Civil-rights legend Alan Dershowitz has come out swinging at Rep. Maxine Waters, who called him "absolutely racist" for saying the Trump administration is in for an "unfavorable" shake from a Washington D.C. grand jury because the district has an "ethnic and racial" bias.
"Maxine Waters uses, throws around the term 'racist' to describe anybody she disagrees with," Dershowitz told Rita Cosby, guest host of Newsmax TV's "The Todd Schnitt Show."
"And it diminishes the power of the word, it dilutes the word. It really doesn't serve the interest of civil rights."
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Last Friday, Dershowitz told Cosby on her WABC Radio show that special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential race and whether the Trump campaign colluded, has given himself a "tremendous tactical advantage" by convening a grand jury in Washington, D.C.
"The case now can be brought not in Northern Virginia, which is a swing area, sometimes Democrat, sometimes Republican… but the District of Columbia, which is always solidly Democratic and has an ethnic and racial composition that might be very unfavorable to the Trump Administration," Dershowitz said.
To which Waters, a California Democrat, told MSNBC host Chris Hayes, "Oh it's absolutely unfair. What he is saying is ‘all of those black people are there and they don't like Trump and so he's not going to get a fair trial and so they should take it out of that jurisdiction. It shouldn't be there to begin with.' I don't like that, and I'm surprised that Alan Dershowitz is talking like that.... We will not stand for it. We will push back against that because that is absolutely racist."
But Dershowitz on Monday strongly disagreed.
"Look, every criminal lawyer I know, prosecutor, defense attorney, would agree with me that when you take a case from Virginia and put it in the District of Columbia, you are gaining a tactical advantage for the prosecution in a case in which the defendants are likely to come from the Trump administration," he said.
"Politics matters. Race matters. Ethnicity matters. Every lawyer know that. I learned it from Johnnie Cochran who Maxine Waters praised to the hilt when he died and wanted to have Congress pass a resolution recognizing his greatness. Would she have called Johnnie Cochran a racist?
"Or does she revere it only for people that are not of her race? It absurdly throws around a word that should be reserved for true racists. When she calls a real racist a racist, nobody is going to believe her. She's crying wolf and it dilutes the meaning of the word 'racism.' So shame on Maxine Waters."
The renowned Harvard Law professor emeritus also called out Richard Painter, an ethics lawyer in the George W. Bush administration, who demanded in a tweet that Dershowitz "stop the racist B.S."
"He's just dead wrong. And he's been wrong about so many things. He is so determined to find criminal conduct on the part of Trump that he's prepared to make up crimes that don't exist. How he served as an ethics lawyer for any administration is unclear to me," Dershowitz told Cosby.
"I think he has to look in the mirror and question his own ethics using the word 'racism' to describe what he understands because he's a lawyer. He understands that what I'm saying is factually, absolutely correct.
"And I challenge him to deny that it's correct, that you'll get a different composition of a jury pool in the District of Columbia than in Virginia and that the different composition will favor the prosecution over what they would've gotten in Virginia."
Dershowitz compared Mueller's probe into Russia and Trump to the characters in Herman Melville's classic 1851 novel, "Moby Dick," in which a vengeful sea captain named Ahab hunts a gigantic whale that chewed off his leg.
"This is Ahab and the white whale Moby Dick. When you give a special counsel or a special prosecutor a job their job is to come back with something. If Mueller does two years of investigation extraordinary expense to the American public and says there's nothing there, many people will say he failed at his job," Dershowitz said.
"So there's an incentive to find something. Remember with Bill Clinton. They started out with Whitewater and ended up with Monica Lewinsky. So in practice there's very little constraint on what Mueller can find.
"Good lawyers don't stumble. They discover something because they're looking for it. I think Mueller will be looking to try to find crime wherever it is and then try to relate it back to the Russia probe."
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