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 May 5, 2000

David Irving (BBC)David Irving condemns £150,000 court ruling  

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Photo: BBC   

BBC-Online 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.

Heather Rogers, counsel for Penguin Books, told the hearing more than £1m had already been paid out to defence experts -- who compiled evidence for the 32-day case.

She said the costs officer should deal with Mr Irving's claim that the defence's experts and counsel were paid too much. The judge had ordered that they should make a detailed assessment of what was due.




He said the 32-day trial could have been avoided had the parties agreed to pay £500 [to a charity] and give an apology before the case came to court.


Adrian Davies, for Mr Irving, queried the scale of the costs and whether such an order should be made at all at this stage.

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.

'Hitler partisan'

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.

Action Report* In fact Mr Irving offered to end the action in 1999, if the defendants paid £500 to a charity for limbless ex-servicemen. See Part 36 offer. In early 1998 he made the same offer to Penguin Books Ltd alone.

Suggestion: Also write to the Newsroom at the BBC Television Centre

 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!]

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