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Judge To Dershowitz: You Wrote The Book On Chutzpah, And It Shows

A federal court judge rejected attorney Alan Dershowitz’s efforts to dismiss a lawsuit against him, ruling on Wednesday that the case filed by a woman who accused him of molesting her can proceed.

Virginia Roberts Giuffre claims that she was a “sex slave” of the convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, and that Dershowitz was one of several notable figures who engaged in sexual activities with her against her will. After Dershowitz called her a “serial perjurer,” a “serial liar” and a “serial prostitute,” Giuffre filed a defamation lawsuit against him.

Dershowitz argued that the statue of limitations had expired because the comments he made about her in 2018 and 2019 were no different than what he had said in 2015. But Judge Loretta Preska wasn’t having it.

“Dershowitz went looking for trouble, and by his own repeated affirmative republications, he found it,” Preska wrote. In another section, she used one of his books against him: “Dershowitz, who has proclaimed his appreciation of chutzpah, Alan Dershowitz, Chutzpah (1992), employs it to advance the argument that his actions are analogous to a passive republication,” she wrote. “Surveying the cases shows that this ain’t that.”

Indeed, Dershowitz’s autobiography was called “Chutzpah.” Dershowitz was criticized after publication by the American Jewish Congress for writing about their leaders in what they called a “false and defamatory” manner, The New York Times reported at the time. AJCongress executive director Henry Siegman called Dershowitz “essentially Jewishly illiterate and his ideas are totally uninformed”; Dershowitz said he was “salivating at the prospect of taking them on” in court.

Dershowitz has shown similar pugnacity in this case. Despite being in the middle of court proceedings centered on the question of whether he inappropriately criticized Giuffre, he has continued to slam her in the press. He claimed in April that he welcomed the lawsuit, and told NBC News last month that Giuffre was lying and that she had done “a terrible disservice to a great movement, the #MeToo movement.”

Despite the judge denying his dismissal and insulting his argument, Dershowitz did succeed in one regard - he convinced Preska to order Giuffre’s lawyers off her case because he intends to call members of their law firm as witnesses if the lawsuit goes to trial.

Aiden Pink is the deputy news editor of the Forward. Contact him at pink@forward.com or follow him on Twitter @aidenpink

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Judge To Dershowitz: You Wrote The Book On Chutzpah, And It Shows

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