Magazine article Newsweek

The Ex-Con and the Bush Book

Magazine article Newsweek

The Ex-Con and the Bush Book

Article excerpt

A campaign spokesman said it was "totally ridiculous and not true," and the candidate's father, former president George Bush, angrily denounced it as "a vicious lie." But the story was out and spreading. Promoted in a press release from St. Martin's Press, a respected New York publishing house, the charge was that George W. Bush had been arrested for cocaine possession back in 1972 and that the record of his arrest had been expunged by a judge friendly to his father. This allegation came from a new biography of Bush, "Fortunate Son," by a writer named J. H. Hatfield. The book, published by St. Martin's, went on sale last week.

Hold everything. In an abrupt turnabout, St. Martin's decided to recall the book. The reason: the publisher determined that Hatfield had been convicted in 1988 of hiring a hit man to murder his boss. "We didn't suspect for a minute. We had no idea," said Sally Richardson, president and publisher of the St. Martin's trade division. Word of Hatfield's felony record broke in The Dallas Morning News last week, but Hatfield reportedly said the newspaper had confused him with another man. St. Martin's checked his story and concluded there had been no mistake: J. H. Hatfield, the author, was the same man who in 1987 hired someone to plant a bomb in his boss's car because the boss suspected him of embezzlement. Hatfield served nearly five years in a Texas prison and is on probation until 2003. "We don't know what else he lied about," said David Kaye, the publisher's general counsel. …

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