The Lipstadt vs. Irving trial

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In 1998, British historian David Irving filed suit against American author Deborah Lipstadt and her publisher Penguin Books, claiming that Lipstadt had libeled him in her book Denying the Holocaust.

 

Lipstadt had written that Irving deliberately twisted and misrepresented evidence to conform to his ideological viewpoint. Under English libel law, which seeks primarily to protect the reputation of an individual, Lipstadt and her publisher bore the full burden of demonstrating not only that they had not shown "reckless disregard" for the truth, but also that the statements made were true (that Irving had denied the Holocaust, and that the Holocaust had, in fact, happened).

 

Lipstadt and Penguin hired British lawyer Anthony Julius and Cambridge historian Richard J. Evans to present her case. Evans spent two years examining Irving's work, and presented evidence of Irving's misrepresentations, including that Irving had knowingly used forged documents as a source. The presiding judge, Charles Gray, was persuaded by the evidence presented by Evans and others and wrote a long and decisive verdict in favor of Lipstadt, calling Irving a "right-wing pro-Nazi polemicist," and confirming the accusations of Lipstadt and Evans.