Saturday, January 17, 2015

Jonathan Turley: Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz is Sued For Defamation in the Epstein "Sex Slaves" Scandal

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

Paul Cassell
Alan Dershowitz

We 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
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 own:

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:
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.
Ironically, 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.

Bill Clinton identified in lawsuit against his former friend and pedophile Jeffrey Epstein who had 'regular' orgies at his Caribbean compound that the former president visited
multiple times

Jeffrey Epstein

  • The former president was friends with Jeffrey Epstein, a financier who was arrested in 2008 for soliciting underage prostitutes
  • A new lawsuit has revealed how Clinton took multiple trips to Epstein's private island where he 'kept young women as sex slaves'
  • Clinton was also apparently friends with a woman who collected naked pictures of underage girls for Epstein to choose from
  • He hasn't cut ties with that woman, however, and invited her to Chelsea's wedding
  • Comes as friends now fear that if Hillary Clinton runs for president in 2016, all of their family's old scandals will be brought to the forefront
  • Epstein has a host of famous friends including Prince Andrew who stayed at his New York mansion AFTER his arrest
A new lawsuit has revealed the extent of former President Clinton's friendship with a fundraiser who was later jailed for having sex with an underage prostitute. Bill Clinton's relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, who served time in 2008 for his illegal sexual partners, included up multiple trips to the onetime billionaire's private island in the Caribbean where underage girls were allegedly kept as sex slaves.
The National Enquirer has released new details about the two men's friendship, which seems to have ended abruptly around the time of Epstein's arrest.
Tales of orgies and young girls being shipped to the island, called Little St. James, have been revealed as part of an ongoing lawsuit between Epstein and his former lawyers Scott Rothstein and Bradley Edwards.
It is unclear what the basis of the suit is, but they go on to call witness testimony from some of the frequent guests at Epstein's island to talk about the wild parties that were held there in the early 2000s.  Flight logs pinpoint Clinton's trips on Epstein's jet between the years 2002 and 2005, while he was working on his philanthropic post-presidential career and while his wife Hillary was a Senator for their adopted state of New York.
'I remember asking Jeffrey what's Bill Clinton doing here kind fo thing, and he laughed it off and said well he owes me a favor,' one unidentified woman said in the lawsuit, which was filed in Palm Beach Circuit Court.
The woman went on to say how orgies were a regular occurrence and she recalled two young girls from New York who were always seen around the five-house compound but their personal backstories were never revealed.
At least one woman on the compound was there unwillingly, as the suit identifies a woman as Jane Doe 102.
She 'was forced to live as one of Epstein's underage sex slaves for years and was forced to have sex with... politicians, businessmen, royalty, academicians, etc,' the lawsuit says according to The Enquirer.
Epstein's sexual exploits have been documented since 2005, when a woman in Palm Beach contacted police saying that her 14-year-old daughter had been paid $300 to massage him and then have sex.
The claim prompted a nearly year-long investigation that led to the eventual charge of soliciting prostitution which came as part of a plea deal. He spent 13 months of a 18-month sentence in jail and remains a registered sex offender. 


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