WOBURN, Mass. (AP) – An author who admitted she fabricated a best-selling memoir about surviving the Holocaust by living with wolves on Thursday asked a judge to turn aside a bid to overturn a multimillion-dollar judgment she won in a dispute with her publisher.

Misha Defonseca said in Middlesex Superior Court that it was too late for the book’s publisher to try to overturn the $32.4 million verdict she and her ghost writer won against her in 2001 in a fight over profits.

Publisher Jane Daniel claims that the jury awarded the authors the money because they believed Defonseca’s harrowing tale of a tortured childhood was true.

Defonseca acknowledged earlier this year her stories of being taken in by wolves to escape the Nazis, killing a German soldier in self-defense, and walking across Europe in search of her parents were her own fantasies. In fact, Defonseca admitted in February she isn’t even Jewish.

However, she and ghost writer Vera Lee argue the statute of limitations has run out on Daniel’s attempt to throw out the verdict against her, and that the veracity of Defonseca’s tale has nothing to do with it.

“Nothing was concocted to defraud the court,” Defonseca said Thursday. “I had been telling my story for years and believed it to be true.”

The jury in 2001 found Daniel failed to promote the book, “Misha: A Memoire of the Holocaust Years” in the United States and had hidden profits. The jurors awarded Defonseca $7.5 million and Lee $3.3 million, but those amounts were later tripled by a judge who found Daniel and her small publishing company, Mt. Ivy Press, had misled both women and tried to claim royalties herself by rewriting the book.

Overseas, the book was translated into 18 languages and was turned into a feature film in France, but it sold only 5,000 copies in the United States after Daniel had a falling out with Defonseca and Lee.

The authors later settled with Daniel to pay a lesser amount, including the surrender of property. Daniel has said her father paid $425,000 to Defonseca, while Lee received $250,000 from a settlement Daniel received after suing her literary agent and has the right to sell her house in Gloucester.

Daniel’s attorney, Joseph Orlando, argued Thursday that statute of limitations on setting aside the judgment should not apply because of Defonseca’s confession this year that the story was not true.

“They based their decision on lies,” Orlando said.

However, Frank Frisoli, an attorney for Lee, said the jurors based their verdict on Daniel’s deception – not on whether the book was true – and that Daniel was too late in trying to undo the verdict.

“I see no reasonable basis for this action. They’re far outside any time limits,” Frisoli said.

Defonseca, who represented herself, declined comment after the hearing.

Middlesex Superior Court Judge Timothy Feeley did not indicate when he would rule.

AP-ES-08-28-08 1918EDT

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