Attorney Alan Dershowitz this week sued Netflix and other parties for allegedly portraying him in a defamatory manner.
“Defendants knowingly and deliberately misled Professor Dershowitz as to their intentions for his participation in the series, and maliciously and intentionally portrayed Professor Dershowitz in a defamatory manner by (i) promoting and bolstering false allegations of sexual misconduct against Professor Dershowitz, and (ii) not presenting evidence in the Netflix Epstein series that they received and agreed to present, which showed that alleged Epstein victim Virginia Giuffre, nee Roberts (‘Giuffre’) was ‘wrong, simply, wrong’ (in the words of her own lawyer) to have accused Professor Dershowitz of sexual impropriety and that Professor Dershowitz did not have sex with her as she has falsely alleged,” the 39-page complaint states.
The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Florida, concerns a show called “Filthy Rich” that debuted on Netflix in May 2020.
The show examines the life of Jeffrey Epstein, a convicted sex offender who was awaiting trial on child sex trafficking charges when he died in federal prison in New York City in 2019.
Dershowitz, a Florida resident and law professor at Harvard Law School who is largely retired, says he was lulled into accepting and believing false promises from employees of RadicalMedia who worked on the series.
One of the other defendants, Joseph Berlinger of RadicalMedia, has a close relative who was friendly with the professor, a relationship that the defendants “exploited,” the lawsuit states.
While Dershowitz did have a relationship with Epstein, who for years had an office at Harvard despite not holding an official position there, and represented him in 2008, the professor disputes accusations by Giuffre that he had sex with her. The accusations were later struck by a federal judge from a lawsuit filed on behalf of Giuffre.
“Professor Dershowitz has repeatedly pointed out that documentary evidence established that he could not have been and was not at the locations that Giuffre claimed to have had sex with Professor Dershowitz and that Giuffre was not a minor during the time period in which she claimed to have had sex with Professor Dershowitz, and that she has repeatedly lied about her age variously claiming she was 14, 15 and 16 when she met Epstein. Records prove she was 17 when she met Epstein in late 2000,” the lawsuit against Netflix states, adding that an investigation headed by former FBI Director Louis Freeh backed Dershowitz.
Lisa Bryant, another RadicalMedia employee, repeatedly promised to include certain evidence Dershowitz says bolsters his protestations of innocence, including Giuffre’s book manuscript, the professor’s lawyers said. Dershowitz provided the evidence to Bryant. In addition, Leroy & Morton Productions LLC, a company that worked on the show and which is also named in the suit, allegedly presented Dershowitz with a form that stated it would not “intentionally portray” the professor “in a defamatory manner in the program.”
Dershowitz charges that the show’s producers, though, portrayed the allegations against him as a “he said/she said” situation, despite the wealth of evidence disproving the claims.
“To have presented that evidence in Filthy Rich, as had been promised, would have undercut the credibility of Brad Edwards, Sigrid McCawley, and Giuffre—the very people whose interviewed comments Filthy Rich depended upon,” the suit says.
“Giuffre’s accusations against Professor Dershowitz appear to carry some credibility in Filthy Rich in part because of a particular feature of Filthy Rich: the story jumps around chronologically. A year dating of events appears on the screen before segments, but the segments themselves do not occur in chronological order. Had the story been told in a strict chronological sequence, it would have been evident that Giuffre’s years with Epstein, 1999-2002, occurred about five years before Professor Dershowitz started working on defending Epstein for what would be the 2008 federal plea deal.”
The court filing alleges defamation, breach of contract, promissory estoppel, and fraudulent inducement. It seeks at least $80 million. Dershowitz wants a jury trial.
No lawyers were listed for the defendants on the court docket. No contact information could be found for Leroy & Morton Productions. RadicalMedia did not respond to an inquiry.
Netflix told news outlets in a statement, “Mr. Dershowitz’s lawsuit is without merit, and we will vigorously defend our partners and the series.”