By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers
Fired Miss California Carrie Prejean's claim that the contest organizers, including Donald Trump, knew she was writing a book about her ordeal are being countered today by lawyers for Miss California USA, who claim that they never gave the beauty queen the OK to move ahead with the project.
"There is no dispute that, although some discussions about the possible terms and conditions of a future agreement allowing Ms. Prejean to write a book were in progress," wrote lawyer Timothy Shields, the organizers never "gave written consent to any such book, print article, or similar publication. Accordingly, her participation in the admitted book deal unquestionably violates the contract and appears to be a knowing and deliberate violation."
The book, which we last week told you Prejean was shopping to conservative publishers here, is one of the key elements in her controversial firing, which she says was prompted when she rejected same-sex marriage in her answer to a question during the Miss USA pageant. In her lawyer's earlier letter to the pageant, he wrote that Trump and Miss California USA's Keith Lewis knew a book was in the works, despite the contract language stipulating that she first get "written consent" to write it.
"As you well know, both Keith Lewis and Donald Trump had given preliminary approval to Ms. Prejean to write a book. In fact, Mr. Trump's office had circulated a draft amendment to her contract for that purpose at the time that she was terminated—without warning and without just cause," her lawyer, Charles LiMandri wrote. "She did not yet have a contract with a book publisher at the time she was terminated. She did have a contract with a literary publicist to find a publisher for the book, which was the source of the confusion about this issue. Without giving Ms. Prejean or me an opportunity to clarify the matter, she was abruptly terminated. The fact that she was working on a book was well known and was discussed multiple times, both verbally and in writing. Obviously, the book had not yet been published, and there can be no material breach of contract at issue here. Therefore, the reason given for her termination as being based in part upon her doing a book deal is a complete and utter pretext."
Whatever, says Shields in his retort. Just working with a literary agent and circulating chapter drafts violated the contract and was cause for the firing. "Ms. Prejean was still in clear violation of the contract since it prohibits participating in, preparing, or assisting with the preparation of such a book, which she clearly cannot deny."
One thing's for sure: No matter where the issue of her firing goes in the courts, she's getting a ton of free book publicity that ought to help sales.
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