Dershowitz repeated his previous claims that Virginia Roberts Giuffre was “pressured to falsely accuse Dershowitz” by her lawyers, namely the law firm headed by renowned attorney David Boies. So Boies fired back Friday with his own defamation suit against Dershowitz, saying, “In an effort to distract attention from his own misconduct, [Dershowitz] has engaged in a campaign to attack and vilify each of the lawyers who have represented his victims, one of which is [Boies],” the head of the Boies Schiller Flexner law firm.
Giuffre, now 36, has said she was abused by Epstein at his Florida mansion from 2000 to 2002, when she was 16 to 19 years old. Beginning in late 2014, Giuffre began publicly accusing Dershowitz, now 81, of sexually assaulting her during the time she was with Epstein, purportedly at Epstein’s direction. By that time, the statute of limitations would have passed for a criminal case. Dershowitz immediately began an aggressive campaign to deny Giuffre’s charges, calling her a “certified, complete, total liar” and making statements such as “I can prove conclusively that she made the whole thing up.”
Giuffre sued Dershowitz for defamation in April. After Dershowitz’s motion to dismiss the case was denied, he filed an answer to Giuffre’s suit late Thursday, and added his own counterclaims for defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Giuffre’s lawyer, Charles Cooper, said Friday, “Recycling the same false claims from his increasingly stale playbook, Alan Dershowitz has once again launched an attack on Virginia Giuffre and her lawyers. Let’s call his counterclaim what it is: a failed attempt to make something old and tired look new. ”
Imran H. Ansari, one of Dershowitz’s lawyers, said Friday, “Moving forward, Mr. Dershowitz seeks vindication and justice. He will aggressively pursue discovery in this case, leaving no stone unturned, and will zealously defend against Ms. Giuffre’s allegations and prosecute the claims he has now made against her.”
Because Dershowitz contended that Boies and his partners had reviewed Dershowitz’s documentation, purportedly agreeing that he could not have assaulted Giuffre, Dershowitz moved for Boies’s firm to be disqualified from the case. Last month, U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska agreed and tossed Boies and his partners out of Giuffre’s defamation suit, saying they could not be both witnesses and lawyers in the case.
But now Boies is back in the fight, choosing to represent himself in the suit filed in state court in Manhattan.
Dershowitz has said he first met Epstein socially in 1996 and reluctantly agreed to represent him in the first criminal investigation into Epstein’s alleged sex trafficking in October 2005. Ultimately, in June 2008, Epstein pleaded guilty in Palm Beach County, Fla., to two prostitution-related charges and was sentenced to 18 months in prison.
After an investigative series by the Miami Herald in November 2018, federal authorities relaunched the investigation into Epstein, and federal prosecutors in New York indicted him last July. He was found dead in his New York City jail cell a month after his arrest.
Giuffre’s defamation suit against Dershowitz is seen by some as a path to more information, and justice, for accusers who were disappointed by the end of the criminal case against Epstein. Giuffre previously filed a defamation suit against one of Epstein’s closest assistants, Ghislaine Maxwell, and won a confidential settlement, and Epstein was among those deposed in the sealed case. Dershowitz is seeking to have the records in that case unsealed, and the federal courts have indicated that some records should be released.
Dershowitz continues to maintain in his new suit that “he never met or had any contact with Giuffre ... that she has falsely accused him of heinous acts which never happened” and that she never accused Dershowitz “until she met her lawyers and was told she could profit from accusing him.” The longtime criminal defense lawyer repeats his belief that “Giuffre and her lawyers” made false claims “in order to make a public example out of him, and extort private settlements from other, wealthier individuals associated with Epstein,” particularly billionaire Leslie Wexner. Wexner has denied any improprieties.
Boies’s suit, drafted before Dershowitz’s suit was public, was first reported by the New York Post. Boies claims that Dershowitz “essentially challenged [Boies] to sue him for defamation” and that Boies “has concluded he now has no practical alternative but to do so.”
Dershowitz responded Friday, saying, “David Boies, by suing me for allegedly calling him an extortionist, has put his entire career on trial.” Dershowitz said he would cross-examine Boies about his involvement in various incidents during his legal career, including his involvement with controversial start-up Theranos and accused sex offender Harvey Weinstein, and “his attempted shakedown of Leslie Wexner. He has opened up a Pandora’s Box that threatens his career and his law firm.”
As a result of Giuffre’s claims, Dershowitz said he has suffered “substantial damages in the form of personal and professional reputational harm, lost business opportunities, emotional harm, embarrassment, humiliation and pain and suffering.”
Dershowitz also has written a book about the case, “Guilt by Accusation: The Challenge of Proving Innocence in the Age of #MeToo,” which is scheduled for publication Nov. 19.