The Devil's Advocate
July 30, 2019 8:51 AM   Subscribe

Throughout his career, Alan Dershowitz has been a major and controversial figure in American jurisprudence, having served as counsel to a number of notable figures such as Claus von Bülow, OJ Simpson, and recently Jeffrey Epstein, many of whom were charged with sexual crimes - a topic that has been an interest of his. A new longform article from The New Yorker goes over Dershowitz's history with regard to the litigation of sexual crimes, his longstanding relationship with Epstein, and the allegations against Dershowitz by Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who is suing Dershowitz for defamation. (SLNew Yorker)

When news of this piece and its impending release came out, Dershowitz responded with a Newsmax op-ed decrying it as a hit piece. After its release, one point in the article had grabbed attention on social media - a 1997 op-ed arguing for the lowering of the age of consent, fueled by Dershowitz tweeting that he still holds the position.
posted by NoxAeternum (93 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
 
In a case of impeccable political timing, Florida's Garbage Congressman For D-2, the Honorable Moscow Matt Gaetz just yesterday used a quote from Dershowitz to defend the hiring of a Holocaust denier
posted by Cookiebastard at 9:19 AM on July 30, 2019 [13 favorites]


Two things stuck out at me:

First, his former law students’ description of his constant references to rape and sex in class. It was bad enough that law students of all genders noted it as odd back in the early 1980s. Was he trying to provoke his students? Was it mention-itis, that the things on his mind kept coming out his mouth?

Second, at least in his own telling, his choice to represent Epstein was the first time he’d ever represented someone close to him. It sounds from this piece like he has plenty of high-profile friends, and we know he’s had plenty of high-profile clients, but if that was the first time he’s taken one of the former as one of the latter, why? The case was not unusual or unique, it was not going to break new ground in the law, and unlike many of Dershowitz’s other cases, it would not be to his client’s benefit to draw attention to the issue in the media. So was it money? It sounds like Epstein was already helping him financially. Given all of that it seems possible that Dershowitz took the case to fight for himself and keep a close eye on whether he would be implicated.

I also find myself wondering why Boies took Giuffre’s case. He is not a bleeding heart lawyer or a patron of hopeless causes. He picks cases that are challenging but winnable and that will enhance his stature as a lawyer and as a public figure. In a way, he has a legal strategy similar to Warren Buffett’s investment strategy: he is looking for challenges that other lawyers have incorrectly evaluated, the Prop 8 case being the consummate example. So much about the Giuffre case is still buried under the confidentiality orders—what did Boies see there?
posted by sallybrown at 9:22 AM on July 30, 2019 [20 favorites]


(apologies, Moscow Matt is the garbage congressman from D-1.)
posted by Cookiebastard at 9:32 AM on July 30, 2019




Brown also made an excellent point as to why we haven't seen a piece like this about Dershowitz before:
Because he is a master of threatening to sue everyone, and making their lives a living hell — including the media. Nobody has written about this for a reason.
This piece getting published marks a turning point.
posted by NoxAeternum at 9:48 AM on July 30, 2019 [35 favorites]


revolting.

Some students thought that he strained logic in order to defend men. “In Dershowitz’s view, men who are accused of rape, there has got to be a defense,” one female student from the 1991 class recalled. “He had convoluted ways of thinking about how men could misinterpret lack of consent. And it wasn’t relegated to when we were speaking about a rape case. Wherever we were on the syllabus, he would bring it up.”
posted by sio42 at 9:59 AM on July 30, 2019 [7 favorites]


It took me until the 2010s to learn about this asshole’s background and history, but I personally hated him since the moment I first saw his name: his post 9-11 pro-torture op-ed in American Legion magazine. After all law enforcement will do it anyway, and would have a much easier time if they could get legal torture warrants. (Yeah I blame the magazine for running it too).
posted by Hypatia at 10:02 AM on July 30, 2019 [20 favorites]


He argued, “It is precisely because rape is so serious a crime that falsely accusing someone of rape should be regarded as an extremely serious crime as well. Imagine yourself or a ‘loved one’ being falsely accused of raping a woman!”

Yeah dude. Imagine thinking that getting accused is worse than getting raped.

Examples of what a creep he is just continue.
posted by bile and syntax at 10:03 AM on July 30, 2019 [12 favorites]


Many years ago, as a TA, I assigned an essay by Dershowitz to my freshman composition students (Shouting "Fire!").

It was in the required reader; it was brief, pretty interesting, and an example of expert-level knowledge adapted to a general audience; and I had no idea who he was or would become. Also, it has joined the long list of "assignments I've given that, in retrospect, make me queasy."
posted by Caxton1476 at 10:07 AM on July 30, 2019 [6 favorites]


Because he is a master of threatening to sue everyone, and making their lives a living hell — including the media. Nobody has written about this for a reason.

Ironic, given this:

Dershowitz maintained that a fundamental liberty was at stake. “If there is anything more obnoxious to a civil libertarian than the punishment of speech after it has taken place, it is the issuance of a prior injunction to prevent speech in the first place,” he wrote.
posted by entropone at 10:17 AM on July 30, 2019 [4 favorites]


anyone able to explain to me why the NYer article thinks that happened in 1983
I would guess that Brown is mistaken here and the NYer is right, given the the fact-checking that they do. Only references to Sue Barlach I found in a quick search were a NY Magazine story that said she died in 1984, and some conspiracy-ish message boards claiming she killed herself in 1975 or 76.
posted by neroli at 10:18 AM on July 30, 2019 [3 favorites]


It's not ironic at all, entropone - it's how Dershowitz works. Say something in public, but do something very different in the relative privacy of court proceedings. We're seeing it in his response to Giuffre's defamation lawsuit - publicly, he talks about "wanting" it, but in the courts he's been trying to strangle it in the crib.
posted by NoxAeternum at 10:25 AM on July 30, 2019 [12 favorites]


BRB I need a shower.
posted by spitbull at 10:35 AM on July 30, 2019


NoxAeternum - yeah, I guess I meant "ironic" with vigorous scarequotes and an eyeroll. I don't think anyone should take his bullshit at any kind of face value.
posted by entropone at 10:40 AM on July 30, 2019 [4 favorites]


..... revolting^n+1

In a 1985 article, in the Gainesville Sun, Dershowitz proposed that a john “who occasionally seeks to taste the forbidden fruit of sex for hire” should not be arrested. The nonprofit executive recalled his discussing the idea in class: “He said, ‘Prostitutes know what they’re doing—they should be prosecuted. But you shouldn’t ruin the john’s life over that.’ If I had raised my hand to challenge that, I would have been singling myself out as—God forbid—a feminist.”
posted by sio42 at 10:45 AM on July 30, 2019 [30 favorites]


This article keeps getting worse. I would be quoting every other line as revolting if I continued. I am aghast at what I did not know and how public it’s all been. Did I just tune it out?!
posted by sio42 at 10:50 AM on July 30, 2019 [1 favorite]


This article keeps getting worse. I would be quoting every other line as revolting if I continued. I am aghast at what I did not know and how public it’s all been. Did I just tune it out?!

