Virginia Giuffre, a victim of Jeffrey E. Epstein who claimed for years that law professor Alan Dershowitz sexually abused her as a teenager, settled a defamation case against Mr. Dershowitz on Tuesday and admitted that she may have “made a mistake” in accusing him.
Ms. Giuffre said in a joint statement announcing the settlement, “I have long suspected that I was trafficked by Jeffrey Epstein to Alan Dershowitz. However, I was quite young at the time, the situation was very stressful and unpleasant, and Mr. Dershowitz has continuously refuted these charges from the outset.
“I now see I may have misidentified Mr. Dershowitz,” she stated in her statement.
The joint statement announced the conclusion of litigation between Ms. Giuffre and Mr. Dershowitz, who had also sued her, as well as the conclusion of two additional cases involving Mr. Dershowitz and the attorney David Boies, which came from Ms. Giuffre’s claim.
After her claim, Ms. Giuffre filed a lawsuit against Mr. Dershowitz on the grounds that he had made defamatory remarks about her. Her attorney declined to comment, but verified that a settlement had been made. Tuesday afternoon, a document confirming Ms. Giuffre’s agreement to drop her complaint was filed with the U.S. District Court in Manhattan.
Mr. Dershowitz added of Ms. Giuffre in his own statement, “She has endured a great deal at Jeffrey Epstein’s hands, and I appreciate her efforts to resist the scourge of sex trafficking.”
Mr. Boies, who has represented Ms. Giuffre, but not in this case, said that “the time has come to stop this lawsuit” and that Mr. Dershowitz “has suffered immensely from the charge of sexual assault brought against him — an allegation he has constantly and strongly rejected.”
Tuesday, the contents of Ms. Giuffre’s agreement with Mr. Dershowitz were not immediately evident; but, according to the statement and court filing, no money were paid by either party.
The 2019 settlement of the defamation action and Ms. Giuffre’s accompanying statement marked a remarkable turnaround for Mr. Dershowitz, who has been attempting to restore his image since 2014, when Ms. Giuffre first made her allegations public. Her charges against Mr. Epstein are supported by evidence.
Mr. Dershowitz, a longtime friend of Mr. Epstein, defended the billionaire when he was originally arrested and charged with sex trafficking, criticising his client’s underage victims, and in 2008 helped Mr. Epstein get a favourable plea bargain. After pleading guilty to two prostitution counts in state court, Mr. Epstein spent about a year in a Florida prison, leaving six days per week to work at his office.
The plea agreement was by no means the end of the problem. It resulted in more litigation, including a 2014 complaint that sought to have the agreement thrown out for breaching a federal statute that requires victims to be informed about non-prosecution agreements.
As part of this case, Ms. Giuffre made public for the first time her allegation that Mr. Dershowitz had intercourse with her when she was underage. The attorney, who was previously renowned for his high-profile defences of O.J. Simpson, Claus von Bülow, Mike Tyson, and others, vehemently denied her accusation.
The rumours about Mr. Epstein persisted, fueled by reports from The Miami Herald and the #MeToo movement’s increased attention. In 2019, federal prosecutors in New York reopened the sex trafficking charges against him. In August of 2019, Mr. Epstein committed himself before to his trial.
Ms. Giuffre’s name was then highly recognised. In the months after Mr. Epstein’s indictment, a plethora of sealed court records connected to Ms. Giuffre’s defamation action against Ms. Maxwell were made public. Longtime lover of Mr. Epstein, Ms. Maxwell, was convicted of child sex trafficking and sentenced to 20 years in jail.
Ms. Giuffre also sued Prince Andrew of the British royal family, an acquaintance of Mr. Epstein, whom she claimed of raping her as a teenager. This dispute was resolved in February. Prince Andrew did not confess culpability; instead, he issued a statement in which he said he “regrets his relationship with Epstein and commends the courage of Ms. Giuffre and other survivors in speaking up for themselves and others.”
Ms. Giuffre also sued Mr. Epstein prior to his 2019 death in a Manhattan prison cell, earning a $500,000 settlement.
The lawsuits filed by Mr. Boies and Mr. Dershowitz were in response to Ms. Giuffre’s allegations. Mr. Boies filed a lawsuit against Mr. Dershowitz for claiming that he had fabricated the charges as part of a scheme to extort money from the millionaire Leslie Wexner, whose funds were controlled by Mr. Epstein. In his January 2021 lawsuit, Mr. Dershowitz repeated these allegations.
These lawsuits were proceeding, with Mr. Boies interrogating Mr. Dershowitz under oath in late September, a session that Mr. Dershowitz suddenly terminated due to health concerns.