MANHATTAN (CN) – Attorneys for Alan Dershowitz told a federal judge Tuesday that a telephone recording of Boies Schiller partner David Boies discredits defamation claims against the former Harvard professor brought by Virginia Giuffre, one of at least 20 women who say Jeffrey Epstein trafficked them to a who’s who of the international elite.
Boies Schiller Flexner is the firm representing Giuffre in an April lawsuit that says Dershowitz lied by vehemently insisting she was never forced to have sex with him. The allegations have muddied Dershowitz’s former reputation as a celebrated legal scholar. About a decade after he purportedly met Epstein through Lady Rothschild, the former Lynn Forester, Dershowitz was on the 2008 defense team that helped Epstein secure a sweetheart plea deal where he served time in a Florida state prison for claims that he repeatedly solicited sex from minors.
Today U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska presided over a 90-minute pretrial hearing on the Giuffre case. Should her suit advance, Dershowitz’s lawyers said attorney Boies will be called to testify about a phone call where Boies allegedly told Dershowitz of Giuffre that “she’s wrong, simply wrong.”
Aidala Bertuna & Kamins attorney Imran Ansari assured Judge Preska: “It’s a legally admissible recording.”
“Professor Dershowitz was not wearing his attorney hat when it was recorded,” Ansari quickly added after a brusque huddle at the defense table with Dershowitz, alongside co-counsel Arthur Aidala and Howard Cooper from Todd & Weld.
Giufrre’s attorney Joshua Schiller, from Boies Schiller Flexner, said that the recording was made without Boies’ knowledge and “certainly wasn’t consented to.”
Judge Preska ordered Dershowitz’s attorneys to submit a transcript of the recording under seal.
Dershowitz’s defense counsel also seeks to have Boies Schiller disqualified from representing Giuffre before the case goes to trial, saying the firm and its attorneys are “are essential fact witnesses” in the case.
The defense team noted as well that are seeking discovery related to claims that Giuffre conspired with Boies Schiller to extort Leslie Wexner, the billionaire Victoria’s Secret tycoon who was one of Epstein’s primary financial-management clients.
“It just doesn’t pass the smell test,” Ansari said several times during the hearing.
Also invoking the statute of limitations, Dershowitz’s attorney Howard Cooper said the Dershowtiz statements from 2018 and 2019 that have been making the rounds on Twitter are just delayed circulation of “virtually the same statements” he made in 2015.
“You aren’t reaching anybody new,” Cooper said.
But Judge Preska pushed back on this logic. “Once you’re on the internet, you’re immune,” she asked. “Even though you keep blasting it out, you’re OK?”
Another attorney for Giuffre, Sigrid McCawley, insisted that Dershowitz retriggered the statute of limitations for defamation each time he published his defamatory claims for a new audience.
“Twitter is a brand new audience,” McCawley said.
Giuffre says she was underage when Epstein trafficked her to Dershowitz. Outside court after today’s hearing, Dershowitz said he welcomes taking the case to trial.
“I predict that if this case goes to trial, perjury will be committed in this courtroom, because I will swear unequivocally that I never met this woman, and if she says that we ever met or ever had sex, she will be committing perjury, which is why I am inviting the FBI to attend the trial and to listen to the testimony and decide who is committing perjury. It isn’t me,” said Dershowitz.
Just across from the courthouse is the Metropolitan Correctional Center where Epstein hanged himself while in federal custody on Aug. 10.
Giuffre, who recounted her abuse by Epstein a month ago in the Southern District of New York, did not attend the Tuesday hearing.
Judge Preska has not yet set a trial date.