As you surely know, Alan Dershowitz, a leading advocate for Israel, was named in a filing in a sex abuse suit in Florida court last week. The matter is gaining international attention because of Dershowitz’s reputation (and that of the British royal also named), and in a few cases folks are bringing in the pro-Israel angle, including Dershowitz himself.
The New York Times put Dershowitz’s name in its headline. Dershowitz emphatically denied the allegation that he had sex with a “sex slave” of his client Jeffrey Epstein.
“[The lawyers who named him] are lying deliberately, and I will not stop until they’re disbarred,” Mr. Dershowitz said in a phone interview.
Mr Dershowitz filed papers at a court in Florida, where the case is being heard, to contest what he described as “absolutely outrageous claims”.
The former Harvard law professor has asked for his name to be removed from documents which accuse him and Prince Andrew of having sexual relations with Virginia Roberts, known in court as Jane Doe #3, who was under the age of consent in the US at the time of the alleged incidents.
In his submission to the court, Mr Dershowitz said he had been a victim of “salacious and scurrilous” allegations and wanted to take action to protect his reputation…
Mr Dershowitz told the Reuters news agency: “We file a sworn declaration categorically denying the charges and proving by records and other travel documents that I could not have been in the places that she says that she had sex with me.
“We file a motion to intervene in the court and then we file a defamation action against the two lawyers and the woman. And then we file disbarment proceedings against the two lawyers.”
The lawyers for Jane Doe #3, who has identified herself in the past as Virginia Roberts, have released their own statement saying that Dershowitz avoided their efforts to depose him. Say Paul Cassell and Brad Edwards:
“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 Israel angle. At the Jerusalem Post, Dershowitz is quoted saying that anti-Semites and anti-Israel “zealots” are having a field day.
Beyond the damage to his reputation, Dershowitz bemoaned the fact that he was “beginning to get all kinds of emails [from] anti-Israel and anti-Semitic groups, the most recent one saying ‘see Jews have always been in charge of the sex trade.’”
“The anti-Semites are crawling out from under their rocks, they are loving this. And the anti-Israel zealots are loving this” as well, he said. “I’m not only defending myself here but I am defending other values as well. I am defending the values that I have represented and stood for, for so many years.”
Trita Parsi mocked this defense:
— Trita Parsi (@tparsi) January 5, 2015
At The New York Observer, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach is concerned that Dershowitz is being “abandoned” by the Jewish community.
Here is a man of sterling character who has been a champion of the Jewish people and Israel his entire life. He is America’s best-known defender of Israel….
Have we Jews not forgotten what we have traditionally been accused of? Killing God. Drinking the blood of Christian children.
Max Blumenthal justly raised an eyebrow over this defense. Blumenthal also notes that Dershowitz is to receive the “Defender of Israel” award next month at a Times of Israel gala in New York that features Shimon Peres, Robert Kraft, NBA forward Omri Casspi, and model Bar Refaeli.
At Above the Law, Tamara Tabo says the allegations against Dershowitz “should be taken seriously, even by those of us who are more and more cautious about high-profile sex crime accusations.”
There are a few reasons to think that this is not the sort of sex crime claim conservative pundits (myself included) warned you about.
1. The people who made the allegations public appear credible….
She notes that one of the attorneys who named Dershowitz is a former US District Judge and a former Supreme Court clerk and assistant U.S. attorney who has argued a child pornography case before the Supreme Court. The other is also no “amateur,” she points out. As for the plaintiff who says she was forced to have sex by Dershowitz’s former client, financier Jeffrey Epstein, Tabo says:
Jane Doe #3 is Virginia Roberts, a young woman who has since 2007 spoken publicly about her supposed years of sex slavery. While the formal allegations in court last week are terse, Roberts has given vivid accounts of how Epstein allegedly forced her into sexual encounters
The NY Times also quoted a statement from Jane Doe #3:
“I’m not going to be bullied back into silence,” she said in the statement.
Update: More litigation in the case. A defamation suit against Dershowitz.