Indeed. And then Harvey Weinstein makes an appearance, as does Theranos. Ridiculous how enmeshed these scandals of awful things that rich people do are.
posted by entropone at 10:53 AM on July 30, 2019 [16 favorites]


First, his former law students’ description of his constant references to rape and sex in class. It was bad enough that law students of all genders noted it as odd back in the early 1980s. Was he trying to provoke his students? Was it mention-itis, that the things on his mind kept coming out his mouth?

Law professor Jennifer Taub posted one of his rape hypotheticals from when she was a student under him. She makes an interesting observation at the end:
Quite common for criminal law courses to focus on rape as well as violent crime in general. Very rare though to discuss corporate and white collar criminality.
posted by NoxAeternum at 10:53 AM on July 30, 2019 [43 favorites]


[Boies] picks cases that are challenging but winnable and that will enhance his stature as a lawyer and as a public figure.

I would recommend you read the NYer article on his conduct in the Weinstein case (as well as considering how Weinstein fits into that model, which I think is one promoted incorrectly by him). In the last five years or so, he has thrown his reputation in the trash. I think, as so often with lawyers, it's a result of the character rot that sets in when you spend too much time adjacent to truly rich and powerful people without being one yourself. Boies is better off than even your average top Biglaw attorney, but he's still a flea on the economic ankle of someone like, oh, Ken Griffin.

Because I myself am easily seduced by an intellectual problem, it took me waaaaay too long to realize that the apparently abstract problems or hypotheticals that most attract your attention, that you feel compelled to revisit, that you're constantly writing or talking about, are actually some form of reflection on your character and personality. (Especially once you are a little older and many "abstract" issues become real to you.) Not necessarily in a direct or literal way, but...if you feel the need to spend a lot of time thinking about how grown men should be able to sleep with fifteen-year-old girls without consequence, it says something.

(My male crim law prof wrote a book on sexual assault and it was a significant part of the curriculum. If I could review the tapes now, I'm sure I'd find some things he said that I would now think shouldn't have been, even in the course of teaching (I doubt he seriously considered the implications for his pedagogy of having a classroom in which around one of four of the women students had been the victim of some form of the crime). Also I doubt I would agree with a number of his policy positions now. But he never made me feel uncomfortable or creeped out.)
posted by praemunire at 11:10 AM on July 30, 2019 [11 favorites]


if you feel the need to spend a lot of time thinking about how grown men should be able to sleep with fifteen-year-old girls without consequence, it says something.

Perhaps especially in light of his views that prostitutes should be prosecuted because they "know what they're doing" but johns shouldn't because they're somehow not at fault.

Ugh, this just gets creepier. I hope Guiffre wins her suit against him.
posted by bile and syntax at 11:21 AM on July 30, 2019 [27 favorites]


The evidence is not yet sufficiently public for me to be comfortable saying what actions he may or may not have taken--but I'm completely put off by the way his mind works, which at the very least suggests a profound dehumanization of women.
posted by praemunire at 11:35 AM on July 30, 2019 [8 favorites]


I was telling my kiddo today about how people like this dude need to be "launched into the sun." He started in on how that's not logical or technically possible and I had to interrupt him thusly: "It is not a thing that will happen, or probably even should, but it is a poetic expression of what these dudes deserve and it brings me joy to contemplate it."

He didn't really get it, but then he's not a middle-aged lady what has been surrounded by this shit all her life and is DONE.

Anyway, Dershowitz, Epstein, Trump and their buddies: launch them all into the sun. Thank you.
posted by emjaybee at 11:36 AM on July 30, 2019 [89 favorites]


I am aghast at what I did not know and how public it’s all been. Did I just tune it out?!

It's been both public and not, in large part thanks to Dershowitz wielding soft power to stop any real discussion of his behavior. In a real way, the publication of this piece marks a turning point for Dershowitz's ability to manipulate public opinion - several years back (as documented in his deposition) he was able to kill an ABC interview with Giuffre, just by making a call. I honestly think that breaking Dershowitz's reputation is necessary, so we can have an honest discussion of these ideas he championed.
posted by NoxAeternum at 11:37 AM on July 30, 2019 [11 favorites]


I just finished this. The number of times Dershowitz is quoted as saying he has evidence of such and such a fact and then the reporter shows he is wrong by what seems to be readily available information... he seems unhinged.

If this does get to trial, he is gonna get hauled out of the courtroom and held in contempt before the first day ends. He seems completely unable to control himself when told the sky is blue.
posted by sio42 at 11:42 AM on July 30, 2019 [4 favorites]


I was telling my kiddo today about how people like this dude need to be "launched into the sun." He started in on how that's not logical or technically possible

Not with that attitude.
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:47 AM on July 30, 2019 [73 favorites]


Sure. I mean freeze-drying first cuts your launch mass by 2/3rds right there.
posted by bonehead at 11:57 AM on July 30, 2019 [34 favorites]


In a real way, the publication of this piece marks a turning point for Dershowitz's ability to manipulate public opinion - several years back (as documented in his deposition) he was able to kill an ABC interview with Giuffre, just by making a call.

One of the many benefits of social media and/or the internet is that there are no longer gatekeepers like this. Dershowitz is a horrific person and I hope that he ends up with all of the ignominy he deserves.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 11:57 AM on July 30, 2019 [13 favorites]


I worked in ticketing for classical music concerts in the early 2000s. One of the early shows I worked sold out within minutes, and many of our subscribers ended up in the balconies. We only had spares for the wheelchair/disability section, in case someone with a wheelchair or disability ended up in a seat that would not support their disability.

