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LEADING the team of expert defence witnesses was Professor Richard Evans, author of the book In Defence of History. Charged with the mission of destroying Mr Irving's legitimacy as an historian, for which he was paid two years' salary as a reward, Evans submitted a 740-page expert report, accompanied by sixteen ring-binders of documents. The report was less impressive than it might seem, judged purely by its length and weight. Evans had no trouble publishing a book based on his report in other countries, but in the U.K. his publishers rightly feared the consequences, obliging the U.S. publisher Basic Books Inc. to leap in and take over. Basic Books, the distributors, and Prof. Evans will find that the Defamation Act has not lost its sting. Mr Irving has written on Saturday, February 9, 2002 warning them . . .
London, Saturday, February 9, 2002
Libel Risk in distributing Basic Books ISBN: 0465 021 530
It has come to my attention that you intend to distribute within the jurisdiction of the English High Court your polemical book Lying About Hitler. The publisher is announced as the U.S. publisher Basic Books; U.K. publishers have properly rejected it for fear of libel action.
This letter puts you on notice that we hold the work as published in the United States to be libellous, and that it will be the subject of action in defamation if published unaltered in this jurisdiction. I have no objection to its publication if the defamatory untruths are taken out, but I remind you that the book's commissioning publisher, the reputable U.K. firm of William Heinemann, Ltd., refused to publish it on the report of their own legal advisers (without any initiative from myself), and that Granta have evidently dropped it for the same reason: see The Guardian, attached.
I strongly advise you to obtain Counsel's opinion, as I have, on the defamatory content of this book. Please acknowledge receipt of this letter.