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Media firm Russells Solicitors has issued an apology for the actions of partner Chris Gossage, which led to the unmasking of Harry Potter author JK Rowling as the unknown writer Robert Galbraith, author of detective novel The Cuckoo’s Calling.
Corporate head Gossage told his wife’s best friend Judith Callegari about the Potter writer’s pseudonym during a private conversation. Callegari then decided tweet to writer India Knight, passing on the information.
Following a week of mounting speculation over how the news broke, JK Rowling broke her silence to reveal that it was Gossage who was the source of the leak.
Rowling said in a statement: “I have today discovered how the leak about Robert’s true identity occurred. A tiny number of people knew my pseudonym and it has not been pleasant to wonder for days how a woman whom I had never heard of prior to Sunday night could have found out something that many of my oldest friends did not know.”
She added: “To say that I am disappointed is an understatement. I had assumed that I could expect total confidentiality from Russells, a reputable professional firm and I feel very angry that my trust turned out to be misplaced.”
Russells apologised, adding that the disclosure was made in confidence to a family friend.
The statement read: “We, Russells Solicitors, apologise unreservedly for the disclosure caused by one of our partners, Chris Gossage, in revealing to his wife’s best friend, Judith Callegari, during a private conversation that the true identity of Robert Galbraith was in fact J K Rowling.
“Whilst accepting his own culpability, the disclosure was made in confidence to someone he trusted implicitly. On becoming aware of the circumstances, we immediately notified JK Rowling’s agent. We can confirm that this leak was not part of any marketing plan and that neither J K Rowling, her agent nor publishers were in any way involved.”
Rowling’s detective novel had received critical recognition but had not sold in large numbers until this week when publishers Little Brown had to issue a reprint when sales rose by 415,000 per cent.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority refused to comment on whether the firm had been reported for breach of confidentiality.