Update, August 15: Temple Emanu-El announced on Wednesday that the event had been cancelled.
(JTA) — Alan Dershowitz will take part in a mock trial event in which he will defend biblical characters accused of “kidnapping and child trafficking.”
The celebrity lawyer will defend the brothers of Joseph in November at New York’s Temple Emanu-El. In the Bible, Joseph’s brothers kidnap and sell him into slavery because they are jealous of him.
The event is part of a series of mock trials based on stories from the Torah by the prominent Reform congregation. Former federal prosecutor and New Jersey governor Chris Christie will act as prosecutor and U.S. District Court Judge Ronnie Abrams as judge.
An advertisement for the event was posted on Twitter by Jewish Insider’s Ben Jacobs on Tuesday, only days after former Dershowitz client and associate Jeffrey Epstein committed suicide in a Manhattan jail. Epstein faced sex trafficking charges for allegedly abusing dozens of minor girls.
As the Epstein controversy swirls, Alan Dershowitz is appearing as the defense lawyer in a mock trial for child trafficking based on the story of Joseph from Genesis. pic.twitter.com/agKrOeBnxH— Ben Jacobs (@Bencjacobs) August 13, 2019
Epstein reached a plea deal with prosecutors in 2007 that was widely criticized as overly lenient. He served 13 months in prison, during which he was allowed to leave for 12 hours a day, six days a week, and his alleged victims were not told the terms of the deal.
Two of Epstein’s accusers, Virginia Roberts Giuffre and Sarah Ransome, have also said Dershowitz abused them.
Dershowitz has denied being involved in the sex crimes. He wrote in the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that he will continue to defend clients like Epstein.