MIAMI -- Renowned lawyer Alan Dershowitz has seized upon a mystery man featured in a recent New York Times story to help defend against allegations that he had sex with Virginia Giuffre, one of sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein's underage victims, and to pursue a defamation case against the woman.
At a hearing in New York on Monday, Dershowitz's attorney, Howard Cooper, said that the shadowy man featured in the Times' story, who used the pseudonym Patrick Kessler, was part of a scheme that is strikingly similar to the extortion plot Dershowitz says is at the center of accusations Giuffre has made -- falsely, he says -- against him.
Dershowitz alleges that Giuffre, now 36, was pressured by her lawyer, David Boies, to publicly accuse Dershowitz of having sex with her in order to extort money from the other powerful men Giuffre says she was directed by Epstein to have sex with when she was a minor.
Monday's hearing was part of a high-stakes war between two of the country's most prominent lawyers: Dershowitz, the Harvard professor emeritus who defended Epstein, and Boies, best known for representing Al Gore before the U.S. Supreme Court during the 2000 presidential recount. Their feud, simmering for years, involves accusations of extortion, surreptitious recordings, unethical conduct and sex trafficking.
Earlier, Dershowitz persuaded U.S. District Court Judge Loretta Preska to disqualify Boies from representing Giuffre in her defamation suit against Dershowitz, after Dershowitz's lawyers said they intend to call Boies and members of his firm to testify in the case. Dershowitz has countersued Giuffre, and Boies has filed a separate defamation suit again Dershowitz.
Giuffre says she was 16 when she was recruited by an Epstein associate, Ghislaine Maxwell, while Giuffre was working as a spa attendant at Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump's resort in Palm Beach. Epstein, a multimillionaire hedge fund manager and financier, was accused in 2006 of running a sexual pyramid scheme involving underage girls, and Giuffre claims she was directed by Epstein and Maxwell to have sex with Dershowitz, Prince Andrew and a number of other prominent men.
Dershowitz, the prince and others she has named in court papers have denied her allegations. Dershowitz, a friend and sometimes house guest of Epstein in addition to being his lawyer, emphatically denies he has ever met her.
Federal authorities reopened the Epstein case in January, and rearrested him in July, eight months after a Miami Herald investigative series, "Perversion of Justice," raised questions about whether there was undue influence that tainted the 2006-08 state and federal criminal investigations. At the time, Epstein received an extraordinarily lenient plea deal and was released after serving 13 months in the county jail.
Epstein was found dead at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York in August. Authorities say he committed suicide by hanging, but two renowned forensic pathologists have raised questions about the medical examiner's ruling and the integrity of the investigation into his death.
On Monday, two prominent U.S. senators called upon the Justice Department's inspector general to complete its investigation into Epstein's death. Nebraska Republican Ben Sasse and Connecticut Democrat Richard Blumenthal demanded an update on the investigation this week, pointing out that it's been three months since Epstein was found unconscious in his cell.