If you thought you were looking forward to the Mueller report, consider Alan Dershowitz.
A copy of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on his investigation, with an introduction by the legendary Harvard Law professor, is already climbing the sales charts at Amazon — even though the report hasn’t been (and might never be) released and Dershowitz hasn’t written a single word.
Selling for $9.37 in paperback, or $9.99 on Kindle, “The Mueller Report: The Final Report of the Special Counsel into Donald Trump, Russia, and Collusion” is already the No. 3 bestseller in Amazon’s Civics and Citizenship category. As of Monday, it was ranked 617th among all books. For a book that is, at this point, imaginary . . . that’s pretty high.
The problem, of course, is that nobody knows when (or even if) the Mueller report will be made public — a decision that appears to be mostly up to the attorney general, who has considerable discretion about what to reveal. But once the report is out there, the assembled media will be wolfing down the details like they’re lined up at Nathan’s Famous with Joey Chestnut on the Fourth of July.
“My intention is to drop everything” when some version of the report is released, Dershowitz said in an interview Monday. “I’m a fast reader, and a fast writer. Even though I’m 80 years old, I still do things quickly.” Fact check: True. Approximately 3 seconds elapsed between the time I sent Dershowitz an e-mail and my phone rang.
Dershowitz said his publisher, Skyhorse, came to him with the proposal. He’s also written introductions for other important historical documents, like the Constitution ($3.99), and two decades ago, he did something similar when Kenneth Starr’s report on Bill Clinton’s misdeeds was released.
A Mueller intro “sounded like a very good idea,” Dershowitz said.
Dershowitz is not the only one who appears to have come to that conclusion. Under copyright law, works prepared by federal government employees doing their jobs are generally considered public domain — anyone can republish and sell them as they please.
The Washington Post is also selling copies of the Mueller report, to be published with its own analysis (the Dersh edition is about $5 cheaper). Someone is even selling a book called “A Comprehensive Review Of The Lies In The Mueller Report: Exhaustive Analysis Of Each and Every Specific Lie,” though all the pages are blank ( . . . get it?).
Dershowitz said he’s confident that enough of the Mueller report will be made public for the book project to work, and Attorney General Bill Barr has said he will make as much information available as he can.
Dershowitz was less confident in the on-sale date listed on Amazon: March 26. He said the date was a placeholder and said he called the publisher and asked it to change the date to something nonspecific, but the date hadn’t changed as of Tuesday. Amazon doesn’t actually charge for the book until it’s being prepared for shipping, so if the report never materializes, nobody will be out any money. And if Dersh is taking too long writing the intro, people can always cancel their pre-orders.
Though still a self-described liberal Democrat, Dershowitz has been catching a lot of flack for what some see as his support of Trump — the reason for his widely publicized shunning on the Vineyard last summer. But Dershowitz disputes the characterizations of him as a “Trump defender” despite doing an awful lot of television interviews that sound supportive — and literally writing a book called “The Case Against Impeaching Trump.”
Dershowitz has also come under fire for his representation of Florida millionaire and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
Dershowitz said he’ll approach the Mueller report with no preconceptions about the findings.
“I’m not doing this on behalf of Donald Trump or the Republicans,” Dershowitz said. “I may be supportive of the Mueller report. I have no pre-disposition about it.”
So he hasn’t gotten the urge to give himself a little head start? Maybe a working draft, like a sportswriter getting a game story together even though it’s only the sixth inning?
“That’s a good idea, I hadn’t thought about that. I could write a couple of paragraphs about the appointment of special counsel,” he said. “I could do that easily.”
Dershowitz said he wasn’t sure how many copies had been pre-sold, and was surprised to learn that it was already labeled a bestseller.
“I’ve never looked at an Amazon ranking for a book that wasn’t published yet,” Dershowitz said.
He said he just wished his other books — you know, the ones that actually exist — were doing so well.Nestor Ramos can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @NestorARamos.