One man loudly complained about his seats and demanded a refund or an exchange, and when I told him I could only exchange his tickets if he or someone in his party was in a wheelchair or on crutches, he threw his business card at me and said "YOU WILL BE HEARING FROM ME." He made me cry in public, and Yo-Yo Ma came over to me and asked me if I was okay. At a different concert that weekend, someone walked up to one of my colleagues and said we were "lucky" that all Dershowitz did was embarrass me in public.

Since then, every time I've heard about Dershowitz, my response has been "story checks out". After he publicly humiliated me for something that was far outside of my control, I've appreciated watching him get the short end of the stick.
posted by pxe2000 at 12:02 PM on July 30, 2019 [129 favorites]


I mean I’m glad this slug is finally getting something resembling comeuppance but he’s very old and clearly seen defined an acceptable loss/fall guy who somehow still got a major profile of himself being mad that no one on martha’s vineyard likes him anymore written up a while back.

I mean the man had a public profile o representing men who killed their wives AND he’s not a dodgy first wife’s death and can’t stop himself from writing op-Ed’s about how it’s actuslly legal and cool to rape children. All of this was in the open! We keep waiting for the fever to break and Justice to be served but if they ever really thought actual consequences mattered they wouldn’t have been this brazenly criminal for the last forty fucking years.

Ridiculous how enmeshed these scandals of awful things that rich people do are.

Bulldoze Harvard for the health of the nation.
posted by The Whelk at 12:03 PM on July 30, 2019 [30 favorites]


Launched into the sun but ended up stuck in a tight orbit around it feels like an acceptable outcome to me. Warning to future generations and such.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 12:04 PM on July 30, 2019 [8 favorites]


The number of times Dershowitz is quoted as saying he has evidence of such and such a fact and then the reporter shows he is wrong by what seems to be readily available information... he seems unhinged.

Nope, he's just a master gaslighter who routinely uses his reputation as a cudgel, to get people to take his word as true. He's been one of the biggest supporters of the idea that a "vigorous defense" means do everything that isn't expressly legal.

But at the same time, things are shifting in regards to that. People are pointing out that you should not have to sell your soul to be a defense attorney,and the profession should not be defending unethical defenses.
posted by NoxAeternum at 12:21 PM on July 30, 2019 [8 favorites]


What a douche
posted by growabrain at 12:34 PM on July 30, 2019 [2 favorites]


Man, he sounds more terrible the more I read. What a worm of a person.
posted by Dip Flash at 12:51 PM on July 30, 2019 [1 favorite]


appreciate how bruck begins with dersh's commitment to lying --
“The rule of law requires that we distinguish between sins and crimes,” he said. “There’s no federal crime that says that it’s illegal to lie to the media.”
-- and visits his corollary to "...bang on the table" --
“If you don’t have the law or legal facts on your side, argue your case in the court of public opinion.”
-- before digging too far into his service to epstein and other monsters, the allegations against him, and providing him the opportunity to respond: this lawyer and accused rapist advocates lying to the media, and suggests doing it when you don't have the law or facts on your side; let's see what he has to say now. really artful.
posted by 20 year lurk at 1:04 PM on July 30, 2019 [15 favorites]


He's really not going to be invited to all the good parties at Martha's Vineyard at this rate.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 1:31 PM on July 30, 2019 [10 favorites]


He started in on how that's not logical or technically possible

“I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of launching a misogynist into the sun, and leaving him there.”
posted by Horace Rumpole at 1:40 PM on July 30, 2019 [54 favorites]


I am aghast at what I did not know and how public it’s all been. Did I just tune it out?!

I don't think we should beat ourselves up too bad about this. I mean, yeah, how did we collectively let this happen in our modern society for so long, and yeah, we should learn from that. But at the same time, we should offer ourselves a soil of compassion to grow new seeds from. So that we can not let it happen again, at least not like this.

People like Dersh and Epstein and Trump have been powerful, rich, connected white men our entire lives, as were their fathers before them, as were...ad nauseum. If it took until our lifetime, and the internet, and the exposure of the truth in a million ways that were until just ~2 decades ago so much INFINITELY more easy to cover up and get away with. What a fucking time to be alive!

I still feel like we're only at the beginning of a very long and very hard fight to make sure monsters like these men know that their day of reckoning has come. Hell, I probably won't see as much of it as I would like in the 2nd half of my short life. But even if I can see a little of it, that's a ray of hope. That's something.

And I'm a white man. I in no way will ever be able to imagine what the oppression is like that women have had to live with, their whole lives, knowing there are men pulling this CHILD rapist shit and then getting away with covering it up, literally using our own justice system to do so. Fucking flaunting it because they know no one really cares enough to do anything.

People are starting to care, and perhaps for the first time it is becoming more SAFE for them to care. There are cracks in the foundation. While I love the poetry of launching them into the sun, we have literal institutions and houses here on earth that need to burn.
posted by allkindsoftime at 2:06 PM on July 30, 2019 [16 favorites]


For decades, he has cultivated a reputation as a defender of principle.

This scumbag seems to have set the tone for "Classical Liberals" on Twitter, which is sure as hell not a compliment. How to people come to the conclusion that it's not only worthwhile to cause real harm in the defense narrowly-defined "principles", but to do it specifically when the defense of those principles causes harm?

Nevermind, I know the answer to that.

The entire premise is bullshit, because Dershowitz has never hesitated to smear people when his case doesn't hold water. He's never hesitated to buy the perpetrator's testimony concerning the motivations of the victim over the victim's own testimony, so long as the perpetrator is a man. He has never hesitated to use any situation, no matter how egregious, to advance his public brand. Etc.

The obsession with principle has always been a lie that he wears like an invincibility cloak.
posted by klanawa at 2:28 PM on July 30, 2019 [8 favorites]


After he publicly humiliated me

I'm sorry that happened to you. It sounds like he publicly humiliated himself, really. What a dumbass. Smart enough to be a fancypants lawyer, but not smart enough to act like a fucking adult instead of a spoiled manchild.

While we work out how to launch him into the sun, I am in favor of shoving him into a pile of garbage and letting a seagull shit on his head.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 2:38 PM on July 30, 2019 [11 favorites]


this turd has been able to hide too long behind the pretense of the defense bar, that everyone, no matter how vile the crimes they are accused of, deserves a defense. which is a good tenet as far as it goes, but when your whole focus appears to be on defending those who are vile AND rich and powerful, you hardly get to claim any moral authority as a defense lawyer. (and that's quite apart from any of the misdeeds he personally committed in his private life.)
posted by wibari at 4:04 PM on July 30, 2019 [4 favorites]


this turd has been able to hide too long behind the pretense of the defense bar, that everyone, no matter how vile the crimes they are accused of, deserves a defense.

