Lawyer wins fight over sex claims

Palm Beach Daily News - - OPINION - By JANE MUS­GRAVE

The long-run­ning saga of un­sub­stan­ti­ated claims that famed lawyer Alan Der­showitz had sex with one of bil­lion­aire sex of­fender Jef­frey Ep­stein’s al­leged teenage vic­tims ap­pears to be over.

In a six-page opin­ion Wed­nes­day, Florida’s 4th District Court of Ap­peal re­jected Vir­ginia Roberts Gi­uf­fre’s claims that she should have been al­lowed to seek sanc­tions against Der­showitz, based on her claim that he re­vealed con­fi­den­tial in­for­ma­tion dur­ing a de­po­si­tion in a defama­tion suit he filed against her at­tor­neys over the al­le­ga­tions.

She also claimed Ep­stein, who pleaded guilty in 2008 to two Florida so­lic­i­ta­tion of pros­ti­tu­tion charges to es­cape far more se­ri­ous fed­eral charges, forced her to have sex with Bri­tain’s Prince An­drew.

Both Der­showitz and Prince An­drew have de­nied her claims about them.

As is typ­i­cal in law­suits in­volv­ing Ep­stein, a wealthy Palm Beach res­i­dent, the case fea­tured le­gal heavy­weights. It pit­ted Der­showitz, who, in ad­di­tion to Ep­stein, counts O.J. Simpson and boxer Mike Tyson among his clients, against David Boies, who rep­re­sented Gi­uf­fre and is best known for head­ing up Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Al Gore’s un­suc­cess­ful 2000 elec­tion fight against Ge­orge W. Bush.

Sidestep­ping the per­son­al­i­ties in­volved, the West Palm Beach-based ap­peals court up­held a Broward County judge’s de­ci­sion that Gi­uf­fre had no right to seek sanc­tions against Der­showitz be­cause she wasn’t a party to the du­el­ing defama­tion suits that were filed in con­nec­tion with her sex al­le­ga­tions. Fur­ther, it ruled, since the suits were set­tled for undis­closed terms, other penal­ties she sought were im­pos­si­ble to carry out.

South Florida con­sti­tu­tional lawyer Bruce Ro­gow, who rep­re­sented Der­showitz, said he was pleased, but not sur­prised, by the court’s rul­ing. He called the case “strange,” point­ing out that Gi­uf­fre was never a party to the defama­tion lit­i­ga­tion and peo­ple can’t just butt into law­suits.

“It’s all over,” Ro­gow added. “All’s well that ends well.”

Still, he said, the un­der­ly­ing alle- gations were dis­turb­ing. “Alan has had a great rep­u­ta­tion,” he said of the 78-year-old for­mer Har­vard law pro­fes­sor. “There’s no ques­tion he took this to heart in a very hard way and I un­der­stand why.”

Jon Mills, a for­mer Florida House speaker who rep­re­sented Gi­uf­fre in the ap­peal, couldn’t be reached for com­ment. At­tor­ney Jack Scarola, who rep­re­sented lawyers Bradley Ed­wards and Paul Cas­sell in the defama­tion law­suit against Der­showitz af­ter the Har­vard lawyer sued them, said Gi­uf­fre could file yet an­other law­suit against Der­showitz, but it would be dif­fi­cult.

The over­all fall­out from Ep­stein’s ac­tiv­i­ties are far from over. Ed­wards and Cas­sell are su­ing the fed­eral gov­ern­ment, claim­ing U.S. pros­e­cu­tors vi­o­lated the Crime Vic­tims’ Rights Act when they agreed not to pur­sue fed­eral charges against Ep­stein with­out first alert­ing those who claimed he paid them for sex when they were as young as 14.

Also, in De­cem­ber, a trial is sched­uled in Palm Beach County Cir­cuit Court on Ed­wards’ al­le­ga­tions that Ep­stein filed a friv­o­lous law­suit against him to pun­ish him for rep­re­sent­ing young women in civil law­suits against Ep­stein. Scarola is rep­re­sent­ing Ed­wards in that law­suit.



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