Attorneys representing former Alaska governor Sarah Palin have written to Crown Publishing, a division of Random House, serving notice of possible litigation for defamation in connection with Joe McGinniss’s recent anti-Palin biography, and warning the company not to delete or destroy relevant documents.
The letter reads, in part:
Enclosed is an e-mail by your author Joe McGinniss. In this e-mail, Mr. McGinniss admits that your own lawyers instructed him that “nothing I can cite other than my own reporting rises above the level of tawdry gossip.”….Indeed, Mr. McGinniss admits that the allegations are false unless he can find someone or something to show they are true. We know from the final book that he was unable to do so.
It is malicious for your company to publish a book wherein it, and the author, admit that they were fully aware the statements in the book were false, intended to be false, and were intended to harm…
Accordingly, 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. This letter shall serve as written notice under AS.09.30.070 (b) that a claim may be brought against you, your company and Mr. McGinniss for knowingly publishing false statements.
In the interim, please take note of the following: It is unlawful to delete emails or destroy records upon being notified of the need of business records for litigation purposes. In addition, courts may impose civil sanctions against a defendant that destroys emails and other documentation. Please immediately provide notice to your employees to save and back up all records pertaining to the Palins and the book “The Rogue.”…Sep 26, 2011 6:30pm
READ THE ENTIRE LETTER HERE
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.”
Tiemessen ends the letter by warning the publishing house not to “delete emails or destroy records” that may be used in the suit.
The email Tiemessen cites in his letter to Mavjee came to light last week when conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart posted an email between McGinniss and liberal Alaskan blogger, Jesse Griffin. In the email posted on Breitbart’s site without explanation for how they got access to it, McGinniss writes, “Legal review of my manuscript is underway and here’s my problem: no one has ever offered documentation of any of the lurid stories about the Palins.” (Continues here)