That's not the problem with the defense bar, as they are absolutely right. Everyone deserves a defense, if only to hold the prosecution accountable and to make sure that the law is followed. That is the core role of the defense attorney, and it is vital.

No, the problem is that there are times where you are defending someone - your Brock Turners, your Harvey Weinsteins, your Jeffery Epsteins - where that is, from an ethical standpoint, the only thing you really can do - but that's not what they are paying you for. No, they're paying you to make sure they're never held accountable for their misdeeds, and they expect you to deliver, ethics be damned. And so, that means that you sell your soul, and you do what it takes to make sure your client walks free, no matter how much of a mockery of the legal system it makes, no matter who you have to tear to shreds by running their most intimate details through the mud. Hell, you eventually even almost convince yourself that you're the one in the right - that your actions are defending principles greater than yourself. And if - like Dershowitz - you see yourself as a handmaiden to power and the benefits of that, it becomes something very easy to justify, at least to yourself.

But there's a reason I said "almost". Because the truth is that in the end, you do know that what you are doing is unethical, that your paeans to "principle" are just excuses you tell yourself at night so you can sleep. And the result is that when someone points out the truth - it hurts. It hurts because it reminds you of that Faustian bargain you made. It hurts because you can see the price your deal has cost, in lives ruined, in misdeeds allowed. This is the sin of the defense bar - that instead of holding Dershowitz accountable, they make him into an icon. And now that the facade is cracking, that people are realizing how hollow principles used to defend harm truly are - the defense bar and the legal community are facing a moral reckoning that they don't know how to deal with.
posted by NoxAeternum at 5:26 PM on July 30, 2019 [14 favorites]


his post 9-11 pro-torture op-ed in American Legion magazine

iirc, I saw him advocating torture on "60 Minutes"; the other guest was an eyepatch-wearing French torturer from the Algeria days. He came off like he was dying to hook someone's balls up to a field telephone again. I was fairly gobsmacked: this is the company you want to keep?
posted by thelonius at 5:45 PM on July 30, 2019 [3 favorites]


This is the sin of the defense bar - that instead of holding Dershowitz accountable, they make him into an icon.

i totally agree. that's what i was trying to say-- of course everyone deserves a defense under the law, but one's moral responsibility as a person, versus one's duty as an attorney to provide clients their legal right to a defense, are two very different things. the moral dilemma you mention exists because, it turns out, there is no agreement on these sorts of moral questions (see e.g. trump, roy moore, etc...) in this country, among lawyers or anyone else. half the country seems eager to forgive all manner of evil so long as the perpetrator looks a certain way or is a member of a certain club.
posted by wibari at 5:47 PM on July 30, 2019 [3 favorites]


Alan Dershowitz’s first wife, Sue Barlach, has been erased. Try to find her obit, or anything about her. It’s like someone removed her from history.

She wouldn't eat her mushrooms.
posted by rhizome at 5:47 PM on July 30, 2019 [2 favorites]


I remember when Dershowitz was seen as an indomitable pillar of Conservative Moral Authority, like Giuliani, Bill Bennett, Oliver North and such. What happened?
posted by acb at 3:06 AM on July 31, 2019 [6 favorites]


I get that we all tend to vilify individuals but isn't Dershowitz just one of many, many symptoms of a big problem? Like if Trump did not get elected in 2016, would the world have followed such a different path than the one we find ourselves on?

I am thinking of the societies that create these individuals and the focus on how one person is a "slug" or "scumbag" seems especially vacuous.
posted by elkevelvet at 6:56 AM on July 31, 2019


I get that we all tend to vilify individuals but isn't Dershowitz just one of many, many symptoms of a big problem?

Yes and no. Yes, it's true that Dershowitz is fundamentally a symptom of larger problems with the defense bar and the legal community such as rampant endemic misogyny, paying lip service to justice and ethics while actually teaching lawyers that all that matters is winning, etc. But at the same time, he has been one of the biggest voices defending those very problems. Destroying his reputation won't make the underlying problems disappear - but it will remove his voice from the equation, making it easier to work on them.
posted by NoxAeternum at 7:04 AM on July 31, 2019 [15 favorites]


the focus on how one person is a "slug" or "scumbag" seems especially vacuous

He's literally out there doing his best to help powerful people escape punishment for their (alleged) misdeeds. He's one of the wheels that makes it possible. As a famous lawyer and law professor, his positions are influential in legal, government, and policy circles. There was an Oscar-winning (*) movie of which he was the hero. But thank you for being Yet Another Cooler Wiser Head Who Knows That What You're Interested In Is Just A Silly Distraction And You Should Know Better.

(*) Jeremy Irons for best actor, with the director and screenplay also getting nominations.
posted by praemunire at 9:30 AM on July 31, 2019 [10 favorites]



I get that we all tend to vilify individuals but isn't Dershowitz just one of many, many symptoms of a big problem?


If the big problem is powerful men doing hurtful stuff without accountability, what would you rather folks did other than what's happening? This is a serious question. What's the alternative to trying to prosecute Epstein, Weinstein and Dershowitz if this is such a vacuous enterprise?
posted by Dressed to Kill at 11:26 AM on July 31, 2019 [10 favorites]


The title of the piece is apt because Dershowitz didn’t just play devil’s advocate in the media—he was also perhaps the most prominent voice among lawyers-turned-media-stars for why playing devil’s advocate on matters of law is worthwhile. That it was worth debating “maybe it should be legal for an older man to have sex with a 15 year old girl” even if you found the stance morally repugnant. That these sort of intellectual games, which often required disregarding social and ethical mores, had value. The fact that all along he wasn’t merely playing devil’s advocate (advocating a perspective for the sake of opposition, not out of a belief in it) but advocating for a perspective he actually did believe in and perhaps even acted on, is incredibly important. Because it means his pose is bullshit, and that “I’m just playing devil’s advocate” is more of a cover than a sincere stance.
posted by sallybrown at 11:34 AM on July 31, 2019 [6 favorites]


I get that we all tend to vilify individuals but isn't Dershowitz just one of many, many symptoms of a big problem?

Not to Ms. Guiffre.
posted by bile and syntax at 11:38 AM on July 31, 2019 [11 favorites]


I've had a rule of thumb for a while that I think is relevant in instances like this:

When a person continuously brings up legalizing pedophilia, or feels the need to split hairs over pedophile vs hebephile or whatever, that's a person who probably wants to fuck kids.

