It’s no surprise that Trump hired Alan Dershowitz for his impeachment trial legal team. Dershowitz is a shrewd self promoter who would be foolish to reject Trump’s offer. A job of this magnitude would be worthwhile, regardless of fees.
Dershowitz is also an accomplished lawyer, well-known for his willingness to defend unsavory men. He is primarily an appellate lawyer, representing individuals seeking to overturn criminal convictions. A Harvard Law professor who has published dozens of legal books, Dershowitz is no stranger to controversy, having represented clients like Claus von Bulow, O.J. Simpson, Mike Tyson, Harvey Wienstein, and Jeffrey Epstein. It is fitting then that his long and storied career of defending hated men has led him to working on behalf of the most unpopular President in U.S history.
Dershowitz has been famously quoted as saying “Every honest criminal lawyer will tell you that he defends the guilty and the innocent.” The point being that everyone deserves an attorney, regardless of innocence. This is because justice is about being heard in court, not whether the right decision was reached by a judge or jury. For example, O.J. was heard and court, which is justice; while many disagreed with the jury’s decision. It just so happens that money can buy justice.
Now, Dershowitz is the latest addition to Trump’s mercenary legal team. This is unsurprising given that in addition to his propensity to defend scumbags, Dershowitz has also long been an outspoken public supporter of serial sexual harassers. For years, he has applied the same ethical framework he uses to defend criminals to also loudly complain about the treatment of alleged sexual offenders.
But courtroom ethics – an attorney’s duty – is different from a defense in the public sphere. In the public sphere, not everyone deserves an attorney, but everyone does deserve a voice. For some reason, Dershowitz frequently takes it upon himself to act as the public voice for those accused of sexual crimes, despite having no legal or ethical obligation to do so. If so inclined he could defend that abuser in court, and never say a word to the press. Instead, Dershowitz does the latter with aplomb.
Dershowitz authored the book Sexual McCarthyism: Clinton, Starr, and the Emerging Constitutional Crisis, which equated post-abuse women advocating for a voice to those who undertake witch hunts. In his mind, a woman who wants to be heard about her abuse – who wants to confront her accuser – is like Eugene McCarthy frothing at the mouth about non-existent communists. What Dershowitz seemingly does not realize (or does not care about) is that unlike the Red Scare, rampant sexual violence is real. Regardless, his written intent is clear – women who are victims of sexual abuse should take their trauma and just shut the hell up.
In a twist that should surprise no one, Dershowitz has been accused of abusing women with Jeffery Epstein – which naturally, he denies. Dershowitz has also been accused of making women in his law school classes uncomfortable. Thus, it would seem that Dershowitz is not all that different from his many storied clients, and his public positions on sexual violence start to make a lot more sense.
An individual should always feel free to bring forward sexual harassment complaints without being compared to Joe McCarthy. Comparing the infamous fear-mongering Senator to a woman opening up about sexual harassment is equal parts absurd and disgusting. Nevermind that the accused is always free to prove their innocence. Dershowitz would prefer to treat sexual harassment claims as though they first have to be proven in court otherwise there is no validity to the claim. This view is a perverse blending of morals and legal ethics.
Hence, it makes perfect sense that Dershowitz willingly steps up to represent a shameful President who undoubtedly used taxpayer dollars to influence an election. It makes perfect sense that Dershowitz would throw his legal weight behind a man who has dozens of credible abuse accusations against him and who openly admits to groping women or wanting to sleep with his daughter. Dershowitz may be a fine lawyer who takes the tough cases, but he’ll be remembered as just another attention hungry sleazebag helping another attention hungry sleezebag. Or as others might put it, he’s a man helping a man.