Dershowitz Threatens To Sue Victim’s Attorneys For Defamation . . . Attorneys Respond By Suing Him First

image.hmlAlanDershowitz2We previously discussed the threat of retired Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz to sue Utah Law Professor and former federal judge Paul Cassell (and his co-counsel Bradley Edwards) for defamation for papers mentioning him in revelation to the sex trafficking scandal of Florida financier Jeffrey Epstein. The lawyers sought unsuccessfully to depose Dershowitz who has been accused of being one of the men who were given underaged girls to sleep with by Epstein. At the time, I wrote that Dershowitz’s statements themselves could be viewed as defamatory and actionable. It appears that Cassell and Edwards were thinking the same thing. They have now sued Dershowitz for defamation.

Dershowitz also made a rare threat of a bar complaint over his representation of a client in the notorious case of billionaire and convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. Even more rare is the source of the threatened complaint: retired law professor Alan Dershowitz of the Harvard Law School. Epstein is good friends with Bill Clinton and Duke of York Prince Andrew, 54, who have been mentioned in litigation over allegations of the use of underaged “sex slaves” and Epstein’s alleged penchant for watching (and filming) people having sex with these girls.

Dershowitz says that the sex claims are a “completely, totally fabricated, made-up story” and that he is an “innocent victim of an extortion conspiracy.” I noted that the reference to extortion itself could be viewed as defamatory since it makes the lawyers active participants in such extortion and any such statements made in public would be unprotected by privilege governing statements in court.

Cassell and Edwards however did not respond in kind and said that they would confine their statements to court filings “out of respect for the court’s desire to keep this case from being litigated in the press.” They noted however that they have “tried to depose Mr. Dershowitz on these subjects, although he has avoided those deposition requests. Nevertheless, we would be pleased to consider any sworn testimony and documentary evidence Mr. Dershowitz would like to provide which he contends would refute any of our allegations.”

As I mentioned, it is hard to see how it is a disbarring offense or defamation for these attorneys to reference the allegations of their client in court papers, particularly given the immunity protection afforded from allegations in court. However, in addition to the extortion reference, Dershowitz said “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, et cetera.” Thus, he has made public comments (outside of protected court statements) linking the lawyers to extortion and unprofessional conduct, both per se categories of defamation. He is also quoted as calling Cassell and Edwards “sleazy, unprofessional, unethical lawyers” who should have known that their client is “lying through her teeth.” Once again, the reference to being “unethical” can be alleged to be more than opinion. It is stating something that can be challenged as factually false and per se defamatory.

Jeffrey_Epstein_at_Harvard_UniversityDershowitz claims to be “thrilled” by the lawsuit but I would be less excited. It would have been better to try to sue for an out-of-court statement for defamation in his own right. After all, Dershowitz is insisting that he only went to Epstein’s island home once and was with his family the whole time. That is the type of claim that makes for a serious defamation action if the flight manifests and other documents support him.
Jane Doe #3 alleges that Epstein ordered her to have “sexual relations” with Mr. Dershowitz on the businessman’s private plane and on his private Caribbean island. However, she also says that she was ordered to have sex with Dershowitz at Epstein’s homes in New York City and Palm Beach.

Now, instead of fighting of the stronger ground of his own claimed innocence, he will have to defend against raw and frankly ill-considered statements about counsel for the accuser. Moreover, Cassell and Edwards will go get what they long sought: Dershowitz in deposition under oath.

As expected the complaint (below) zeros in on out-of-court (and unprotected) statements, particularly in a CNN interview. Notably, the complaint takes a minimalist approach and does not go into detail on the specific statements. While many lawyers prefer to state the minimum, this is a bit more of a bare bones complaint than most would file in this type of case. The complaint references the public comments generally as part of Dershowitz’s “a massive public media assault on the reputation and character” of counsel.”

A review of the CNN interview shows a target rich environment for a defamation action against Dershowitz. Indeed, I may be playing this interview in this year’s torts class on both attorney privilege and per se defamation. Here are some highlights (the highlights are my own0:

DERSHOWITZ: Well, I fit beautifully into the profile because they want to be able to challenge the plea agreement . . . And if they could find a lawyer who helped draft the agreement who also was a criminal having sex, wow, that could help them blow up the agreement.

So they sat down together, the three of them, these two sleazy unprofessional disbarable lawyers, Paul [Cassell], former federal judge, current professor, and another sleazy lawyer from Florida, Brad Edwards, whose partner is in jail for 50 years for trying to sell Epstein cases fraudulently.

