« Did Dershowitz Shell Out Big Bucks to Get Settlement in Sex Case? | Main | What's Everyone Hiding in the Dershowitz Case? »

Previous Posts on Alan Dershowitz

Vivia Chen

April 13, 2016

The following posts were originally published in The Careerist in 2015. We are republishing them below in light of our recent coverage of Alan Dershowitz (click here, here) and his settlement in the defamation case.

Alan-DershowitzPROFESSOR, TELL ME HOW YOU REALLY FEEL  (January 15, 2015)

Alan Dershowitz, arguably the most famous—and maybe infamous—law professor in the land, wants to set the record straight. When he heard that I was writing about his relationship with billionaire Jeffrey Epstein and the related allegation that Dershowitz engaged in sex with a minor, he tracked me down to tell his side of the story.

The backdrop: Dershowitz was part of a legal team that had negotiated a plea deal in 2008 in which Epstein pleaded guilty to felony charges in Florida for soliciting prostitution from a minor. Epstein served 13 months in prison but was spared federal charges under the deal. Last December, lawyers Bradley Edwards and Paul Cassell filed suit against the U.S. government, arguing that the plea deal violated the rights of Epstein's alleged sex victims; the suit also alleges that Dershowitz had sex with one of the victims when she was under age. Dershowitz has denied all the allegations, and Edwards and Cassell has filed a defamation suit against Dershowitz for calling them liars.

The following are excerpts from my two phone conversations with Dershowitz:

From what I've read, your relationship with Epstein seemed chummy. You socialized with him and you and your family stayed at his various homes. Isn't it a bad idea for a lawyer to be so close to a notorious client.
Let me tell you how I met him. I was introduced to him by Lady de Rothschild as an academic colleague. He was friendly with Larry Summer . . . He was in process of contributing $50 million to Harvard for evolutionary biology.

So Epstein was friendly with all sorts of Harvard muckety-mucks.
The fact that he was giving money didn't hurt. We went to events that he was involved in but none of us suspected that he had another side until later. Jeffrey loved academics. My conversations with him were only about academic subjects. We never discussed females or our social life.

Did your relationship change with Epstein when you took him on as a client?
Virtually all my social contact with him was of an academic nature, and it was prior to the time he was indicted. My relationship with him was entirely professional. It is a total bum rap to say that I "cavorted" with him or was "chummy" with him. I teach my students never, never get too close to clients—and certainly don't do anything improper with them.

The suit says that Jane Doe No. 3 was forced to have sex with you, Prince Andrew and "many other powerful men," including unnamed politicians, foreign presidents and world leaders. Why were you and the Prince singled out by name?
 They want to void the plea agreement and needed to find lawyer who knew Epstein before [the indictment], and had been on his island, his home in New Mexico, Palm Beach. I fit the bill. It was lawyer profiling.

And the Prince?
They claimed that Prince Andrew was using his influence to get Epstein a better deal with the government. What's more laughable than suggesting that the U.S. Attorney would listen to the Prince to go easy on Epstein!

Why bother responding if you think the allegations are so outrageous? Why not just let the facts come out during the legal process?
I have to respond to everything. That's the way I am. Imagine having an unblemished personal life then reading graffiti scrawled on the bathroom door that gets picked up in every paper based on the assertions of a woman who's a serial liar.

Brad Edwards, one of the lawyers bringing this suit, has a history of legal entanglement with Epstein. The other lawyer in this case, Paul Cassell, is a former federal judge and a law professor. Why is he getting involved?
Everyone is shocked that he would be part of this. I think he's always hated me because I'm his opposite. I'm the conventional liberal he hates: I'm against the death penalty, I'm pro abortion rights, pro gun control.

Seems risky to bring a lawsuit for just ideological differences.
No one can understand Cassell's motive. Either he will be disbarred or I will be. And if I knowingly had sex with a sex slave then I would deserve disbarment.

