Lawyer wins fight over sex claims
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.