The decision was the latest round in an ongoing slugfest between the two legal titans, several of which were previously won by Boies when he defeated bar complaints filed by Dershowitz over this case. But because Dershowitz has claimed that Boies and his firm are attempting to commit extortion by making sexual misconduct allegations connected to Epstein, U.S. District Judge Loretta A. Preska ruled that Boies and his associates could be witnesses in the case, and cannot be both litigators and participants in the same trial.
Virginia Roberts Giuffre has said she met Epstein in Florida as a 16-year-old, was sexually abused by him and others in his orbit, and escaped him in 2002. Epstein was subsequently convicted of solicitation charges in 2008, while represented by Dershowitz. Epstein was charged with federal sex trafficking counts in July and committed suicide in August in jail.
Beginning in late 2014, Giuffre began publicly accusing Dershowitz of having sex with her on numerous occasions at various Epstein properties. Dershowitz promptly and publicly responded that Giuffre was a liar. After Dershowitz’s first denials, lawyers in Boies’s firm reached out to Dershowitz to help represent him, and they exchanged emails and documents before the Boies lawyers learned that Boies had already agreed to represent Giuffre.
Boies met several times with Dershowitz in 2015 to discuss the allegations. Dershowitz claimed Boies acknowledged Giuffre was wrong but continued to represent her. Boies responded that he still believed Giuffre.
When Giuffre repeated her allegations in 2018, Dershowitz again denied them, again called Giuffre a “certified, complete, total liar,” and again raised his belief that Giuffre and Boies were attempting to extort money from Leslie Wexner, founder of The Limited and Victoria’s Secret clothing chains, by threatening similar public allegations. Dershowitz also played recordings for reporters of a 2015 conversation he had with Boies in which Boies reportedly acknowledged that Dershowitz did not have sex with Giuffre.
In April of this year, Giuffre sued Dershowitz for defamation, with Boies as her lawyer. She, and Boies, previously sued Epstein’s close associate, Ghislaine Maxwell, for defamation after Maxwell denied Giuffre’s allegations, and Maxwell settled with Giuffre in 2017.
Because Epstein’s death ended his criminal case, Giuffre’s defamation action against Dershowitz could be one of the dwindling number of cases allowing a full airing of accusations against Epstein.The lawsuit could also expose new details about Wexner’s alleged involvement in, and knowledge of, Epstein’s escapades. Wexner has denied any wrongdoing.
One of the defamatory statements alleged in Giuffre’s complaint is that she conspired with her attorneys to extort Wexner. For a statement to be defamatory, it must be provably true or false. In a hearing last month, Dershowitz told the court he plans to explore the underlying facts and prove the extortion scheme occurred.
“We now are free to use Boies as a witness,” Dershowitz said Wednesday, “use his partners as witnesses, to subpoena the material to prove that this was all a frame-up. This is a woman that told everybody for years that she did not have sex with me. Suddenly, the day she meets David Boies, she changes her story.”
Giuffre and Boies’s law firm noted that Dershowitz’s attempt to have Giuffre’s suit thrown out had failed. Dershowitz argued that his statements in 2018 and 2019 were merely repeats of his statements in 2015, which were beyond the statute of limitations.
The federal judge who sits in the Southern District of New York said Dershowitz’s new statements created new causes of action. “Dershowitz went looking for trouble,” Preska wrote, “and by his repeated affirmative republications, he found it.”
Sigrid McCawley, one of Boies’s partners who has worked closely with Giuffre since 2015, said the case moving forward means Dershowitz “will have to face justice.” She said Preska’s decision to disqualify the firm “is deeply disappointing and it will be promptly appealed.”
Giuffre said in a statement that she was “grateful for the court’s decision to deny Alan Dershowitz’s shameful attempt to dismiss my defamation case against him. I will no longer be silenced.” She said McCawley and Boies “stood up to the muscle of the Epstein machine and its grip on the legal system” and the firm’s disqualification was Dershowitz “attempting to manipulate the legal system in the face of the serious charges I have brought against him.”
The judge noted that Giuffre, and her lawyers, said they would try to prove that Boies and his firm did not participate in an extortion scheme of Wexner or of rendering Dershowitz’s statements false. Dershowitz would try to prove there was such a scheme. “Thus, it is plain,” Preska wrote, “that several of the [Boies] firm’s lawyers will be essential trial witnesses on a major claim in the complaint.”
Tied to the lawsuit is a trove of documents from past litigation, particularly the Giuffre v. Maxwell case, of which thousands were unsealed the day before Epstein committed suicide. The earlier case has been reassigned to Preska as well. Dershowitz has been seeking to have the documents unsealed, saying it would support his claims that Giuffre has been untruthful.
Attorneys revealed during a conference last month that the remaining papers include 29 depositions and hundreds of documents containing thousands of names not publicly known; many of those individuals are implicated in Epstein’s conduct, the attorneys said.