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Spears Threatens NY Post with Lawsuit

Like adult websites, the NY Post and NY Daily News have been taking japes at one another for some time. Today, to the NY Daily News’ delight, the Post is being threatened with a lawsuit from Britney Spears.

New York – Pop tart Britney Spears wants to toast the [New York] Post.

The 22-year-old pop sensation is demanding a retraction, an apology and some moolah from the paper after it splashed a photo of her guzzling what they said was whisky on its front page yesterday.

Spears said through her lawyer that she was actually drinking ginseng – a nonalcoholic herbal supplement that supposedly boosts energy and mental clarity. And the California clerk who sold it to her is backing her up.

Ginseng extract is often sold in liquor and convenience stores in small vials, different in shape from the mini-liquor bottles available on airplanes.

“Ms. Spears intends to file a lawsuit against the New York Post and Bill Hoffmann, the writer of the article, unless the paper immediately issues an appropriate retraction, apology and financial settlement,” lawyer Martin Singer said in a statement.

Singer, Hollywood’s top celebrity libel lawyer, blasted the cover story as “totally fabricated, fictional and defamatory” and said the paper could “easily have ascertained the truth” about what she was chugging. The Post’s spokesman, Howard Rubenstein, said last night he could not reach any of the executives at the paper for comment.

Earlier in the day, Rubenstein said Post editor in chief Col Allan pointed out through Rubenstein that the Daily News published an item on the bottle incident on page 53 yesterday.

But The News, which attributed the report of the alleged drinking incident to British tabloids, did not print the photo.

Spears’ claim she was just drinking ginseng was backed up yesterday by Arif Alam, the clerk at Joe’s Liquor in Venice, Calif., who rang up Spears’ purchases on Monday afternoon.

“She did not buy any alcohol at all – no alcohol!” Alam told The News.

He insisted all Spears bought was a 10-milliliter bottle of Panax Red Ginseng Extractum for $1 and a can of Red Bull energy drink.

After Spears and her fiancé, Kevin Federline, left the store, a swarm of paparazzi snapped the sexy singer tippling from the miniature bottle on the sidewalk in front of the store on Lincoln Blvd.

The pictures and the accusations of public boozing were featured Wednesday in London’s Sun and Daily Mirror, with the Sun going so far as to say it was a minibottle of Glenlivet Scotch. It was unclear yesterday whether Singer would pursue legal action against the British papers.

The Post gaffe was mocked by other publications, including Star magazine’s Web site, which chided the paper – still reeling from its mistaken “exclusive” that John Kerry had picked Dick Gephardt as his running mate – with the headline: “Oops, they did it again.”



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