They sat down together and they said, who would fit into this description, a lawyer who knows Epstein, who helped draft, Dershowitz so they and the woman got together and contrived and made this up.

. . .

But you don’t go after the lawyer and falsely charge him with a sex act which you know he didn’t commit because you just have to look at the evidence. Look at the plane manifests. Look at my travel. Look at my passport. Call me. Ask me. I can produce the witnesses. The lawyers didn’t do that.

LEMON: It’s the stuff out of television. It sounds like —

DERSHOWITZ: Like scrawling something on a bathroom wall.

LEMON: It sounds like a “Law & Order” episode. Have you ever in your career seen anything like this happening to an attorney who represented someone?

DERSHOWITZ: No. I’ve never seen — no. I’ve never seen two lawyers like Paul Casol and Brad Edwards engage in such unethical, disbarable conduct. And I am accusing them on your show of unethical conduct. I’m opening myself up to a defamation lawsuit.

I’m asking her to file criminal rape charges against me. I am waiving the statute of limitations or any immunity. But if she files a false rape charge against me, she goes to jail for filing a false charge.

LEMON: You’re going to sue them.

DERSHOWITZ: What these two lawyers and this woman have done to rape victims — I’m suing them. These two lawyers and this woman have hurt rape victims so much by putting forth a fake rape victim. They have hurt rape victims. They have hurt other kinds of victims.

Every feminist, every victim of rape should be furious at this woman, should be furious at these lawyers. They claim to be victims’ rights lawyers. They create victims. But they picked the wrong victim this time.

They picked an innocent victim and I’m not going to rest until not only am I completely vindicated, but they admit that they willfully and knowingly filed this legal paper knowing that it was completely false.

LEMON: OK, so you categorically deny everything. CNN TONIGHT, and I need to say, this reached out to Virginia Roberts’ attorneys, and here’s what her attorneys, Brad Edwards, told CNN. This is via e-mail and this was on Friday.

It said, “We intend only to litigate the relevant issues in court and not to play into any side show attempted by anyone. We do not plead anything before carefully investigating all of the allegations first.” Your reaction, Alan?

DERSHOWITZ: Well, they are hiding. What they did is they filed this thing in a document that gives them protection and privilege. They didn’t ask to prove it. They didn’t ask for a hearing. They didn’t ask for anything. They just threw it out there and expected me to remain silent.

Now we’re trying to file a motion to intervene. I hope the court lets us in because otherwise, I have no legal response and of course, I will have to sue them for defamation and will have to bring charges against them in front of the BAR Association.

I need a legal forum in which to litigate this. I want witnesses. I want the documentary evidence to come forward. We will destroy the credibility of this woman. She is a serial liar who’s lied about so many people, and the public has to know that she has lied and these lawyers have tried to destroy my reputation.

The end result will be they will no longer be able to practice law. Paul [Cassell] should not be able to teach students. He should not be able to practice law. A law license is not a license to victimize innocent people the way they’ve done.

. . .

DERSHOWITZ: Well, we are planning to file a defamation action in various parts of the world, perhaps in London, perhaps in New York, perhaps in Florida. Everywhere where the defamation has occurred we’re going to file a lawsuit demanding that they prove what they’ve alleged.

They can’t because it’s not true. We’re going to file disciplinary charges against the lawyers for failing to take even the most minimal steps of trying to corroborate the word of this serial liar who’s had a long, long history of lying.

They can’t just believe a serial liar and put in a piece of paper not even asking for a hearing just saying the piece of paper is there, let it lie there, let the media pick it up. By the way, they dropped the dime on the media when he they filed it.

Otherwise, the media never would have noticed a filing in Palm Beach County just before New Year’s. So clearly they had to notify the press of it this. The purpose of the legal proceeding was to get you folks to cover this story.

Well, Dershowitz has the “legal forum” that he was seeking, but he will be on defense. There is a material difference in how you attacks such statements and I think this is not the ideal context for Dershowitz. However, it is likely to get rougher before it gets better. Dershowitz will likely feel obligated to follow through with a bar complaint, creating a three-front battle between the original civil action, the new civil action, and the bar action.

Both Cassell and Dershowitz would be considered public figures under New York Times v. Sullivan. Public officials are placed under a higher standard for defamation in the case: requiring a showing of actual malice or knowing disregard of the truth. This constitutional-based standard is designed to protect free speech, particularly when directed against powerful politicians. Of course, these people are not public figures in the United States and some do not hold public offices. However, the same standard applies to public figures.

