Dershowitz Under Fire For Move That Could Partially Close Hearing On Infamous Epstein Case

Media groups are contesting an effort by Alan Dershowitz to close part of the oral arguments before the Second Circuit in the ongoing litigation over the handling of the case of his former client, Jeffrey Epstein (left), who was an alleged sex trafficker for powerful men ranging from Bill Clinton to Dershowitz himself. Dershowitz has denied the allegations of one of Epstein’s alleged victims that she was coerced into having sex with Dershowitz.

The letter raises the issue of how Dershowitz will make reference to sealed material and raises the need to exclude the public and media. It presents an interesting dilemma for the court and the parties. Ordinarily, a party seeking to use sealed material in oral argument will make a motion to seal or partially seal the proceedings — or seek the unsealing of the information. Alternatively, a sealed brief can be filed and oral argument confined to public information.

I have previously criticized the handling of the case against Epstein and recently called upon Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta to resign in light of the findings of a federal court that he violated federal law in giving Epstein a ridiculously light plea deal. The deal came as various powerful figures were being named at travelers on Epstein’s infamous “Lolita Express” flights to his private estate on the Caribbean island of Little Saint James with young girls who allegedly were used as prostitutes.  Epstein was known for his preference for young women and powerful figures like Clinton were repeat guests.

Despite a strong case for prosecution, Epstein’s lawyers, including Dershowitz and Ken Starr, were able to secure an absurd deal with prosecutors. He was accused of abusing abused more than forty minor girls (with many between the ages of 13 and 17).  Sasse is correct, the handling of the case is a disgrace but it is unlikely to result in any real punishment. Certainly not for Epstein who pleaded guilty to a Florida state charge of felony solicitation of underage girls in 2008 and served a 13-month jail sentence.  Moreover, to my lasting surprise, the Senate approved the man who cut that disgraceful deal, former Miami U.S. attorney Alexander Acosta, as labor secretary.  The Senate did not seem to care that Acosta betrayed these victims and protected a serial abuser.  In other words, everyone was protected–the powerful Johns, Epstein, the prosecutors–just not the victims who were never consulted before Epstein got his sweetheart deal.

Acosta’s career did not suffer. To the contrary, he flourished and even ended up with a cabinet position.

After the deal, it was revealed that not only did Clinton take the “Lolita Express” more than previously stated but that he notably told his Secret Service details not to come on the trips to what some called “Orgy Island.” Clinton was not the only fan of Epstein. 

Dershowitz maintains that the allegation against him is facially untrue and that sealed material prove them to be untrue. Two women reportedly claims that they were underage when Epstein directed them to have sex with Dershowitz and other powerful men. One of the alleged victims is Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who sue the former girlfriend of Epstein in New York. Dershowitz insists that he has records that refute details of the allegations. Dershowitz has sought to unseal a select number of sealed documents.

Oral arguments are scheduled Wednesday over media demands to see seal documents. This include filings by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and 32 other media companies, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Dow Jones, Fox News, Gannett, Politico, Reveal Center for Investigative Reporting and Tribune Publishing Co.

Dershowitz insists that his letter was simply notifying the court that his argument could touch on sealed matters. Media groups have objected that it is an effort to exclude the public and Barbara Petersen, executive director of the First Amendment Foundation, called Dershowitz’s request comes across more as a “veiled threat.”

45 thoughts on “Dershowitz Under Fire For Move That Could Partially Close Hearing On Infamous Epstein Case”

  1. If I were the Judge, I would explain to Alan Dershowitz that, he has a conflict of interest in the case before the Court, having been accused by the complainant Ms. Virginia Roberts as being both a sexual perpetrator/participant and witness in the underage sex parties hosted by Mr. Epstein.

    The Judge should give Ms. Roberts’ and her lawyers 4 weeks to uncover any corroborating witnesses who saw Dershowitz in attendance at any of these sex parties. Establishing his attendance at any of these parties, or his non-attendance, is a critical fact which will guide the course of the matter.

    This is because Dersh would have obstructed justice in shaping the NPA, particularly the non-prosecution of any co-conspirators or accessories to the crimes, if he had been present and witnessed what was going on at these parties.

    1. That is not how conflicts work. Generally a defense attorney is absolutely conflicted when his representation of a potential client negatively impacts a prior client.

      Most any other conflicts if real – can be waived by the defendant.

      Regardless, identifying Derschowitz makes him also a party – that does not get him out of this.

      Derschowitz has also made a huge deal of this. The allegations against him have ONLY been made in court. There is a reason for that. You can not go after someone for defamation for an allegation in court. Desrchowitz is litterally begging anyone to publicly make this allegation where they would be subject to a defamation claim if they can not prove it.

      A defense attorney can not “obstruct justice” by negotiating a good deal for his client.

      Can we get rid of these totally bogus legal nonsense ?

    2. Derschowitz has no conflict.

      You can not drive someone from representing a client by making an accusation against them.

