One of America’s most famous lawyers, Alan Dershowitz, is being accused of having sex with an underage girl who was allegedly being exploited by one of his clients.
Dershowitz — a professor emeritus at Harvard Law who’s famous for defending O.J. Simpson — refutes those allegations, which were made as part of a lawsuit filed by lawyers including Paul Cassell (a former federal judge) on behalf of women who were allegedly sex trafficked as minors by the financier Jeffrey Epstein.
Two women are suing the federal government for striking a plea agreement with Epstein gave him 18 months in prison for pleading guilty to child sex crimes. The women (known only as Jane Doe) claim the government violated the Crime Victim Rights Act by failing to notify them of the deal for Epstein, who was a financial adviser to billionaires.
Here’s where Dershowitz comes in. Last week, Cassell and another lawyer for the Jane Does, Bradley Edwards, filed a motion asking the court to add two more Jane Does to the case. That motion stated that a girl known only as Jane Doe #3 had been forced to have sex with “powerful people,” including Dershowitz, who had represented the financier.
From the motion (which does not name Dershowitz as a defendant):
One such powerful individual that Epstein forced then-minor Jane Doe #3 to have sexual relations with was former Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz, a close friend of Epstein’s and well-known criminal defence attorney. Epstein required Jane Doe #3 to have sexual relations with Dershowitz on numerous occasions while she was a minor, not only in Florida but also on private planes, in New York, New Mexico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
In addition to being a participant in the abuse of Jane Doe #3 and other minors, Dershowitz was an eye-witness to the sexual abuse of many other minors by Epstein and several of Epstein’s co-conspirators. Dershowitz would later play a significant role in negotiating the NPA [plea agreement] on Epstein’s behalf.
Another powerful person mentioned in the memo was a member of the British Royal family, Prince Andrew, who has denied the allegations. Dershowitz has also spoken out against his involvement in the suit, telling the Wall Street Journal the claims were a “totally fabricated, made-up story.”
“I have never had sex with an underage woman,” he told the Journal. “They made up this story out of whole cloth. I’m an innocent victim of an extortion conspiracy.”
Dershowitz promised to start disbarment proceedings against the two lawyers who filed the motion, Cassell and Edwards. For their part, Cassell and Edwards told Business Insider in a statement that they “carefully investigate” claims in all of their pleadings before filing them.
“We have also tried to depose Mr. Dershowitz on these subjects, although he has avoided those deposition requests,” the lawyers said in a statement to Business Insider. “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.”
Meanwhile, the woman who made the allegations against Dershowitz made this statement: “I am looking forward to vindicating my rights as an innocent victim and pursuing all available recourse. It appears that I am now being unjustly victimized again. These types of aggressive attacks on me are exactly the reason why sexual abuse victims typically remain silent and the reason why I did for a long time. That trend should change. I’m not going to be bullied back into silence.”
We reached out to Dershowitz for comment and will update this post if we hear back. The entire statement from Cassell and Edwards is included below:
Out of respect for the court’s desire to keep this case from being litigated in the press, we are not going to respond at this time to specific claims of indignation by anyone. As you may know, we are litigating a very important case, not only for our clients but crime victims in general. We have been informed of Mr. Dershowitz’s threats based on the factual allegations we have made in our recent filing. We carefully investigate all of the allegations in our pleadings before presenting them. We have also 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.
The point of the pleading was only to join two of our clients in the case that is currently being litigated, and while we expected an agreement from the Government on that point, we did not get it. That disagreement compelled us to file our motion. We intend only to litigate the relevant issues in Court and not to play into any sideshow. We feel that is in our clients’ best interest and consequently that is what we are doing.
We have every intention of addressing all of the relevant issues in the course of proper legal proceedings. Toward that end we have issued an invitation (a copy of which is attached below) to Alan Dershowitz to provide sworn testimony and any evidence he may choose to make available regarding the facts in our recent pleading that relate to him. The invitation has been extended by Jack Scarola, who is familiar with the issues. We would obviously welcome the same cooperation from Prince Andrew should he choose to avail himself of the same opportunity.
Paul Cassell and Brad Edwards, co-counsel for Jane Doe #3
[the following invitation was sent to Alan Dershowitz on January 3, 2015]:
Dear Mr. Dershowitz:
Statements attributed to you in the public media express a willingness, indeed a strong desire, to submit to questioning under oath regarding your alleged knowledge of Jeffrey Epstein’s extensive abuse of underage females as well as your alleged personal participation in those activities. As I am sure you will recall, our efforts to arrange such a deposition previously were unsuccessful, so we welcome your change of heart. Perhaps a convenient time would be in connection with your scheduled appearance in Miami on January 19. I assume a subpoena will not be necessary since the deposition will be taken pursuant to your request, but please let us know promptly if that assumption is inaccurate. Also, note that the deposition will be video recorded.
Kindly bring with you all documentary and electronic evidence which you believe tends to refute the factual allegations made concerning you in the recent CVRA proceeding as well as passport pages reflecting your travels during the past ten years and copies of all photographs taken while you were a travelling companion or house guest of Jeffrey Epstein’s.
Thank you for your anticipated cooperation.