The public figure standard was established in Curtis Publishing v. Butts (1967). The case involved a March 23, 1963 edition of The Saturday Evening Post alleging that former University of Georgia football coach Wallace Butts conspired with University of Alabama coach Paul “Bear” Bryant to fix a 1962 football game in Alabama’s favor. In a 5-4 decision, Chief Justice Warren wrote a concurrence that extended the ruling in New York Times v. Sullivan on public officials to public figures. He found the same reasons for applying the higher standard to public officials as present in cases involving public figures:

[I]t is plain that, although they are not subject to the restraints of the political process, “public figures,” like “public officials,” often play an influential role in ordering society. And surely, as a class, these “public figures” have as ready access as “public officials” to mass media of communication, both to influence policy and to counter criticism of their views and activities. Our citizenry has a legitimate and substantial interest in the conduct of such persons, and freedom of the press to engage in uninhibited debate about their involvement in public issues and events is as crucial as it is in the case of “public officials.” The fact that they are not amenable to the restraints of the political process only underscores the legitimate and substantial nature of the interest, since it means that public opinion may be the only instrument by which society can attempt to influence their conduct.

Indeed, the case is filled with public figures and one (Epstein) who could be viewed as so notorious and sleazy as to be “libel proof” — or someone who has no reputation to lose.

Prince_Andrew_August_2014_(cropped)225px-Bill_ClintonIronically, Bill (and by extension Hillary) Clinton and Prince Andrew are likely the least thrilled by the new development. These actions mean more depositions and more investigation when they thought that the generous immunity deal had effectively tied off or limited their exposure in this case.

Here is the defamation lawsuit.

86 thoughts on “Dershowitz Threatens To Sue Victim’s Attorneys For Defamation . . . Attorneys Respond By Suing Him First”

  1. This thread has gone WAY off topic and become increasingly inane. If you have any interest in the original topic, google the term “pedophocracy.” It’s one way the “New World Order” exercises control over some of the world’ most possible. If I want to discuss sports I’ll go somewhere else. You should do the same.

  2. Ha! Professor Turley posts a topic about liberal icon Alan Dershowitz, who has been accused of being one of the men who were given underaged girls to sleep with by Jeffrey Epstein.

    Quickly moving into protective mode, the libs here turn the discussion to republicans, then go all-in to protect Bill Clinton, and later start the usual insane dissing of George Bush, father and son.

    But the libs say little about liberal icon Alan Dershowitz. It’s all deflect and refocus away from Dershowitz or Bill Clinton.

    Protect them at any cost! Otherwise the silly argument that Democrats are pro-woman fails to pass the reality test.

  3. Annebeck: Standard MO for the hardcore liberal Demos. Rather than discuss the article, they rail against Repubs. Sad, really, that this blog often devolves into emotional rants. But, since the landslide election in November, all some have left is anger and anguish. Long, boring monologues on this blog somehow provides them comfort; but, at the end of the day, they don’t change a thing, don’t change anyone’s mind, and they certainly don’t matter.

    Go Ducks!!

    1. Steve H – we need a thread on what a Duck victory will do to perceptions of PAC-12 football for next season by East Coast football rankers. They have always undervalued the PAC-12.

    2. You and (nearly) everyone has missed the point. This is not a Rep v Dem thing, or it sure shouldn’t be, as both sides are run by the same un-American team/group/gang/ thugs.
      We’ve all see the Clintons and Obama going before the Ape-Pac (AIPAC) thugs and kissing the (ahem) ring, in order to secure finances for their repeated runs for office. But, we’ve watched the (so-called) Republicans do the same. Heck, even Rand Paul has done this, which is disturbing. But, Rand watched what they (those who run the (s)election game) did to his dad, Dr Ron Paul, for refusing to go to the Ape-Pac (or J-Street or ADL, et al).., and he has decided playing the game is okay. Problem is, it is not OUR game, and by that, I mean our American voices do not count. Our votes count for exactly diddly (no pun intended, to the poster).
      The Rep v. Dem v. Libertarian/ “indy” arguments take place only because a large percentage of Americans are easily manipulated into them. I, for one (who’s tried playing this game from within all three arms of the beast), see it for what it is and refuse to go along anymore.
      It would not matter if Douchewitz was a Dem or a Rep or a Lib/Indy… They are all the same. And you do not matter; any of you, to the thugs who really run this country (from Israel).

      (And I thought i had un-subbed.., but, whatever.)

  4. Dorkowitz will get his due. Or doo doo. It all gets down to who porked who, number one. Then number two, its who flung foo. And, number three, if the foo itShays, wear it.

