High-profile lawyer and Jeffrey Epstein associate Alan Dershowitz made a striking claim during an interview with the BBC on Wednesday: that the conviction of fellow Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell on sex crimes charges helped discredit claims against him and Prince Andrew for alleged abuse.
On Wednesday, Maxwell, a British socialite, was found guilty on five charges in a New York federal court, for, as prosecutors argued, serving as the madame in Epstein’s sexual “pyramid scheme of abuse” towards girls and young women.
Mr Dershowitz took it as a validation that the federal government didn’t call Virginia Giuffre — who has accused Epstein, Mr Dershowitz, and the Duke of York of sexual abuse—as a witness to testify during the Maxwell trial.
Both Mr Dershowitz and Prince Andrew deny wrongdoing.
“The government was very careful who it used as witnesses,” the attorney said. “It did not use as a witness the woman who accused Prince Andrew, who accused me, who accused many other people, because the government didn’t believe she was telling the truth.
“In fact she, Virginia Giuffre, was mentioned in the trial as somebody who brought young people to Epstein for him to abuse, so this case does nothing to strengthen the case against Prince Andrew, indeed it weakens the case against Prince Andrew considerably because the government was very selective in who it used.”
The Independent has reached out to Mr Dershowitz, Prince Andrew, and Virginia Giuffre for comment.
Starting in 2014 Ms Giuffre began accusing Mr Dershowitz of abusing her during her time with Epstein, which he has denied, calling her a “certified, complete, total liar.” In 2019, the pair launched competing defamation suits relating to the other’s claims.
Ms Giuffre accused Epstein of abusing her at his Florida mansion between 2000 and 2002, when she was a teenager. She settled her claims with Epstein confidentially.
Mr Dershowitz was a longtime friend of Epstein, who died by suicide in prison in 2019 before he could stand trial. The attorney admitted to providing Epstein legal advice as recently as 2018, and helped the disgraced financier negotiate an extremely lenient plea deal with Florida authorities on previous underage sex crime charges.
“He has called me a couple of times about legal issues, because I’m still technically his lawyer,” Mr Dershowitz told Axios three years ago. “But I haven’t had any social, or any other kind of contact. … You never stop being a person’s lawyer.”
The attorney has also admitted to receiving a massage at one of Epstein’s properties, though he said it wasn’t sexual in nature and that he kept his underwear on.
“Believe me, if I had known that anything improper had ever taken place in that house, I never would have allowed my children, my grandchildren, my wife, my daughter-in-law, my son, to have spent time there,” Mr Dershowtiz has said. “I can tell you categorically there were no inappropriate pictures, no inappropriate anythings. It was like any other house.”
Though she was not called to testify, Ms Giuffre was mentioned throughout the trial by prosecutors and witnesses, describing her visits to Epstein’s homes as a minor, where she had sex with him, and frequent flights aboard his private plane.
Photos shown during the trial reveal Ms Giuffre with Maxwell and Andrew at Epstein’s ranch in New Mexico, as well as Epstein and Maxwell with Giuffre aboard a yacht during a party.
Ms Giuffre’s lawyers have said they weren’t sure why she wasn’t called to testify.
“The government is not telling us what they are doing,’’ Giuffre’s attorney, David Boies, told the Miami Herald. “They haven’t, at least not yet, asked her to come from Australia, so it doesn’t look like she is going to testify. As you know, they are only bringing charges with women who were under the age of consent at the time. You will have to ask them why they did that.”
Due to Ms Giuffre’s age at the time of the alleged abuses, and varying ages of consent across the states where they allegedly occurred, proving a case based on her evidence could prove more difficult than with other witnesses. Ms Giuffre has also admitted to inconsistencies in her claims over the years, including falsely saying in a lawsuit that she was 15 the first time she was abused.
On Wednesday, Ms Giuffre celebrated the verdict against Maxwell as vindication.
“My soul yearned for justice for years and today the jury gave me just that. I will remember this day always. Having lived with the horrors of Maxwell’s abuse, my heart goes out to the many other girls and young women who suffered at her hands and whose lives she destroyed,” she wrote in a statement on Twitter. “I hope that today is not the end but rather another step in justice being served. Maxwell did not act alone. Others must be held accountable. I have faith that they will be.”
Civil rights lawyer Mr Dershowitz did say, however, that the Maxwell case could open the door to further Epstein-related lawsuits.
“The testimony introduced evidence that other people were guilty or involved,” Mr Dershowitz said in his BBC interview.
One of those people allegedly involved in Epstein’s ring of abuse is Prince Andrew, who has denied wrongdoing. This August, Ms Giuffre filed a civil lawsuit accusing him of sexually assaulting her when she was a teenager.
“Twenty years ago Prince Andrew’s wealth, power, position, and connections enabled him to abuse a frightened, vulnerable child with no one there to protect her. It is long past the time for him to be held to account,” the suit states.
“It didn’t happen. I can absolutely categorically tell you it never happened. I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever,” Prince Andrew has said previously.
His attorneys have argued that Ms Giuffre, who resides mostly in Australia, doesn’t have jurisdiction to bring her lawsuit, which she has denied.
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