Dershowitz probably wants to fuck kids.
posted by sotonohito at 12:05 PM on July 31, 2019 [20 favorites]


What's the alternative to trying to prosecute Epstein, Weinstein and Dershowitz if this is such a vacuous enterprise?

My feeling is that we need to recognize this as a start, not an end unto itself. There is great value in holding these men accountable in of itself - but the system that created them and defended them will persist beyond them - and it's that which needs to be dismantled. Dershowitz didn't just espouse his views as a lawyer, but taught his values to several generations of lawyers following him, and it's that influence that has to be our ultimate target.

Because it means his pose is bullshit, and that “I’m just playing devil’s advocate” is more of a cover than a sincere stance.

Furthermore, showing that his pose is bullshit enables us to argue that the principle it's based on - that the "price" of free speech and discourse means letting hateful, abusive concepts and arguments have a seat at the table - is false. Having to constantly prove every bigoted crank wrong out of some obligation to "free discourse" is tiresome.
posted by NoxAeternum at 12:19 PM on July 31, 2019 [4 favorites]


Alan Dershowitz, in the paper of record, saying fucking your own clones is going too far
posted by The Whelk at 12:40 PM on July 31, 2019 [2 favorites]


Yeah so having your privacy violated, your character attacked, your very sense of reality gas lighted to smithereens when you are trying to prosecute or sue your rapist is it’s own unique trauma.

Dershowitz championed traumatizing rape victims for profit.

That bar associations don’t regard this as a gross ethical violation is...something else. Given the outsized power lawyers have to destroy someone’s life, and the way your average person is utterly defenseless against such attacks if they don’t have $$$, it’s kind of shocking to me what legal ethics appear to allow. I mean, besides enabling crime. Like are there no guidelines for when a vigorous defense crosses an ethical boundary, well before it crosses a criminal boundary?

Given the behavior of these lawyers, can law be said to have any ethics at all?
posted by schadenfrau at 12:51 PM on July 31, 2019 [6 favorites]


Given the behavior of these lawyers, can law be said to have any ethics at all?

No, which is why the defense bar reacted like they did when students convinced Harvard that a man who would voluntarily defend Harvey Weinstein probably should not be retained in a position where they would be part of the sexual assault reporting chain. Deep down, they know that they threw their ethics away long ago, which is why having it pointed out hurt. As the saying goes, a hit dog always hollers.
posted by NoxAeternum at 1:02 PM on July 31, 2019 [4 favorites]


This perception of the "defense bar" does not at all match my perception of them. If we're going to go there, prosecutors are much worse and much more powerful, and it's weird to pin the issues with the criminal justice system on the "defense bar" generally. Specific, mouthy assholes like Dershowitz are certainly quite disgusting, but expanding that to condemn a lot of people who are fighting for baseline civil rights for the poor and powerless in our society is...it's inaccurate.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 1:13 PM on July 31, 2019 [9 favorites]


I get that we all tend to vilify individuals but isn't Dershowitz just one of many, many symptoms of a big problem? Like if Trump did not get elected in 2016, would the world have followed such a different path than the one we find ourselves on?

I think that when people say this, it's often because they're not thinking about the many less-immediately-visible ways that government impacts our daily lives. For instance, despite the pre-existing flaws in US government agencies, a Trumpless US would not have seen massive funding cuts to environmental research, massive roll-back on anti-pollution regulations, the move to privatize government weather services, etc. All these things are going to have huge long-term impacts on quality of life - people will die of cancer or develop chronic health conditions who would otherwise have not, food is going to be worse and more polluted, our weather forecasting is going to be less reliable in an age of climate change, our water is going to be less safe and accessible...and that's just a partial toll from one agency. And it doesn't even take into account "frivolous" stuff like the research that's being defunded, people losing their careers, trainees suddenly having nothing to train for - a huge waste of scientific potential.

This stuff is much less visible than Alan Dershowitz's behavior, but it's going to affect every single American and many people elsewhere in the world.

It's easy to say "oh but Obama" or "oh but Democrats", but that's only true if, first, you'd rather have "absolutely fucking godawful" than "merely inadequate" and second, you're not familiar with the actual history of these agencies so you're not fully aware of how much they do even in the crummiest Democratic administration.
posted by Frowner at 1:46 PM on July 31, 2019 [17 favorites]


If we're going to go there, prosecutors are much worse and much more powerful,

Which literally has no bearing on whether defense lawyers who attack rape victims are a different flavor of shit, so I’m not really sure what your point is, particularly not in a thread about Alan Dershowitz, unless you wanted to try to invalidate the harm caused by those defense by going the old “but this other thing is WORSE” route?

Which, again: kind of a shitty thing to do. Also questionable, because its not like prosecutors don’t also traumatize rape victims. I genuinely have no idea what you think your point is.
posted by schadenfrau at 2:11 PM on July 31, 2019 [4 favorites]


Not to speak for IFDS, but there does seem to be some broad-brush painting of the defense bar going on here, including the implication that they (or maybe all lawyers generally?) have no ethics at all. Dershowitz is a symptom of a very real pathology in the profession, but I don't think he's characteristic of the defense bar as a whole (which is to a considerable degree hard-working underpaid schmoes just trying to salvage something from the wreck of their clients' encounters with an extremely hostile law enforcement system).
posted by praemunire at 2:27 PM on July 31, 2019 [11 favorites]


I think the point about defense vs prosecution was well worth stating and completely on point with the thread. Alan Dershowitz being horrible should not be equated with all defense lawyers are unethical and terrible. This is false, and some comments are very much voicing this opinion. (On preview: what praemunire said.)
posted by booksarelame at 2:30 PM on July 31, 2019 [5 favorites]


While we work out how to launch him into the sun

I'm good with using ever-bigger trebuchets for this exercise; the fact that incremental gains in altitude result in larger falls back to earth until we get enough impetus for a solar landing I would consider a feature, rather than a bug.
posted by chavenet at 2:35 PM on July 31, 2019 [1 favorite]


Let's use magnetic Earth to orbit catapults for all launching into the sun needs. That way we also get a useful bit of space development infrastructure. While big trebuchets do have a cool factor they don't have a side benefit of helping space exploration.
posted by sotonohito at 2:42 PM on July 31, 2019 [2 favorites]


Dershowitz is a symptom of a very real pathology in the profession, but I don't think he's characteristic of the defense bar as a whole (which is to a considerable degree hard-working underpaid schmoes just trying to salvage something from the wreck of their clients' encounters with an extremely hostile law enforcement system).

