Jane Doe's Lawyers File Defamation Suit Against Dershowitz

I thought I was done with this topic for a few days but there's news: Lawyers for Jane Doe #3 (aka Virginia Roberts), Paul Cassell (pictured above right) and Bradley Edwards (not pictured) have sued Alan Dershowitz for defamation per se in state court in Broward County (Fort Lauderdale.) The complaint is here.

(Dershowitz' Motion to Intervene in the Florida federal case filed yesterday is here. His affidavit claiming Virginia Roberts is a "serial liar" and her lawyers conspired with her to make false accusations against him is here.)

Some quick thoughts on the new defamation suit: [More...]

My immediate reaction is that it's like half a ham sandwich minus the mustard. It contains no information as to why Alan Dershowitz' allegations about the lawyers are false. It provides no support for their or their client's accusations of criminal conduct by Dershowitz and no details of anything they did to verify her information. They offer no reason for why they believe their client is telling the truth about Dershowitz.

Instead, it sidesteps the issue and offers an explanation for why they made the allegations in the first place (to enhance the chances the federal court would grant their motion to add Jane Doe #3 (Roberts) and Jane Doe #4 to the existing victims' rights case involving their other clients, Jane Does #1 and #2.) That's not the same thing.

Second, I think they just played right into Dershowitz' hands by giving him a judicial forum to litigate the truth or falsity of the lawyers' and their client Roberts' allegations. The likelihood that the federal judge in the victims' rights suit would grant Dershowitz' motion to intervene was iffy, given the judge's denial of a previous motion to intervene by another lawyer claiming Cassell and Edwards had made false statements about him, despite Dershowitz' attempt to distinguish the two motions. (See my earlier posts on this.) I'm looking forward to seeing Dershowitz' counterclaim. Also, now he gets to conduct discovery and take depositions. He's no longer a fringe player but a party, with more legal tools at his disposal.

Another thought: The Wall St. Journal (link above) contains this quote:

Martin Weinberg, a lawyer for Mr. Epstein, who isn’t a party to the lawsuit, told Law Blog in an earlier statement that the allegations against Mr. Dershowitz “are old, and discredited, and appear designed to do nothing more than generate as much tabloid publicity as possible.”

I don't know Paul Cassell or Bradley Edwards, and I only know Alan Dershowitz from TV, but I've known Marty Weinberg for more than 30 years. As far as I'm concerned, if he said it, you can take it to the bank. He's one of the most highly skilled and ethical criminal defense lawyers in the country. And I don't know a single defense lawyer who would disagree with my assessment. Does that mean Cassell and Edwards are lying? Of course not. It just makes me believe Dershowitz more.

Now that Cassell and Edwards have filed this suit, it's time for them to come up with more than a list of their legal accomplishments and reputation as lawyers and activists and talk turkey. What did they do to verify their client's allegations before putting them in a court pleading and why do they believe her?

Two minor points: Their complaint, while going on and on about their own accomplishments as activists and lawyers contains another slight to Dershowitz by referring to him only as a "practicing lawyer" and making no mention of his 50 years as a professor at Harvard Law School, including Professor Emeritus. Here's how it refers to him:

Defendant, ALAN M. DERSHOWITZ, is an attorney whose involvement in multiple high-profile legal matters has enabled him to command easy access to mass media news sources.

Have they explained how their filing, on a dead news day (the day before New Year's Eve) in an obscure federal civil case that as far as I can tell, no major publication in this country outside of the Palm Beach Daily News regularly reports updates on found its way to the Miami Herald, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and world media by Jan. 3? It's hardly a time reporters sit around scrolling through PACER. It seems to me someone tipped the media.

Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. Roberts' lawyers have used the media to advance their agenda in Jeffrey Epstein related cases for years. Is their real complaint that Dershowitz has the bigger microphone? Reducing him to a lawyer in high profile cases with ready access to the media strikes a false chord with me. That's just my opinion.

I also don't like the grammatical structure of this paragraph:

Despite having previously been the victim of character assassination by the Defendant, ALAN M. DERSHOWITZ'S associate and client, Jeffrey Epstein, BRADLEY J. EDWARDS enjoys a highly favorable national reputation particularly related to his work in defending the rights of child victims of sexual abuse.

Someone who reads it without studying the apostrophes and commas would think it's claiming Dershowitz had previously engaged in character assassination against lawyer Edwards. It should read:

Despite having previously been the victim of character assassination by Jeffrey Epstein, Defendant ALAN M. DERSHOWITZ'S associate and client, BRADLEY J. EDWARDS enjoys a highly favorable national reputation particularly related to his work in defending the rights of child victims of sexual abuse.

In short, the lawyers' defamation complaint against Dershowitz contains no support for the veracity of their earlier allegations that Dershowitz engaged in illegal conduct with Virginia Roberts, or their good faith in making them. They essentially say, "Trust us, we're great and admired lawyers, Dershowitz is lying." It's not enough.

My prior (very long) posts on this matter:

< Ex-Gov. McDonnell Sentenced to 2 Years, Gov't. Sought 10-12 | Who's Behind The Charlie Hebdo Attacks? >
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  • Display: Sort:
    I wish there was a 'like' or a '5' button (5.00 / 3) (#4)
    by ZtoA on Wed Jan 07, 2015 at 10:41:36 PM EST
    to hit for a post like this! Thanks! Most informative.

    I agree (none / 0) (#1)
    by toggle on Wed Jan 07, 2015 at 11:03:11 AM EST
    It is bizarre that they'd file this suit and give Dershowitz standing to litigate the underlying issues further. The only thing I can think of is the old axiom that there's no such thing as bad publicity.

    Perhaps litigating this out further (none / 0) (#2)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jan 07, 2015 at 11:25:23 AM EST
    Is exactly what they desire

    "A Target Rich Environment" (none / 0) (#3)
    by Mr Natural on Wed Jan 07, 2015 at 12:17:31 PM EST
    "A review of the CNN interview shows a target rich environment for a defamation action against Dershowitz. Indeed, I may be playing this interview in this year's torts class on both attorney privilege and per se defamation."

    I give up. What is the red thing (none / 0) (#5)
    by Mr Natural on Thu Jan 08, 2015 at 05:53:37 AM EST
    in the middle of the photograph?

    Used here I'd say... (none / 0) (#6)
    by gbrbsb on Thu Jan 08, 2015 at 09:20:42 AM EST
    ... a pair of sparring gloves or otherwise known as boxing gloves. But see what you mean because I had to look carefully after reading your post.

    boxing gloves (none / 0) (#7)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Jan 09, 2015 at 02:07:02 AM EST