Media

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PDF HERE.

DVeight article.pdf

Journalist and book purveyor Aaron Hicklin wrote this profile about me, for DVeight, "the magazine of modern living in the Catskills." It's accurate and snark-free but you can only read it on PDF or paper ... .

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Need some brilliance to fill your ears while you get a $400 body polish!

Slate The Waves

30 January 2019

Mr Chris Evans
Editor
Telegraph Media Group ("TMG") 111 Buckingham Palace Road London SW1W 0DT

Dear Mr Evans

Sent via E-mail to [email protected]

In the proposed matter of Burleigh v TMG

We act for Ms Nina Burleigh, from whom TMG commissioned an article "The Mystery of Melania" which ran as a Telegraph Magazine cover story on 19 January 2019 ("Article"), and also online from that date. The Article was based largely on reporting from Golden Handcuffs: The Secret History of Trump's Women, a book authored by Ms Burleigh and published in the United States by Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster in October 2018 ("Book"). The Article was also authored by Ms Burleigh, and expressly attributed to her by TMG in the print version and online.

The following week, on 26 January 2019, without Ms Burleigh's knowledge or consent, TMG published a swift and prominent apology and retraction of multiple statements said to be contained in Ms Burleigh's Article. "Melania Trump - An Apology" ("Apology") was published by TMG on the second page of its print edition, and on its website, where it still appears, at the URL https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/01/26/melania-trump-apology/. We attach copies of the Apology and Article. Meanwhile, TMG removed the whole Article from its website, so that readers are unable to compare the Apology with the actual statements made in the Article.

This letter is written in accordance with the Pre-Action Protocol for Defamation, to which you are referred.

The Apology

The Apology is reproduced here in full:

Following last Saturday's (Jan 19) Telegraph magazine cover story "The mystery of Melania", we have been asked to make clear that the article contained a number of false statements which we accept should not have been published. Mrs Trump's father was not a fearsome presence and did not control the family. Mrs Trump did not leave her Design and Architecture course at University relating to the completion of an exam, as alleged in the article, but rather because she wanted to pursue a successful career as a professional model. Mrs Trump was not struggling in her modelling career before she met Mr Trump, and she did not advance in her career due to the assistance of Mr Trump.

We accept that Mrs Trump was a successful professional model in her own right before she met her husband and obtained her own modelling work without his assistance. Mrs Trump met Mr Trump in 1998, not in 1996 as stated in the article. The article also wrongly claimed that Mrs Trump's mother, father and sister relocated to New York in 2005 to live in buildings owned by Mr Trump. They did not. The claim that Mrs Trump cried on election night is also false.

We apologise unreservedly to The First Lady and her family for any embarrassment caused by our publication of these allegations. As a mark of our regret we have agreed to pay Mrs Trump substantial damages as well as her legal costs.

In short, your Apology traduces Ms Burleigh's reputation as a competent journalist by asserting that many of the statements in the Article and by extension in the Book from which the Article was derived, both authored by her, are false.

In fact, it is TMG's Apology that is false. It appears that fear of Mrs Trump's lawyer Mr Harder, the "Gawker slayer", caused TMG to capitulate abjectly in the face of his letter without regard to normal journalistic principles, at the cost of Ms Burleigh's personal and professional reputation. In reality, the statements in the Article that Mrs Trump complained about were (1) well-sourced, (2) professionally fact checked before publication, (3) extensively reviewed by a lawyer retained by Gallery, (4) given proper and prudent caveats in the Article, and (5) benign. TMG had nothing to apologise for, and both the fact that it did so, and the particularly lurid way it abandoned the Article, have turned Ms Burleigh into an international poster girl for "fake news".

In particular, the following statements in the Apology are defamatory of Ms Burleigh:

a. "the article contained a number of false statements which we accept should not have been published." This statement is untrue. The Article only contained statements which had been properly sourced. Most had been published before in Ms Burleigh's Book. The only exception was the word "fearsome" which TMG itself added shortly before publication, and which was a fair description of the evidence provided.

