Publication Suspended of New Book Claiming George W. Bush Arrested for Cocaine in '72 10/22/99

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NOTE After this story went to print, under the title "New Books Claims George W. Bush Arrested for Cocaine in '72," St. Martin's Press suspended publication of "Favorite Son" after the Dallas Morning News reported that author J.H. Hatfield is an ex-con who served time for the attempted murder of a former co-worker. Hatfield denied that he was the same man, but it is now being reported that in fact, he is. DRCNet's original story (below) reports on the Salon.com story regarding the existence of the book, and notes twice that the Bush campaign has strongly denied the allegations contained in the manuscript. DRCNet has been unable to reach any of the principals involved (other than a Bush campaign spokesperson) for further comment or clarification. -- Ed.

In an exclusive report, salon.com reported this week that a new book by Texas author J.H. Hatfield claims that George Bush, Jr. was arrested for cocaine possession in Houston in 1972. The book claims that Bush's father, former President George Herbert Walker Bush, pulled strings with the judge to have the arrest expunged from his son's record, and that George W., sentenced in chambers, served one year of community service.

When asked about the charge at an appearance this week, Bush the candidate called the report "ridiculous."

The allegation appears in the afterward of the book "Favorite Son: The Making of an American President" (St. Martin's). Hatfield claims that the story has been confirmed by three sources: "a high ranking advisor to Bush [Sr.]," "a long-time Bush family friend" and a "classmate [of Bush's] at Yale."

Bush Jr. did, in fact, spend a year doing volunteer work at Project P.U.L.L., a non-profit organization working with minority youth at around that time. But the book "First Son: George W. Bush and the Family Dynasty," by Dallas Morning News reporter Bill Minutaglio, says George Bush Sr. referred his son to Project P.U.L.L. after an incident in which George W. drove drunk with his younger brother Marvin in the car.

A spokesperson for the Bush campaign told The Week Online that Bush unequivocally denies the allegation.

Hatfield, however, claims that when he spoke with Scott McClellan of the Bush Campaign to ask about the story, McClellan replied "oh, shit" and then "no comment."

McClellan has since denied ever speaking with Hatfield.

Salon reports that Thomas Dunne, Hatfield's publisher at St. Martin's, told them that Hatfield has shown himself to be a meticulous researcher.

"Our lawyers looked at the manuscript with great care, it was thoroughly fact-checked," Dunne told Salon. "This author is a pretty good digger. He used a lot more sources than Bob Woodward has in a while."

"Do I know for a fact these allegations are true? No, of course not. But I know that the author believes them to be true. He researched the book exhaustively and put it together with a variety of independent sources, including many who have never met each other."

The original salon.com story can be found online at http://www.salon.com/news/feature/1999/10/18/cocaine/index.html.

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Issue #113, 10/22/99 California Reports Record Percentage of Drug Prisoners: One in Eight Imprisoned for Simple Possession of Drugs | Marijuana Arrests Stay at Record-High Level: FBI Reports 682,885 Marijuana Arrests in 1998, 88% for Possession | NORML Foundation Releases Report Detailing European Marijuana Policies | Maine Sheriff Endorses Medical Marijuana | Just Say Know: New Directions in Drug Education -- Conference in SF Next Week | Safety First: Reality-Based Drug Education Booklet Published by The Lindesmith Center | Newsbriefs | San Francisco Beats New York at Crime Reduction | Newsbriefs | Publication Suspended of New Book Claiming George W. Bush Arrested for Cocaine in '72 | Elizabeth Dole Drops Out of Race | Editorial: Whose life is it anyway?
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