      No one has been willing to allege misconduct by Dershowitz outside of a court filing where they are protected against defamation claims. If Roberts wishes to make her claim publicly – she is free to do so. Derschowitz has all but begged her to, as she would be subject to a defamation claim that she would lose if she could not prove it true.

      A defense attorney can not obstuct justice by doing their job.

  2. Plea deals are made for lots of reasons but evidentiary considerations usually carry the process forward. If Acosta couldn’t prove his case and knew it, then the deal could make sense. Relying on hookers isn’t typically the best strategy against powerful politicians with powerful legal teams. Just ask Avenatti. Remember him and his client … Balmy, Rainy, Dopey, Sleazy … or whatever her name was.

    1. It’s quite different when the girls are underage. One of the big improvements in adjudicating sex trafficking cases has been to treat underage girls as unwilling participants. It, therefore, is prejudicial (and antiquated) to call these girls prostitutes.
      Under current law, they are sex-trafficking victims (or survivors).

      1. We do not know what occurred here.

        We know that Acosta did not persue a case. That is all.

        We do not know if it was a strong case or a weak one.

        We know that had it moved forward it is possible that a large number of very powerful people – many democrats might have come up.

        But we do not know what the truth is.

  3. Dersh’s responses seem more like reactions to monetary infusions rather than inexorable legal conclusions. They are bereft of the logic and rationality of his historical positions while of great benefit to the rich and famous and royal; understanding that either side in a contest may be well and substantially argued for.

  4. “If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.”

    – Anonymous

    If you can’t impose the correct and appropriate penalty, don’t adjudicate. The singular American failure has been the inadequacy and corruption of its judicial branch.

    The Epstein cover-up is not dissimilar to the official downplaying and whitewashing of the fraud perpetrated by Martin King in his effort to illicitly obtain a “fake” doctoral degree. The “committee of scholars” found that King committed an “academic crime” as he plagiarized (i.e. forgery or stealing words) in his un-disserrtaion but that his fraudulently obtained degree should not be revoked. Why not? Obviously, for the political purposes of “Affirmative Action Privilege” and forced “integration” in the communist campaign to “socially engineer” societal classes into extinction and redistribute other people’s wealth. Typically, when a crime is adjudicated, a penalty is imposed, which, in King’s case, the “committee” claimed would serve no purpose. Based on that logic, America should empty its prisons.

    To wit,

    “Despite its finding, the committee said that “no thought should be given to the revocation of Dr. King’s doctoral degree,” an action that the panel said would serve no purpose.”

    – Committee of Scholars, Boston Univ.

    “A committee of scholars appointed by Boston University concluded today that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. plagiarized passages in his dissertation for a doctoral degree at the university 36 years ago.

    “There is no question,” the committee said in a report to the university’s provost, “but that Dr. King plagiarized in the dissertation by appropriating material from sources not explicitly credited in notes, or mistakenly credited, or credited generally and at some distance in the text from a close paraphrase or verbatim quotation.”

    Despite its finding, the committee said that “no thought should be given to the revocation of Dr. King’s doctoral degree,” an action that the panel said would serve no purpose.

    But the committee did recommend that a letter stating its finding be placed with the official copy of Dr. King’s dissertation in the university’s library.

    The four-member committee was appointed by the university a year ago to determine whether plagiarism charges against Dr. King that had recently surfaced were in fact true. Today the university’s provost, Jon Westling, accepted the committee’s recommendations and said its members had “conducted the investigation with scholarly thoroughness, scrupulous attention to detail and a determination not to be influenced by non-scholarly consideration.”

    The dissertation at issue is “A Comparison of the Conceptions of God in the Thinking of Paul Tillich and Henry Nelson Wieman.” Dr. King wrote it in 1955 as part of his requirements for a doctor of philosophy degree, which he subsequently received from the university’s Division of Religious and Theological Studies.”

    – New York Times, October 11, 1991

    “We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.”

    – William Casey, CIA Director

  5. Trump had called Epstein, who pled guilty to soliciting prostitution, “a terrific guy,” adding that, “It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the young side.”

    1. “I’ve looked on a lot of women with lust. I’ve committed adultery in my heart many times.”

      – Jimmy Carter

      May we presume that you don’t like beautiful women?

      Are baby back ribs on the “young side” – how about veal?

      Do you like your wine old and your women…old?

      Have you ever been in a locker room?

      What do you “grab,” old stuff?

      God knows you have never sinned.

      May I say, you seem somewhat queer?

      1. George:

        “John Wayne Gacy is a lot of fun and like me has an eye for the guys in the shower, and many of them are on the young side.”

        1. You may wish to retire that bit of sophistry. There’s actually a photograph taken with Gacy with Rosalynn Carter in the frame.

  6. In previous posts by Turley, one mentioned Clinton five times and Trump twice, a second mentioned Clinton three times and Trump once, we’re now down to no mention of Trump at all? A man who had a court case opened against him for the rape of a 13-year-old girl at Epstein’s estate. Another girl claims Epstein recruited her from Mar-a-Lago. Turley’s not exactly being even-handed. trump also took flights on the Epstein plane.

