Former Army reservist Lynndie England, the international face of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, is suing her biographer for seizing control of what was intended to be a shared copyright. In July, writer Gary S. Winkler abruptly resigned from the limited liability corporation established to handle finances and formed his own.
England and her longtime attorney-turned-agent Roy Hardy claim that Winkler conducted all book-related business from his home, refusing to list England as co-author, provide access to online sales and revenue accounts, or let her deal directly with promoters.
Winkler denies any wrongdoing and said he welcomes the Sept. 23 hearing. He said his relationship with England and Hardy has been difficult from the start: Hardy regularly interfered with their LA-based publicist to broker separate deals for England, and the pair carelessly withdrew money from their joint checking account. Winkler claims he formed his own Virginia-based publishing company, Bad Apple Books LLC, to handle administrative issues and protect himself.
Things “crashed and burned pretty fast” after the Library of Congress canceled England’s scheduled August appearance, Winkler said. The lecture was nixed over safety concerns after opposition from library employees produced violent threats. According to Winkler, he’s sold only 20 copies of the book through his website and perhaps a few hundred through other online retailers.
“I think there’s this impression I’ve been sitting on this cash,” Winkler said. “I wish it were true. … Nobody’s getting rich here. I’m in the hole.”
The book, titled Tortured: Lynndie England, Abu Ghraib and the Photographs That Shocked the World, details England’s youth and her twisted relationship with Corporal Charles Graner. As England’s only authorized biographer, Winkler had unprecedented access to the soldier, her family, and friends. England, now 26, said she hopes the book will help people understand that she had a limited role in the abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib.
While eager to salvage her reputation, England remains unapologetic about her role in the prison scandal.
“Sorry? For what I did?” she said in an interview with the UK’s Daily Mail. “All I did was stand in the pictures. Saying sorry is admitting I was guilty and I’m not. I was just doing my duty.”