The defense bar, as a community, leaped in to defend Ronald Sullivan when people made the logical point that someone who would voluntarily join the defense team of a man who used the legal system to further traumatize the women he raped (as well as making his own comments attacking the character of women accusing a professor of sexual harassment) should not be someone that victims of sexual assault would have to go to in order to report what happened to them. They also hopped in to defend Judge Aaron Persky when it came out that he had a record of giving light sentences to men convicted of sexual crimes, even allowing them to run slut-shaming defenses.

Does that mean that every defense lawyer is horrible? Not at all! The majority do an important job that our society needs for justice to be done. But that doesn't mean that, as a community, they don't hold some very toxic positions - the fact that only 4 states outlaw gay/trans "panic" as a defense is a clear symbol of that. And a large part of that has been the influence of men like Dershowitz, who used his skills and knowledge to argue that it was somehow ethical for a defense lawyer to drag a rape victim's most intimate details through the mud to win a "not guilty on account of the victim is a lying slut" ruling.

Nobody, no group is beyond reproach. The defense bar does get a lot of undeserved flack for what they do, yes - but they also get deserved criticism for engaging in immoral practices (like the aforementioned defenses.) If Dershowitz is, as you put it, a "symptom of a very real pathology in the profession," then the defense bar needs to address that pathology within their ranks.
posted by NoxAeternum at 3:11 PM on July 31, 2019 [7 favorites]


Not to speak for IFDS, but there does seem to be some broad-brush painting of the defense bar going on here, including the implication that they (or maybe all lawyers generally?) have no ethics at all. Dershowitz is a symptom of a very real pathology in the profession, but I don't think he's characteristic of the defense bar as a whole (which is to a considerable degree hard-working underpaid schmoes just trying to salvage something from the wreck of their clients' encounters with an extremely hostile law enforcement system).

Naw, this is basically my point, thanks.

the defense bar needs to address that pathology within their ranks.

The defense bar generally does not have Dershowitz within their ranks in any meaningful way? He's a rich guy who represents rich people; the defense bar is mostly not and they're not in charge of every other defense lawyer. Also, it's not like the defense bar is one thing and the prosecution bar is another thing, they're all lawyers regulating each other and prosecutors are much much more powerful. If they wanted to get rid of the gay panic defense (for example) they would. Prosecutors, largely, don't give a shit. When you imply that they'd want something like that but mean defense attorneys are keeping them from getting it, you are letting them off the hook for a disgusting abdication of their responsibility towards their constituencies and towards society more generally.

Which, again: kind of a shitty thing to do. Also questionable, because its not like prosecutors don’t also traumatize rape victims. I genuinely have no idea what you think your point is.

My point is that to the extent that this thread is becoming "defense lawyers all suck, amirite?" it's an iteration of a toxic tendency for people to pit the rights of poor people and people of color against the rights of women who are the victims of sexual abuse, when really, they largely have the same interests and are mostly being oppressed by the same people: prosecutors and police, who both abuse those without resources, and systemically fail to adequately enforce laws against sexual violence.

Why does it matter that we get this right? Because sexual violence is a crucially important topic and it is important to be accurate about it so that we know how to fix it. The number one reason why sexual violence crimes are not prosecuted successfully is a lack of will from police and prosecutors to prosecute these crimes. Dershowitz certainly is vocal and influential, but as a defense attorney, that is a man-bites-dog situation, not representative of the "defense bar" running the show when it comes to the "criminal" "justice" system. They really, really don't. Prosecutors do, and they are failing women systematically, and it's important.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 4:00 PM on July 31, 2019 [5 favorites]


It doesn’t make sense to refer to public defenders and private defense counsel as a defense bar—it would be like lumping prosecutors in with private class action and product liability counsel because they all represent plaintiffs. Some of the finest, most ethical attorneys working today are defense counsel (Judy Clarke), and so are some of the worst (Dershowitz). They are the poorest, worst-paid lawyers and the richest, best-paid ones. Bashing defense counsel would be the wrong take away from this story imo.
posted by sallybrown at 4:04 PM on July 31, 2019 [4 favorites]


I think it's obvious and uncontroversial to say Not All Defence Laywers, sure. But Dershowitz is generally considered a member in good standing in that community, right? One who until recently an influential position where he shaped the pedagogy of prospective new members of that community?

I don't think it's unfair at all to suggest that a community which allowed a man like Dershowitz to remain in good standing and in a position of influence over prospective new members of said community has something to answer for. He resigned from Harvard, but it doesn't seem to have been a resigning-in-disgrace type of situation? Or at least not obviously enough that the Boston Globe couldn't write him a genial little puff-piece to mark the occasion.
posted by tobascodagama at 4:06 PM on July 31, 2019 [2 favorites]


Dershowitz said. “He has an abnormal amount of chutzpah to attack me and challenge my perfect, perfect sex life during the relevant period of time.”

Excuse me while I vomit.
posted by TwoStride at 4:12 PM on July 31, 2019


But Dershowitz is generally considered a member in good standing in that community, right?

In my experience there isn’t one defense counsel community because these jobs are so different. He is (or was) definitely a member in good standing of the “provocative legal academia” community and maybe “splashy media lawyers” community (although even that one...it’s not as if he and Gloria Allred were pals even though they both used the media to great advantage in cases). But there are much more high-falutin defense counsel, especially specializing in white collar defense or civil defense work, who I doubt gave him the time of day even in good old Martha’s Vineyard.

(David Boies is a different story, his cohort is much more the “high priced defense lawyers” community filled with white-shoe firm lawyers. Which is interesting because Boies is famous for his plaintiffs’ work, not his defense work.)
posted by sallybrown at 4:17 PM on July 31, 2019 [2 favorites]


He is (or was) definitely a member in good standing of the “provocative legal academia” community

To continue this thought, between this, Larry Summers’ involvement, the Kozinski clerking scandal, the Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld law student advising scandal, and the college admissions scandal, I am waiting for the big boil on academia, legal academia in particular, to burst.
posted by sallybrown at 4:23 PM on July 31, 2019 [6 favorites]


That's very fair. And I don't think anyone would disagree that public defenders, say, have nothing to to answer for here, since he is not one and they don't wield much power over the part of the legal profession where Dershowitz makes his money and does his harm.
posted by tobascodagama at 5:03 PM on July 31, 2019 [1 favorite]


My point is that to the extent that this thread is becoming "defense lawyers all suck, amirite?" it's an iteration of a toxic tendency for people to pit the rights of poor people and people of color against the rights of women who are the victims of sexual abuse, when really, they largely have the same interests and are mostly being oppressed by the same people: prosecutors and police, who both abuse those without resources, and systemically fail to adequately enforce laws against sexual violence.

