Lawyer Alan Dershowitz on Wednesday filed a 20 million dollar defamation lawsuit in Miami federal court against Netflix and the producers of "Filthy Rich," a documentary about Jeffrey Epstein that first aired on the streaming network in March 2020.
Dershowitz, 82, was a member of the legal team that defended Epstein against 2005 allegations that he molested and sexually assaulted dozens of middle and high school girls in Palm Beach.
Among the girls whom the New York financier sexually abused was Virginia Giuffre, a runaway who was recruited into Epstein's sex trafficking operation in 2000 at the age of 16.
In the four-part series, Guiffre, now 37 and living in Australia, repeated her claim that she was trafficked by Epstein to Dershowitz and a number of other prominent men.
The lawsuit alleges that the producers of the series, Radical Media and its showrunner, Lisa Bryant, misled Dershowitz by promising to include in the series evidence that Dershowitz says he produced to refute Giuffre's allegations.
Instead, the series' producers gave greater weight to Giuffre and her lawyers, Dershowitz said, and allowed them to publicly repeat false allegations about him, creating a "he said/she said" story line without presenting his evidence or giving him an opportunity to defend himself.
"It wasn't a 'he said/she said' situation, however, given Professor Dershowitz's totality of the evidence establishing he never had sex with Giuffre,'' the lawsuit says. "To have presented that evidence in 'Filthy Rich', as had been promised, would have undercut the credibility" of Giuffre's lawyers on whose "comments 'Filthy Rich' depended upon."
A spokeswoman for Netflix issued this statement: "Mr. Dershowitz's lawsuit is without merit, and we will vigorously defend our partners and the series."
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Giuffre and Dershowitz are currently suing each other for defamation in federal court in New York. Dershowitz is also suing CNN in federal court in Miami over the network's coverage of statements he allegedly made during the impeachment trial of former president Donald Trump, whom Dershowitz represented.
Dershowitz, a constitutional law scholar, author and TV commentator, has been known to represent a number of controversial clients, including O.J. Simpson, Harvey Weinstein, Patty Hearst and Mike Tyson. He's now mostly retired and lives in Miami, according to the lawsuit.
Dershowitz said he met Epstein in 1996 and began representing him in 2005, when the eccentric multimillionaire was accused of trafficking minors in Palm Beach.
Epstein hired a number of high-profile lawyers, including Kenneth Starr and Roy Black, who helped him negotiate an unprecedented plea deal in 2008.
Under the agreement, which was kept secret from his victims, Epstein and his co-conspirators (some of whom were never identified) received federal immunity, and in exchange, Epstein was allowed to plead guilty to two state prostitution charges and serve 18 months in Palm Beach county jail.
Within months of being sentenced, however, he was allowed out on work release, and he subsequently spent most of his term in an office in downtown West Palm Beach.
The case has led to two federal investigations and the resignation of Trump's former labor secretary, Alexander Acosta, the U.S. attorney in Miami who signed off on the deal.
It also a revealed multiple failures and imbalances in a criminal justice system that often favors wealthy, well-connected defendants.
In July 2019, Epstein, 65, was indicted for sex trafficking minors in the Southern District of New York. He was found hanging in his cell a month later. His death was ruled a suicide.