May 5, 2000
David Irving condemns £150,000 court ruling
HISTORIAN David Irving has condemned a court ruling that he must pay £150,000 towards defence costs in his failed libel action by 16 June or face bankruptcy.
Mr Irving told the BBC that the court order -- applied for on behalf of Penguin Books and Deborah Lipstadt, author of Denying the Holocaust -- was intended to prevent him appealing against the decision to reject his libel action over the book.
He said the 32-day trial could have been avoided had the parties agreed to pay him[*] £500 and give an apology before the case came to court.
Mr Justice Gray last month denounced Mr Irving as both an anti-Semitic and a racist when he ruled in favour of Penguin and Ms Lipstadt -- leaving the historian with a costs bill of more than £2m.
Mr Irving, 62, claimed the book had destroyed his livelihood and generated waves of hatred against him after describing him as "one of the most dangerous spokespersons for Holocaust denial".
Mr Justice Gray made the order for interim costs at a hearing at the London Law Courts on Friday.
Mr Irving has refused to confirm how much he has in his fighting fund for the case or whether he would pay the interim costs by the six week deadline.
Mr Irving brought the libel action because he said his reputation had been damaged by Prof Lipstadt and his livelihood threatened as a result.
But after considering the case for almost four weeks, Mr Justice Gray ruled against Irving, concluding that the defence of justification succeeded.
In her book, Ms Lipstadt, who is Professor of Modern Jewish and Holocaust studies at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, questioned Mr Irving's claim to be a historian at all and described him as a "Hitler partisan" who had distorted history.
Mr Irving said he never claimed the Holocaust did not occur, but did question the number of Jewish dead and denied their systematic extermination in concentration camp gas chambers.
May 5, 2000
Website fact: The stamina of the defence team was aided by a six million dollar fund provided by Stephen Spielberg, Edgar J Bronfman, and the American Jewish Committee, which enabled them to pay 21 lawyers and "experts"; the experts like Evans, Longerich were paid up to £125,000 each to testify as they did (while the defence's star legal team was paid considerably more). Nobody was paying for Mr Irving, who has been fighting this battle for three whole years. Nor did he pay his defence witnesses one cent or sous: they testified from conviction, not for reward. [Help!]