Whopper of the Week: Jeffrey Archer

“[In] l986 … two tabloids claimed [Jeffrey] Archer had paid a prostitute called Monica Coghlan $3,200 to buy her silence. Archer insisted he had never met her, and won $800,000 in damages in a libel action against the [Daily] Star during which the jury accepted that there had been no sexual involvement with Coghlan.”

Another Archer Mystery,” Time Europe, April 17, 2000

“Perverting the course of justice–Between December 22 1986, and April 7 1987, procuring Edward Francis to provide his solicitors with an alibi which he knew to be false and which was intended to disprove the allegation. Verdict: Guilty.


“Perverting the course of justice–Between March 26 1986, and July 7 1987, in relation to diaries relating to September 1986, failing to disclose the existence of his main office diary, a blue A53 size Dataday; providing Angela Peppiatt with a blank 1986 diary, and giving her instructions to write entries in it; and causing the diary to be handed to his solicitors for use in the court case as his main office diary. Verdict: Guilty.


“Perjury–On June 23 1987, making a statement under oath for use in judicial proceedings that The Economist diary 1986, the appointments diary for 1986 and a daily list of appointments for 1986, were the only documents of that type which had been in his possession. Verdict: Guilty.


“Perjury–On July 8 1987, as a sworn witness in judicial proceedings at the high court, knowingly made a false statement that the diary known as the main diary or Mrs Peppiatt’s diary produced in proceedings, was in existence and contained the entries relating to September 8 and 9 1986, before October 26 1986. Verdict: Guilty.”

Charges on which a British court found Archer guilty, reprinted in the July 19 Guardian. Archer received a four-year prison sentence.

Got a whopper? Send it to To be considered, an entry must be an unambiguously false statement paired with an unambiguous refutation, and both must be derived from some appropriately reliable public source. Preference will be given to newspapers and other documents that Chatterbox can link to online.


Whopper Archive:

July 20, 2001: George W. Bush

July 13, 2001: George W. Bush

July 6, 2001: Sumner Redstone

June 29, 2001: David Brock

June 22, 2001: Edmund Morris

June 15, 2001: George W. Bush

June 8, 2001: Nepali Prince Regent (subsequently, King) Gyanendra

June 1, 2001: Mary McGrory

May 25, 2001: Ari Fleischer

May 18, 2001: York, Pa., Mayor Charles Robertson

May 11, 2001: Ted Olson

May 4, 2001: Rear Admiral Craig Quigley

April 27, 2001: Ben Affleck

April 20, 2001: South Carolina state legislator Chip Limehouse

April 13, 2001: Gray Davis

April 6, 2001: Sumner Redstone

March 30, 2001: Spencer Abraham

March 23, 2001: George W. Bush, Rep. Jennifer Dunn, and/or the Treasury Department

March 16, 2001: George W. Bush

March 9, 2001: Russ Freyman, spokesman, National Association of Manufacturers

March 2, 2001: Paul O’Neill

Feb. 23, 2001: Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton

Feb. 16, 2001: Oscar spokesman John Pavlik

Feb. 9, 2001: Lynne Cheney

Feb. 2, 2001: Bobby Thomson

Jan. 26, 2001: Denise Rich