Not only were all the statements repudiated by TMG true, they were properly sourced, according to normal journalistic practice. TMG knew this. Ms Burleigh provided TMG with the names or descriptions of the sources she relied upon before the Apology was issued. (See Email from N Burleigh to R Murray, L Powell and E Rivlin, 23 January 2019.) Ms Burleigh had also sought comment from Mrs Trump a number of times before publication of her Book, but been rebuffed by her Press Secretary and Communications Director, Stephanie Grisham. TMG also knew this before publishing the Apology. Had TMG had any doubt about the sourcing or honesty of the Article, it had every opportunity to check before publication. The scrupulous line edit undertaken by Laura Powell, editor of the Magazine section in which the Article appeared, contains no requests for further checks or scepticism about the validity of Ms Burleigh's journalism. Indeed, Ms Powell praised the work in one email after the final round of edits: "Thanks again for a fascinating piece". Furthermore, editor Sasha Slater chose to make it the cover story.

b. "Mrs Trump met Mr Trump in 1998, not in 1996 as stated in the article." Unlike the Apology which categorically states that Mrs Trump met Mr Trump in 1998, the Article did not make any such categorical assertion about when they met. It simply states that one named source reported that Mrs Trump claimed in 1996 to know Mr Trump, while reporting with equal prominence in the same paragraph that another named source supported the "official story" that the couple only met in 1998. Ms Burleigh offers a balanced and carefully attributed account, which is accurate and true to her stated sources. The Apology, remarkably, mischaracterises the actual statements in Ms Burleigh's Article in order to disown and denounce them as "false".

RE: Burleigh v TMG - MCOSP-689575207-45031 30 January 2019
Page 2 of 5

c. "Mrs Trump's father was not a fearsome presence and did not control the family." Again, the Article is careful to attribute this description to its sources, Mrs Trump's childhood friends, not assert it as her own view. Nevertheless, it is also supported by the various other sources Ms Burleigh cited to TMG in her 23 January email. Finally, the Apology is untrue because it implies that Ms Burleigh used this phrase, which it disowns, when in fact TMG came up with this colourful epithet without Ms Burleigh's approval.

  1. "The article also wrongly claimed that Mrs Trump's mother, father and sister relocated to New York in 2005 to live in buildings owned by Mr Trump. They did not." Ms Burleigh stands by the sources she has cited to TMG in her 23 January email. But anyway, the Article does not state that Mrs Trump's relatives "relocated" to New York, simply that they "decamped", which does not connote the level of permanence one might imply into "relocation". Again, the Apology apologizes for something the Article did not say. There is plenty of evidence to substantiate the fact that Mrs Trump's mother, father and sister did spend some time living or staying in buildings owned by Mr Trump.

  2. "Mrs Trump did not leave her Design and Architecture course at University relating to the completion of an exam, as alleged in the article, but rather because she wanted to pursue a successful career as a professional model." In fact, the Article does not even allege that Mrs Trump left her Design and Architecture course, let alone that it was because of an exam. Rather it contains an anecdote about Mrs Trump taking an exam, attributed to the teaching assistant who was invigilating the exam. The Apology itself falsely imputes a statement to Ms Burleigh which she did not make, only to publicly denounce it, again impugning Ms Burleigh's integrity and competence as a reporter and journalist.

  3. "Mrs Trump was not struggling in her modelling career before she met Mr Trump, and she did not advance in her career due to the assistance of Mr Trump." Ms Burleigh stands by her sources, including those provided to TMG in her 23 January email.

g. "The claim that Mrs Trump cried on election night is also false." Ms Burleigh's Article does not make this claim, it simply reiterates what is by now common knowledge that Michael Wolff reported this in his widely publicised and quoted book, Fire and Fury.1 The attribution to Ms Burleigh is false.

h. "We [TMG] apologise unreservedly to the First Lady and her family for any embarrassment. As a mark of our regret we have agreed to pay Mrs Trump substantial damages as well as her legal costs." This implies that Ms Burleigh's Article is extremely untrustworthy and inaccurate, such as to warrant an unreserved apology and substantial damages from TMG. This is untrue.

It is also shocking that TMG did not make any effort to clear the Apology with Ms Burleigh before issuing it. It sought information from her about the individual claims asserted by Mrs Trump's lawyers, but then bent over backwards simply to accept those assertions as true without cross-checking them with Ms Burleigh and published the Apology without warning to her. The fact that TMG apologized for statements that the Article did not even make illuminates how careless it was about the truth in its headlong retreat, and how craven was its desire to appease Mrs Trump.

