At the start of January, South Africa instigated proceedings of the gravest kind against Israel in the International Court of Justice for the crime of committing genocide in Gaza. The indictment is highly detailed, supporting the charge with a wide-ranging welter of evidence, the most compelling of which may be public statements by Israeli officials in their assorted proclamations on and offline since the twenty-first-century Holocaust commenced on October 8.
Almost immediately, media reports indicated Benjamin Netanyahu’s government favored prominent U.S. lawyer and veteran Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz to lead their ICJ defense. As a hardcore, committed Zionist who has authored multiple apologetic books minimizing or outright whitewashing Tel Aviv’s heinous crimes against Palestinians since 1948 – his most recent being “Defending Israel: Against Hamas and its Radical Left Enablers” – he was no doubt an eager candidate. Yet, within days, he was quietly dropped from the running.
No explanation was forthcoming for this abrupt volte-face. Yet, the rationale is obvious – concurrent unsealing of wide-ranging documentation on official police investigations into, and civil lawsuits leveled against, Jeffrey Epstein.
These disclosures shed fresh light on the billionaire pedophile’s life and crimes, in particular, those among his extensive assortment of celebrity friends, associates, and colleagues who were “clients” – paying customers for sex with underage women procured by the reclusive mogul. Principal among them was none other than Dershowitz.
Allegations of pedophilic abuse have dogged Dershowitz – who defended notorious serial rapist Harvey Weinstein in court and, in an amazing conflict of interest, negotiated Epstein’s extraordinary 2008 Non-Prosecution Agreement – for many years. Since the releases began, he has openly boasted about his name appearing 137 times in the documents dropped to date, claiming the contents fully exonerate him of any sexual wrongdoing. As we shall see, this is deeply divorced from the truth.
‘Public Media Assault’
Alan Dershowitz has long-loomed large among Epstein’s suspected pedophile confederates, and with good reason. On top of a proudly admitted personal relationship with Epstein and his long-time partner – or “madam” – Ghislaine Maxwell, daughter of famed Mossad operative Robert Maxwell, in December 2014, Virginia Giuffre (nee Roberts) sued him. She claimed Epstein arranged for Dershowitz to rape her at least six times, starting from when she was just 16.
The legal action dragged on until November 2022, when Giuffre abruptly dropped the suit, claiming she “may have made a mistake in identifying” Dershowitz as her rapist. By contrast, in the intervening time, parallel suits she brought against Maxwell, and British Royal Prince Andrew, who also allegedly raped her, were settled in Giuffre’s favor to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Several newly released files cover Giuffre’s jettisoned legal action. Among the most intriguing – and damning – excerpts detail how in January 2015, her pro bono lawyers, Bradley Edwards and Paul G Cassell, sued Dershowitz for defamation in Florida state court. This was prompted by the Harvard professor moving to have them disbarred for representing Giuffre while launching a “massive public media assault on [their] reputation and character.”
For example, he told CNN at one stage: “They’re prepared to lie, cheat, and steal. These are unethical lawyers… They can’t be allowed to have a bar card to victimize more innocent people.”
Curiously, the unsealed documents record how, in September 2015, Dershowitz argued in court submissions that in suing him for defamation, Cassell and Edwards “somehow waived” Giuffre’s attorney-client privilege. As a result, he filed a motion to compel them “to produce documents” and any material in their possession related to Giuffre. In other words, Dershowitz wanted to get his hands on sensitive, private information and communications related to his accuser, typically impervious to legal disclosure.
Three months later, the presiding judge rubbished Dershowitz’s demand and supporting arguments in a comprehensive and withering decision. The judge’s disbelief and disgust at the cynical attempt to undermine one of the “oldest recognized privileges” in U.S. law in this manner, particularly given Giuffre was neither “at issue” nor a named party in the defamation case, is palpable.
