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venerdì 2 gennaio 2015
Prince Andrew and the Bunga Bunga
A woman allegedly kept as a sex slave by politically-connected billionaire investor Jeffrey Epstein, who went to jail for having sex with underaged girls, is accusing several prominent friends of the financier of having taken part in the debauchery, according to a new court filing.
The woman—referred to in court papers as Jane Doe —leveled the allegations Tuesday against Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz and Britain’s Prince Andrew, as well as British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell and French model scout Jean Luc Brunel.
Dershowitz flatly denied the claims about him Wednesday in an interview with POLITICO. “It’s totally, unequivocally and completely false,” the celebrated attorney said.
A spokesman for Prince Andrew denied the allegations Friday, while a lawyer who handled related matters for Maxwell did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment. Representatives of Brunel's modeling firm also did not reply to e-mail messages.
The accusations came in a long-running lawsuit charging federal prosecutors in Florida with violating a victims-rights law by failing to consult with Epstein’s victims before signing off on a plea deal. That pact ruled out any federal prosecution of the investor, who agreed to plead guilty to two state prostitution-related felony charges. Lawyers for the victims have described the arrangement as a sweetheart deal the well-connected Epstein and his high-powered legal team achieved by putting pressure on prosecutors.
Epstein served 13 months of an 18-month sentence on the two state charges before being released in 2009. He's now a registered sex offender.
The new court filing, submitted by Florida lawyer Brad Edwards and former federal judge Paul Cassell in a federal court in West Palm Beach, Fla., asked that Jane Doe and another woman be allowed to join the pending case over the victims’ rights claim.
“Epstein… trafficked Jane Doe for sexual purposes to many other powerful men, including numerous prominent American politicians, powerful business executives, foreign presidents, a well-known Prime Minister, and other world leaders. Epstein required Jane Doe to describe the events that she had with these men so that he could potentially blackmail them,” the court filing said.
“One such powerful individual that Epstein forced then-minor Jane Doe to have sexual relations with was former Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz, a close friend of Epstein’s and well-known criminal defense attorney. Epstein required Jane Doe to have sexual relations with Dershowitz on numerous occasions while she was a minor, not only in Florida but also on private planes, in New York, New Mexico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands,” the legal pleading added.
Dershowitz called the allegations “totally made up and totally fabricated from beginning to end.” He said he was not in the places described in the filing at the relevant times, with one exception: he did visit Epstein’s private island in the Caribbean on one occasion. “I was there with my family,” the renowned law professor said.
Dershowitz said in a follow-up interview after this post first appeared Wednesday that he's planning to file bar complaints against Edwards and Cassell for inadequately vetting their client's story.
"I'm planning to file disbarment charges against the two lawyers who signed this petition without even checking the manifests of airplanes or travel itineraries, et cetera," he said. "I'm also challenging the young woman and the lawyers to level those charges against me outside of the courtroom, so that I can sue them for defamation.....Finally, I’m challenging the woman to file criminal charges against me because the filing of false criminal charges is a crime."
The motion accuses Prince Andrew of similar actions, asserting that “Jane Doewas forced to have sexual relations with this Prince when she was a minor in three separate geographical locations: in London (at Ghislaine Maxwell’s apartment), in New York, and on Epstein’s private island in the U.S. Virgin Islands (in an orgy with numerous other under-aged girls).”
Previous press accounts have reported on Prince Andrew’s friendship with Epstein, who was known as a philanthropist and supporter of scientific research before the criminal investigations began nearly a decade ago. However, the earlier accounts stopped short of accusing the prince of sexual involvement with girls Epstein procured. In a 2011 Vanity Fair story, Prince Andrew denied any such contact.
While a Buckingham Palace spokesman did not respond to POLITICO's query about the matter on Wednesday, the palace issued a denial to several British news outlets Friday. "This relates to long-standing and ongoing civil proceedings in the United States, to which The Duke of York is not a party. As such we would not comment on the detail. However, for the avoidance of doubt, any suggestion of impropriety with underage minors is categorically untrue," the statement said.
Prosecutors said in a 2007 draft letter they’d identified 40 young women who could be considered victims of Epstein’s illegal acts. Many of them filed lawsuits or claims against Epstein and reached out-of-court settlements for amounts that were not disclosed.
Some of the fascination with Epstein on the part of tabloids and glossy magazines stems from his ties to former President Bill Clinton. In 2002, Epstein provided his 727 to Clinton for a trip to Africa to study anti-AIDS programs. Celebrities such as Chris Tucker and Kevin Spaceycame along for the ride. The new court filing makes no mention of Clinton, Tucker or Spacey.
The federal investigation obtained manifests for Epstein’s private jet travel, but prosecutors never charged anyone besides the investor with involvement in obtaining or using underaged girls for sexual purposes.
The new court filing says this result is in part due to the fact that Epstein’s legal team—which included such heavyweights as former independent counsel and solicitor general Ken Starr, trial lawyer Roy Black, and Dershowitz—negotiated a deal that precluded the feds charging anyone as a co-conspirator.
Lawyers for Jane Doe argue in the new motion that Dershowitz put this language in the agreement to protect himself.
However, the law professor told POLITICO he didn’t negotiate that deal and it wasn't aimed at protecting him. “I had nothing to do with drafting the non-prosecution agreement,” he said.
Dershowitz added that the last draft of the agreement mentioned four people by name who wouldn’t be prosecuted and he was not among them. All were regular associates or assistants of Epstein, the lawyer said, adding that the final language removed those names and simply barred federal prosecutors in South Florida from going after any potential co-conspirators.
Epstein and his lawyers fought hard to prevent records about his plea negotiations from being turned over to victims’ attorneys. However, U.S. District Court Judge Keith Marra ruled last year that the victims are entitled to examine those records to prepare their case against the government.
Epstein, Black and others appealed that decision to the Atlanta-based 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, but it ruled in April of this year that no privilege protects plea negotiations in this sort of dispute.
Edwards and Cassell did not respond to requests for comment for this post, including an inquiry about their response to Dershowitz's comments. However, the pair appear to be pressing forward with the victims' rights lawsuit, which seeks to unravel the no-federal-prosecution deal cut for Epstein in 2007.