Broadbent clears name over 'Jefferson Bottles'
Wine writer Michael Broadbent has won a libel case against Random House over allegations in the book The Billionaire's Vinegar that he behaved inappropriately when he auctioned bottles of wine from President Thomas Jefferson's collection while at Christies. Broadbent authenticated the 1787 Lafite that bore the initials 'Th.J' etched on the side and sold for the record sum of £105,000 24 years ago. The book suggested he had behaved in an unprofessional manner and that his relationship and dealings with Hardy Rodenstock, who discovered the original collection, was suspected of being improper.
Random House must now remove copies from bookshops in the UK. The English courts only cover publications in England but if Random House continued to publish in the US they can't guarantee copies wont turn up in the UK and therefore any re-issue in the States would repeat the libel.
Random House apologised unreservedly for making the allegations and accepted that they were untrue. It has given an undertaking not to repeat the allegations and paid Mr Broadbent undisclosed damages out of court.
Broadbent must now decide whether to take out an injunction against the book being made into a film. The rights had been sold and a film produced by Hollywood star Will Smith is said to be 'in development'.