  5. anarchist

    Regardless of the veracity of your points, this blog is only as good as its content. The content is wanting from time to time and more often than not focuses on bizarre and nonsensical interpretations of the law. The comments are rarely focused on the intricacies of the legal issues illustrated in the blog but used as a vehicle to dispense vitriol only. Example, Pogo, the second comment on a video of a thug in a convenience store is, right out of the gate, an attack on Obama. It wouldn’t matter if the story was about lost puppies, it would be Obama’s fault.

    This, ludicrous as it is, serves more than one purpose. Most importantly it illustrates the mindless force of the attack on Obama as it has been created and fueled by the Republican party to first hide their shame and then garner power. The graphic overlay of Obama onto the convenience store thug story is the most telling comment made on this blog.

    So, you are correct, the comments stray from the point. However, truth does make its way through the ooze and perhaps some of it will get to the top.

    There is also a cathartic value in venting one’s spleen, but that’s another story.

  6. Isaac-

    ” There has been nothing proven or judged that Obama has done anything outside of his permissible executive powers. ”

    Well, you know. . . not going into NSA, whistleblowers, etc. he has intentionally killed American citizens and then argued that the executive has the right to do so. Holder presented the argument that the right to due process does not necessarily imply a right to a legal process. With terrorists, Holder claims that “vetting” by the executive is sufficient to constitute due process. Bush did a lot, but that’s still pretty goddamn despicable, even by W standards.

    I know you’re trying to impress a point upon Trooper, but you’ll just drive yourself into an early grave trying to do that. You can’t argue with the Republican religion anymore than you can the sundry snake handling faiths. If faith were logical, there’d be no more point for faith. People that wholly adopt belief systems do so because they think their social standing and well being depend upon that belief system, not because they give two sh!ts whether it’s right or wrong. Trying to get the faithful to accept reality is like offering a junkie a nice sharp stick to poke himself in the eye with in exchange for all of his heroin.

    The odd thing is, you can tell a Republican about something [insert hated democrat du jour here] has done which you personally believe erodes our freedom, damages our nation, etc, and it won’t even diminish [hated dem’s] standing in their eyes, even though they wait in breathless anticipation for any negative word their Vatican utters. If you say it, they won’t know what context they are supposed to take it in, and won’t want to understand the reasoning you provide, so they’ll forget it entirely and be back on the birth certificate thing within twelve hours.

    But I digress, given that your above point is entirely true, it doesn’t lessen my observation, just makes it that much worse.

    ” Not much from Cheney and next to nothing from Rumsfeld. Legacy, legacy, legacy. ”

    Rumsfeld heads the Hoover Institution think tank at Stanford. . .not to be confused with John Woo, who teaches law at Berkeley, or Condoleeza Rice, who is also at the Hoover Institute, which reminds me of a quote- “pathetic intelligenty. . .who pride themselves on being the nation’s brain. In fact, they are not the brain but shit.”

  7. “Wow. What has this comment thread devolved into? Nothing about the original post, but a (very silly) snit over Red or Blue? ”

    Welcome to America! Please seat yourself.

  8. Wow. What has this comment thread devolved into? Nothing about the original post, but a (very silly) snit over Red or Blue? I’ll say one thing, and then I will unsubscribe: They are the same. This is not a two-party system, any longer, and has not been for a long time. Both arms of the one party *or all three arms of the same beast, if one considers who’s paying the libertarians, too”, are owned, paid, bullied, ran.., by the very same groups.
    Please start paying attention to whom each and every candidate for Governor, Congress, and the office of POTUS, goes for campaign donations AND, particularly, for approval (the, “nod”). Smarten up. The entire election game is a sham and you are spinning your wheels. Or, keep arguing with one-another, and ignore the FACTS.
    This country is being run by a foreign entity and your vote means squat.

    I’ll now take my leave. Appreciated the articles on AD, et al..

  9. Fool me once and know…you can’t be fooled again….lol. That was priceless.

  10. trooper

    No one will sue Bush. No American wants to relive that shameful time, so shameful that it has all but disappeared from the memories of the fragile. You have to be strong to remember. You have to remember to not repeat the shame: hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths, next to total chaos in the Middle East, a vibrant economy tanked for perhaps decades, and of course the image, “Watch this drive.” “Mission accomplished.” “Um fool me once, um, fool me twice, um…”

    Even Clinton with all his sexual adventures and slick use of words, came out after his presidency and: set up an office to work in the public good, was invited to speak and spoke, went around and received the gestures of the public. The most telling comments on Bush are that he is holed up in Crawford, the Republican party cringes when he raises his eyebrows, absolutely no one has asked him to stump for them in the past six years. Now you may have voted for him, twice, but you can’t interpret that any other way than he is a pariah, self made. Not much from Cheney and next to nothing from Rumsfeld. Legacy, legacy, legacy.