What about the reaction? Do you feel you've been treated fairly by the press and the public?
I've been treated particularly harshly by lawyers and law professors. They are so quick to say that I might be guilty. They're getting too much pleasure out of this. There's a dose of schadenfreude.

Why do you think people like getting you upset?
I'm controversial and more famous than they are. There's a lot of jealousy.

I gather you're talking about legal academia.
Yes, it's a cesspool of jealousy. People in it lack courage.

But you're no stranger to harsh criticism. People weren't exactly nominating you for a justice award for getting O.J. Simpson and Claus Von Bulow off the hook.
Some of the criticisms against me have been just. I'm a tough lawyer. But charging me with one of the most heinous crimes is on a different level. I've never been attacked like this. I don't know any lawyer or professor who's had these accusations waged against them. It's worst than what Clarence Darrow had to face.

You retired from Harvard Law School a year ago. Did you expect so much excitement at this stage of your career?
This is an absolute shock. I'm living my little life here [in Florida, New York and Martha's Vineyard]. I lead a boring life. I've been married to the same woman for 28 years. She goes with me everywhere. People know that I won't argue a case or give a speech unless my wife travels with me. This is not the profile of someone who screws around.

You take all this very personally, don't you?
Wouldn't you? I've got two grandchildren in college and they are reading this about me. This is the fight of my life.



2465883300000578-0-Allegations_Prince_Andrew_pictured_with_Virginia_Roberts_and_Ghi-m-1_1420447321235Alan Dershowitz, 76, is not going to have a quiet retirement. Not the type usually enjoyed by a professor emeritus from Harvard Law School. Slapped with allegations in December that he had sex with a minor, Dershowitz has been vehemently denying those charges.

The allegations aren't going away. Jane Doe #3 (now widely identified as Virginia Roberts, on right with Prince Andew) has filed a sworn statement in federal court. In it, she claims that she was forced by billionaire Jeffrey Epstein to have sex with Dershowitz and Prince Andrew, among others.

Most troublesome for Dershowitz is that she is offering a detailed rebuttal to his sworn statement (filed on January 5 this year) that he never met her, much less had sex with her. Here's what she writes about Dershowitz in her affidavit (numbers correspond to points in the document):

24.    Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz was around Epstein frequently.  Dershowitz was so comfortable with the sex that was going on that he would even come and chat with Epstein while I was giving oral sex to Epstein.

25.    I had sexual intercourse with Dershowitz at least six times. The first time was when I was about 16, early on in my servitude to Epstein, and it continued until I was 19.

26.    The first time we had sex took place in New York in Epstein’s home. It was in Epstein’s room (not the massage room). I was approximately 16 years old at the time. I called Dershowitz “Alan.” I knew he was a famous professor.

27.    The second time that I had sex with Dershowitz was at Epstein’s house in Palm Beach. During this encounter, Dershowitz instructed me to both perform oral sex and have sexual intercourse.

28.    I also had sex with Dershowitz at Epstein’s Zorro Ranch in New Mexico in the massage room off of the indoor pool area, which was still being painted.

29.    We also had sex at Little Saint James Island in the U.S. Virgin Islands. I was asked to give Dershowitz a massage on the beach. Dershowitz then asked me to take him somewhere more private, where we proceeded to have intercourse.

30.    Another sexual encounter between me and Dershowitz happened on Epstein’s airplane. Another girl was present on the plane with us.

31.    I have recently seen a former Harvard law professor identified as Alan Dershowitz on television calling me a “liar.” He is lying by denying that he had sex with me.  That man is the same man that I had sex with at least six times.

Who's telling the truth? Witnesses will undoubtedly be called, and their credibility scrutinized. (The mention mentions "another girl" being on the plane with her and Dershowitz, and previous testimony by Epstein employees Juan Alessi and Alfredo Rodriguez suggests that Dershowitz was in the presence of young girls at Epstein's mansions.)

