From: Gail Heriot <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 16 May 2003 19:11:27 -0700
Subject: CONFIDENTIAL: John Fund
Dear Mr. Gaudette--
I am a friend of John Fund, not his lawyer, but I think it’s important to send you this letter. Sometime ago, you posted an unflattering stories about him on your American Politics web site. I’ve no reason to doubt that you considered it both accurate and newsworthy at the time. I’m certainly not writing to quarrel with that judgment. If the allegations against John were true, then they would have merited publication. Indeed, they would have merited ridicule (and your web site clearly good at it). But the evidence is overwhelming that those allegations are not true. John may be a less-than-perfect person, but he is not guilty of the offenses of which he has been accused.
John’s greatest sin was that he became briefly romantically involved (in 1999) with a woman who had been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. When he realized that Ms. Pillsbury was unstable, he broke off the relationship (in early to mid-1999). That started a firestorm that has not yet subsided. John and many of his female friends and acquaintances have been the victims of an apparently jealous rage ever since.
I would not blame you a bit for refusing to take my word for it. Fortunately, Ms. Pillsbury left a trail of documents (some of them under oath) that demonstrate his innocence quite convincingly, including a notarized affidavit in which she admits that John did not abuse her and that there had never been wedding plans between the two of them. Many of these documents are available at John’s special web site at www.johnfund.com. They convinced even Eric Alterman, whose article “Who Framed John Fund?” appears in this week’s The Nation hardly a nest of right-wing apologists. The article’s web address is www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=20030602&s=alterman.
Those two web sites are just the tip of the iceberg. The full story on Ms. Pillsbury’s strange crusade against John would fill several file cabinets and include check forgery, credit card fraud, witness harassment and endless suicide threats. Suffice it to say that almost nothing Ms. Pillsbury says can be taken at face value. As Eric Alterman writes, her name is not Morgan Pillsbury and, while she claims that she was 23 years old when she and John had their romantic relationship in 1999, in fact she was born on July 5, 1967, making her almost 36 years old today.
We may never know for sure, but her claim that she was pregnant made shortly after their 1999 break-up is dubious at best. Only a person with a reckless disregard for the truth would publish it. Indeed, a lie about a pregnancy would have been easy compared to the lies Ms. Pillsbury admits to under oath. A few months before her initial involvement with John, she bilked her step father out of $10,000 by falsely telling him that she had a heart condition that required a medical procedure to correct. Again, you need not take my word for it; she herself described this incident in the deposition transcript (in an unrelated case) on John’s web site. I know of other spectacular examples of her fabrications. When asked during her deposition “What lies have you told in the past?”, she replied, “Too many to name.”
Moreover, Ms. Pillsbury has refused to produce the proof one would ordinarily expect. John reports that after the alleged abortion, she claimed that the procedure had been performed negligently and that she would never been able to have a child. He offered to get her an attorney to handle any medical malpractice claim if she would produce her medical records. After much prodding, she never did.
Under the circumstances, it’s time to take down the John Fund story from your web site. Those who are familiar with the story from Alterman’s article will know that it is false and your credibility will be hurt. But for those who aren’t familiar with his article (and there are many), it is defamatory. No one is asking for a retraction; just take the story down.
It’s time to go on to the next conservative pundit. (I suggest William Bennett and his conservative apologists.) This time, however, please double check your facts. It’s not just your intended target that end up getting hurt. You'd be surprised at the number of people who get hurt on both sides of the politcal [sic] spectrum when false stories are spread.
Thanks for your attention.
Gail Heriot Professor of Law
p.s.I apologize for having to be so explicit in discussing Ms. Pillsbury. Ordinarily, do not see any point in waling [sic] on the mentally ill. But it’s wrong to allow her to ruin innocent people’s reputations. If you are unfamiliar with Borderline Personality Disorder, you might want to take a look at the National Institute of Mental Health’s web site at http://www.nimh.nih.gov/publicat/bpd.cfm. The term was originally coined in the now old-fashioned belief that BPD sufferers are somewhere on the borderline between neurosis and psychosis. Although it is not fully understood (no mental illness is), both environmental and genetic factors are thought to play a part. The bottom line is that it’s debilitating. Sufferers are not simply people with “issues”; they have a serious illness. Ms. Pillsbury admits to this diagnosis in her deposition transcript on John's web site.
Dear Ms. Heriot:
You omitted a few crucial facts from your e-mail:
1) Mr. Fund admitted knowing of her pregnancy and abortion in a conversation memorialized and easily available on the Internet.
2) The relationship you characterize as "brief" lasted, according to the afore mentioned recording, for almost three years.
3) After the arofe mentioned recording found its way to the Internet, Mr. Fund allowed Ms. Pillsbury to move in with him at his Jersey City residence for nearly half a year -- including the period after Ms. Pillsbury reported him to the Jersey City Police Department.
American Politics Journal