Prominent lawyer and author Alan Dershowitz has told of his legal nightmare after being "falsely accused" of having sex with an underage girl in a case that also involves Britain's Prince Andrew.
In a column for The Wall Street Journal
, Dershowitz categorically denied that he had intercourse with the alleged victim, identified as Jane Doe #3, and declared that the two lawyers representing her are blatant liars.
"Imagine the following situation: You're a 76-year-old man, happily married for nearly 30 years, with three children and two grandchildren," he wrote.
"You've recently retired after 50 years of teaching at Harvard Law School. You have an unblemished personal record, though your legal and political views are controversial."
"You wake up…to learn that two lawyers have filed a legal document that, in passing, asserts that 15 years ago you had sex on numerous occasions and in numerous locations with an underage female.
"The accusation doesn't mention the alleged victim's name…and the court document includes no affidavit by her. But her name doesn't really matter, because you have never had sex with anyone other than your wife during the relevant time period.
"The accusations against you are totally false, and you can prove it. Well, that is my situation: I'm the one who has been falsely accused."
In a federal court case
filed in Florida last month, attorneys Paul Cassell and Bradley Edwards said their client was forced as a minor by wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein to have sex with several people, including Dershowitz and Prince Andrew.
Dershowitz, a Harvard University professor emeritus and Newsmax columnist, has since filed a sworn statement in a Florida federal court denying he had sex with the woman, now 31, on Epstein's private plane and island.
Buckingham Palace, who has named the woman as Virginia Roberts, has also denied the allegations against Prince Andrew.
Cassell and Edwards have now hit Dershowitz with a defamation suit, claiming that he had made libelous statements in "reckless disregard" in order to support his claim of innocence.
"I now stand accused of crimes I did not commit, by an unnamed woman who I don't know and never met," Dershowitz wrote in the Journal. "I am also being sued for defaming my accusers.
"I still have no opportunity to respond in court to the false charges, though I am now seeking to intervene in the lawsuit in which the accusation was filed. I have submitted a sworn statement denying the accusations with great specificity."
Dershowitz said in his filing that while he had flown on Epstein's plane several times, Jane Doe #3 was not on any of those trips. He also said he had been to Epstein's island once, for a day, and was with his wife and daughter the entire time.
In her lawsuit against the U.S. government, Jane Doe #3 says its 2008 plea deal with Epstein, which allowed him to serve jail time on state charges but avoid federal prosecution, violated their rights.
Epstein, who was represented by Dershowitz in the sex crimes case, was sentenced to 13 months in prison after pleading guilty.
"There is a gaping hole in our legal system that allows lawyers to bring irrelevant accusations against innocent nonparties in court papers that insulate them from any consequences, and to deny the falsely accused any opportunity to respond," Dershowitz wrote.
"The law must be changed to shatter this hall of mirrors I face and others might. There must be consequences for those who file accusations with no offer to prove them and no legal responsibility if they are categorically — and disprovably — false.
"I will not rest until this gaping hole is filled with reasonable safeguards, so that what is happening to me can never happen to another innocent person."
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