While the allegations against Dershowitz are stunning (somehow, I can't say that about Prince Andrew or Epstein's other pals), I'm also shocked by another group: her parents. It was her father who drove her to Epstein's Palm Beach mansion for her first sexual encounter with the billionaire when she was 15. (She says in the affidavit, "my father was not allowed inside"—as if that explained the situation.) Indeed, her parents didn't seem to object to their minor daughter traveling the world with Epstein. Left unanswered in all this: Did her parents encourage her contact with Epstein? Did they derive a benefit from the relationship?

Ironically, the one person who comes off cleanly in this affidavit is Bill Clinton: "Former President Clinton was present on the Island at a time when I was present on the Island, but I have never had sexual relations with Clinton, nor have I ever claimed to have had such relations. I have never seen him have sexual relations with anyone."

So Clinton is the dignified elder statesman, while the retired Harvard professor is the libertine. Go figure.



Paul_Cassell_e1davhWho's Paul Cassell? And why is he giving Alan Dershowitz such agita?

Cassell, a law professor at the University of Utah, has alleged, with co-counsel Brad Edwards, that Dershowitz had sex with a minor when the Harvard law professor was a guest of billionaire Jeffrey Epstein over 10 years ago. Dershowitz says "no one can understand [Cassell's] motive" in getting involved in such a sensational case. (Cassell and Edwards are seeking to void a plea agreement, which Dershowitz helped draft, that spared the billionaire federal charges for sexually abusing minors.)

Though Dershowitz has called both Cassell and Edwards, a Florida personal injury lawyer, "liars"—he seems most vexed (and perplexed) by Cassell. That might be because Cassell also has an elite resume—one that might lend extra credibility to the case: A former federal judge, Cassell was also a US Attorney, clerk for Chief Justice Warren Burger and president of the Stanford Law Review.

So who's this mysterious law professor taking on the Harvard icon? I contacted Cassell to find out. Here are excerpts from our three phone conversations and various email exchanges:

Dershowitz told me that you should be disbarred for making what he says are spurious allegations. He says that he thinks you hate him because he's your political opposite.
I took the case on in 2008. All I knew then was that it was a crime victims case against the government. I didn't know who else was involved except [Jeffrey] Epstein.

So this is not a personal vendetta for ideological reasons?
I don't want to be dragged into that discussion.

I read that you are zealously pro-death penalty and anti-Miranda warning. That puts you in direct contrast to liberals like Dershowitz, no?
I argue for reforming Miranda not overturning it. I think the Miranda rules make it difficult to prosecute sometimes, and we should have greater latitude to get confessions.

As for the death penalty, I wrote a book in 2010, Debating the Death Penalty, with Hugo Bedau, in which I argued in favor of the death penalty, and Bedau argued against it. But death penalty cases represents such a tiny percentage of cases in the penalty system that I’ve done very little on the issue.

Do you consider yourself a hardcore conservative?
I don’t label myself as conservative. I’m a bleeding heart about victims—whether they are victims of low level street criminals or high executive criminals—we should hear their voices. I'm one of the more active victim rights lawyers.

I've done a number of pro bono crime victims rights cases since resigning from the federal bench in November, 2007. I argued before the Supreme Court for Amy, a victim of child pornography. I argued before the 10th Circuit on behalf of parents of a murdered child for the right to deliver an impact statement. I worked on the environmental case against Citgo [Petroleum Corp.] in which I represented the victims—the majority were African Americans and Hispanics; I spent two years on getting them restitution.

Citgo Petroleum Corp. to set up multimillion-dollar trust funds to cover medical and relocation costs - See more at: http://www.thomhartmann.com/forum/2012/10/texas-pollution-victims-seek-millions-citco#sthash.OHDY283V.dpuf
Citgo Petroleum Corp. to set up multimillion-dollar trust funds to cover medical and relocation costs - See more at: http://www.thomhartmann.com/forum/2012/10/texas-pollution-victims-seek-millions-citco#sthash.OHDY283V.dpuf
Citgo Petroleum Corp. to set up multimillion-dollar trust funds to cover medical and relocation costs - See more at: http://www.thomhartmann.com/forum/2012/10/texas-pollution-victims-seek-millions-citco#sthash.OHDY283V.dpufcase in Texas where the vast majority of victims were A-Africans and Hipanics..I spent 2 years working on getting them restitution.

