Dershowitz Takes Ponzi Scheme Case
Harvard Law School Professor Alan M. Dershowitz has agreed to serve on the defense team of R. Allen Stanford, who was arrested last June after allegations of his involvement in a Ponzi scheme.
Though he is still awaiting trial, Stanford is currently in prison. Dershowitz said that his main role in the case is to fight Stanford’s incarceration, which he says is not consistent with the Constitution.
“He’s being unconstitutionally treated,” Dershowitz said. “The Constitution provides for bail, and he has been denied bail...in a manner that doesn’t permit him to prepare his defense.”
Dershowitz, who has held his current post as the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law since 1993, has a history of defending notable—and perhaps notorious—clients.
Famously, he was part of the O.J. Simpson defense team during the double-homicide trial.
Still, Dershowitz noted that his role will be limited in Stanford’s case.
“I’m only involved in the issue of whether it’s proper to keep him in jail pending his trial,” he said.
J. Lorand Matory ’82—a former professor at Harvard with whom Dershowitz had a long and well-publicized feud—seemed to express some philosophical support for his former colleague. Matory is now the chair of the African and African American Studies department at Duke University.
“I believe every person is innocent until proven guilty and an accused person is entitled to a vigorous defense,” Matory said.
“I hope more attorneys commit themselves to guaranteeing that all defendants have the best defense that they can get,” he added.
Dershowitz repeatedly emphasized that the case represents a legal issue beyond the realm of Stanford’s case.
He also expressed an interest in bringing the case before the Supreme Court, though he conceded the difficulty of managing a timetable to move it through the court system.
“I would think that if the Supreme Court heard his case, they would not tolerate two years of detention based on the information that’s been presented,” Dershowitz said.
“It undercuts the whole criminal justice system, which is why I became interested in the case.”