It seems reports of the death of litigation involving allegations linking retired Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz to an underage sex scandal have been greatly exaggerated. While the attorneys involved in a related defamation suit insisted a settlement ended the case last year, appellate court records paint a different picture — with a ruling Tuesday suggesting the post-settlement legal wrangling is far from over.
The defamation suit was filed against the professor by former federal judge Paul Cassell and Farmer Jaffe Weissing Edwards Fistos & Lehrman partner Bradley Edwards, attorneys for Virginia Giuffre, who claimed Dershowitz had sex with her while she was a minor. Giuffre claimed to be a victim in a sex ring by Dershowitz’s client, Palm Beach billionaire Jeffrey Epstein. But Dershowitz testified the allegations were part of an attempt to extort about $1 billion from another wealthy man ensnared in the scandal, retail magnate Les Wexner, whose portfolio includes Victoria’s Secret, Bath & Body Works, Pink and La Senza.
Giuffre’s case turned into a fight among lawyers. Two of her attorneys, Cassell and Edwards, sued Dershowitz in state court alleging he defamed them by claiming they knowingly made false claims against him in Giuffre’s lawsuit.
The parties reached a confidential settlement last summer, but their dispute continues.
Now Dershowitz is the one pointing fingers in a Dec. 16 motion before the Fourth District Court of Appeal. He claimed one of Giuffre’s attorneys, David Boies, made “gratuitous” and “unsupported statements” by characterizing an affidavit he filed in the defamation case as “false” and “misleading.”
Dershowitz claimed Boies, a principal with Boies Schiller & Flexner, violated Florida’s Rules of Appellate Procedure by alleging Dershowitz “intentionally and wrongfully” filed a false affidavit.
“The characterizations of the Dershowitz affidavit are not based on any record evidence,” Dershowitz’s attorney, Bruce Rogow, former co-dean of Nova Southeastern University Law Center in Fort Lauderdale, wrote in the motion to strike. “No record reference is offered because there is none. The characterizations are not facts. There were no factual determinations made below.”
But Boies’ attorney rebutted claims her client breached appellate rules.
“(Dershowitz) appears to suggest that references to the record in appellant’s briefs must be limited to factual findings by the trial court,” attorney Sigrid McCawley of Boies Schiller & Flexner wrote in response to the motion to strike. “This position is not supported by the Rules of Appellate Procedure or any other authority and should be rejected.”
The appellate court agreed. It issued an order Jan. 10 denying Dershowitz’s motion.