The Wages of Dershowitz’s Chutzpah

Alan Dershowitz (photo by Sage Ross) GNU License

Alan Dershowitz (photo by Sage Ross) GNU License

Mida k’neged mida. “Measure for measure.” This was one of the first things that came to my mind when I heard Alan Dershowitz proclaim that he was being falsely accused of having sex with an underaged girl. To be clear, I have no idea whether Mr. Dershowitz is innocent or not. But I do know how devastating any false allegation of criminality can be to someone on the receiving end of it. And so does Mr. Dershowitz. After all, he was the driving force behind the arrest and prosecution of Sam Kellner on trumped up charges designed to help Mr. Dershowitz’s client, a convicted child molester named Baruch Lebovits, get out of jail.

Hynes press conf of Kellner Arrest ArrestThe case against Mr. Kellner was brought by the former Brooklyn district attorney Charles Hynes, under the supervision of his controversial deputy Michael Vecchione. It was ultimately dismissed by Hynes’ successor, Ken Thompson, after his office determined the witnesses against Mr. Kellner lacked any shred of credibility. By then Mr. Kellner had lived under the cloud of an indictment for 3 years.

Baruch Lebovits mugshot for sex offender registry 9-29-14Of course, Mr. Dershowitz will scream and yell that, unlike him, Sam Kellner is really and truly guilty; he will imply that there was something corrupt about the district attorney’s dismissal of his case and that Mr. Kellner could still be arrested on some heretofore undisclosed “smoking gun” evidence, or even sued by his client. I know this because Mr. Dershowitz has in fact said all of this already, arguably defaming Mr. Kellner in the process.

Nechemya Weberman in Kings County Supreme Court on 3-25-11 (photo credit Joseph Diangello)

Nechemya Weberman in Kings County Supreme Court on 3-25-11 (photo credit Joseph Diangello)

Everyone deserves the best legal defense possible and this sometimes means hiring distasteful people to engage in unsavory conduct–including casting aspersions on the character of alleged sex abuse victims–which is just what Mr. Lebovits did when he retained Alan Dershowitz.

As more and more revelations from the Jeffrey Epstein case have emerged, I have begun to ponder the fact that Mr. Deshowitz has, in various capacities, represented not only Jeffrey Epstein and Baruch Lebovits, but Roman Polanski, Nechemya Weberman and Mike Tyson–all men convicted of sexual crimes.

But I digress.

For now my thoughts are more focused on whether, assuming these allegations against Mr. Dershowitz are indeed false, he may have learned anything from this experience and think twice before doing to others what he insists is now being done to him.

Somehow, I doubt it.


21 thoughts on “The Wages of Dershowitz’s Chutzpah

    • In theory yes. But he would need to secure a subpoena which could be contested. In general, avoid legally actionable statements by sticking to facts and labeling opinions and questions as such.

      In reality, I consider it extremely unlikely he would sue over comments in a blog on the periphery when he is contending with stories in the mainstream media and he has the major media as his bully pulpit.

      • Defamation requires proof that the individual(s) making the statements either knew they were false at the time the individual made them (malice), or at the very least was reckless in making such statements. Extremely diffult to prove. And with truth being a complete defense, the scope of discovery is wide ranging.

  1. Yerachmiel, that was a very well considered and well written piece. You raise some interesting questions. I personally believe that it is very likely Dershowitz may see no lesson to be learned. It’s entirely possible that he views his current issues through the prism of his legal expertise. As we well know, the legal conduct is predicated upon professional ethics, not universal ethics or morals.

  2. Whether his behavior is the behavior of an innocent person or not, it is increasingly erratic for an attorney. For an attorney to claim that the victim of an underage sex ring is “not a victim” because she is accusing him of wrongdoing, and because “she made her own decisions in life,” is bizarre. He also called her an “admitted prostitute,” calling upon the meme either that sex workers or even unchaste women can’t possibly be raped. This kind of machismo and bravado might have been learned behavior on the rough streets of Brooklyn – an aspect of Dershowitz’s past that he loves to bring out when the need suits him. But it should have been left behind at some point between applying for Law School, taking the bar exam, and becoming a professor at that no-name technical school where he teaches out in Cambridge (is my Brandeis loyalty showing? My apologies.)

    But, of course, there’s one matter that he has put into question which is easily resolved: when Jane Doe’s attorneys sought a statement or deposition from him, did they seek his statement about his own conduct or about his client’s. He claims the former, and she claims the latter. But if there aren’t documents associated with that request, every attorney in this story wasn’t doing his job. So… someone has to pony up. What did Jane Doe (through her attorneys) request? The answer will speak volumes about the credibility of all involved. And since Dershowitz has dared everybody and their mother to offer proof of their allegations, you would think he could be troubled to offer some substantiation for his claims other than hootin’ and hollerin’.

