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Expert: McCartney Leak May Be Warning

Heather Mills McCartney probably has things to say about Paul McCartney that are even worse than what you've already read.

That's what a high-profile British media lawyer told The Early Show co-anchor Hannah Storm Thursday. At the same time, he said he "certainly" has doubts about the authenticity of the document.

Britain's Daily Mail newspaper on Wednesday reported details of an alleged court document supposedly filed by Mills McCartney's lawyers, containing accounts of mistreatment and drug use during the couple's four-year marriage. In response, lawyers for Paul McCartney said he will "vigorously" defend himself against allegations that he physically abused his estranged wife.

Mills McCartney's spokesman, Phil Hall, described the divorce proceedings as "highly confidential" and said he could not confirm whether the document cited in the report was genuine. He said Mills McCartney had been "shocked" by the Daily Mail's story.

Among other things, the document alleges that McCartney once attacked his wife with a broken wine glass, stabbing her in the arm and causing profuse bleeding. It also claims that he used illegal drugs and drank to excess. CBS News correspondent Sheila MacVicar reported Thursday that British tabloids have published a photo of Mills McCartney with what appears to be a cut near her left elbow.

On The Early Show Thursday, lawyer Stephens said he thinks "there's more that Mills has got. If this has come from her camp, this is a shot across the bow at Sir Paul, basically saying, 'This is a small amount of damage I can do to you. I can do much worse than this. You have to pay more (in any divorce settlement)' and, if that really is what we are talking about, the British courts will look very dimly on that kind of approach and particularly playing this to the media."

Stephens pointed out, "One of the things that really concerns me is that this document isn't signed. It's not dated. There's not a shred of evidence that it's ever been in a court file. The statement issued from Heather McCartney's side is that she stands by everything that has been filed on the court file. This document hasn't been filed on a court file. So the question is: Who leaked this and why?"

The fact that Heather Mills McCartney's legal team hasn't explicitly discounted the document's authenticity is "what leads us to believe it probably isn't a hoax. We can't discount it completely. But it probably isn't a hoax. There's a lot of real detail in there. But the question is whether Heather Mills McCcartney is prepared to stand behind the statements made in that document, many of which are extremely damaging to Sir Paul."

Stephens noted, "This was a very sophisticated leak. It was put into a newsroom at the Royal Courts of Justice, where just about every news organization on this planet is represented. They of course are specifically trained to identify this document and know precisely what it means and the impact of it. So I think it's quite a sophisticated leak. And I think somebody, somewhere has got questions to answer about who, why and how this got leaked."

Mishcon de Reya, the law firm representing Mills McCartney in the divorce, said it would not comment on "leaked or allegedly leaked documents."

It said it could not confirm whether or not a response to McCartney's divorce petition had been lodged with a court.

"Mills McCartney stands by everything that has been filed at court on her behalf and intends to prove its truth in due course should this be necessary," the law firm said in a statement.

The Associated Press obtained a document that appeared to be a divorce court filing, containing details that matched those reported by the Daily Mail. The authenticity of the document could not be confirmed.

The newspaper reported that the purported 13-page submission also alleged that McCartney had pushed his estranged wife into a bathtub while she was pregnant with their child.

It reported the document, said to have been filed by Mills McCartney in response to the former Beatle's divorce petition, lodged in July, also claimed McCartney had later objected to his partner breast-feeding their daughter.

The newspaper quoted the alleged court papers as saying McCartney had told his wife "they are my breasts."

It reported that the document alleged McCartney had grabbed his wife's neck and started choking her during a trip to the U.S. in 2003 and on an earlier occasion pushed her over a coffee table.

Mills McCartney is reported to claim in the legal papers that in late 2005 her husband forced her to cancel surgery for two months, as it interfered with their holiday plans.

Paul McCartney's law firm said the musician "would very much like to respond in public and in detail to the allegations made recently against him by his wife and published in the press but he recognizes, on advice, that the only correct forum for his response to the allegations made against him is in the current divorce proceedings."

"Our client is saddened by the breakdown of his marriage and requests that his family is allowed to conduct their personal affairs out of the media spotlight for the sake of everybody involved," the statement added.

The 64-year-old rocker and 38-year-old anti-land mine campaigner announced their separation in May. They have a 2-year-old daughter, Beatrice.

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