Epstein accuser may add sex abuse claim to Dershowitz suit

Bob Van Voris

A woman who says she was one of Jeffrey Epstein’s victims may add sex-abuse claims to a defamation lawsuit against Alan Dershowitz, her lawyer said at a hearing in Manhattan federal court Monday.

Virginia Giuffre, who says she was forced to have sex with friends and acquaintances of Epstein, including Dershowitz, sued the emeritus Harvard Law School professor for defamation in April, after he repeatedly denied her claims and called her a liar. Dershowitz subsequently counter-sued her for defamation and infliction of emotional distress.

In this image taken from video issued by the BBC, Virginia Roberts Giuffre speaks during an interview on the BBC Panorama program that will be aired on Monday Dec. 2, 2019.

Charles Cooper, Giuffre’s lawyer, said in a hearing before U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska that his client may take advantage of New York’s new Child Victims Act, which in August opened a one-year window for people to sue over sex abuse they suffered as children even if the claims would otherwise be too old. New York previously required most childhood sex abuse victims to sue by the time they turned 23.

Dershowitz’s lawyer, Howard Cooper, said the act would not apply to Giuffre, whose claims date from the early 2000s, because she wasn’t a minor at the time.

The lawyers also discussed a Saturday New York Times story about a mysterious hacker who claimed to have uncovered a trove of the disgraced financier’s footage and financial records. According to the story, a hacker calling himself “Patrick Kessler” claimed to have videos of several wealthy and powerful men in “compromising sexual positions,” including rape.

Attorney Alan Dershowitz leaves federal court, in New York, Monday, Dec. 2, 2019. Dershowitz on Monday attended a court hearing in his ongoing legal battle with Virginia Roberts Giuffre, a woman who claims to have been pressured into having sex with Dershowitz by Jeffrey Epstein when she was 17. She and Dershowitz are suing each other, each claiming the other is lying.

The Times in its story called Kessler a liar and said it had “no reason to believe Kessler’s supposed video footage is real.” Charles Cooper said evidence relating to Kessler’s claims could be relevant to the defamation case.

Cooper took over representation of Giuffre after Preska disqualified her previous lawyer David Boies in October. The judge said Boies could not continue because Dershowitz’s claim that Giuffre conspired with her lawyers to make false claims had turned him into a potential witness.

Dershowitz was part of a team of lawyers that negotiated a 2008 plea deal for Epstein over criminal charges in Florida, which required him to serve just 13 months in a Palm Beach, Florida, jail with daily work release.

The case is Giuffre v. Dershowitz, 19-cv-3377, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).