Alan Dershowitz is a lifelong liberal who upholds and applies the same standards for everyone without regard to political affiliation and belief. Because of that, he is now on the receiving end of vicious attacks from fellow liberals.
The latest tempest began when Dershowitz denounced attacks against President Donald Trump.
He defended neither the man nor his politics, but blasted the unfairness of the attacks. He made clear had Hillary Clinton been elected, and attacked by the right for similar charges he would have defended her with the same ferocity.
The civil liberties enjoyed by the left, he has argued, must be equally applied to the right. That includes presumption of innocence.
Throughout the first year of Trump's administration, Dershowitz defended the president against unfair and overblown allegations, and last year he published a book "The Case Against Impeaching Trump."
Dershowitz was also a vocal critic of Robert Mueller's appointment as special counsel from the start, as well as the investigation he led. Mueller's politically motivated statement at the probe's conclusion confirmed Dershowitz's fears.
"I cannot imagine a plausible reason why Mueller went beyond his report and gratuitously suggested that President Trump might be guilty, except to help Democrats in Congress and to encourage impeachment talk and action," he said. "Shame on Mueller for abusing his position of trust and for allowing himself to be used for such partisan advantage."
Dershowitz also denounced Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., and said she does not speak on behalf of Democrats and liberals when she encourages Americans to harass Trump supporters and administration officials in public settings.
In addition, Dershowitz was excoriated on the international stage after he published a letter in The Jerusalem Post defending Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in an ongoing investigation launched against him by his critics.
"To bring down a duly elected prime minister on the basis of an expansive and unprecedented application of a broad and expandable criminal statute endangers democracy," Dershowitz wrote.
In response, Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie went on the attack in a scathing editorial published by Haaretz, a far-left Israeli newspaper.
"If there is anything more pitiful than Benjamin Netanyahu's desperate attempt to hang on to his office and avoid criminal charges, it is Alan Dershowitz's desperate attempt to provide cover for the cynical, paranoid, ego-driven prime minister," he wrote.
Dershowitz has discovered being fair and honest has consequences.
His social life has changed significantly. He has been shunned as a pariah on Martha's Vineyard, a summer liberal playground where he once held court for his former admirers – all because he supports due process for everyone.
His motives have even been questioned by friends, colleagues, and former proteges.
Last year, CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, who studied under Dershowitz at Harvard Law, asked what had changed in his former mentor.
"How has this come about that, in every situation over the past year, you have been carrying water for Donald Trump?" Toobin asked. "This is not who you used to be, and you are doing this over and over again in situations that are just obviously rife with conflict of interest. And it's just, like, what's happened to you?"
Dershowitz defended his actions in a well-reasoned column last year that put everything in perspective and should have silenced his critics – but did not.
"I am not a Trump supporter, nor am I member of the Trump administration," he wrote for The Hill. "I have strongly and publicly opposed his immigration policies, ranging from the travel ban that was upheld by the Supreme Court to the zero-tolerance policy that led to the separation of parents and children at the border. I oppose other Republican policies as well. I voted for, and contributed handsomely, to Hillary Clinton.
"But I have defended Trump's civil liberties, along with those of all Americans, just as I would have defended Hillary Clinton's civil liberties had she been elected and subjected to efforts of impeachment or prosecution."
Instead of silencing his critics and ending the shunning and the questions, the campaign against Dershowitz apparently took on an even uglier form, stemming from his former role as defense counsel to multimillionaire and alleged pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
Virginia Giuffre, formerly Virginia Roberts, says she was one of Epstein's underage victims. She also alleged Dershowitz was an active participant in the billionaire's nefarious activities.
But documents unsealed by a federal judge this month indicate that in 2011 Giuffre asked a freelance journalist, Sharon Churcher, to recount the names of people she had mentioned as her abusers.
Churcher responded there is "no proof" of wrongdoing on Dershowitz's part.
But Churcher also told Giuffre she should include Dershowitz's name in her book proposal anyway, adding "Good name for your pitch as he repped Claus von Bulow and a movie was made about that case . . . you probably met him when he was hanging out with [Epstein]."
Prominent Miami attorney and legal analyst David Oscar Markus tells Newsmax that revelation is "devastating to Giuffre's credibility" in terms of her accusations against Dershowitz.
Dershowitz vehemently denies the claims, telling Newsmax TV he will "fight back" to defend himself against the allegations.
"I am a victim of a serious crime," Dershowitz told "Newsmax Now" host John Bachman. "I am a victim of perjury and false accusations. And all victims of crime should speak out."
Welcome to the age of polarization politics, where it appears fundamental values of fair play take a back seat to political identity; where if you are not with us all the way, you are against us; where if you do not hate those that we hate, then you must be one of them.
Far from promoting good government through compromise and consensus-building, polarization is its antithesis.
Indeed some would say, it looks like the McCarthy era all over again.
Michael Dorstewitz is a retired lawyer and has been a frequent contributor to BizPac Review and Liberty Unyielding. He is also a former U.S. Merchant Marine officer and an enthusiastic Second Amendment supporter, who can often be found honing his skills at the range. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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