"Isn't it our role as journalists to examine things with a critical eye?"
That is the question properly posed by Julie Brown in her book "Perversion of Justice," about the Jeffrey Epstein case.
Her answer is yes — except, apparently, when it comes to her own sources.
Not only does she not apply a critical eye to the women on whom she bases her reporting, she deliberately withholds negative information she knows about these sources that would allow the reader to examine their claims with a critical eye.
In this respect, her "reporting" is a failure.
She is "defrauding" her readers in the same way someone selling a product would be defrauding consumers by willfully withholding from them negative information that might persuade them not to buy the product.
She is also violating the most basic ethics of journalism: Report the whole truth, not just the parts that support your one-sided narrative.
I will now disclose some of what Brown deliberately withheld so potential buyers of her product can judge for themselves whether to purchase her book, or if they do, whether to believe what she is trying to sell them.
Bottom line: Uncritically believing what she is selling can be dangerous to your ability to learn the truth.
Brown relies on two major sources in describing Epstein's trafficking of women.
Here is what she writes:
"Thus far, only one other victim, Sarah Ransome, has told a similar story about being trafficked. No other victims or witnesses have come forward publicly to corroborate Virginia [Giuffre's] sex trafficking allegations. Despite the fact that some of the encounters [allegedly] involved multiple girls and women."
These two sources — Sarah Ransome and Virginia Giuffre — have accused numerous men and women of sexual improprieties or of mingling with Epstein and young women on his so-called "pedophile Island."
Those accused include Hillary Clinton, Richard Branson, Glenn Dubin, Tom Pritzker, Alexandria Cousteau, Al Gore, Tipper Gore, George Mitchell, Bill Richardson, Bill Clinton, Leslie Wexner, and other prominent politicians, businessmen, academics, including me.
What Brown withholds from her readers is the undisputed fact Ransome has admitted making up some of her accusations.
She told The New Yorker she "invented" the false story of having tapes of sexual encounters involving prominent men and women.
But Brown omitted this damning confession of lying and false accusations from her book.
Brown also omitted the equally damning fact that Giuffre's own lawyers have admitted she was "wrong, simply wrong" in accusing prominent men of being trafficked to her.
Here is what Giuffre's own lawyer said in a TV interview: Based on his 11-year investigation, he does not believe any "high profile" people "would be implicated."
He specifically exculpated Leslie Wexner, who Giuffre swore she had sex with on multiple occasions.
She also swore she had sex with numerous high profile individuals.
The government knows these witnesses are problematic. That is apparently why they did not rely on these two witnesses in making their criminal cases against Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein.
To its credit, the government went to great lengths to structure the indictments so as to avoid using these accusers as witnesses.
But you would not know this from reading Brown's one-sided account, because she has deep-sixed this crucial information and has refused to examine with a critical eye – or given her readers the undisputed facts that would allow them to apply a critical eye – to the two sources she relies on.
She did this because if the reader were to disbelieve those sources – as they should, based on the evidence – her entire narrative goes up in smoke.
There is more, much more, some of it relating to others, and some to me.
Brown categorically states I have refused to "produce" the "evidence" that I claim proves my innocence. That is untrue, as Brown knows.
In my book, "Guilt by Accusation" – published two years before Brown's – I provided all the documentation she falsely claims I refused to produce.
This includes affidavits, FBI reports, tape transcripts of Giuffre's lawyer and best friend, calendar entries, memoranda, and emails.
Most important, my book quotes emails and a book manuscript by Giuffre that proves conclusively she never even met me and had to be told who I was after the time she falsely claimed to have had sex with me.
But Brown does not include this material, even though I provided it to her, and she read it.
She acknowledges I wrote the book but misleads her readers into believing that I refused to include the exculpatory evidence in it.
This constitutes journalistic malpractice and a "fraud" on her readers. Yet, she whines about not winning the Pulitzer Prize for journalism.
If a lawyer did what Brown did – willfully withheld exculpatory evidence – she would be sanctioned or disbarred, not honored with a professional prize.
Brown is now on a media tour during which she continues to mislead her listeners and viewers.
She has not been confronted with the evidence in this column.
I challenge her interviewers to ask her — in the interest of truth — why she omitted this critical information.
I await her responses, and so should you.
Alan M. Dershowitz is the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law Emeritus at Harvard Law School and author of "Guilt by Accusation" and "Case Against the New Censorship: Protecting Free Speech from Big Tech, Progressives, and Universities."
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