Whoa—you represented victims in an environmental case against an oil company? That doesn't sound like something a nice conservative would do.
People make snap judgments about me. As a judge, I wrote the decision in the Weldon Angelos case, attacking mandatory minimum sentences for marijuana possession. I wrote a 70 page decision in which I said it made no sense to send Angelos away for the 55 years required under the mandatory sentencing guidelines. It's more than you'd get if you shoot a victim. People were saying, "Cassell will always rule for the prosecutor" but that one decision disproves it. My decision in Angelos is considered liberal.

Are there any misconceptions about your role in this current case involving Jeffrey Epstein's sex victims?
This is a pro bono case. Our goal is to invalidate the plea agreement entered between Epstein and the government so that the prosecution can proceed against Epstein and the co-conspirators. The victims aren't making money off this case, nor are the lawyers. I have several hundreds of hours on this, and Brad's invested even more.

You've said that you quit the federal bench because of the low pay. So how can you afford to do all this pro bono?
It’s public record that I asked the law school for the same salary that I made during my judgeship. But you can do outside consulting as a law professor. I have several defense cases currently. But the work I do for crime victims is pro bono.

How strong is this case? Do you think you can void Epstein's plea agreement with the feds?
We always look for cases with strong claims that have wide ranging impact. We feel we have a strong case against the government for violating the rights of victims. We're not commenting on the details of the case; we prefer to speak through our court pleadings.

You sound like a serious lawyer but you have to admit that this case has become a big soap opera.
Brad and I are two lawyers who want to vindicate our clients. Other things happen that are not part of our plan. My point is that this is not a unique case for us. No one is surprised that I'm involved in a Crime Victims' Rights Act case—that's what I do.



635575145609403054-dershowitzMatch point: Alan Dershowitz.

The retired Harvard Law School professor got handed a very nice ruling this week. (In case you've been living under a rock for the last four months, Dershowitz, along with Prince Andrew, were  accused of having sex with underage girls while guests of Jeffrey Epstein, a convicted sex offender, according to a filing on behalf of two sex victims last December).

Here's how the Wall Street Journal describes the latest ruling:

A federal judge on Tuesday said lawyers representing alleged underage sex-abuse victims of Florida financier Jeffrey Epstein improperly aired accusations against Prince Andrew and retired Harvard University law professor Alan Dershowitz.

U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra of Florida struck from the record claims against the British royal and the American lawyer that surfaced in a civil lawsuit over the government’s handling of the Epstein sex-abuse scandal.

Not only were Jane Doe 3 (she accused Dershowitz, Prince Andrew and others of having sex with her when she was underage) and Jane Doe 4 not permitted to join the original claim that their rights were violated under the Crime Victims Rights Act, but the judge called the sex accusations detailed in their filing "lurid."

Not surprisingly, Dershowitz is pleased with the ruling. "It was a 100 percent victory, and we could not have asked for more," Dershowitz told me over the phone. "We filed a motion seeking exactly what we got."

So professor, time to party? Not exactly "This is a complete legal vindication, but I'm not satisfied with that," says Dershowitz. "I want the world to know that Jane Doe 3's story is made out of whole cloth. . . Until that's established, I won't rest."

To that end, Dershowitz says he's still suing Jane Doe 3 and countersuing her lawyers Brad Edwards and Paul Cassell (click here for our interview with Cassell) for defamation.

