Risk Update

Dershowitz Defamation Drama — Disqualification Motion, Recorded Lawyer Conversation

The story continues to unfold on the Dershowitz disqualification and defamation matter: “Dershowitz’ Lawyers Say Epstein Accuser’s Boies Schiller Lawyers Should Be Disqualified in Defamation Case” —

  • “Attorneys for Alan Dershowitz argued Tuesday in a federal court hearing that Boies Schiller & Flexner lawyers representing a Jeffrey Epstein accuser should be disqualified from her defamation case against the retired Harvard law professor. The disqualification claim rested on communications Dershowitz had with a Boies Schiller partner in that firm’s Florida office in 2015.”
  • “According to court filings, Boies Schiller partner Carlos Sires sent Dershowitz an unsolicited email to express his support following an appearance on the NBC ‘Today’ program, and, as the two continued to exchange emails, Sires said that he and his firm would be interested in joining Dershowitz’ legal team.”
  • “It wasn’t until after Dershowitz forwarded Sires a memo allegedly outlining his litigation strategy that he learned Boies Schiller was representing Virginia Roberts Giuffre, the plaintiff who is suing him in the defamation case.”
  • “Boies Schiller said it had implemented strict screening procedures to avoid conflicts and maintains that the document was never shared with any attorneys on Giuffre’s legal team.”
  • “Giuffre, who has alleged in court papers that she was recruited as a minor into the deceased financier’s underage sex ring and then trafficked to Dershowitz and other powerful men, said in the suit that Dershowitz has falsely painted her as a ‘serial perjurer’ in an attempt to damage her reputation and credibility. Dershowitz, who represented Epstein when the late financier was the subject of a criminal investigation a decade ago, has adamantly denied all allegations of improper contact with Giuffre and says he had a First Amendment right to defend himself against her allegations.”

And, more recently: “Alan Dershowitz hopes surreptitiously recorded call will lift cloud of Epstein allegations” —

  • “A New York federal judge has ordered an outside expert to analyze a tape recording that has the potential to disqualify David Boies’ law firm from representing a woman accusing Alan Dershowitz of sexual abuse, marking a new development in the ongoing fight between two of America’s top attorneys.”
    “Dershowitz, the Harvard law professor who represented Jeffrey Epstein, recorded a phone conversation between himself and Boies, the famed attorney whose clients have ranged from Al Gore in Bush v. Gore to Harvey Weinstein.”
  • “Dershowitz, who transcribed the audio himself, says the recording captures Boies casting doubt on the claims of his firm’s client, Virginia Roberts Giuffre. Giuffre, a victim of Epstein, said she was directed by Epstein to have sex with Dershowitz. Dershowitz has repeatedly denied this claim, saying he never even met Giuffre.”
  • “If it is determined that the recording was captured legally meaning that it was recorded in a state that allows the party to a phone call to record the opposite party without that person’s consent and if the recording says what Dershowitz purports it to, the Boies firm’s ability to represent Giuffre could be undermined. Boies would be a potential witness, perhaps disqualifying his firm from handling the case.”
  • “It is quite uncommon, although not always illegal, for lawyers to record other lawyers without their consent, according to Stephen Gillers, an ethics professor at the NYU School of Law. (Gillers was speaking generally and not in relation to Boies, Dershowitz or the case at hand.)”
  • “For calls in which the recorder is abiding by state law, the American Bar Association has taken the stance that it is not unethical for a lawyer to record calls with those who have not consented, as long as the lawyer does not falsely state or imply that the call is not being recorded, according to Gillers.”