Dershowitz, leading a team of law students and young associates, devised an appellate argument built around the idea that Sunny might have caused her own coma, through a prolonged addiction to pills and alcohol.
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Dershowitz made brilliant decisions no one else would ever have been brave or intelligent enough even to consider. In , it was released as a major Hollywood film, with Elon as a co-producer. Dershowitz, played by Ron Silver, is portrayed onscreen as a committed fighter for principle. But some of the women in the class found his lectures uncomfortable.
Dershowitz has written frequently that defending the rights of the accused in rape cases is a crucial application of the presumption of innocence. Some students thought that he strained logic in order to defend men. Wherever we were on the syllabus, he would bring it up. William Kennedy Smith, a nephew of John F.
Kennedy, had recently been accused of raping a woman on a Kennedy family estate, and Dershowitz frequently spoke to the media about the case. Smith argued that the sex was consensual, and he was later acquitted. There are women in this class who have been raped.
Can we move on to something else? Dershowitz has not shied away from provocative ideas about sex and the law.
He has also argued against punishing men who hire prostitutes. Liberal professors at the law school were outraged.
Laurence Tribe likened the students who had written the spoof to Klansmen. Dershowitz often suggested that contention was an inevitable effect of protecting ideals. In a number of cases, he represented prominent men who had been accused of committing violence against women. He helped get O. Simpson acquitted in the killing of his wife; he represented Jeffrey MacDonald, a former Green Beret and doctor convicted of killing his wife and his two daughters, and Mike Tyson, who had been convicted of raping an eighteen-year-old contestant in the Miss Black America contest.
Dershowitz maintained that Washington had consented to a one-night stand, then tried to exploit it for money and publicity. Do you want to spend the night? As his fees continued to rise, he and his wife bought a million-dollar house in Cambridge. He was friendly with many famous men and was drawn to intellectuals.
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Dershowitz, according to longtime friends, has an enduring fascination with fame, society, and wealth. In the seventies, he had been a trader and a wealth manager at Bear Stearns, before leaving to start his own small firm. Epstein has said that he refused to accept clients with less than a billion dollars in assets, but Wexner is the only client he has ever named. Wexner bought the building in , and within seven years Epstein had taken up residence. A source with knowledge of the deal said that the transaction involved millions of dollars, routed through a series of holding corporations.
Epstein used his mansion to establish a salon for scientists. He liked to collect them. An aspiring artist, she had been introduced to Epstein at a gallery downtown, where she was exhibiting her paintings. He bought one, insisting on a discount. Eventually, she agreed to work the door at his house, signing in tradesmen, decorators, and friends. Farmer said that new girls arrived every day, some of them wearing school uniforms. In September, , Epstein invited Dershowitz to meet Wexner, who was throwing a party for his fifty-ninth birthday.
They flew together to New Albany, Ohio, where Wexner had a three-hundred-acre estate, with a Georgian manse for himself and a large house for Epstein. Epstein thought of himself as a patron of academia, and was particularly drawn to Harvard. In , he and Wexner had helped to fund a new building for Harvard Hillel. Epstein also funded research into the history of science, but he wanted to be more than a donor; he wanted to be a member of the community.
After Lawrence Summers became president of the university, in , Epstein flew him to the Virgin Islands on his plane. In , Epstein pledged thirty million dollars to Harvard to create the Program for Evolutionary Dynamics.
He recruited Martin Nowak, a biologist from Princeton University, to lead it, and established offices for the program in a building in Brattle Square. On the top floor, Epstein organized discussions on science, psychology, and other subjects, inviting academics from Harvard and M. Dershowitz often participated; the two men were once photographed there, engaged in conversation, Epstein wearing a Harvard sweatshirt.
In the end, Epstein contributed only six and a half million dollars, according to the Boston Globe. We cut each other off all the time because we just get it. His wife once asked whether the friendship would endure if Epstein suddenly filed for bankruptcy. Epstein could be a loyal supporter. Early in their relationship, he contacted Orin Kramer, the founder of the hedge fund Boston Provident, and said that he wanted to invest several hundred thousand dollars from Dershowitz. On campus, Dershowitz was controversial for his increasingly hawkish views on Israel.
At times, Epstein lent support against political enemies. In January, , the evolutionary biologist Robert Trivers learned that he was to receive the prestigious Crafoord Prize in Biosciences, and Martin Nowak invited him to celebrate the occasion with a talk at the center that Epstein had funded, followed by a reception. Nazis—and nazi-like apologists such as yourself—need to be confronted directly. It was the most painful thing that had happened to me in academia.
So that actually formed a bond between Jeffrey and me. But ultimately he agreed. Dershowitz told me that he was misled about the severity of the allegations. The investigation of Epstein had begun in March, , when two worried parents went to the Palm Beach Police Department. He ordered her to take off her clothes, and she said she stripped to her underwear and massaged him as he masturbated and used a vibrator on her, over her underpants.
She cried as she described the incident. He sent gifts to favorites: a bouquet of roses, a plane ticket, a car. He offered to pay for college, or ballet school, or courses at the Fashion Institute of Technology. In exchange, he made escalating demands. In New York, according to the Miami Herald , Epstein worked with a modelling agency owned by a friend to procure underage girls from abroad, providing them with housing and paying their visa fees.
He had parties where girls were lent out during the evening. Some girls lived in apartments that he owned in a building on East Sixty-sixth Street.
Others moved between his properties: the house in Palm Beach, a ranch in New Mexico, the mansion on the Upper East Side, and his private island. They were always on call. She was the daughter of Robert Maxwell, who had built a publishing empire and a career in British politics; in , he was found dead in the ocean near the Canary Islands, having apparently fallen from his yacht, the Lady Ghislaine.
Afterward, his businesses were discovered to be riddled with financial improprieties. Ghislaine Maxwell was nine years younger than Epstein, and girls in his inner circle said that she was intensely devoted to keeping him content. One of the women who say that they were recruited by Maxwell was Virginia Roberts Giuffre. In a series of conversations with me during the past year, she described her experience.