By Nick Allen
Sarah Palin, the former Republican Vice-Presidential candidate, has been hit by lurid allegations that she had a fling with a basketball player just before she got married and took cocaine while out snowmobiling.
Mrs Palin's life has been under the microscope for three years but the claims will be the first such lurid allegations by a serious author.
According to reports in the United States the claims will be contained in a highly critical book by author Joe McGinniss which is due to be published next week.
The allegations about the former Alaska Governor, who has been pursued by the tabloid press since running for the Vice Presidency in 2008, were originally published in the National Enquirer, which quoted publishing sources close to the book.
Mr McGinnis will also reportedly claim that she took marijuana while a student and had an affair with her husband Todd's business partner.
Mrs Palin's life has been under the microscope for three years but the claims will be the first such lurid allegations by a serious author, and will be seized on by her enemies. She has not responded publicly so far.
Mr McGinniss, 67, is best known as author of the "The Selling of the President" about Richard Nixon's 1968 presidential campaign.
He rented a house next to the Palin family's lakeside home in Wasilla, Alaska, for several months while he completed "The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin."
Mrs Palin furiously accused him of planning to spy on her family.
In it he will claim Mrs Palin had a one-night stand with basketball player Glen Rice, who went on to play for the Miami Heat, less than a year before marrying her husband Todd.
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