Dershowitz on the defensive

Alan Dershowitz is defending himself against charges of having had sexual relations with an underage woman. File photo
Alan Dershowitz is defending himself against charges of having had sexual relations with an underage woman.
File photo

Jewish attorney, Harvard Law School professor emeritus and pro-Israel activist Alan Dershowitz continued to defend himself this week from shocking sex allegations.

In a lawsuit filed in the Southern Florida District Court last week, a woman claims she was forced to repeatedly have sex with Dershowitz while she was a “sex slave” for Dershowitz’s former client and friend, self-made billionaire Jeffrey Epstein.

The complainant, identified in court papers as “Jane Doe 3,” but who has been revealed to be 30 year-old Virginia Roberts following her participation in a BBC documentary, claims that she was 17 years old at the time of the alleged encounters. She claims that Dershowitz was one of a number of wealthy, powerful and internationally recognizable men she was forced to have sex with by Epstein, including Britain’s Prince Andrew, brother of Prince Charles.

Epstein, accused in 2008 of engaging in underage sex with a minor, pleaded guilty to one count of soliciting prostitution, a misdemeanor. Under the terms of a plea deal with prosecutors, negotiated by Dershowitz on his behalf, Epstein was sentenced to 18 months in prison, of which he served 13.

The new civil lawsuit, filed on behalf of multiple Jane Does who claimed to have been Epstein’s “sex slaves,” accuses the federal government itself of violating the Crime Victims’ Rights Act (CVRA).

The plaintiffs allege that the United States deprived them of justice as crime victims when prosecutors offered Epstein what they characterize as a sweetheart deal.

According to the complaint, Roberts claims that she was a sex worker for Epstein from 1999 until 2002. During this period, Epstein would require her to provide sexual favors to wealthy and powerful men that Epstein considered his friends in order to gain their favor and also gain material for blackmail. The complaint further includes details of where underage sexual encounters with Dershowitz are alleged to have occurred: Epstein’s private Caribbean island, Epstein’s private plane, and at his houses in New Mexico, New York City and Palm Beach.

In response to a request for an interview, a representative for Dershowitz forwarded an affidavit he filed with the Southern District of Florida on Jan. 5.

“Again, let me assert categorically, without reservation and with full awareness of the risks of perjury, that I did not ever, under any circumstances, have any sexual contact of any kind with [Roberts],” Dershowitz wrote in the affidavit.

On most of the occasions on which he admittedly flew on Epstein’s private plane, Dershowitz wrote that he was accompanied by his wife and daughter and that no underage women were present.

Dershowitz added that the civil attorneys could have easily discovered their clients’ prevarications by checking plane manifests and allowing him to provide them with “unimpeachable” witnesses to his innocence.

Dershowitz also strongly denied the accusations to Politico last week.
“It’s totally, unequivocally and completely false,” Dershowitz told Politico, adding that the allegations were “totally made up and totally fabricated from beginning to end.

“I’m planning to file disbarment charges against the two lawyers who signed this petition without even checking the manifests of airplanes or travel itineraries, etcetera,” he said. “I’m also challenging the young woman and the lawyers to level those charges against me outside of the courtroom, so that I can sue them for defamation. … Finally, I’m challenging the woman to file criminal charges against me because the filing of false criminal charges is a crime.”

It is unclear how Dershowitz will act on his threats against the attorneys. John Thornton, a partner in the Florida-based law firm, Do Campo & Thornton, P.A., said that under Florida law, plaintiffs’ attorneys are not required to verify their clients’ claims as long as there is reasonable belief that their clients story is true.

“The attorney must believe that the allegations are true,” said Thornton. “If not, the attorney is violating tenets of the profession. However, for most types of claims there’s not a requirement that the attorney or the plaintiff verify or swear to the veracity of the allegations. The question becomes whether the attorney believes in good faith the allegation.”

Dershowitz, who is a well-known pro-Israel advocate, told The Jerusalem Post that he has received anti-Semitic emails as a result of the publicity he’s getting being named in the case.

“The anti-Semites are crawling out from under their rocks, they are loving this,” Dershowitz told JPost. “And the anti-Israel zealots are loving this. I’m not only defending myself here but I am defending other values as well. I am defending the values that I have represented and stood for, for so many years.”

[email protected]  @dmitriyshapiro

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  1. It’s a shame for him to be accused. While a lot of accusations are true, Dershowitz has repeatedly in books, and in public, been very up front about himself, vulnerable about his personal information and feelings. It’s not consistent with sexual abuse, where the person “pretends” and always looks good. (As weird was it was to learn about Cosby, his “too good to be true” image… was (apparently) too good to be true. Dershowitz doesn’t have a too good to be true image. He has a very upfront demeanor that includes bad as well as good.)

    He also takes great pride in himself and his work. While that doesn’t stop a abuser, he doesn’t strike me as willing to give up the notoriety and power he’s gotten from his work, but some a couples activity. When stuff like this has stuck, it’s been an accusation directly to the person that THEY were the ones who set the whole mess up, such as Epstein. …accusations haven’t often been at side parties, and many of those when they have appeared, hasn’t held.

    As he’s said, the accusations need to be presented by plaintiff in a way that makes plaintiff vunerable if they are false. That’s the only way to have it shake and out know what’s what.


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