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Michael Baigent
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    (February 27, 1948-June 17, 2013)
    Born in Christchurch, New Zealand
    Best known for writing with Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln 'Holy Blood, Holy Grail' (1982)
    Claimed that Jesus and Mary Magdalene had children who were forerunners of the French Merovingian dynasty
    Also wrote or co-wrote 'The Messianic Legacy' (1986), 'The Temple and the Lodge' (1989), 'The Dead Sea Scrolls Deception' (1991), 'Ancient Traces: Mysteries in Ancient and Early History' (1998), 'The Jesus Papers: Exposing the Greatest Cover-Up in History' (2006) and 'Racing Toward Armageddon' (2009)
    With Leigh, sued Random House, claiming that Dan Brown's novel 'The Da Vinci Code' plagiarized from 'Holy Blood, Holy Grail' (2006)
    Lost and ordered to pay 80% of Random House's legal costs, £1.8 million
    His books involve conspiracies that have somehow lasted undetected for centuries, if not millenia.
    His approach to history: 'It is not sufficient to confine oneself exclusively to facts.'
    His theories rely heavily on the ancient Priory of Sion, which turned out to be a 20th century hoax.
    A review of 'The Jesus Papers' in the Times of London declared, 'Nothing in this book need concern grown ups.'
    During closing arguments in the plagiarism trial, his own lawyer conceded he was a poor witness. (The judge in his decision considered that to be an understatement.)
    In reviewing 'Holy Blood, Holy Grail,' Anthony Burgess presciently noted that it would make 'a marvelous theme for a novel.'
    Brown's indebtedness to 'Holy Blood, Holy Grail' was hardly hidden, with one 'Da Vinci Code' character named Leigh Teabing ('Teabing' being an acronym of 'Baigent').
    He said about the lawsuit, 'We never intended to go to court. We thought we would just point out what seemed so obvious, get a proper acknowledgment of our work, and that would be that.'
    His response to accusations that the suit was a publicity stunt: 'I've calculated that I'd have to sell an extra nine million copies of the Holy Blood to pay the legal bill - that's very expensive publicity indeed.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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