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August 25, 2020 5:33 am

The Presumption of Innocence and Alan Dershowitz

avatar by Isi Leibler

Opinion

Harvard University law professor Alan Dershowitz. Photo: REUTERS/Andrew Innerarity.

On Friday August 14, The Jerusalem Post Frontlines section featured a massive two-page article by David Brinn about allegations leveled against Alan Dershowitz. As I read it my thoughts reverted to the ordeal endured by Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh when attempts were made by the #Me Too movement to smear him over alleged sexual harassment without a scintilla of supporting proof.

Unfortunately, there are of course sexual predators who should have been dealt with long ago, and for that reason initially I considered the #Me Too movement a highly overdue effort to stamp out these abominations. But the Kavanaugh episode demonstrated that unless the rule of law is accompanied by a presumption of innocence, the solution to misogyny propagated by the #Me Too movement, if left unchecked, will result in innocent lives being shamelessly defamed and ruined.

Unfortunately, the media has always been selective in who they investigate. Alan Dershowitz is one of the most competent lawyers in the United States and renowned as a liberal and civil libertarian. For many years, he was a prominent Democrat, who, until recently, was a darling of the media.

He is one of the  most effective defenders  of Israel — promoting the case for Israel in books, articles and innumerable addresses to frequently hostile campus audiences and has not been afraid in recent years to castigate the antisemitism of the radical progressive elements of the Democratic Party.

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He is regarded as amongst the best criminal lawyers in the world and has successfully defended some of the alleged worst and most disgusting suspects. He takes pride in providing the best defense possible to all, which he considers a hallmark of democracy. Having successfully defended the now deceased convicted sexual pervert Jeffrey Epstein in his first trial, Dershowitz is now undergoing a Kavanaugh-type witch hunt — and without any evidence, is being accused of participating in the Epstein sex crimes.

The accusations against Dershowitz are so obviously suspect that he deserves the presumption of innocence. If the media is to report on the allegations, they should at the very least be investigating the veracity of the claims of his accusers, rather than shoddily implying that “where there’s smoke there’s fire.”

As Dershowitz has pointed out, Virginia Giuffre, who raised the allegations against him, has a long history of fabricating stories about prominent people including Al and Tipper Gore, Bill Clinton, and Leslie Wexner. Her own lawyer has even admitted that Giuffre falsely accused Wexner and other prominent individuals. Another of her lawyers has said that she was “wrong… simply wrong” in accusing Dershowitz because his travel records conclusively prove that he could not have been in the places where she claimed to have met with him. Her own emails and book manuscript even admit that she never met Dershowitz. She tried to suppress these documents because they prove the falsity of her claims, but eventually they came to light. Yet the media has not focused on this evidence.

Another woman who falsely accused Dershowitz of having sex with her when she was a 22-year-old had sent the New York Post a series of emails in the run-up to the 2016 election in which she claimed to have sex tapes of Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, and Richard Branson. She also claimed that Hillary Clinton has arranged for the CIA to kill her and she was now working with the KGB. Ultimately, she admitted that she had invented the whole story. A third one who claimed to have seen Dershowitz in Epstein’s presence with young women, has now been exposed as a virulent antisemite who has accused all Jews of being pedophiles and racists under the domination of the Rothschild family. Not coincidentally, all three of these false accusers have the same lawyer, with a long history of ethical violations. Dershowitz is suing the lawyer as well as his accusers.

Dershowitz is not entitled to any special treatment by the media because of his history of good deeds. But if anyone deserves the presumption of innocence in the Jewish media — indeed in any media — it is Alan Dershowitz, who is well known for telling the truth about Israel and matters of law and civil liberties.

The tragedy is that these lawsuits, necessitated by false accusations, have diverted Dershowitz from his major task of defending Israel and human rights.  As a result, he is persona non grata and no longer invited to speak in defense of Israel on college campuses and other major platforms.

All of us who believe that Dershowitz is being denied natural justice and smeared by word of mouth, in the absence of any genuine evidence against him, should speak up and show him the support that his lifetime of good works has earned him. That applies, in particular, to Israel supporters for his courageous defense of the Jewish state.

Isi Leibler is a veteran international Jewish leader with a distinguished record of contributions to the Jewish world and the cause of human rights. His website can be viewed at www.wordfromjerusalem.com. He may be contacted at [email protected].

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