Virginia L. Giuffre sued Harvard Law School Professor Emeritus Alan M. Dershowitz for defamation in federal court Tuesday, claiming he falsely accused her of perjury after she implicated him in a sex ring operated by billionaire Harvard donor Jeffrey E. Epstein.
Giuffre, formerly known as Virginia Roberts, first brought allegations against Dershowitz in court in 2015, when she claimed that Epstein, a convicted sex offender, forced her to have sexual relations with Dershowitz multiple times starting at age 16. She is seeking a trial by jury in her defamation suit and at least $75,000 in damages.
Dershowitz has denied the allegations repeatedly, stating that he does not know Giuffre. He has also publicly called on Giuffre and Sarah Ransome — another woman who alleged in a separate suit that Epstein directed her to have sex with Dershowitz — to repeat their claims publicly so he can sue them for defamation.
“Using his role as a powerful lawyer with powerful friends, Dershowitz’s statements were published internationally for the malicious purpose of further damaging a sexual abuse and sexual trafficking victim; to destroy Roberts’s reputation and credibility; to cause the world to disbelieve Roberts; and to destroy Roberts’s efforts to use her experience to help others suffering as sex trafficking victims,” the complaint states.
Dershowitz said Tuesday that he “welcomes” the suit, that Giuffre’s allegations constitute perjury, and that he has evidence that will eventually exonerate him.
“I've been looking for an opportunity now for several years to be able to prove in a court of law that Virginia Giuffre made up this whole story,” he said. “I never met her. I have evidence from her own words.”
“I have done nothing improper in any way whatsoever, and I will prove that in the federal court,” he added.
The lawsuit alleges that Dershowitz has repeatedly lied about his involvement in Epstein’s activities, and calls him Epstein’s “attorney, close friend, and co-conspirator.”
In November 2018, the Miami Herald published a three-part series that identified around 80 women who say Epstein molested or sexually abused them between 2001 and 2006. The Herald also reported that Dershowitz, who served on Epstein’s six-person legal team, helped strike a plea deal with then-United States District Attorney R. Alexander Acosta that granted Epstein and other unnamed potential co-conspirators immunity from federal prosecution.
Dershowitz has stated he only visited Epstein’s Palm Beach residence one time and was never in the house in the presence of young women, according to Giuffre’s complaint. The complaint refutes those claims with statements from two former employees of Epstein — Juan Alessi and Alfredo Rodriguez. Both Alessi and Rodriguez allege they saw Dershowitz at the residence on multiple occasions, and Rodriguez confirmed Dershowitz was in the house at the same time as “young ladies.”
Another woman who alleges Epstein sexually assaulted her, Maria Farmer, has stated she saw Dershowitz enter Epstein’s New York City mansion on multiple occasions while she was working there and go upstairs while girls under the age of 18 were present.
Giuffre alleges in her lawsuit that Dershowitz began defaming Giuffre in response to the Herald’s reporting, accusing her of perjury and extortion to deter her from discussing allegations against Epstein and himself.
“The purpose and effect of these attacks has been to damage Robert’s reputation and credibility and to try to intimidate her into silence,” the complaint reads.
Giuffre states in the complaint that Dershowitz’s statements have caused her economic, psychological, mental, and emotional damage.
Dershowitz previously wrote in a letter to the Herald that he not only denied that he had sex with Giuffre, but that he disproved it during an independent investigation run by former FBI director Louis J. Freeh. Dershowitz told The Crimson on Tuesday that he is inviting the FBI to attend and “monitor” the trial.
Giuffre’s lawyer, Joshua Schiller, wrote in an emailed statement that Giuffre and her legal team “look forward” to Dershowitz’s cooperation in the trial.
“Ms. Giuffre’s complaint makes detailed factual allegations, including allegations supported by exhibits and sworn affidavits,” Schiller wrote. “Mr. Dershowitz needs to address those allegations with something more than emotional conclusory denials and ad hominem attacks.”
—Staff writer Connor W. K. Brown can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @ConnorWKBrown.
—Staff writer Molly C. McCafferty can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @mollmccaff.