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Controversial Historian Loses Libel Case Against American Professor

Aired April 11, 2000 - 1:30 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: In London today, a controversial historian, who claimed his views on the Holocaust were deliberately twisted by an American professor, got a lesson in libel law from a high court today.

Here's CNN's Margaret Lowrey.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARGARET LOWREY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Outside the high court, jeering protesters gave their opinion of David Irving's claims. While inside, a judge gave his, ruling Irving had not been libeled because he is an active Holocaust denier, anti-Semitic, and had deliberately misrepresented and manipulated historical evidence for his own ideological reasons.

American author Deborah Lipstadt said she was vindicated by the ruling.

PROF. DEBORAH LIPSTADT, EMORY UNIVERSITY: I'm delighted, I'm just delighted. It means that what I said was correct. The judge went further than I did in my book.

LOWREY: Irving had sued Lipstadt and her publisher, Penguin Books, over her 1994 book, "Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory." Irving said it damaged his academic reputation by portraying him as a Hitler apologist and a Holocaust denier. But the judge said the claims were justified, that Irving is a right-wing extremist who, among other things, perverted, misconstrued and omitted evidence to try to bring history into line with his own political beliefs.

For example, Irving claimed, that no one was gassed at Auschwitz concentration camp and that Hitler didn't even know Jews were being systematically slaughtered.

LORD GREVILLE JANNER, HOLOCAUST EDUCATIONAL FUND: It is a total, absolute, clear denunciation of this man, as a Holocaust denier, but of a historian who, for his own ideological reasons, persistently and deliberately misrepresented and manipulated historical evidence. Now that is the greatest denunciation of an alleged historian in the history of history. LOWREY (on camera): The verdict will be welcomed by many around the world who see it is a triumph of truth over attempts to rewrite a terrible chapter in history. Irving now says he will appeal, but the judge said it's up to the appeals court to decide whether it will even hear the appeal.

Margaret Lowrie, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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