Good thing nobody is doing that, then! Yes, part of the problem is that prosecutors fail at prosecuting sexual assault - but when the ACLU argues that not renewing Sullivan as faculty dean was wrong, the problem isn't just limited to prosecutors. You argue that "prosecutors could eliminate these unethical defenses if they wanted", but why aren't defense lawyers saying that these defenses are unethical and pushing for their abolition - after all, they're the ones using them. (To be fair, there are defense lawyers who do, and point out that allowing them undermines the ethical principles of the defense bar - but there are also a lot who argue - like Dershowitz - that providing a "vigorous defense" obliges their use.)

Nobody is pitting anyone against anyone. People are pointing out that the defense community is more comfortable with unethical defenses than they should be - and part of the reason for that is people like Alan Dershowitz giving them cover in the form of legal arguments arguing why its a defense lawyer's duty to further traumatize rape victims to defend their clients.
posted by NoxAeternum at 5:26 PM on July 31, 2019 [3 favorites]


Good thing nobody is doing that, then!

Come on:

Given the behavior of these lawyers, can law be said to have any ethics at all?

No


If you want to walk that back, fine, we all get carried away from time to time, most especially including me, but let's not act like it wasn't said.

As someone who argued (basically) in support of those questioning Sullivan's holding of the House position both here and on Twitter, your description of what happened does not seem accurate to me; criticism of the students' position was widespread and by no means particularly limited to lawyers who mostly do defense. When I see phrases like "the defense community," what I mostly see is apparent (sorry if I'm wrong) non-lawyers who do not have a particularly strong grasp on how the profession is actually organized, or mostly not organized. Especially when the ACLU is lumped in indiscriminately there as defense-side. (Or, what sallybrown said.)
posted by praemunire at 9:53 PM on July 31, 2019 [6 favorites]


(Or, to put it in a more concrete way, a partner at Cravath, which does mostly defense-side work but of an almost entirely different nature than Dershowitz is associated with, a lawyer practicing in New York who probably wouldn't even think of him as a peer, would have zero formal ability to stop him from teaching at Harvard, in Massachusetts, and frankly not much informal ability, either. Legal academia is essentially immune to discipline from the practicing bar, and vice versa. And no one's going to tell young aspiring attorneys not to go to HLS because Dershowitz is there. There is a lot of fragmentation in the profession.)
posted by praemunire at 9:57 PM on July 31, 2019 [4 favorites]


You want to argue that the legal profession as a whole is shit? Okay, I can work with that.

Especially given what happened with the Persky recall, where the legal community went out of its way to defend a judge who routinely let men convicted of sexual violence off the hook, was shocked and offended when people responded by using the only tool - recall - left to them, viciously attacked a rape victim as part of their "argument" against recall (arguing that a rape victim didn't write her own impact statement as a means to dismiss it is really fucking low) - and when the unsurprising happened and Persky was recalled, refused to take any responsibility for what had happened. Or, as you pointed out, the defense of Sullivan, which had legal experts from all over waxing poetic over the Sixth Amendment while not even giving one moment's consideration to the fact that they were expecting people who had gone through a horrible, traumatic attack to have to work with a man who, through his own conduct, had shown that he felt that victims of sexual harassment and assault were liars.

Things like the widespread use of slut-shaming as a defense against rape - something so widely used that rape victims are warned about it if they try to press charges - show that the legal community has some serious issues with ethics, and this, once again, can be traced in part back to the fact that the legal community has treated people like Dershowitz as respected leaders instead of condemning and booting them out. You state that "nobody is going to tell aspiring lawyers not to go to Harvard Law while Dershowitz is there" while ignoring how that statement is exactly the problem - the legal profession isn't willing to actually condemn members who act unethically, or the institutions that support them.

And then people are shocked when lawyers are held in low regard.
posted by NoxAeternum at 2:12 AM on August 1, 2019 [9 favorites]


There's a huge gulf of difference between defense attorneys defending scummy defendants using ethical means and arguments, and defense attorneys routinely using the argument that rape victims were sluts who deserved to be raped.

I doubt very many people will argue that it's inherently wrong or immoral to be a defense attorney for a person guilty of heinous crimes. Our entire system is built on the idea of having a robust defense offered by a competent attorney.

But lawyers seem far too eager to take that valid principle and wrongly extend it to mean that lawyers should engage in socially destructive behavior and it's ok, and also that any bad behavior towards victims by any member of the legal profession is ok.
posted by sotonohito at 5:36 AM on August 1, 2019 [4 favorites]


Things like the widespread use of slut-shaming as a defense against rape - something so widely used that rape victims are warned about it if they try to press charges -

I hope that you realize that police and prosecutors "warning" women against trying to press charges is a massive, massive part of the problem; ditto with police; and so are judges. Prosecutors and police wield an incredible amount of power to imprison and punish people, they just choose not to use it to protect women. For example, prosecutors are very capable of putting people in jail without trials ever happening, if they want to bother with it (when it comes to sexual violence, they largely don't.)

Prosecutors and police certainly do love to point to defense attorneys, but defense attorneys are, in this context, primarily a scapegoat for incredible negligence on the part of police and prosecutors. They want to point to defense attorneys because they like to use underenforcement --- their underenforcement --- of laws against sexual violence as a way to get even more power to put poor people in jail. This is not good for anyone. As we see with the Central Park 5, when they railroad whomever it is that they think is guilty, they let serial predators go free to abuse more women.

Rape shield laws are imperfect and should be strengthened, for the record. But you cannot let prosecutors and police off the hook for their complete and utter failure to enforce the law. That is a problem that dwarfs any other problem when it comes to the sexual abuse of women.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 6:12 AM on August 1, 2019 [3 favorites]


You want to argue that the legal profession as a whole is shit? Okay, I can work with that.

