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NY Post Says Freelancer Plagiarized Story

May 21, 2003

NEW YORK (AP) _ The New York Post says it was deceived by a freelancer who sold the tabloid a story plagiarized from the National Enquirer.

In a story Tuesday, the Post said freelance writer Robin Gregg admitted he lifted a report from the Enquirer’s current edition that appeared May 15 in the Post’s business section.

The story was about Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s decision to phase out the clothing line of former talk show host Kathie Lee Gifford. The first four paragraphs of the Enquirer story are almost identical to those that appear in a shorter version in the Post.

``We were deceived by Mr. Gregg and he will never contribute to the Post again,″ Editor in Chief Col Allan said.

In telephone interviews from his Los Angeles home, Gregg initially said he was given permission from Enquirer editors to offer the story, which he did not write, to other publications. The Enquirer said he had no such permission.

Hours later, Gregg said he never broached the topic with Enquirer editors before the story appeared in the Post.

Enquirer Editor in Chief David Perel called Gregg’s first account ``a blatant lie.″

``He just stole the story outright,″ Perel said, ``and got his hand caught in the wringer.″

Gregg said he has done freelance work for the Post for 10 years, usually concerning celebrities in the Los Angeles area.

``I very much regret the incident,″ he said. ``I’m sorry the Post had the embarrassment of having to print an apology.″

A spokeswoman for the Post could not immediately say whether the newspaper planned to investigate other articles submitted by Gregg.

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