- Associated Press - Sunday, February 12, 2012

‘Three Cups’ author wants civil suit thrown out

Attorneys who accuse Greg Mortenson of defrauding readers in his best-selling “Three Cups of Tea” say his case is no different from that of James Frey, who admitted on the “Oprah Winfrey Show” that he lied in his memoir “A Million Little Pieces.”

That lawsuit ended in a settlement that offered refunds to buyers of the book.

According to the Associated Press, Mr. Mortenson has asked a judge to throw out the civil lawsuit that says he fabricated portions of his book, saying that if it is allowed to proceed, other authors could be subjected to similar claims and the result would be a stifling of the free exchange of ideas.

“Plaintiffs should not be allowed to create a world where authors are exposed to the debilitating expense of class-action litigation just because someone believes a book contains inaccuracies,” attorney John Kauffman wrote in the filing late last month.

But the plaintiffs’ attorneys argue in court documents filed Tuesday the lawsuit should go forward because of the precedent set by the class-action lawsuit against Mr. Frey. The two cases are “nearly identical,” they said.

“The facts in the [Frey] case are stunningly close to the facts in this case, but not nearly as compelling,” wrote attorney Alexander Blewett.

The lawsuit claims Mr. Mortenson lied about how he began building schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan and fabricated other events in the books “Three Cups of Tea” and “Stones Into Schools.” The attorney who led the Frey lawsuit, Larry Drury, is also a plaintiffs’ attorney in the nine-month-old case against Mr. Mortenson.

Police capture man who threatened Madonna

Police captured a man on Friday who was convicted of threatening to kill Madonna. He had walked away from a Los Angeles-area mental hospital Feb. 3.

Robert Dewey Hoskins was apprehended shortly before 9 a.m. in Long Beach, where authorities believed he might have fled following his escape from the Metropolitan State Hospital in Norwalk, about eight miles away, police said in a statement. Initially, Los Angeles police said Mr. Hoskins was caught near the hospital where he escaped.

He had been committed there last year and was returned to the facility after his arrest. Police didn’t comment about how Mr. Hoskins escaped or where he had been over the past week.

A message left with a spokeswoman for the California Department of Mental Health was not immediately returned.

Mr. Hoskins, 54, served a 10-year prison sentence for stalking and threatening Madonna after being convicted by a jury in 1996.

The singer reluctantly testified against the man, who was shot by her personal security after he jumped the fence of her 25,000-square-foot Hollywood Hills home.

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