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Goodwin withdraws from Pulitzer judging

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Facing accusations that she is guilty of plagiarism, historian Doris Kearns Goodwin has decided not to participate as a judge for this year's Pulitzer Prizes.

Goodwin recently acknowledged lifting from other authors several passages in her 1987 best-seller, "The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys." She said the passages appeared in her book by accident, the result of confusing her own notes with those drawn from other sources.

Pulitzer board administrator Seymour Topping announced Goodwin's withdrawal Monday and added that the Pulitzer Prize board "had made no decision on the controversy."

In a letter dated March 3 and addressed to Pulitzer board chairman John Carroll, Goodwin wrote, "I am so distracted by the media focus on my work, I do not feel capable of giving the considerable time needed to make the proper judgments."

The Pulitzers, journalism's highest honor, are awarded by Columbia University on the recommendation of the 18-member board, which considers nominations from Pulitzer juries.

Carroll, editor of the Los Angeles Times, said the board would "do whatever was necessary to maintain the highest standard of integrity for the Pulitzer Prize process."

Goodwin, who won a Pulitzer for her 1995 book "No Ordinary Time," has also discontinued her role as commentator on PBS' "NewsHour With Jim Lehrer" and had an invitation to speak at the University of Delaware withdrawn as a result of the controversy.


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