July 16, 2004 08:00 AM

Britney Spears is considering a lawsuit against the New York Post after the paper ran a front-page photo of her chugging a tiny bottle with a headline inside labeling her “‘Boozer’ Britney” – when in fact, Spears was drinking nonalcoholic ginseng.

The Post’s cross-town rival, the Daily News, reports that the store clerk is even backing Britney, confirming that she purchased the herbal supplement and not liquor as the Post suggested.

“She did not buy alcohol at all,” said Arif Alam, a clerk at the Venice, Calif., liquor store where Spears was photographed. “No alcohol!”

The clerk described the bottle in question as containing 10 mg. of Panax Red Ginseng Extractum (price: $1). She also bought a can of Red Bull energy drink, Alam tells the News.

But that’s not what the Post blared across its front page on Thursday. British tabloids also picked up the photo and the alcohol accusation. The sensational tabloid the Sun even said Spears, 22, was consuming a little airline bottle of Glenlivet Scotch.

Spears’s attorney, Martin Singer, tells the Daily News that the Post claims were “totally fabricated, fictional and defamatory.” He added that Spears “intends to file a lawsuit” against the Post “unless the paper immediately issues an appropriate retraction, apology and financial settlement.”

There has been no comment from the Post, which last week also erroneously ran a front-page story naming Dick Gephardt as John Kerry’s running mate. Within hours, Kerry announced it would be John Edwards.

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