The election of Donald Trump has pulled American debate away from objectivity and turned publications into actors in a political battle. After Donald Trump’s election, the New Yorker magazine lost no time nailing its colors to the anti-Trump mast.
David Remnick, its editor, lamented that Obama – a ‘man of integrity, dignity, and generous spirit’ – was being supplanted by ‘vulgarity unbounded, a knowledge-free national leader’ who would ‘set markets tumbling’, ‘strike fear into the hearts of the vulnerable, the weak’ etc. This set the tone for the magazine’s subsequent reporting.
Those sympathetic to Trump are treated in the same way – as I have found out. I’m an Emeritus Harvard law professor and have spent much of my life speaking up for civil liberties. I have defended the rights of President Trump while disagreeing with many of his policies. I have also defended Prime Minister Netanyahu and the state of Israel. I was not an admirer of the conduct of the Mueller inquiry into Donald Trump. My allegiance is to the law and the constitution: I apply what I call the shoe-on-the-other-foot test. If Hillary Clinton were being investigated and the FBI raided her lawyer’s office – as it did Trump’s lawyer’s office – then there would be uproar. Rightly so. Everyone, in our system, is entitled to basic protections.
But to say anything in defense of Trump, nowadays, is to invite fire from all of his enemies: political and journalistic. I have been served notice that the New Yorker is preparing what sounds like a journalistic hit job on me. If this is to be a war of words, I expect the truth to be unequivocally on my side. So here are the indisputable facts.
One of the figures at the heart of the Epstein imbroglio is Virginia Roberts Giuffre, whom I have never met. Four years ago, she was ‘pressured’ – her word – by her lawyers into making false accusations against me: namely, that I had underage sex with her. They expected a big payday, but I was able to prove from my travel records that I could not have been on the Caribbean island, New Mexico ranch or other places where she perjuriously claimed to have met me. She also claimed to have met Al and Tipper Gore, as well as Bill Clinton, on the island, but Secret Service and other records proved she had made up these stories as well. She also made up stories about having underage sex with prominent political leaders – senators, ambassadors, prime ministers and other heads of state – but her own employment records prove conclusively that she was well above the age of consent when she claimed to have met these two men.
This allegation against me was publicized, then debunked. My records led her own lawyer to admit that it would have been ‘impossible’ for me to have been in those places and that his client was ‘simply wrong’ about her accusations. An investigation by the former head of the FBI concluded that the accusations were disproved by the evidence. The judge struck the accusations and her lawyers withdrew them, admitting it was a ‘mistake.’ Having seen the initial accusation demolished, her lawyer told people he was trolling for a second accuser because ‘two is better than one.’
This time, my antagonists ‘found’ a woman who also had a story to tell: in her case, that she had sex tapes of Hillary and Bill Clinton, Donald Trump and Richard Branson. She also wrote hundreds of pages of emails accusing several prominent people of having sex with her when she was in her twenties, but I was not among them – until she met the lawyer. I had never met this false accuser either, but her lawyer allowed her to submit a perjured affidavit accusing me.
Two demonstrably false accusations by women with long histories of lying about famous people are not better than one, especially when both were engineered by the same lawyer. Sometimes smoke does not mean fire; it means arson. So this is where the story stood. I had disproved these false accusations, both in the courts of law and public opinion. No reasonably objective person, examining the evidence, would possibly conclude that I was guilty of any wrongdoing. The matter was closed.
But even false allegations can be deeply damaging, especially of this nature. And based on the inquiries the New Yorker is making to my friends and family in advance of their article, these allegations look likely to surface again. Which is odd because I have been advised that its policy is not to publish sex allegations against someone unless there are three credible independent sources.
In my case, there are only two sources. Neither are anything but independent – since both women were groomed by the same lawyers to lie about me for financial gain. Moreover, both sources lack credibility. They each have documented histories of telling false stories about well-known people for financial gain. In every other ‘#MeToo’ accusation reported in the media, there was some independent corroboration or admission of the external facts: they had sex, they worked together, they knew each other. In my case there is absolutely no evidence I ever met these false accusers. Because I did not.
The question, thus arises: why resurrect accusations against me that have no credibility or corroboration? Why resurrect allegations that are refuted by indisputable documentary evidence? There can only be one answer: due to political point-scoring.
If you scour the darkest corners of the internet, you can find conspiracy theories about pretty much anyone in the public eye. I’m no exception. One website, full of Holocaust denialism and similar conspiracies, says I abused my first wife and ‘stripped’ her of custody of my two sons. It showed ‘pictures’ of her and my children, which were not them, but stereotypical Jews with long noses. My first wife and I married when I was 20 and she 19: we grew apart. There was no abuse, and the court granted me custody based on the report of the social worker and his finding that I had committed no ‘misconduct’. Yet the baffling and despicable suggestion of domestic violence, which sprang from this website, is now circling again by those seeking to defame me. The old idea, that you had nothing to fear if the allegations were true, doesn’t hold up nowadays. The allegations are repeated anyway, spread on social media – then the damage is done.
Would the New Yorker really lower itself to such levels? I hope not. It’s still possible that its profile will be modified based on this document I have provided. But at a time when basic standards of decency are being abandoned in the name of hyper-partisan battle, nothing can be taken for granted.
Editor’s note: Ms Giuffre has sued for libel related to the author’s contentions and that case is still pending. Her lawyers, Paul Cassell and Brad Edwards, filed defamation claims against Mr Dershowitz for the same accusations he repeats here. Mr Dershowitz filed a counterclaim for defamation, and both libel suits were settled out of court.