Are you a legal professional? Visit our professional site

The Legal Giants Battling Over the Epstein Case

one man, from the mouth down, grabbing the shirt collar of another man, also from the neck down
By Christopher Coble, Esq. on July 17, 2019 3:00 PM

If you hadn't heard of Alan Dershowitz before the Jeffrey Epstein sex trafficking scandal re-entered the news cycle, you might have to hand over your bar card. He was Harvard's youngest law professor at 28 in 1967, was part of O.J. Simpson's legal "Dream Team," and has been a font of legal analysis on cable news networks for years.

If David Boies slipped past your radar, we wouldn't be shocked, but still surprised. Boies runs one of the most prestigious firms in the country, represented Al Gore in Bush v. Gore, was part of the legal team that overturned California's ban on same-sex marriage, and has seemingly been a part of almost every major NFL and NBA litigation in the past decade.

And the pair shared at least one client: Harvey Weinstein. Boies repped Weinstein in employment contract negotiations in 2015, and in 2017 his firm, Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP, was accused of hiring a private intelligence company to surveil alleged victims of Weinstein's abuse and reporters covering the story. Dershowitz was reported to be advising Weinstein's legal team on discovery matters in 2018.

But the Epstein case has pitted these two legal giants against each other, a battle that includes bar complaints, claims of defamation, and efforts to disqualify each other from the litigation surrounding accusations of sexual assault.

Bar Fight

Virginia Roberts Giuffre claims she was one of Epstein's sex trafficking victims, and that she was forced to have sex with Dershowitz when she was a minor. Dershowitz, who defended Epstein on state and federal solicitation charges in 2008 and negotiated his now-invalid plea agreement, has denied the accusation. But the case has gone way beyond the classic "he said, she said."

As reported by the Miami Herald, which has been persistently on the Epstein case for years, Dershowitz has been attacking Boies and Giuffre's other attorneys directly, filing four bar complaints in three states in an effort to disqualify them from the case: "The complaints, filed between 2015 and 2017, include: one in New York against Boies; one in Washington, D.C., against one of Boies' partners, Sigrid McCawley; and two in Florida -- one against Boies and another against McCawley, who represents Giuffre."

Although all the complaints have been dismissed, they are reminiscent of Dershowitz's tactics in another Epstein-related lawsuit, when he accused lawyers representing several Epstein accusers of criminal extortion. Dershowitz threatened former federal judge Paul Cassell and law professor Brad Edwards with disbarment for their representation of Virginia Roberts, who claimed Epstein trafficked her to Dershowitz and Prince Andrew.

Punch Drunk

While Dershowitz is battling Boies and apparently his entire firm, he is also defending his relationship with Epstein and himself against additional claims of sexual impropriety. Flight logs of Epstein's private jet show Dershowitz flew on it at least four times, and while he admits he received a massage at Epstein's home, he asserted: "I kept my underwear on during the massage. I don't like massages particularly."

And Boies, separately, is trying to repair his legal rep after he and his firm's relationship with Theranos and founder Elizabeth Holmes was exposed by Wall Street Journal investigative reporter John Carreyrou last year.

Related Resources: