Trig Palin Trutherism and is cited to “blogs,” not on-the-ground reporting or interviews.
Last month, in a comment on his own blog, McGinniss provided clues to the true source of his new “evidence”:
I have great respect for–and have learned a lot from–all the bloggers I’ve already mentioned, including Immoral Minority, Progressive Alaska, Palingates, Politicalgates, and several others…I know Phil Munger and Jesse Griffin personally. I consider myself their friend. Whether I’m their friend or not, I admire much of what they do on their blogs. I’ve exchanged several emails with Patrick of Politicgates [sic]. I think the Politicalgates archives are the best single available resource for anyone wondering why questions are still being asked about Sarah really being Trig’s birth mother. The Immoral Minority archives are also rich in widely ignored material…
The question remains: what new evidence of any kind–never mind “solid, reliable, and well-substantiated”–did McGinniss discover between January and September 2011 to substantiate the following claims:
a) Todd had sex with a hooker, or with anyone else outside his marriage.b) Sarah had an affair with Brad Hanson, or anyone else.c) Track was a druggie who enlisted in the army to avoid a jail term. Or that he vandalized Wasilla school buses.d) Willow was involved in the vandalism of the empty house in Meadow Lakes. Or that Sarah rushed back from Hawaii to put the lid on that.e) Trig is not Sarah’s natural born child.f) Bristol was promiscuous as a high schooler and drank and used drugs, or became pregnant again after Tripp’s birth.