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Dershowitz Wages Media War for Tyson

Law School Professor Says Tyson Is Victim

By Gaston DE Los reyes

He's not exactly the pet of the month.

But Profesor of Law Alan M. Dershowitz did make the front cover of May's Penthouse magazine--with an article entitled "The Rape of Mike Tyson."

Dershowitz, Harvard Law School's most high-profile professor, is representing boxer Mike Tyson in his appeal of a conviction for the rape of beauty pageant contestant Desiree Washington.

Citing new evidence as the basis for the appeal, Dershowitz writes in the article that Tyson was "convicted of rape on the basis of testimony that we believe we can now prove was known to be false and incomplete by the prosecutors."

Dershowitz said he believes that Washington, her parents and her lawyers concealed information from the jury in order to present the picture of "a shy, inexperienced, religious schoolgirl who wanted nothing more than to put this whole unpleasant tragedy behind her."

But Washington's real interest, he asserted, was in "millions of dollars riding on whether Mike Tyson was convicted or acquitted, since without a conviction, it would have been difficult for her to collect monetary damages or sell her story to the media."

Since the original trial last year, several new pieces of evidence have surfaced. Among other items, eye-witnesses have backed Tyson's claim that the pair had begun to kiss before they reached Tyson's hotel room.

Also, a man has revealed that Washington falsely accused him of rape one and a half years ago. Dershowitz says he expects to hear soon whether the request for a new trial will be granted.

Dershowitz explained in an interview yesterday that he wrote this article, which was solicited by the magazine, because he seeks to "get the story out to as many people as will listen." He has long been associated with Penthouse, both as a law columnist and by representing editor and publisher Bob Guccione in court.

He has also written a recent article for Boxing Illustrated on the case, and has discussed it on a variety of television "tabloid" shows.

Dershowitz said he feels obligated to "defend Tyson in the court of public opinion...If the prosecution had not started prosecution by tabloid, we would not have had to defend by tabloid...I am not going let Tyson go undefended."

Law, Not Sports

He said he thinks that it is a "shame that the case hasn't been covered in main line publications as a matter of law instead of a matter of sports."

Students at the Law School said they had no problem with Dershowitz's writing for Penthouse, or any other publication, but some looked askance at what they called his publicity-mongering habits.

Law student J. Greg Waller pointed out that "As a First Amendment advocate, [Dershowitz] writes for anyone he wants."

Limelight

Third-year student Deborah A. Nolan, however, was critical of the professor's "tendency to go for publications or trials that are in the limelight...seemingly for the purpose of generating attention."

First-year law student Yong K. Kim '92 says that "[his writing for Penthouse] doesn't offend me, but I can see how others might be offended. Depending on what he has to say, it might be necessary in order to reach a certain audience."

Contribute to Classes

Dershowitz said that his highly publicized cases his list of past clients includes Klaus von Bulow, Leona Helmsley and Mia Farrow--actually contribute to his classes. "I teach Tyson in my Criminal Law class; we will be studying rape during the next few weeks," he said.

Kim, who is in the class, says Dershowitz "has spoken about the case in class to show what can go wrong in a rape trial and to show different biases which exist both on the side of the defense and on the side of the prosecution.

Dershowitz explained in an interview yesterday that he wrote this article, which was solicited by the magazine, because he seeks to "get the story out to as many people as will listen." He has long been associated with Penthouse, both as a law columnist and by representing editor and publisher Bob Guccione in court.

He has also written a recent article for Boxing Illustrated on the case, and has discussed it on a variety of television "tabloid" shows.

Dershowitz said he feels obligated to "defend Tyson in the court of public opinion...If the prosecution had not started prosecution by tabloid, we would not have had to defend by tabloid...I am not going let Tyson go undefended."

Law, Not Sports

He said he thinks that it is a "shame that the case hasn't been covered in main line publications as a matter of law instead of a matter of sports."

Students at the Law School said they had no problem with Dershowitz's writing for Penthouse, or any other publication, but some looked askance at what they called his publicity-mongering habits.

Law student J. Greg Waller pointed out that "As a First Amendment advocate, [Dershowitz] writes for anyone he wants."

Limelight

Third-year student Deborah A. Nolan, however, was critical of the professor's "tendency to go for publications or trials that are in the limelight...seemingly for the purpose of generating attention."

First-year law student Yong K. Kim '92 says that "[his writing for Penthouse] doesn't offend me, but I can see how others might be offended. Depending on what he has to say, it might be necessary in order to reach a certain audience."

Contribute to Classes

Dershowitz said that his highly publicized cases his list of past clients includes Klaus von Bulow, Leona Helmsley and Mia Farrow--actually contribute to his classes. "I teach Tyson in my Criminal Law class; we will be studying rape during the next few weeks," he said.

Kim, who is in the class, says Dershowitz "has spoken about the case in class to show what can go wrong in a rape trial and to show different biases which exist both on the side of the defense and on the side of the prosecution.

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