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Rival author accused of leaking Sarah Palin manuscript

Posted: Tuesday, February 22, 2011

JUNEAU — The writers of a former Sarah Palin aide’s unpublished memoir are alleging the author of a rival book helped leak copies of their manuscript, destroying its marketability.

In a letter to author Joe McGinniss, attorney Dean Steinbeck said the matter “appears to be no more than that of a jealous author sabotaging a competitor via unlawful and unscrupulous means.”

Efforts to reach McGinniss were not immediately successful Monday. An e-mail sent to an account he kept while working on his own book on Palin wasn’t immediately returned.

Steinbeck’s letter, on behalf of Ken Morris, Jeanne Devon and Frank Bailey and posted on Devon’s blog, states the writers are reviewing their legal options, “and I can assure this is not the last time you will hear from them.”

The letter alleges McGinniss received an “unlawfully distributed version of the Work” between Feb. 16 and Feb. 18 and distributed it.

“As an author, you are well aware that your actions have significantly impaired the Copyright Owners ability to market the book,” he wrote.

Morris, in a blog post, said a similar letter was also being sent to those “we have identified as also unlawfully reproducing portions of our work.”

“I guess you can say we are not rolling over, and for those who ignore law and morality, we are not going away.”

Bailey was an aide to Palin when she was governor of Alaska. Devon, a blogger, is a frequent Palin critic.

A draft of the unpublished manuscript leaked to news outlets and political circles late last week, with stories about it and its contents making national news. The Anchorage Daily News reported that it received copies of the manuscript from multiple sources, including McGinniss.

McGinniss, a best-selling author who also wrote a magazine expose on Palin and her natural gas pipeline plan, last year lived next door to the Palins in Wasilla for about three months while researching a book on Palin, the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee.

The move garnered headlines and complaints from Palin, who had a fence between the two properties extended.

Last year, activist Andree McLeod asked the attorney general to look into what she alleged was a violation of state ethics rules for Bailey’s access to — and possession of — e-mails from Palin’s time as governor. The executive ethics act bars current or former public officials from using information gained during the course of their work for personal gain if the information hasn’t been publicly disseminated.

Morris last week said that Bailey had thousands of e-mails from the Palins. The state is currently reviewing Palin’s e-mails for an expected spring release in response to public records requests, including from news organizations and McLeod.

Assistant Attorney General Judy Bockmon wrote in an e-mail to McLeod that the investigation into her complaint is ongoing. McLeod provided a copy of the e-mail to The Associated Press.



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