1 https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/jan/15/fire-and-fury-inside-the-trump-white-house-by-michael- wolff-digested-read

RE: Burleigh v TMG - MCOSP-689575207-45031 30 January 2019
Page 3 of 5

The overall effect of the Apology is to make the reasonable reader believe that Ms Burleigh is an incompetent and unprofessional journalist, who made multiple unsupported allegations or deliberate lies without sources or without checking them. This is evidenced by the avalanche of commentary and ridicule Ms Burleigh is now being forced to endure from other media sources, too many to list and quote beyond a few examples:

• "So which writer got so much wrong, and so maliciously wrong? The article, written by Nina Burleigh, who works for Newsweek as national politics correspondent, was an excerpt of her upcoming book Golden Handcuffs: The Secret History of Trump's Women... And she refuses to admit to her many errors, despite the Telegraph pulling her piece and paying damages ..." Herald Sun, 26 January 2019. https://www.heraldsun.com.au/blogs/andrew-bolt/third- minister-quits-will-the-last-out-turn-off-the-lights/news-story/e67925f4c39291e4c3645 e0c151a3acf

"In it, Burleigh even gets the date that Trump met his third wife wrong, writing that they met in 1996 when he was still married to Marla Maples." Daily Beast, 26 January 2019.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/britains-daily-telegraph-forced-to-apologize-to-melania-trump

"Perhaps Burleigh is telling the truth when she says her reporting is ironclad. Maybe the Telegraph is wrong. Maybe it's merely caving out of fear of a painful libel lawsuit. But it seems unlikely the paper would retract the story outright and agree to pay damages, had Burleigh not left them in a weak position by bungling the story considerably. Who simply gives in like that when they're right?" Washington Examiner, 28 January 2019.

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/nina-burleigh-is-undeterred-after-having-two-pieces-retracted-in-less-than-a-year.

"The newspaper - after an unusually swift retraction and settlement - pulled the story by the US journalist Nina Burleigh, who works for Newsweek and is the author of the book Golden Handcuffs: The Secret History of Trump's Women. The Telegraph took the story down from its website and issued a lengthy point-by-point correction." Guardian, 26 January 2019.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/jan/26/telegraph-apologises-and-pays-damages-to-melania-trump

Given that the Article, when published, was obviously derived from Ms Burleigh's Book (which was credited at the end along with the means of purchase and price), TMG's wholesale repudiation of its accuracy extends directly to the Book and so is very likely to impact Book sales. The link between the Article and Book is readily jumped on and reiterated in the publications quoted above. In soliciting the Article from Ms Burleigh, TMG sought temporary exclusivity of Book excerpts in the UK and promised to give the Book a "big push through [TMG's] online and social channels." (Email from L Powell to L Rhedd, 11 December 2018, 11:48h). The effect of suddenly deleting and repudiating the Article, which TMG had clearly sought out and valued as a cover story, will have the opposite effect on Book sales and her future ability to secure book contracts and freelance commissions on this and other topics and will cause Ms Burleigh serious financial loss.

REMEDIES

In the circumstances, we urgently seek the following remedies from you: • Removal of the Apology from your website.

RE: Burleigh v TMG - MCOSP-689575207-45031 30 January 2019
Page 4 of 5

  • Publication of a suitable apology to Ms Burleigh agreed with her:

    • in the next edition of the Telegraph and Telegraph Magazine, in a format agreed in advance with her that is at least as prominent as the Apology; and

    • in a position on the Telegraph website at least as prominent as the Apology for a period of at least 14 days after the removal of the Apology, and thereafter archived indefinitely so that it remains searchable.

  • Your undertaking not to repeat the allegations complained of.

  • Compensation for the damage to Ms Burleigh's reputation and for any financial loss she has or is likely to suffer.

  • Payment for the Article, as agreed between the Parties in advance of the publication.

  • Reimbursement of Ms Burleigh's legal costs.
    Please reply to this letter as a matter of urgency and in any case by 4pm on 1 February.

    In the meantime, our client reserves all her rights against TMG. Sincerely

    McAllister Olivarius

THE PEARCE BUILDING | WEST STREET | MAIDENHEAD | SL6 1RL | ENGLAND | +44 (0)1628 567 567 | DX 6411 MAIDENHEAD 63 PUTNAM STREET | PO BOX 173 | SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY 12866 | USA | +1 (518) 633-4775 | MCOLAW.COM

Authorised and regulated in the UK by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, registration number 498087 Partners: Dr Ann Olivarius (Solicitor of England & Wales and U.S. attorney licensed in MN, NH, VA, DC, ID & NY)

Dr J.F.O. McAllister (Registered Foreign Lawyer and U.S. attorney licensed in NY & CT) MCOSP-689575207-45031

RE: Burleigh v TMG - MCOSP-689575207-45031 30 January 2019
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Hanna Rosin interview me for New York Magazine, and we had a lively discussion about the transactional relationship, Donalds misogynistic and primal disgust at female biology, the influence of his mother, and much, much more. Read it here.

