From Jonathan Karl at ABC News blog The Note:
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.”
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.”
Courtesy of Andrew Breitbart's Big Government, here are excerpts from the letter:
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.Landmark Legal Foundation president Mark Levin comments that the McGinness email to Jesse Griffin is essentially a waiver of attorney privilege:
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."
Stacy McCain observes that the Tiemessen letter is no idle "threat." It's a “demand letter.”
ABC News has a copy of the full letter here.