Publisher Offers Witnesses to Disputed Addiction Book
Two men who say they attended a Minnesota drug and alcohol rehabilitation center with the author James Frey said in interviews that they believed his overall description of his experience was accurate but added that they could not corroborate many of the specifics in Mr. Frey's book "A Million Little Pieces."
The two men, one a state judge in Louisiana who in June was convicted of mail fraud, were offered to The New York Times as witnesses by Mr. Frey's publishers, Doubleday and Anchor Books, imprints of Random House, to back up the accuracy of his descriptions in the book. Their names and telephone numbers were given in response to comments from former employees of Hazelden, the Minnesota rehabilitation center reportedly attended by Mr. Frey, who have said his portrayal of the treatment experience there was false and misleading. Mr. Frey has admitted to embellishing his past, but has maintained that his experiences in drug rehabilitation were real.
Alan J. Green, a Louisiana state judge, said he appeared in Mr. Frey's book as Miles, a federal appeals court judge. In a telephone interview Monday, he said he was a roommate of Mr. Frey's at Hazelden's main campus in Center City, Minn.; Mr. Frey himself has not named the treatment center he attended.
"Over all, I think he gave a pretty accurate description," Judge Green said of the book. But, he added, "there may have been some differences in how I would have described things."
Asked about particular incidents in the book, like scenes of fighting between patients or violent treatment of one patient by another, Judge Green said, "There may have been some pushing and shoving, but as far as knock-down-drag-outs, I don't recall ever witnessing anything like that."
Asked about Mr. Frey's medical condition - the author describes arriving with a hole in his cheek and having his nose rebroken and reset at Hazelden - Judge Green said, "If a person needed medical treatment, they would be taken out to a local medical facility."
In June, Judge Green was convicted of mail fraud in Federal District Court in New Orleans on charges involving two $5,000 cash payments that he accepted from a local bail bonds company. The conviction resulted from an investigation of racketeering charges in the Jefferson Parish courthouse. Judge Green, who has been suspended from the bench, is scheduled to be sentenced next month and could face up to 20 years in prison.
Mr. Frey's publisher also offered the testimony of a man named Richard, who said he was a Houston lawyer and accountant but who would not disclose his last name. He said he was in the same unit at Hazelden as Mr. Frey.
In a telephone interview, Richard said Mr. Frey's descriptions were "pretty much" accurate, but he, too, disagreed about whether physical confrontations between patients were as prevalent as Mr. Frey describes.
"I saw a lot of edginess, people getting in each other's faces, but I don't remember any knock-down-drag-outs," he said.
Asked about Mr. Frey's descriptions of card playing and gambling among patients during group lectures, Richard said: "I don't know about gambling. Not in the lecture hall."
In a statement, Mr. Frey said, "It appears that my fellow patients in treatment have essentially corroborated my account, and any differences are incidental."