    You may hate Obama. That’s next to impossible not to do when you are the other party. He will have, however, a legacy to be admired. Bush not so much, nothing.


    You voted for him twice!!!!!

  11. What’s scary is how the reality of the past six years can be so distorted in such a short period of time. There has been nothing proven or judged that Obama has done anything outside of his permissible executive powers. Turley tried to impeach Clinton for playing with words. He’s grandstanding his legal absolutism in going after Obama. Obama’s move on Cuba, you may not like but most do. Furthermore he has stepped over no lines merely on a few egos.

    Regarding Carter, he was in for one term and didn’t screw anything up. He simply didn’t fix anything that Nixon screwed up or solved the after effects of the Viet Nam War, you know millions of young men coming out of the service, a reduction in armament jobs, a near total collapse of American auto quality, etc. That was a different time with a different set of pressures. The fact of the matter is that Reagan was nothing but a smooth talking punter. He lowered taxes or stroked the populace, raised spending or stroked the populace, and it all backfired on him and Bush Sr. Reagan admitted on TV that it didn’t work. The shallow remember his smooth Dr. Feelgood stuff, but forget the seven year recession that followed him.

    The little painter, holed up in Crawford, and there is a good reason no one wants to hear from him, took a surplus, lowered taxes, increased spending, fabricated a war then bungled it, bungled what should have been a cake walk, and made the US the laughing stock of the world.

    The US is way better off now than at the end of the Bush tragedy. That is a fact. It may not be as well off as some want but it is, regardless of whether one takes the numbers fudged or unfudged, way better off. This is where the comment regarding the short memory span comes in.

    Any fingers pointed at Obama for dividing the country are those that fell victim to the architects of the last six years of stalemates, the tea party nut cases and the rest of the Republicans who stated categorically from the outset that regardless of what Obama or the Democrats proposed they would oppose, stand in the way, and punish anyone who made it half way over with the sole intention of gaining power. Sounds familiar if you watch what’s happening in the Middle East.

    Go back and read some newspapers or recent history. Obama may have made some mistakes but nothing compared to Reagan and Bush.

  12. I voted for Bush twice, and I’d vote for him again! The great thing about Obama is he makes every other President look great. The Republican before him and the Repulican after!

    I keep having to enter my name and ID. Why isn’t it filled in anymore?

  13. Paul and Trooper,
    The real irony is that he will likely be compared to Lincoln after all; not because of a “house divided” but because he divided the house. Lincoln recognized we couldn’t survive being both a free and slave nation. Until Obama, the issue of big government progressivism hadn’t really reached the consciousness of the average citizen. Six years later, Obama has managed to so divide the nation that we are once again at a point in history where we have to decide if we want this massive administrative state or do we want the liberty the founder’s envisioned. Again to be fair, I will indict GW as an unwitting accomplice but it was Obama’s ego that has compelled him to complete this transformation on his watch.

    So when he leaves office, we should all indeed thank God for Barack Hussein Obama. He really is the Chosen One.


  14. Dude when you spout that nonsense you are the one without any credibility. You might not like what Bush did to fight Islamic terrorism but he did get Congressional approval. Obama acts without any attempt to get congressional approval for any of his ultra leftist moves. Cuba anyone?

    In fact I believe the proprietor of this very blog is suing him on this very point.

    Or is he suing Bush?

  15. trooper york

    What destroys any credibility you may have had is your omission of the eight years of the three stooges. They slaughtered hundreds of thousands of innocents, drove the economy of the US into the ground, and there is more yet to surface. Obama hasn’t done anything that any other politician is routinely accused of. He did it all in the face of the hostage taking by the Republican party. Like I said, Carter to Reagan to Clinton to Obama, apples to apples to apples to apples. The arguments are political and history will shake out the facts for us all to see.

    However, before during and now after, W stood for and continues to stand for the greatest shame the US will have to bear. Nothing anybody can say about overstepping legal this or constitutional that has anything to do with the sewering the three stooges did to America. Whatever Obama has achieved or can be accused of was done in the face of the next to treasonous antics and tactics of six years of unparalleled whining and undermining by the Republicans, first to take the focus off of them for being on the same planet with Bush, and then to simply point at Obama and scream relentlessly to sway the same types that voted the idiot Bush in in the first place. The only thing worse that being wrong is having it so obvious. The only weapon against that sort of shame is to put it on some one else. In this country with only two parties that leaves little choice.

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