Author admits exaggerating claims that Da Vinci best seller borrowed from his own novel

An author admitted in court Tuesday to exaggerating his claims that the best-selling "The Da Vinci Code" borrows from his own work.

Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh, authors of the 1982 nonfiction book "The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail," are suing Random House, publisher of Dan Brown's book.

They claimed that parts of their work formed the basis of Brown's 2003 novel, which has sold more than 40 million copies and has been made into a film starring Tom Hanks.

The suit resumed Tuesday at London's High Court after a weeklong break to give the judge time to read both books and related materials.

During cross-examination of Baigent, defense attorney James Baldwin attacked the author's sworn testimony, which spanned more than a 100 pages.

Baldwin said the author's reliance on book reviews to back up claims that Brown had taken 15 central plot points from his own work were "simply false." Baigent made the claims in a written witness statement presented to the court at the beginning of the trial.

After a pause, Baigent agreed: "In that case, you are correct ... I think my language was infelicitous, and I think I have to agree with you on that."

That set the theme for the rest of the day, in which Baigent was forced to conceded several points in the prosecution's case.

The day's proceedings were punctuated with long silences as Baigent peered over his black-rimmed glasses at the lawyers, before he conceded that many of his claims may have been incorrect.

Midway through the hearing, Judge Peter Smith asked Baigent how he came to retract so many points from a statement that he had signed only hours earlier.

"It means I did not read them (book reviews) with the correct assiduity as I should have done," Baigent said, reports AP.


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