It is entirely unclear why Dershowitz sought this information, but he was determined to get it. As the defamation action ground on, he subpoenaed Giuffre to give a deposition, whereupon she was endlessly bombarded with questions intended to compel her to reveal information protected by attorney-client privilege and invited her to waive her rights under that principle. She declined. The case was eventually settled for an undisclosed sum in April 2016.
‘Protection for Himself’
Dershowitz was also thrust into legal hot water due to his role in securing Epstein’s 2008 NPA. Under its terms, Epstein was granted immunity from all federal criminal charges, as were four of Epstein’s named co-conspirators and any unnamed “potential co-conspirators.” The granting of such sweeping, blanket protection from justice to anyone, let alone a potentially infinite number of people, is wholly unprecedented in the U.S. annals of American jurisprudence.
In return for this stunning leniency, Epstein pleaded guilty in Florida state court to just two felony prostitution charges, registered as a sex offender, paid modest restitution to three dozen victims identified by U.S. authorities, and served a mere 13 months in a luxury Palm Beach jail, with daily work release. No doubt to the accused’s supreme relief. Agreeing to the NPA moreover shut down ongoing parallel Florida police and FBI probes into his countless crimes.
At Dershowitz’s direct behest, then-Florida District Attorney Alexander Acosta agreed to keep the deal’s terms secret from Epstein’s victims despite this being an egregious and clear breach of the U.S. Crime Victims’ Rights Act (CVRA).
In February 2019, a federal judge ruled this to have been improper and illegal due to a lawsuit brought by Giuffre over a decade earlier. The unsealed files contain numerous references to that action.
One notes wider allegations of sexual abuse against Dershowitz “were relevant to at least eight separate issues in the CVRA case.” It then lists “some of the evidence supporting the allegations” against him, including:
Sworn testimony from [one] of Epstein’s household employees that Dershowitz was present alone at the home of Epstein, without his family, in the presence of young girls; invocations of Fifth Amendment rights to remain silent by three of Epstein’s identified co-conspirators…when asked questions about whether Dershowitz had been involved with massages by young girls; refusals by Jeffrey Epstein to discuss Dershowitz’s involvement but instead to invoke his Fifth Amendment right.”
In this context, Dershowitz’s aggressive attempts to uncover what Giuffre may have known and discussed with her lawyers are rendered all the more perverse and suspect. Particularly given that the unsealed files show Ghislaine Maxwell herself invoked attorney-client privilege to refuse demands from Giuffre’s lawyers that she hand over any material relevant to her legal relationship with Dershowitz. They sought to determine whether the pair had entered a Joint Defense Agreement at any point since 1999.
These legal covenants permit “parties sharing a common interest in defeating a mutual legal opponent to freely share information with each other without the worry of waiving attorney-client privilege.” This would certainly be apposite for Dershowitz and Maxwell, given they have both been accused by the same women of collaboration and active involvement in Epstein’s pedophilic abuse over many years.
The stated timeframe of Giuffre’s lawyers’ requests could explain why when Maxwell was charged with enticement of minors, child sex trafficking, and perjury, among other federal crimes, in July 2022, the allegations related strictly to 1994 – 1997. The NPA may have covered any horrors she perpetrated after that. As Dershowitz revealed in an apologetic op-ed for The Spectator after Maxwell’s arrest, “Epstein’s original plea deal…expressly included Maxwell as someone who received immunity.”
As Dershowitz personally orchestrated the NPA, he was well-placed to know “who received immunity” under its auspices. Shockingly, he may have been among them. A freshly unsealed December 2014 court filing, in which victims of Epstein not party to Giuffre’s CVRA suit attempted to join her action, accuses him of “[negotiating] an agreement with a provision that provided protection for himself against criminal prosecution in Florida,” for sexually abusing victim “Jane Doe #3”:
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 eyewitness to the sexual abuse of many other minors by Epstein and several of Epstein’s co-conspirators.”