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I talked to Katie Rogers of the New York Times, and she wrote this .

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Watch it here.

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I talked to Dave Marash on his Santa Fe, NM, radio program for a full hour about Antarctica, exploration, the science of ice and melting ice shelves, climate change, sea level rise, penguins and much much miore. Listen in here.

Nina Burleigh on The Last WordThis was a fun exchange.

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Watch. Of course, the power of words and images is exactly why the assassins went into the offices of Charlie Hebdo today. Sticks and stones break bones, but words and images change minds-- images like the satirical pictures that the murdered French cartoonists excelled at scratching out on blank sheets of paper.

Those images are what the gunmen wanted to eradicate. But they wanted to destroy something else, too: wit and laughter, a sense of the ridiculous, the freedom to think, to read what one wants, to wear what one wants, to live and work and bear children how and where and when one wants, and the freedom to speak truth to power.

Many men and certainly most women on this planet will never have power. That's why speaking truth to power is so important. And why laughing at power should be a human right.

07/17/14

On CNN on Iraq

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After ISIS took over Mosul, Nina Burleigh talked about Iraq on CNN here.

Nina Burleigh on CNN.jpegNina Burleigh talked to Chris Cuomo about the latest ruling in the Amanda Knox case, and the motivazione released by Judge Nencini of Florence.

I tried, in the time allotted, to explain why the latest ruling out of Italy contains no news, and makes even less sense than the original conviction, which was based on poorly conducted CSI and relied on the testimony of a man with, literally, Meredith Kercher's blood on his hands.

For the record, when I talk about this, I am not serving as Amanda Knox's advocate. I am simply explaining what I learned from my research, performed to the best of my abilities as an investigative journalist, and which I present in a book that I hope not only explains the case, but the circus around it, and why the case became such a media phenomenon.

And, I think I'm right, Here's the clip and the New Day blog about it.

Nina Burleigh on MSNBCNina Burleigh participated in an MSNBC roundtable discussion to discuss her Rolling Stone article on Obama, Syria and the President's restrained foreign policy style. The links are here, here, here and here.

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I talked to Brooke Gladstone about my book, and the role the media has played in the Amanda Knox case. Listen.

02/25/14

On BBC

I talked BBC.jpegto the BBC about Amanda Knox, here's the link.

Nina Burleigh CNNWith the re-conviction, apparently the Italians are working on Amanda Knox, the Opera.

Here, for CNN, is my take on the latest re-conviction.

Nina BurleighKatja Meier, a Swiss expat living in Tuscany, writes about the region in which she's made her home. She interviewed me about my almost-month residency in Siena, we talked about expeditions, biking, shopping, Italian literature, climate, art and cheese.

Here's the link.

Nina BurleighSiena, with its medieval reliquaries, including Saint Catherines skull and index finger, was the perfect setting in which to discuss the Jerusalem relic forgery trial that put archaeology in the dock. Here's an article on it, for you Italophiles.

FEDE, SCIENZA E FALSI ARCHEOLOGICI: NINA BURLEIGH E "UNHOLY BUSINESS"

SIENA. Nel 2002, un collezionista Israeliano rivelò l'esistenza di un ossario con un'iscrizione - "Giacomo, figlio di Giuseppe, fratello di Gesù" - che catalizzò  l'attenzione del mondo accademico, scientifico e religioso: poteva trattarsi della prima prova archeologica dell'esistenza di Gesù. Ma dopo due anni, le autorità Israeliane lo dichiararono un falso - "la frode del secolo" - dando il via ad un'indagine che ha rimesso in discussione l'autenticità di centinaia di altri reperti dell'era biblica.

Prende le mosse da questa vicenda e la racconta dal punto di vista di due dei principali protagonisti, un detective e un archeologo, il libro Unholy Business: A True Tale of Faith, Greed and Forgery in the Holy Land (2008), che l'autrice, la giornalista investigativa e scrittrice statunitense Nina Burleigh, visiting artist del Siena Art Institute per il mese di novembre, presenterà a "StARTers - Assaggi d'arte" martedì 5 novembre alle 18 (via Tommaso Pendola, 37, Siena - ingresso libero).


