Three dozen Harvard Law School professors on Thursday rallied to the defense of their emeritus colleague, Alan M. Dershowitz, who last month was named by a woman as one of several men with whom she allegedly had sex as a minor.
Coming one day after the woman filed a sworn statement repeating her allegations, the statement by the law professors sharply criticized the woman’s lawyers for making the allegations in a lawsuit to which Dershowitz is not a party. As a result, he is not able to make a direct response in court.
Dershowitz was “accused in a setting seemingly designed to deny him any effective opportunity to respond,” the Harvard professors’ statement said. “The courts should not be used to make such attacks while preventing any effective response.”
Dershowitz, in a telephone interview Thursday, blasted the woman’s affidavit as “categorically false — every word of it.”
“I never met the woman, I was never in the same place as her,” Dershowitz said.
Dershowitz’s name first surfaced last month after two lawyers, Bradley J. Edwards of Florida and Paul G. Cassell of Utah, filed a motion in a long-running civil case involving one of Dershowitz’s former private legal clients.
The motion asked a federal court judge in Palm Beach, Fla., to allow the addition of two plaintiffs to the suit. That suit challenges the propriety of a 2008 agreement by prosecutors that permitted billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein to plead guilty to soliciting a minor for prostitution and serve about a year in a prison. Dershowitz represented Epstein at the time.
The two women Edwards and Cassell wanted to add to the lawsuit claim they were minors when Epstein forced them to have sex with him and others.
In their Dec. 30 filing, the lawyers said one of the women, identified as Jane Doe#3, asserts that Dershowitz was one of the men Epstein forced her to have sex with, in New York, New Mexico, Florida, on a Caribbean island owned by Epstein, and on Epstein’s private plane.
On Wednesday, the lawyers for Jane Doe#3 filed a motion opposing Dershowitz’s ongoing legal attempt to become a party to the lawsuit in order to respond to the allegations in court.
In an affidavit accompanying the motion, JaneDoe#3 says she had sex with Dershowitz “at least six times,” when she was 16 to 19 years old.
“I have recently seen a former Harvard law professor identified as Alan Dershowitz on television call me a ‘liar,’ ” JaneDoe#3 says in the affidavit. “He is lying by denying that he had sex with me. That man is the same man that I had sex with at least six times.”
According to a deposition of Epstein’s former house manager, provided to the Globe by lawyers involved in the case, Dershowitz spent two or three days as a guest in Epstein’s Palm Beach mansion, at a time when Epstein was in the company of teenage girls.
But the employee, Alfredo Rodriguez, testified that he had no knowledge of Dershowitz associating with the girls.
“What would [Dershowitz] do while those girls were at the house?” Rodriguez was asked.
“He will read a book with a glass of wine by the pool, stay inside,” Rodriguez testified.
Dershowitz said on Thursday that he has known Epstein for many years, and that on occasion he stayed at one of Epstein’s houses.
“But I had no idea who was in the house at the time and no idea what was going on in the house while I was there,” he said.
Earlier this month, Edwards and Cassell sued Dershowitz for defamation after Dershowitz publicly described the pair as “sleazy, unprofessional, disbarrable lawyers.”
Dershowitz said Thursday he hopes the defamation suit allows him to depose the lawyers and JaneDoe#3 to disprove the allegations.
Edwards and Cassell declined to comment on Thursday.
The Harvard professors, including former state Supreme Judicial Court justice Charles Fried, former federal court judge Nancy Gertner, Laurence H. Tribe, and Charles J. Ogletree Jr., also vouched for Dershowitz as “not only an excellent and committed teacher, but also a highly talented and honorable advocate, and a fearless public intellectual.”
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