February 16, 1983: Joe McGinniss' letter to Jeffrey MacDonald re: whom he gave exclusive right to act as producer for any motion picture or television mini-series and informing MacDonald he will not send any copy of a manuscript or galleys, only a copy of the book will be sent
when there is a copy to send
Translation of letter follows the scanned copy
Note from Christina Masewicz: Translation of the above letter as I read it to be
Spelling, punctuation and grammar preserve
February 16, 1983
1) We have signed an agreement with Wigutow (Taylor is nolonger (sic) his partner) as I'm sure you will recall if you think about it. I signed one giving him the exclusive right to act as producer, for any motion picture or television mini-series to be based on the book I was writing, and you signed one giving him the exclusive right to portray you in said dramatic production. Your agreement is in perpetuity, thus assuring that no one else could step in and make a movie about your case, and my agreement is in force until such time as all primary sources of funding (about 15 studios, production companies, & networks are listed in the agreement itself) are exhausted without a suitable deal ($350,00 minimum) being made. The reason no money changed hand at that time is because there was no book at that time -- there was only Wigutow's intention to make a movie based on the Freddy Kassab story; an intention with Sterling abort-circuited by explaining that he would do better to wait until x my work was done. If you keeping listening to your Hollywood experts they will drive you crazy x telling you all the things that could and should xxxx be done. Like jailhouse awyers. The fact is, Creative Artists (and check their track record with your sources) is representing both Wigutow and me as agents. They, in conjunction with Wigutow, who will become producer once a deal is made, are doing the actual negotiating with various network and studio executives. Any input you receive from interested parties should be referred to either Sterling Lord or either Tina Nydes or Bill Habor at Creative Artists, or to Dan Wigutow 212-477-1328. If you are still unclear about any of this or if you want copies of any agreements, Sterling will be happy to accommodate you.
2) For now the first but I hope for the last time: you will be sent a copy of the book when there is a copy of the book to send. Not manuscript, not galleys: a book. I understand your impatience and it is to that that I will attribute the unpleasantness of your tone regarding this. You are the subject of the book; you have received and will continue to receive, remuneration in return for your cooperation; at no time was there ever any understanding that you would be given an advance look at the book six months prior to publication. As Joe Wambaugh told you in 1975, with him you would not even see a copy before it was published. Same with me. Same with any principled and responsible author. I am not permitting anyone to see this ahead of time, except as required by the publishing process. The book is not a part of either your legal or public relations campaigns. My commitment to its integrity is absolute. This involves neither arrogance nor hypocrisy, but is based upon the premise that the time for anyxx and all discussion of the book's contents in -- either public or private -- is when the book has been published and is available to readers. Whereas you will be receiving one-third of the royalty income generated by the book, I am sure you can appreciate the prudence of this approach. Insofar as you are maintaining such extensive contact with the media, it would be most inappropriate for you to be in possession of the manuscript. I, too, find it bizarre to even have to discuss this with you, and I hope that this will be the end of it.