Nina BurleighFellow writer Deborah Kalb has a books-and-authors blog on which she interviews writers and she honored me with one of her Q and A's. She asked some thoughtful questions about working in the Middle East, and researching Amanda Knox and Mary Pinchot Meyer. Here is the interview. I highly recommend looking at some of her other interviews, with the likes of Jodi Picoult and Nathaniel Philbrick as well.

I talked with Author Central about how I write. Watch here.

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We used to watch Sky News in the cafes of Italy and the tabacs of France. They interviewed me recently about the Amanda Knox trial. Here's the link.

sull.jpegI did an interview with our local Callicoon newspaper some years back. The reporter, Jeanne Sager, now has her own blog called The Stir, on Cafe Mom, and she's generally cool and brilliant. You can read her blog here.

And the interview, where we talked about Mary Pinchot Meyer, Ben Bradlee, CIA, James Smithson, living in Paris, writing, and researching like Nancy Drew - and having our great little babies, is right here.

Nina Burleigh MirageListen to Nina Burleigh talking to Leonard Lopate on WNYC about her book, Mirage: Napoleon's Scientists and the Unveiling of Egypt, and hear about the curious characters in the history of science who helped the West uncover ancient  Egypt. Listen here

Nina BurleighI was truly honored to be invited to speak at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago on archaeological forgery, the James Ossuary case and the Syro-Palestinian-Judaica relic trade.
It was a thrill to be there. I wanted to be an archaeologist as a kid and I spent some childhood years playing in the backyard of the OI in Hyde Park.

Click here to watch the talk.

Nina BurleighI talked with NY attorney Jim Zirin for half an hour about Italy, superstition, women in the media and Amanda Knox. View it here.

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The New York Times ran a feature on me and the book. It was nice to be noticed by the paper of record, I don't agree that I was an "advocate" for thoroughly investigating the story and they picked a screen shot from the day when it was 108 in NYC and I had a 2-hairspray-can updo, so I'm attaching a better tv picture here to make me feel better.
I talked with John Hockenberry and co. on New York's NPR here.
10/12/11

ON CBS 48 HOURS

I participated a little bit in this project, and you can watch the excellent CBS investigation here.

Big props to Susan Zirinsky and producers Doug Longhini and Sara Ely Hulse, and Peter Van Sant, for the work they did bringing to light the problems in the Amanda Knox case early on. More than anyone, these professionals laid the groundwork for really investigating the case.

Bravo to all.

10/06/11

The Lessons


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Some of the lessons we can take away from the Amanda Knox story, in the San Francisco Chronicle.

timelogo.gifAn article on the media, in Time.
10/06/11

The Scapegoat

. latimes.jpegAn essay on the misogyny, in the LA Times.
10/06/11

The Superstition

The Post excerpted a piece of the book that explains the origins of the sex  game theory.nyp.jpeg
My friends out in San Francisco at Redroom.com published this Q and A on writing The Fatal Gift, in which I talked about Perugia, the press and corresponding with Amanda Knox.
07/25/11

Burleigh on GMA

Discussing the book on GMA.
Discussing the Amanda Knox case on Today.
My MSNBC interview on the Amanda Knox case.
An NPR foreign correspondent pal of mine used to have a list of seven ways for journalists to grow old gracefully. His premise, which is self-evident to anyone who's been a reporter, was that daily news was an undignified thing to be doing in your 40s. I can't remember the whole of the list. It included writing op-eds for your newspaper (which seemed more or less like retirement), teaching journalism at a university (also retirement, but somewhat scorned by other hacks), and maybe the seventh was dieing. Undoubtedly the most prestigious way to proceed, according to that list, was to write nonfiction books. Nina Burleigh has a most graceful career, indeed. Read more at The Man of Twists and Turns.
Kent Gustavson Ph.D. interviews Nina Burleigh about Unholy Business and other events and projects in the author's life.
Investigative reporter Nina Burleigh talked about the James Ossuary and other contentious archaeological 'finds' from the Holy Land. Many of the archaeological digs in Israel are being financed and carried out by Fundamentalist Christians, Burleigh said. The person who crafted the James Ossuary played into their desire to find ancient objects that could confirm the validity of Scripture, she noted.
Nina Burleigh speaking about Unholy Business at the Explorers Club in New York

Unholy Business: Chicago-bred writer Nina Burleigh discusses her latest book, religion, and the ugly side of journalism with Sean Redmond
Watch Nina's interview about her book, The Stranger and the Statesman at C-span