Sarah Palin Lawsuit? Ex-Governor Threatens To Sue Book Publisher, ABC Reports

09/26/2011 08:49 pm ET | Updated Nov 26, 2011

ABC News reports that Sarah Palin is considering suing Random House, the book publisher that released The Rogue, a highly critical book about her life by writer Joe McGinniss.

According to ABC, Palin family attorney John Tiemessen wrote a letter to Maya Mavjee, the publisher of the Crown Publishing Group (a division of Random House) in which he spelled out the family's legal grievances against McGinnniss.

Tiemessen also makes reference to an email in which McGinnis describes Random House lawyers expressing concern that his reporting amounted to little more than "tawdry gossip."

“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.”

McGinniss created instant controversy when, in 2010, he rented a house adjacent to Palin's in Wasilla, Alaska to work on his expose. Among the more lurid allegations in his book: Palin snorted cocaine off an oil barrel, slept with a string of black men, and may not have been the real mother of Trig, her fifth child.

"The Rogue" has received largely negative reviews from mainstream media outlets, which have criticized McGinniss' book for its reliance on thin sourcing. Janet Maslin at The New York Times said that sections of it were "too nasty to be lucid." Nick Gillespie at The Washington Post wrote that McGinniss "serves up any and all rumors and calumnies about Palin, the more salacious the better." Slate reports that the book may have backfired on its author by creating a wave of sympathy for Palin; the result of all the unconfirmed accusations mean that "even regular critics feel a bit sorry for the former governor."

For his part, McGinniss, who made his name with the 1968 book "The Selling of the President," about Richard Nixon's re-election campaign, thinks his book has been underplayed by the media. Politico reports that the author complained on the website Firedoglake that NPR refused to book him for fear of losing Congressional funding for appearing too biased.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article suggested that "The Rogue" had alleged that Sarah Palin may be the real mother of "Trig, Bristol Palin's baby." Trig is in fact Sarah Palin's fifth child, and the book discusses rumors that Bristol is Trig's real mother.

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