Alan Dershowitz wanted David Boies off Epstein-related suit. A top lawyer has replaced him

A prominent conservative Washington lawyer has replaced his onetime Supreme Court foe in representing a woman who accused Jeffrey Epstein and his former defense attorney, Alan Dershowitz, of having sex with her when she was underage.

Charles J. Cooper, who has represented former Attorneys General Jeff Sessions and John Ashcroft, replaced David Boies, his one-time opponent in a California gay marriage case argued before the Supreme Court, as a lawyer for Virginia Roberts Giuffre in her federal defamation lawsuit against Dershowitz.

Boies and his entire team from Boies Schiller Flexner were removed from the New York case in October after judge Loretta Preska determined that he had become a witness in the suit and, as such, could no longer advocate on Giuffre’s behalf.

Once a friend of presidents, the ultra-rich and the elite of Wall Street’s bankers, plus a major benefactor to Harvard University, Jeffrey Epstein handled portfolios estimated to be worth over $15 billion. Then he became ensnared in a scandal involving the sexual abuse of underage girls. He is seen here, pre-scandal, at left, in conversation with Alan Dershowitz, one of America’s best-known legal experts and a Harvard Law professor emeritus, at a Cambridge event. Dershowitz became a key member of Epstein’s legal team. File

The firm will continue to appeal its removal from the case, according to the Washington Post, but Sigrid McCawley, the Boies Schiller Flexner lawyer who first brought the suit, praised Cooper, who goes by Chuck, in a statement to the Herald.

“Chuck Cooper is an exceptional trial lawyer that will use the record and the evidence to advance the justice Virginia deserves,” she said.

Boies is among the highest profile lawyers in the country, who came to fame as a result of his ultimately unsuccessful work representing Al Gore in the 2000 presidential election recount as well as his successful effort (teaming with Bush-Gore recount adversary Theodore Olson) to overturn California’s ban on same-sex marriage.

But Giuffre’s new lawyer is no stranger to high-profile legal work, either.

The Alabama-born lawyer is currently representing former deputy National Security Adviser Charles Kupperman, who is at the moment resisting a subpoena from the House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee as it pursues the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.

“”I am honored to represent Ms. Giuffre,” Cooper said in a statement to the Herald. “She seeks only justice for the monstrous wrongs done to her. She shall have it.”

Virginia Roberts Giuffre stands between attorneys David Boies (L) and Brad Edwards (r) during a press conference where Giuffre spoke briefly about the emotional court hearing Tuesday monring for the accusers of Jeffrey Epstein. Approximately two dozen women gathered at a New York City federal courthouse Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2019 to talk about their alleged abuse by Epstein in open court, many speaking for the very first time. Emily Michot emichot@miamiherald.com

Boies’ removal from the suit came in part because of a secret recording made by Dershowitz of a phone conversation shortly after Boies began his representation of Giuffre. In that conversation, Dershowitz says, Boies told him that he had told Giuffre that she was “wrong … simply wrong” in her accusations against Dershowitz, one of the country’s most famous attorneys and a professor emeritus at Harvard University who achieved fame for his defense of O.J. Simpson, among other high-profile clients.

Giuffre has said she was farmed out to various friends of Epstein for sex, not just Dershowitz.

Dershowitz, who says he never met Giuffre at the time in question much less had sex with her, told the Herald that he welcomes the change in lawyers.

“I think it’s a big plus for me,” Dershowitz said. “Cooper has a reputation of being highly ethical. ...My hope is that when he sees the evidence he will be likely to see that I am telling the truth and he will be hesitant to put his client on the stand.”

Dershowitz and his legal team, who have previously sought to have the case dismissed, are preparing their counterclaim against Giuffre, which is due to the court on Nov. 7. He has repeatedly called her a “serial liar,” which he echoed again in his comments to the Herald about the change of counsel. That assertion is the basis of the defamation claim.

Giuffre’s allegations against Dershowitz first came to light after she filed an affidavit in 2014 seeking to join a 2008 civil lawsuit brought against the federal government by several women who were sexually abused while underage by Epstein in South Florida.

Epstein was a prominent financial manager who was friends with Donald Trump, Bill Clinton and Prince Andrew. Giuffre has asserted that she was coerced to have sex with Prince Andrew, an allegation the prince has denied.

At the time of the 2014 affidavit, Dershowitz publicly attacked Giuffre and her then-lawyers, who sued Dershowitz. That suit was settled out of court with Giuffre’s lawyers agreeing to issue a statement that the 2014 affidavit had been a distraction from the merits of the 2008 case. The settlement did not address the truthfulness of Giuffre’s claims.

VirginiaRoberts 09.jpg
Virginia Roberts poses for a photo with Prince Andrew as Guislaine Maxwell smiles in the background. Roberts reports that she was lent out to the prince when she was a teenage sex slave for Palm Beach multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein and his partner, Maxwell. Copy Photo Courtesy of Virginia Roberts

The Miami Herald’s investigation into Epstein’s case, ”Perversion of Justice,” detailed Dershowitz’s role in helping negotiate a remarkably lenient plea deal for Epstein in 2008, with Epstein given immunity from sweeping sex trafficking charges in exchange for a guilty plea to state prostitution charges.

A federal judge ruled in February that the deal violated the federal Crime Victims’ Rights Act because Epstein’s victims were deliberately not told it was occurring.

Epstein, 66, was found dead in August in his Manhattan jail cell, one month after being arrested on new sex trafficking charges. The death was ruled a suicide, but Michael Baden, a noted pathologist hired by Epstein’s brother, Mark, to offer his observations, concluded this week that the death looked more like a murder than a suicide.

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Ben Wieder is a data reporter in McClatchy’s Washington bureau. He worked previously at the Center for Public Integrity and Stateline. His work has been honored by the Society of American Business Editors and Writers, National Press Foundation, Online News Association and Association of Health Care Journalists.