Those attorneys, Bradley Edwards and Paul Cassell (a former federal judge) claim Dershowitz “initiated a massive public media assault” against them after they said in a court filing that he’d had sex with a minor known as Jane Doe #3 who had been exploited by the now-disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein.
“I am thrilled that they sued me,” Dershowitz told Business Insider on the phone Wednesday. “Now I get to depose Edwards, Cassell, and Jane Doe #3. I get to prove that … they made the whole story up.”
Dershowitz — a professor emeritus at Harvard Law School who defended O.J. Simpson among other famous clients — helped Epstein negotiate a non-prosecution agreement (NPA) with federal prosecutors who charged him with paying underage women for sex. Epstein ended up pleading guilty to a state charge and got 18 months in prison.
Edwards and Cassell are representing four of Epstein’s alleged victims who are suing the federal government to invalidate that NPA, and they made the allegations against Dershowitz in a filing in that case. They claim Epstein forced Jane Doe #3 to have sex with Dershowitz “not only in Florida but also on private planes, in New York, New Mexico, and the US Virgin Islands.”
The motion that Edwards and Cassell filed essentially says that Dershowitz had a huge conflict of interest when helping to negotiate the NPA because that deal also shielded Epstein’s “associates” — which they said would have made him immune from prosecution for allegedly abusing Jane Doe #3.
But Dershowitz told Business Insider that the NPA had no application to him. Moreover, he said, he can account for all of the time when he allegedly had sex with Jane Doe #3.
“There is no conceivable possibility that it could have happened,” he said.
Edwards and Cassell would have known Jane Doe’s allegations were bogus if they had done “even the most minimal investigation,” according to a motion Dershowitz recently filed.
“They would have learned, if they did not already know,” his motion stated, “that Jane Doe #3 is a serial liar, whose uncorroborated word should never be credited.”
Dershowitz wants to have those lawyers disbarred, though he acknowledged that Cassell — who clerked on the US Supreme Court before becoming a prosecutor and federal judge — has a good reputation. He did not say the same of Bradley Edwards, who specialises in representing crime victims.
“Everybody regards Edwards as a sleazy lawyer,” Dershowitz told us. “Cassell has a generally good reputation … I don’t know whether he’s been duped in this or what, but he is going to pay a very heavy price for this.”
For their part, Edwards and Cassell say they have tried to get Dershowitz’s side of the story “multiple times” beginning in 2009. Dershowitz says they tried to depose him to talk about Epstein’s plea agreement, which he could not discuss because of attorney-client privilege. However, Edwards and Cassell say they told him they wanted testimony that would not involve privileged information.
Here’s a notice the lawyers said they sent to Dershowitz:
Multiple individuals have placed you in the presence of Jeffrey Epstein on multiple occasions and in various locations when Jeffrey Epstein was in the company of underage females subsequently identified as victims of Mr. Epstein’s criminal molestations. This information is derived from both someone’s testimony and private interviews. Your personal observations regarding such circumstances would clearly not involve any privileged communications, and it is those observations that will be the primary focus of our questioning.
In a statement provided to Business Insider, the lawyers said that it’s “unfortunate that a legal response has now become necessary.”
“Nevertheless, the primary focus of the efforts of Mr. Edwards and Professor Cassell will remain on vindicating the rights of crime victims,” the statement added, “and assuring that equal justice is not unbalanced by power, politics, prestige or Mr. Dershowitz’s self-serving media barrage.”
Jane Doe #3 also claims she was abused by a member of the Royal Family, Prince Andrew, and Buckingham Palace issued multiple denials that he was part of a sex ring orchestrated by Epstein.
Epstein, who has served as a financial adviser to billionaires, was released in 2011 after serving 13 months of his sentence for soliciting a minor for prostitution.