  3. Reb Yerachmiel

    Long time listener , first time caller

    First of all, you have a lot to offer in the realm of serious thought, and yet, your satire is not Voltairean, to be kind.

    So, please , stick to the facts , or allegations, and lay off the satire, son.

    2nd, anyone who defends these kinds of criminals, or anyone who puts pen to paper to comment on aveiros that have no Apitropus, becomes far’shmutzed themselves in no time at all.

    I dont know the facts, you dont know the facts, Dershowitz probably doesnt know the facts. From my high and mighty viewpoint, it looks like a passel of hogs slinging huge gobs of mud at each other. While all this slinging is going on, some of the mud is nitpas on my observer’s lens, as well. When i try to clean it off my lens, it clings to my neshama. This, while tittilating my Evil Inclination to the max.

    • Rebcharles, sounds high and mighty. good for you. so dershowitz doesn’t know the facts, curious, do you care to explicate that statement. does hashem know the facts? We have a plaintiff, actually multiple plaintiffs,, , a defendant and lawyers on both sides. so what sayeth thou?
      You are worried about getting fashmutzed. You probably should not be playing around in this playground with such daagot. . High and mighty not withstanding…..

  4. 1) Gawker: Here Is Pedophile Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein’s Little Black Book
    by Nick Bryant
    January 23, 2015, Friday 3:45pm

    Donald Trump, Courtney Love, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, and uber-lawyer Alan Dershowitz may have been identified by a butler as potential “material witnesses” to pedophile billionaire Jeffrey Epstein’s crimes against young girls, according to a copy of Epstein’s little black book obtained by Gawker.

    2) Gawker: Flight Logs Put Clinton, Dershowitz on Pedophile Billionaire’s Sex Jet
    January 22, 2015, Thursday 2:55pm

    But according to the flight logs, Dershowitz was close enough to Epstein to have accompanied him on a flight from Palm Beach to New Jersey’s Teterboro Airport as early as December 1997. On that flight, the pair was accompanied by a number of people, including one unidentified “female,” a “Hazel,” a “Claire,” and Maxwell.

    The logs also show Dershowitz on a flight with Epstein from Bedford, Mass., to Teterboro in October 1998, and a flight from Teterboro to Martha’s Vineyard in 1999. And a 2005 trip from Massachusetts to Montreal shows him traveling with Epstein, “Tatianna,” and others.

    One things the logs don’t show: Dershowitz’s wife traveling with him.

    In an interview with Gawker, Dershowitz repeated his emphatic denials of ever having sexual contact with any underaged girls, and acknowledged that he first met Epstein way back in 1997. “It was just before [ Epstein confidant] Les Wexner’s 60th birthday,” Dershowitz said. “My first substantive contact with him was to fly with him to Les Wexner’s house to attend dinner with Shimon Peres and John Glenn.”
    As for who else was on those flights, Dershowitz couldn’t recall. Hazel? “I don’t know.” Claire? “I have no idea.” Tatianna? “I think that was a woman in her 20s who was Epstein’s girlfriend, but I never flew with her.” The unidentified female? “That could have been my mother.”

    As for why his ever-present wife didn’t appear in the flight logs by his side, Dershowitz said that she did accompany him on several Epstein-sponsored trips that don’t show up in the logs obtained by Gawker. (It is also possible that the logs, which pilots generally keep primarily to record hours of flight time, could also be incomplete or inaccurate as to the passengers.) “She travels with me all over. On occasion, she’s working or travels separately. I travel with her almost all the time, not all the time.”

    One thing is for sure, though: “I have a very clear, unequivocal recollection that I was never on a plane with any young women, period.”

    In the same American Lawyer interview, Dershowitz claimed that his relationship with Epstein was “entirely professional,” and that allegations that the two were “chummy” were “a total bum rap.”

  5. “Mida k’neged mida.” What a nice, tidy little concept. Too bad it only happens once out of every aprox million occurrences of pain inflicted on others. But it’s a nice, neat, little concept when it does work out.