Though Dershowitz says he's been "damaged" by the sex allegations, he says he'll drop all these lawsuits if Jane Doe 3 and her lawyers would "sit down and admit their mistake." Of fellow academic Cassell (he teaches at the University of Utah Law School), in particular, Dershowitz says, "At this point, he can't believe [the sexual allegations] are true. I've put in a sworn affidavit. If he were a gentleman, he’d call me and admit that he made a mistake." (Cassell sent me an email statement: "We are pleased by the Court’s ruling recognizing that Jane Doe 3 and 4 have a right to participate without the need for formal intervention.")

But Dershowitz isn't holding his breath. He says he'll keep on fighting the charges. "It's very expensive; some of it is paid by insurance, some not," he tells me. "I will drain my bank account if I have to."

One incidental beneficiary in all this, says Dershowitz, is Prince Andrew, whose alleged sexual escapades with Jane Doe 3 were also stricken from the record. "He's getting the benefit of the lawsuit I brought."



MaxresdefaultI've been worried that the Alan Dershowitz Show is coming to a close. After writing a bunch of posts about the allegations that Dershowitz had sex with an underage girl, I fear the story is getting stale. I mean, how many times can you invoke the image of the septuagenarian Harvard law professor romping naked on some private island? (In March, the judge threw out those "lurid" sex charges against Dershowitz.)

Thank goodness a striking new character has emerged to give the story a second wind. And a bold face name to boot: David Boies, reports Reuters.

Boies and his firm are representing Virginia Roberts (also known as Jane Doe 3), who alleges that Dershowitz, Prince Andrew and other luminaries had sex with her when she was a teenager at the behest of billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, a convicted sex offender. (Roberts is also being represented by Brad Edwards and Paul Cassell—see interview with Cassell—whom Dershowitz has countersued for defamation.)

According to a statement by Boies, Schiller & Flexner, the firm is representing Roberts on a pro bono basis:

The firm’s pro bono program focuses on meaningful cases including trying to assist women and children who are the victims of abuse. Boies Schiller & Flexner LLP took on Ms. Roberts’ representation because she was a victim of abuse when she was a minor child.

While Dershowitz has been less than flattering about Edwards and Cassell, Robert's other lawyers, he's had cordial relations with Boies. "I wrote him a nice congratulatory note when he did the case of gay rights," says Dershowitz.

That was back then. Now, the two legal giants are on opposite sides. Beside the soured personal relationship, Dershowitz makes a much more serious charge: Boies Schiller has a conflicts problem. According to Dershowitz, Boies Schiller partner Carlos Sires in Florida had volunteered to represent him in his defamation suit against Roberts. After delivering a confidential memo to Sires about the matter, Dershowitz said he learned that the firm already represented Roberts.

"I wrote to Sires that you are such a mensch, and I'm sorry you're in the middle of all this," says Dershowitz. "But your firm can't continue to represent [Roberts] because you've all read my material."

Dershowitz says he asked Boies Schiller to recuse itself: "They answered no." (Boies Schiller has not responded to our questions.)

Meanwhile, Dershowitz seems a bit offended that Boies isn't answering him. "I'm willing to talk to him, but he won't talk to me."

So will the legal drama/soap opera keep on going? Oh, yeah, says Dershowitz. "There's more coming."



Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Subscribe to get The Careerist via e-mail

Enter your e-mail address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

About The Careerist

The Careerist takes an inside look at how lawyers shape their careers and manage their lives. The blog aims to dissect developments in the profession, provide useful information and advice, and give lawyers a platform to voice their views. The goal is to provide a fresh, provocative take on the state of lawyering.

About Vivia Chen

Vivia Chen

Vivia Chen, The Careerist's chief blogger, has been covering the business and culture of law firms for a decade. A former corporate lawyer, Chen is fascinated by those who thrive (as well as those who don't) in the legal profession. Her take: Success in the law (and life) doesn't always travel a linear path. If you have topics you'd like to discuss or information to share, contact her: VChen@alm.com

To search across all ALM blogs, go to www.Lexis.com.