Guy Lawson, the American writer of the “War Dogs” book, in a communication with Top Channel’s journalist, Muhamed Veliu, gave details about the claims made recently by Shkelzen Berisha, who lost the first instance of the lawsuit he filed against Lawson and one of the publishing houses, asking $60 mln of indemnities for defamation.
The US journalist gave his version about Shkelzen Berisha’s claim, who said that right after the first article was published on the Rolling Stones magazine; he had sent an e-mail to Guy Lawson, asking him to speak about the article. “I sent Mr.Lawson an e-mail, but he didn’t answer. He didn’t want to take my testimony”, Berisha had said.
“Shkelzen Berisha didn’t send me any e-mail”, Lawson said, adding that the Prime Minister’s son couldn’t provide evidence about this in court. “He doesn’t have any evidence that he has reached out to me before the book was published, and he knows this”.
Shkelzen Berisha had also claimed that one of the main sources of this book was Erion Veliaj. Lawson denies this, by explaining that there were many other sources as well:
“Erion Veliaj was one of my sources, but as Judge Cooke noted in her decision, I relied on a wide range of other sources to establish the Plaintiff’s involvement including articles in the New York Times, the Broward Beach New Times¸the New Republic, the damning Al Jazeera documentary “Bullets and Bucks,” leaked diplomatic cables in which the U.S. Ambassador implicated Mr. Berisha in corrupt arms dealing, as interviews with many other people who firmly believe that Mr. Berisha was involved in corrupt arms deals. In other words, there were an overwhelming number of sources implicating Mr. Berisha”, Lawson says.
Shkelzen Berisha claimed that Lawson had described his meeting with “the guys”, but that was just slander that Mr.Lawson used to make the book more importance. But Lawson says this claim was also rejected at the Florida Court.
“Judge Cooke specifically rejected this argument as a “conspiracy theory” that “falls short of establishing actual malice by clear and convincing evidence.” My intention was and is to call attention to corrupt activities in the hope that a proper investigation into Gerdec will be undertaken”, Lawson said.
Is Gerdec connected to the AEY?
“Mr.Lawson knows very well that what happened in Gerdec has nothing to do with the AEY. Mr.Lawson is trying to create a connection between these stories, so that his book can have a more interesting story. But these stories are unrelated to each other. The demolition of the cartridges and their sale are separate stories”, Shkelzen Berisha had claimed.
The “War Dogs” author has an answer for this detail as well, supporting it with the conclusions of the US judge verdict.
Again, Judge Cooke has rejected this argument. As she noted, “the gist of both stories was that Plaintiff had been involved in corrupt dealings surrounding Albania’s vast, largely defunct, but still dangerous Cold War arsenals.”, says the US writer.
When asked by Top Channel about the real purpose of this book, which was later made into a movie, the author says:
My book didn’t include new allegations, it only provided greater detail and context, showing how deeply entwined the Albanian people behind the AEY deal were with the tragedy of Gerdec.