    1. JT also describes the girls, yes, girls, as prostitutes. Prostitutes give consent. Girls 17 and under cannot give consent, they were raped or otherwise sexually assaulted. Considering that some of the rapes occurred at Epstein’s Manhattan home, could it be that NYS may have a say? Several girls and boys were paid off by Trump; maybe that is what is being investigated.

      1. bettykath:

        Typically the age of consent is less than 17 so it is possible. For example, Virginia’s is now 18 but was 16 for many years. Many states use 16 and a handful say 17 is the age of consent. That doesn’t make it less sleazy or depraved, just legal.

        1. Evidence and rumours are not the same thing.

          If there was evidence do you really beleive it would not be headlined on the NYT ?

          1. You’ll have to be more specific as there are rumors regarding several of the people involved. Trump, Dershowitz, Prince Andrew, Clinton, and others. See what I did there? I didn’t just name Trump because it suited me, I named Clinton and the other famous people involved as well. Something Turley has moved away from.

    2. The Epstein/Trump related claims have actually been litigated multipe times.
      The alleged victim can not make an allegation credible enough for law enforcement, nor credible enough to get past the law bar of civil court. The location keeps moving – generally when it is established that Trump was elswhere at the time.

      Clinton keeps coming up because Trump’s ties to Epstein’s Lolita express are tenuous at best.
      Clintons are both established and growing.

  7. I think it is an error to say they were allegedly used as prostitutes. I think sex slaves is more appropriate.

  8. Not surprising that you bring up Clinton‘s name, but you failed to bring up Trump‘s name, since Trump was also good buddies with Epstein. Of course you are a Republican. I’m unaware of any accusations against the former president from any of the victims in this case. If you have it, let’s see it! Or try to fair in your analysis next time.

  9. This case shows how the American and British definitions of “sleaze” can both be referenced.

  10. I’m trying to see if I have this right….Dershowitz is accused of having sex with at least one of Epstein’s victims.
    I don’t know if that accusation makes Dershowitz subject to a civil suit or criminal charges…to date, I don’t think either has been initiated.
    Dershowitz is claiming that the seaked material in question will prove the accusations to be false, so the court has to decide whether to comply with Dershowitz’s request.
    Can the judge, instead, review the sealed material and then comment on the allegations against Dershowitz?
    Who beside the judge knows the contents ( or can look at) the sealed material?
    Dershowitz evidently knows something of the contents of that material, even if he hasn’t had unfettered access to all of the sesled material.
    The other question that I’ll throw out there is how does Dershowitz’s request, even if granted, damage or interfere with the current legal wrangling over the Epstein deal?

    1. After reading the column 3 times I’ll add one more question; are the media entitled to know the contents of the sealed material?
      If not, then the media have no basis for objecting to closed proceedings involving a review of that sealed material.
      That seems to be at the core of the issue, and it does not seem to that difficult for the court to resolve.

    2. An affidavit or something was filed long ago. Derschowitz vigorously challenged it and it has been removed from the records.

      Derschowitz has challenged anyone to make an allegation publicly, and made it clear if they do – they will get their day in court, on the end of a defamation claim.

      If they could prove such a claim – even just make it credibly, they would win the defamation case and derschowitz would be destroyed.

      No one has been willing to make the allegation publicly.

  11. So JT puts the blame on Acosta’s shoulders never considering the notion that he might have been getting pressure from above to do the deal and that he made the decision entirely on his own. Sorry…..I don’t buy it.

    1. The plea deal was concluded during the interregnum between Alberto Gonzales departure as attorney-general and Michael Mukasey’s arrival. One feature of this whole imbroglio may be that no one was supervising Acosta.

    2. I think that is the point of objecting to Acosta’s appointment. What good is a any office that can’t tow the line of the office and the oath he takes? This particular incident is particularly egregious, when the person sworn to uphold the law, sidetracks it with victims that rank 10 on a scale of 10 in vulnerability.

  12. Two sides interpreting what is more than fairly simple to understand. The one that keeps it simple not stupid and the other that changes on a daily or hourly basis.

    1. I’m not part of the “me too” but I strongly agree that Acosta’s actions should relegate him permanently to the dustbins. An official should only get to display this kind of cowardice and corruption ONCE in their career and be relegated to live off the proceeds from this plea deal until he can get some other job that doesn’t require an oath.

      1. For not prosecuting a case that some of the witness/victims think was winnable ?

        I have no idea what the truth is.
        I support efforts to look into it.

        But lets not jump to conclusions.

        The case is not strong because the alleged victims claim it is.

  13. It’s terrible that these “boyz will be boyz” stories get publicized in a way that makes these successful gentlemen? look like perverts.

    1. Why waste a handbasket? Just throw him into General Population at Florida State Penitentiary. He’ll last maybe a week.

  14. What no mention of Bob Mueller protecting his confidential informant Epstein like he did his other CI Whitey Bulger.

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