Netflix recently courted controversy with its docuseries Filthy Rich, which focused on convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and those in his inner circle.
Among those depicted on the screen was Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, who previously represented the late financier — and he is suing producers over the way he is portrayed.
“Subject to the penalties of perjury”
According to the Washington Examiner, Dershowitz specifically claims that an accusation against him was included in the plot without any consideration for evidence he claims exonerates him.
His suit was filed this week in his hometown of Miami, Florida. In it, he asserts that Netflix and producers failed to provide him an opportunity to defend himself against “categorically false” allegations made by one of Epstein’s alleged victims.
The lawsuit, which seeks $80 million in damages, also accuses producers of intentionally misleading him about how he would be portrayed.
Virginia Guiffre has repeatedly alleged that Epstein forced her to have sex with Dershowitz, along with other prominent individuals. For his part, however, Dershowitz has strenuously denied all such allegations, including in the latest lawsuit.
“Guiffre’s accusations that she had sex with Professor Dershowitz are categorically false, and Professor Dershowitz has denied and disproved the accusations — including under oath subject to the penalties of perjury,” the lawsuit says, according to the Examiner.
“Vigorously defend our partners”
In response to the suit, Netflix issued a statement claiming that the claims are “without merit” and that the company “will vigorously defend our partners and the series.”
As the Miami Herald reported, Dershowitz was first hired by Epstein in 2005 to aid in his defense against accusations that he had operated a sex trafficking ring involving minors. The lawyer was then instrumental in negotiating a controversial plea deal in 2008 that allowed his client to plead to reduced state-level charges, thus avoiding more serious federal counts.
Dershowitz claimed he was promised an opportunity to respond to the accusations against him and that his remarks, along with evidence he provided to refute her claims, would be included in the show. Instead, the lawsuit described a “he said/she said” representation that left it up to viewers to determine who was telling the truth.
“It wasn’t a ‘he said/she said’ situation, however, given Professor Dershowitz’s totality of the evidence establishing he never had sex with Guiffre,” the lawsuit asserted.
Dershowitz and Guiffre have previously filed defamation suits against each other in federal court.