Harvard Law School Professor Emeritus Alan M. Dershowitz is asking a federal judge to dismiss a defamation lawsuit brought against him by Virginia Giuffre, who implicated Dershowitz in a sex ring run by billionaire Harvard donor Jeffrey E. Epstein.
Giuffre first sued Dershowitz in April, alleging he defamed her in the wake of a 2018 Miami Herald report that Epstein abused Giuffre and dozens of other underage girls in his Palm Beach, Fla. home in the the mid-2000s. In a separate 2015 lawsuit, she alleged that Epstein forced her to have sexual relations multiple times with Dershowitz, who served as Epstein’s lawyer when the billionaire was first taken to court over sexual misconduct in 2006.
In documents filed in Southern New York District Court Wednesday, Dershowitz argued Giuffre’s suit was “designed more for the media than for the Court.”
He moved to dismiss the complaint on the grounds that her claims surpassed the statute of limitations because they “were originally published by Dershowitz in early 2015 after Giuffre first leveled her accusations against Dershowitz,” according to a memorandum in support of the motion.
The memo also asserts that Dershowitz’ defense of Giuffre’s “scurrilous allegations” is protected under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Dershowitz served on a six-person legal team that, in 2007, struck an extraordinary plea deal for Epstein, according to a Miami Herald investigative report. Despite facing a potential life sentence, Epstein — who once cultivated personal friendships with Harvard administrators and maintained an office near campus — spent only 13 months in county jail. An FBI probe into his actions was also shut down as part of the deal.
In the defamation suit, Giuffre states Dershowitz accused her of perjury and extortion to deter her from discussing allegations against Epstein and himself. She is seeking a trial by jury in her defamation suit and at least $75,000 in damages
Dershowitz’s motion to dismiss comes after he said in an April interview with The Crimson that he welcomed the suit, that Giuffre’s allegations constitute perjury, and that he has evidence that will exonerate him.
He said in another interview Thursday that he maintains that Giuffre committed perjury, adding that in a case like the one against him, “any lawyer would file a motion to dismiss.”
“I have been calling this woman a liar since the day she accused me. I will continue to call her a liar until the day I die,” Dershowitz said Thursday.
Joshua Schiller — a lawyer for Giuffre — wrote that Dershowitz’s motion to dismiss is a “desperate act” and shows his “inability to deal with the merits of the serious, documented charges brought against him” in an emailed statement Friday.
“Mr. Dershowitz has repeatedly and loudly said how anxious he was to have a court determine the merits of those charges, but now filing a motion to dismiss, he has demonstrated how false his assertions were,” Schiller wrote. “He is on the run from these troubling charges, but he can’t hide from them.”
—Staff writer Molly C. McCafferty can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @mollmccaff.
—Staff writer Aidan F. Ryan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @AidanRyanNH.