Alan Dershowitz, a Harvard Law School professor and frequent defender of President Trump, claimed as recently as April that he "welcomed" a defamation lawsuit from a woman who alleges he had sex with her nearly two decades ago, when she was 16. Dershowitz had formerly said that the case would pose an opportunity for him to exonerate himself in court, but on Thursday, in an apparent reversal of decision, Dershowitz asked a federal judge to throw the filing out, the Miami Herald reports.
Virginia Roberts Giuffre, now 35, has alleged that she was a victim in a sex trafficking ring run by Jeffrey Epstein, one of Dershowitz's clients, between 2000 and 2002. She claims that she was forced to have sex with Dershowitz.
Dershowitz had egged Giuffre and her lawyer, David Boies, to sue him for defamation this spring, claiming "everything in [Giuffre's] complaint is false and I will be able to disprove all of this in a court of law." But after Giuffre made a defamation filing in April, Dershowitz is now asking that "the case be dismissed on constitutional grounds," the Miami Herald writes, "[but] not because he is backing down from the fight. His comments, he explained, are free speech protected under the First Amendment."
Dershowitz’s abrupt change of heart has been slammed as cowardly by Boies' partner Joshua Schiller, who said "[Dershowitz] is running from those charges, but he can't hide from them." Still others say Dershowitz knows exactly what he is doing: "This is a tactical decision," said Carl M. Bornstein, a lawyer and professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. He added: "I don't think [Dershowitz] is concerned what the basis for the dismissal is; this is just a counterpunch, he is not retreating at all." Read more at the Miami Herald here.