One of the strangest things about the Dershowitz matter is that the long alley of life he walked down after all did, as he neared its end, have a trash barrel that tripped him up. He had been used to throwing trash at others accusing them as we’ve seen in the situation involving the Bulgers of all sorts of crimes while thinking he’d never end up tripping over a barrel which contained accusations against him of participating in what he called a “heinous crime.” These accusations, true or not, will forever follow him.
When Alan wrote his op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal he said he would never rest until the injustice done against him was remedied. This injustice was that he was named as a person who had sex with a little girl named Virginia Roberts who was at best 16 years old in a case where he was not a party. He had plenty of rest when others were in the same situation or when he accused public figures of crimes. But now that something that existed for as long as he practiced law affected him it now keeps him awake.
It seemed it also affected his buddies who decided to speak out with half-hearted support of Alan a little late in the game. The headline of the article in the newspaper read: “Alan Dershowitz Gets Support of Harvard Professors.” I was interested in seeing what his buddies would have to say in their written statement of January 23, 2015. I was surprised to see only 38 of the 143 full-time faculty signed letter that related to his situation. I expected that they would say something to the effect that they believe there is no way Alan “a colleague and friend” would have committed the crimes alleged and they fully support his denial.
They didn’t. They wrote basically to say they were bothered by “the legal setting in which the recent attacks against Professor Dershowitz were made.” They went on to say: “He has, in short, been accused in a setting seemingly designed to deny him any effective opportunity to respond. Were the accusations made against an individual less courageous and less outspoken, the impact of the accusation would be devastating. The courts should not be used to make such attacks while preventing any effective response.”
This was tepid support of Alan if it was support at all. Plus it was extremely hypocritical because during the many years these law school professors were active they never complained about this before. They note that such accusations would be devastating to an average individual but never have they been known to complain that is the way business was done in the courts over many years. They only decide to complain about it when their buddy gets caught and as far as others who may be hurt much more they have little concern.
But as they note, Alan is the last one who they should be worried about since he has had plenty of opportunity to respond to allegations. He’s been all over the news telling everyone about his innocence that some have suggested that he dost protest a little too much. The setting in which he was accused may have prevented him from responding but subsequent developments will give him the full opportunity to do so.
Alan also has to his credit said he welcomes any charges against him on the criminal side and that he will waive his defense of failing to bring the charges within the time limit set by the statute of limitations. This, too, will give him the chance to respond to the charges against him.
If I were in Alan’s position I would have expected more from my colleagues. I wouldn’t blame him if he were thinking “with friends like these who needs enemies.” Alan should be highly disappointed that it took so long and that so few of the faculty came to his defense and the lukewarm manner in which they spoke out. These are people who worked with him for many years yet none appeared to want to wade into the accusations against him to suggest their absurdity.
Perhaps because they know of Alan’s close friendship with Jeffrey Epstein the convicted sex offender they’re not going to stick their necks out too far for him. The delayed letter made little sense because it was written at a time when the matters complained of no longer existed. It was written protectively to insure that if things don’t work out well for Alan they’ll be no blow back on them. It makes you wonder if they know something we don’t..