2d Letter to The New Republic about Correcting Errors


To the editor:

As yet, I’ve received no response to my request for corrections of the errors in the Margo Howard story, “Scenes from a Southern Gothic Murder Trial.”

In addition to the false statements I called to your attention last week, I’d like to point out the following additional mistakes:

–Nowhere in the Fourth Circuit opinion remanding the case to District Court for further consideration is it stated that “exculpatory evidence may have been withheld, suppressed, or destroyed prior to MacDonald’s trial.”
Instead, the Fourth Circuit found that the District Judge adopted an “overly restrictive view of what constitutes the ‘evidence as a whole.’ ” (See U.S v. MacDonald 641 F. ed 596. C.A. 4 (N.C.) 2011.  April 19, 2011)
–Wade Smith did not represent MacDonald in 1975.
–Wade Smith was not Edwards’s “lead attorney.”  That was Abbe Lowell of Chadbourne & Parke in Washington, DC.
–The 1979 prosecutor, James Blackburn, was already First Assistant U.S. Attorney for the eastern district of North Carolina at the time he prosecuted MacDonald.  He later became U.S. Attorney.
–Howard writes:  “as a sequestered witness one is not supposed to be giving interviews or flogging a book.”  This is untrue.  “Sequestered” does not mean bound and gagged.
It means only that one is not permitted to enter the courtroom to listen to testimony given in advance of one’s own.  I specifically asked assistant U.S. Attorney
John Bruce whether I was permitted to tweet, blog, or give interviews during the hearing and he said I was, as long as I did not disclose the nature or scope of my
testimony before I gave it.  There was nothing improper in what I did.

I would appreciate hearing from you in regard to both this letter and my letter of November 1 as soon as possible.

Joe McGinniss

4 Responses to “2d Letter to The New Republic about Correcting Errors”

  • shughes2853:

    Hey Joe – They slandered you with lies. Don’t you have legal options here? Would love to see you start going after them with lawsuits – enough is enough.

    Your book didn’t convict MacDonald but it sure as hell brought that case front and center and that’s what enraged MacDonald the most. He knew the day that book was released that his lies and facade were forever exposed. Time won’t make us forget. Your book will see a spike in sales again. :-)

  • Ivyfree:

    shughes- MacDonald is still in jail. He’s going to hate anyone he thinks he can blame for his conviction whether or not it makes sense- he’s a psychopath. I don’t think his opinion is the issue. The point Mr. McGinniss has been making is that the article written by Margo Howard and published by the New Republic was incorrect in numerous details and libeled Mr. McGinniss’ professional reputation.

    It’s surprising that the New Republic hasn’t factchecked Mr. McGinniss’ letters against the record and published them with an apology from the New Republic and from Margo Howard. Their failure to do so leads me to question their credibility, and certainly damages Margo Howard’s professional reputation, as a professional acknowledges and corrects mistakes.

  • Shughes2853:

    Ivy – Thanks – I understand Joe’s point here – and as far as MacDonald goes, he’s been in prison since 1979 and has filed numerous appeals and every single one has been denied. (except for a brief appeal that got him out of jail temporarily in the early years)

    His opinion doesn’t matter one bit to anyone except the defense attorneys trying to cash in on the notoriety of the case.

    Janet Malcom wrote a scathing article about Joe back in the 90’s and it was brutal. And not true. Many of her statements were outright lies. I remember thinking how our society seems to reverse the rolls of victim/perpetrator – basically, I guess it starts with the defense attorneys that work with a pos like Macdonald – they can’t blame the slaughtered victims – so, Joe is the biggest target. Kill him and maybe gain some traction in getting MacDonald free.

    My point to Joe was based on the lies written about him by Janet and now this most recent attack. I would love to see him sue them – the truth isn’t easily hidden with the facts so burned into the record and so easily proven.

    The internet has forever changed the landscape for our society – all we have to do is google the truth, the public records – bad news for people like Malcom, attorneys and politicians. Truth in seconds.

    Regardless, there are still many cases where the lies continue in spite of the facts. And there is still a large segment of the population that form opinions without checking the facts that are so instantly available to them. That’s very frustrating and in my opinon – lazy on their part.

  • Donald R. Schneider:

    Mr. McGinniss:

    Regarding the MacDonald case, I wanted to know if you might be able to answer a simple question. The question is: Did Dr. MacDonald have any explanation as to why the house was dark when the MPs arrived that fateful night? According to his account, after passing out from his wounds and then regaining consciousness he went to check on his wife and kids, attempted mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and called for help (twice I believe). But he did all this without flipping on any light switches? He stumbled around in the dark rather than turn on the lights? Was this point ever addressed and put to him? Thank you.