‘Bigger and Bigger’
Per the unsealed documents, Jane Doe #3’s sexual exploitation began in 1999. Aged just 15, Maxwell invited her to perform a massage on Epstein at his Florida mansion, which quickly mutated into a “sexual encounter.” The pair then “converted her into…a sex slave” before she “managed to escape to a foreign country and hide out from Epstein and his co-conspirators for years” from 2002 onwards. One file states:
[Epstein made] her available for sex to politically-connected and financially-powerful people…to ingratiate himself with them for business, personal, political, and financial gain, as well as to obtain potential blackmail information.”
Women with identical stories were in no short supply once Palm Beach police first began investigating Epstein in March 2005, after a parent reported the financier sexually abused their 14-year-old daughter. When police searched Epstein’s home in October that year, 21 possible victims had been identified. By the time the suspect was subsequently arrested for sex abuse, authorities had identified three dozen potential underage victims and were in the process of tracking down more. A Palm Beach detective recalled in 2018:
I was surprised at how quickly it snowballed. I thought at some point there would be a last interview, but the next victim would supply me with three or four more names and the next one had three or four names and it just kept getting bigger and bigger.”
Before his arrest, Epstein learned some of his victims had spoken to police. His immediate reaction was to enlist Dershowitz’s legal services. Epstein also hired private investigators to conduct interviews with his victims while posing as law enforcement, pick through Palm Beach police officers’ trash for discrediting dirt, and follow his accusers and their families. In one instance, a victim’s father was run off the road by one of Epstein’s goons.
Furthermore, several victims were intimidated by Epstein and Sarah Kellen, his personal assistant and massage scheduler, and warned not to talk to the police.
Meanwhile, Dershowitz met privately with then-Palm Beach State Attorney Barry Krischer, engaging in “shenanigans” that investigating officers had “never seen or heard of before.” Among them, providing dossiers on Epstein’s accusers, including photos of them drinking beer while underage, among other trivial “personal peccadilloes.”
Nonetheless, Dershowitz was seemingly decisive in convincing Floridian authorities to abandon all hope of holding Epstein to full account for his heinous acts. Shortly thereafter, a Palm Beach detective has alleged, “It became clear things had changed, from Krischer saying, ‘we’ll put this guy away for life,’ to ‘these are all the reasons why we aren’t going to prosecute this.”
The unsealed documents provide further detail on Dershowitz’s sabotage. A July 2006 report filed by an investigating detective mentions how the professor mailed him a letter with accompanying screengrabs of two victims’ MySpace profiles. In one, a victim stated her “interests” included “weed (marijuana).” Another featured a blog post in which she “describes using marijuana with her boyfriend.” Elsewhere in the lawyer’s letter:
[Dershowitz] advised he was looking into the allegation that one of the private investigators used by the private attorneys of Epstein, attempted to impersonate or state that they were police officers from Palm Beach. Mr. Dershowitz advised that the investigators used to interview [redacted] had ‘quite a distinct speech impediment,’ did not claim to be nor did they impersonate themselves as a police officer.”
It is astonishing that Krischer was convinced to back off due to these flaccid interventions. Then again, Alexander Acosta has testified that he accepted the Dershowitz-negotiated NPA after being told by unknown superiors to “leave it alone” as Epstein “belonged to intelligence” and was therefore “above his paygrade.”
Such sinister connections may explain why Netanyahu and his minions openly considered Dershowitz, an accused pedophile and close Epstein associate, to lead their ICJ defense without apparent concern over public relations backlash.
Feature photo | Alan Dershowitz, American lawyer and former law professor, speaking at a Pro-Israel rally outside of the hotel Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is staying at on Park Avenue in New York City. Michael Brochstein | Sipa via AP
Kit Klarenberg is an investigative journalist and MintPress News contributor exploring the role of intelligence services in shaping politics and perceptions. His work has previously appeared in The Cradle, Declassified UK, and Grayzone. Follow him on Twitter @KitKlarenberg.