  6. Dershowitz feels it is wrong to arrest the johns who solicit prostitution. He feels that prostitutes, unlike Johns, chose their livlihood and their being shames by public exposure is inconsequential. In contrast, he feels johns are respectable folks with just an occasional foible. See his 1985 article in the Gainesville Sun: “Arresting johns isn’t ‘equal.'”,3141985

  7. According to the Baltimore Sun, in a appeal of the Mike Tyson rape conviction, Dershowitz was party to an appeal to rape shield laws which exclude most an accuser’s previous sexual history. The Sun reported: “the key part of the Tyson appeal is the attack on “rape shield” laws. Such laws, the appeal argues, “cannot, consistent with the Constitution, exclude evidence that would demonstrate that the alleged victim had a motive to lie, or that would counter the state’s own efforts to paint a false vision of ravished innocence.””

  8. I’ve hesitated to comment on this thread, in part because I have my own reasons for disliking this professional falsifier, plagiarist and defender of Israeli crimes.

    But I want to reproduce a comment recently made by Norman Finkelstein on the Mondoweiss blog that speaks for me. Finkelstein’s comments follow (in brackets):

    [I prefer not to comment directly on the serious allegations being leveled against Alan Dershowitz.

    It appears that everyone will have their day in court, which is as it should be.

    However, I would want to express an opinion on the letter signed by 38 Harvard Law School professors (including “radical” Critical Legal Studies professor Roberto Unger and liberal tribune Laurence Tribe) in defense of Dershowitz.

    They describe him as “courageous” and “outspoken” in “defending the despised, and attacking the views of important people.”

    The journalist Jack Newfield memorably described former New York City Mayor Edward Koch as a “toady to the powerful and a bully to the powerless.”

    If you multiply this description a thousand fold, you might begin to approach the real-life Alan Dershowitz.

    It is break-taking to read the Harvard statement in the context of a sexual slavery case pitting vulnerable minors against billionaires, celebrities and royalty.

    Of particular relevance to your website, no single person in the U.S. was more responsible than Dershowitz for whitewashing Israel’s brutal torture of Palestinian detainees. When Israel’s torture first came under public scrutiny, Dershowitz wrote (with attorney Monroe Freedman) in the New York Times, “Allegations of systematic torture and allegations of systematic violations of human rights by Israel must be viewed with more than a little skepticism.”

    Dershowitz repeated his egregious apologetics during the first intifada (beginning 1987) when, according to B’Tselem, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, Israel was “systematically” torturing Palestinian detainees, deploying methods similar to those recently recounted in the Senate Report on Torture, but on a vastly greater scale. The Torture Report documents 39-44 cases of CIA use of torture, whereas HRW estimated that during the first intifada alone, Israel tortured and ill-treated “tens of thousands” of Palestinian detainees.

    Indeed, Dershowitz misrepresented Israeli torture practices in testimony sworn to under oath in a U.S. extradition hearing of a Palestinian resident, Mahmoud el-Abed Ahmad, fearing torture in Israel. For example, he said that Israel’s “toughest methodology for eliciting statements” from Palestinian detainees “is to frighten the person being interrogated into believing that the situation is actually going to be worse than it would become.” Israel was at most guilty, according to Dershowitz, of “occasional pushing and shoving…physical touching.” (I go through the sordid record in detail in my book Beyond Chutzpah.)

    Is this what the Harvard Law School professors had in mind when they praised Dershowitz’s “courageous” and “outspoken” defense of “the despised”?]

    I think a similar question could be posed to the Boteachs of the world who insist Dershowitz must be defended because, at least up to now, he’s done his lying for the right bully. Whether or not Dershowitz is guilty of the charges, such a defense is shameful.

    • I assume “break-taking” in Finkelstein’s comment should be “breathtaking.” This was an email he sent to Mondoweiss, not an excerpt from a book or an article.

  9. just to introduce anyone to Norman FInkelstein – a casual Goog will do

    Or , to quote Dante Alighieri

    “Stormin Norman is at the precise midway point between צואה רותחת and שאול תחתית, with the house of כף הקלח rising, חיבוט הקבר at the far post”

  10. Dershowitz thinks the press should expose the names of alleged rape victims. He knows that the defendant already gets the name(s) and can investigate and question them under oath or affirmation both before and during a trial. But the Dersh wants to be able to put them on trial in the press. See quote and source below.

    ” the press is dead wrong not to publish the names of alleged rape victims. It is absolutely critical that rape be treated like any other crime of violence, that the names of the alleged victims be published along with the names of the alleged perpetrators, so that people who know the victim or know her reputation can come forward to provide relevant information.”

  11. Alan Dershowitz, I am told by a reliable source, is part of the legal team for notorious convicted child rapist Nechemya Weberman and his name is part of the appeal for his conviction. Weberman is presently serving a 103 year sentence.

    Dershowitz’ brother, Nathan, with whom he often collaborates, played a major role in making sure child molester (Rabbi) Baruch Lanner avoided staying on the NJ sex offender registry.

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