Topline: A sprawling, nearly-14,000 word New Yorker profile of renowned lawyer Alan Dershowitz’s relationship and representation of registered sex offender Jeffrey Epstein contained revelations about the Harvard law professor’s stance on the age of consent, his aggressive style both in the classroom and courtroom and a defamation case brought by one of Epstein’s alleged victims:
- His first wife killed herself a decade after they separated. Dershowitz met Sue Berlach in 1959 and they had two children. After 14 years of marriage, they went through what The New Yorker called “acrimonious” divorce proceedings, and he obtained custody of the children. Berlach claimed through her attorney that Dershowitz abused her, and that she required medical treatment and psychotherapy as a result. In 1983, Berlach walked to the center of the Brooklyn Bridge and jumped. The year before, Dershowitz married Carolyn Cohen, then 33; he was 45.
- Some female students claim he was obsessed with false rape accusations. Dershowitz is particularly interested in—and incensed by—the idea of women falsely accusing men of rape, and reportedly brought it up often while teaching. One student who took a class with Dershowitz in 1991 recalled begging him to stop bringing up the subject, stating that other women in the class had been raped.
- He once advocated for lowering the age of consent to 15. He wrote a 1997 op-ed for the Los Angeles Times advocating for the lowering of the age of consent to 14 or 15. He tweeted Monday re-affirming his “constitutional” support for that argument, which sparked a big reaction.
- Dershowitz’s alibi for Epstein-related allegations comes under fire. Virginia Giuffre alleges she had sex with Dershowitz multiple times between 2000 and 2002, which Dershowitz categorically denies. The proof he gave Bruck—a series of travel records—showed that “every day had been accounted for, and in most cases there was documentation.” Some of those days, however, were only noted with handwritten entries, like “New York.” As Bruck noted, Dershowitz lived in New York from September 2000 to June 2001, when Giuffre frequented Epstein’s Manhattan mansion.
- He says Epstein is the only person he regrets representing. Although he’s represented nearly 250 cases in his career, Dershowitz said on the record he definitely regrets taking on Epstein’s Florida case in 2005. According to The New Yorker, Dershowitz said he was “misled about the severity of the allegations.” Dershowitz said in March he’d always take Epstein’s call, but as of July, he told NPR he has “no relationship with him.”
Lisette Voytko, Forbes Staff