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BBC confirms legal letter received from Gerry Adams over Spotlight Denis Donaldson murder claims

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Outside and inside the house

Outside and inside the house

Outside and inside the house

Outside and inside the house

Outside and inside the house

Outside and inside the house

Denis Donaldson stands beside Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams

Denis Donaldson stands beside Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams

The scene of Donaldson's murder in 2006

The scene of Donaldson's murder in 2006

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Outside and inside the house

Gerry Adams is to sue the BBC over claims he sanctioned the killing of an IRA double agent.

The Sinn Fein president said he specifically and categorically denied the allegation levelled in a BBC documentary that he approved the killing of Denis Donaldson.

The explosive claim was made by an anonymous man, who claimed he was also a paid state agent in the IRA, to the Spotlight programme.

The BBC has said it stands by its journalism.

And on Thursday a spokesman confirmed it had received a letter from Mr Adams' laywers and "will respond in due course".

Mr Donaldson (55), a Sinn Fein official and close colleague of Mr Adams, was shot dead at an isolated cottage near Glenties in Co Donegal in April 2006 following his exposure as a British spy.

Mr Adams, who said he would have no issue speaking to police to reiterate his denial, had previously said he was consulting with his lawyer about potential legal action against the BBC.

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On Thursday it was reported in the Andersonstown News that the Louth TD was to take legal action over the broadcaster for libel.

Responding to the report the Sinn Fein president said in a statement: "I have been consulting with my lawyers and we will now be taking action against the BBC in relation to the totally false allegation contained within the BBC Spotlight broadcast

“This matter is now in the hands of my lawyers and I will not be making any further comment."

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Denis Donaldson

Denis Donaldson

Denis Donaldson

Denis Donaldson

Scene of the murder in 2006

Scene of the murder in 2006

Outside and inside the house

Outside and inside the house

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Denis Donaldson

The Belfast Telegraph exclusively revealed, also on Thursday, that the Real IRA carried out the Donaldson killing with one of its leaders saying Gerry Adams had nothing to do with the murder.

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