Fine. A big part of the problem is that focusing on "the defense bar" means that you are primarily focusing on attorneys who represent poor people and people of color and attempt to keep them from being brutalized by the state, and that is a problem given that they are not disproportionately unethical. (Probably less likely to be unethical than a lot of attorneys, frankly.)
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 6:17 AM on August 1, 2019 [1 favorite]


Prosecutors and police certainly do love to point to defense attorneys, but defense attorneys are, in this context, primarily a scapegoat for incredible negligence on the part of police and prosecutors.

How, exactly, is pointing out that blatantly unethical defenses like slut-shaming and gay/trans "panic" exist and that the legal community and especially the defense community do little to treat them as the breach of ethics that they are treating defense attorneys as a scapegoat? Your earlier argument that "prosecutors could get rid of them if they wanted" is tantamount to arguing that prosecutors should be governing the conduct of defense attorneys - which is a position that I would think would be anathema to you.

If it really bothers you that the public view of defense attorneys is diminished by the use of such unethical defenses, then you should be pushing for them to be abolished as unethical and their practicioners held accountable for using them. Just because there are massive fucking problems with prosecutors (and there are - nobody has denied this) doesn't mean that the defense community doesn't have its own problems - and pointing those problems out isn't pitting anyone against anyone.
posted by NoxAeternum at 7:49 AM on August 1, 2019 [1 favorite]


And if you need an illustration of the problem, the subject of the thread is happy to oblige:
If I had not defended Jeffrey Epstein and gotten him a favorable plea deal, it is unlikely that I would have been the subject of the recent hit piece in the New Yorker, not to mention be accused of sexual misconduct by two of Epstein’s alleged victims. Indeed, my first accuser told the New Yorker that she accused me because “Jeffrey got away with it, basically. And Dershowitz was one of the people who enabled that to happen.”

In other words, because I did my job well – getting my client the best result possible – I have now become a target of efforts to destroy my reputation and career.
Note what Dershowitz says is his job - to get his client the best result possible. Not to see justice served.
posted by NoxAeternum at 8:41 AM on August 1, 2019 [2 favorites]


Note what Dershowitz says is his job - to get his client the best result possible. Not to see justice served.

Yes? That's the role of an attorney - any attorney. To zealously represent our clients. Attorneys are not supposed to be impartial - that's the judge's job, and too often they bring their own biases to work, like Persky. The issue isn't Dershowitz' goal of getting his clients the best result, but how he goes about it and that he so obviously hates women.
posted by bile and syntax at 10:47 AM on August 2, 2019 [3 favorites]


Yes? That's the role of an attorney - any attorney. To zealously represent our clients.

You (and Dershowitz) left out something to the effect of "within the confines of the law and appropriate ethical guidelines."
posted by Etrigan at 10:53 AM on August 2, 2019 [4 favorites]


The personal attack isn't appreciated or on point, Etrigan. My comment literally says

The issue isn't Dershowitz' goal of getting his clients the best result, but how he goes about it and that he so obviously hates women.

which would seem to cover what you're trying to go after me for.
posted by bile and syntax at 11:37 AM on August 2, 2019 [1 favorite]


That wasn't a personal attack. It was a rebuttal of your apparent argument that "get his client the best result possible" can be separated from "within the confines of the law and appropriate ethical guidelines" in the "role" of the attorney. I believe that it cannot be, ever, at all, even if one says something a couple of sentences later about "how he goes about it".

The role of an attorney must always be to fight for their client legally and ethically. Leaving that italicized part out is exactly what Dershowitz wants everyone to do because it allows him to claim that he is being a zealous defender rather than a scumbag enabler.
posted by Etrigan at 11:48 AM on August 2, 2019 [2 favorites]


That's not my argument. Please go after a different straw lawyer.
posted by bile and syntax at 11:59 AM on August 2, 2019


That's not my argument. Please go after a different straw lawyer.

Here's the thing - lawyers like Dershowitz have been using "zealous defense" as a shield to deflect from the fact that they defend violent men from charges of abusing women, often by putting the victim on trial. People are picking up on the pattern, and holding those who do this accountable for this sort of defense.

So no, given that history, I don't think you can bring up the idea of a zealous defense without also pointing out that such a defense must respect both legal and ethical boundaries, because for too long it's been used as an argument to breach the latter.
posted by NoxAeternum at 12:24 PM on August 2, 2019 [5 favorites]


Sorry if I was taking that as read, I didn't realize I needed to include an entire treatise on the history of attorney ethics especially given my other comments in the thread and other people's explanations of why the defense bar at a national level is relatively powerless here. I wanted to respond to what I saw as a misunderstanding about what an attorney's role is, but since I apparently am not allowed to write anything without including a bunch of specific language that I didn't realize was required in literally every comment, I'm out.
posted by bile and syntax at 12:43 PM on August 2, 2019 [1 favorite]


bile and syntax, I totally understood your comment as including ethical standards in “how he goes about it.”
posted by sallybrown at 1:16 PM on August 2, 2019 [4 favorites]


[Deleted several. Please don't call other mefites assholes and find ways to make your points that don't involve personal attacks.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 6:22 PM on August 2, 2019


People are picking up on the pattern, and holding those who do this accountable for this sort of defense.

I think this is mostly right, although I wish I had a book or article on the history of this particular issue to give you more context about it. Women have actually been really successful when it comes to political movements that address issues like this. Essentially all states, the federal courts, and military courts explicitly prohibit the use of tactics you are discussing, to a greater or lesser extent---at least in courts. In terms of popular opinion, newspapers, etc. it's a different story, although I'm not sure how widespread it is as an issue given how few sexual assault cases even get anywhere near a court, much less a newspaper, or how often defense attorneys, specifically, are involved in the kind of horrific behavior you sometimes see in well-publicized instances of sexual assault. My take on it is that there is a serious problem with wealthy vs. non-wealthy and that this is more in line with that than with defense attys vs. everyone else. For example, some of Weinstein's worst behavior was enabled by an attorney who is not a defense attorney at all, but a fixer for rich people (Boies).
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 10:38 AM on August 3, 2019


Also, the search term you might be looking for when it comes to the rules of evidence / rules for trials would be "rape shield laws." If I see anything good on the history, current status, or similar of these laws I'll send it to you.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 10:39 AM on August 3, 2019


And Dershowitz is standing as the defense in a mock trial based on the story of Joseph on the charge of human trafficking.

It feels like he's taunting us now.
posted by NoxAeternum at 2:07 PM on August 14, 2019 [2 favorites]




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